When I was a kid I acted like a dog. Literally, I walked on all fours, barked, cocked my head when I was confused (which was a lot), and would even paw at my mother to get her attention. I watched our dogs closely and mimicked them. Much to my twin brother's dismay, I even behaved this way at school. Fortunately, one day a teacher told me I was too old to behave like that so I ditched the dog act to behave like a human. Nonetheless it was no surprise to anyone when I adopted my own dog the minute I moved into my own apartment. And it was even less shocking when just a year later, in 1997, I began instructing the dog training classes at Petsmart in Gainesville, FL. I wanted to learn so much more than I could at Petsmart and from the books on the shelf so I started working with long time trainer and author, Dee ZurBurg. For a year I soaked up everything she could teach me while teaching for her at her school. She took me to seminars and dog obedience trials and encouraged me to read all the latest books. It was during this time that I learned that any dog can be taught anything using purely positive methods and kindness. In January of 1999 when I left Gainesville I told Dee I wanted to move back to Wilmington where I planned to start a Doggy Daycare. It took almost three years working at Dogtrain, gaining more experience, and coming into my own as a dog trainer. By the time I opened DAP in 2001 I knew how to fairly teach and manage every dog with kindness. I knew because I had seen another way and it made me very uncomfortable, so I had to be sure I learned. DAP was very popular with my former students right from the beginning. So much so that in 2002 I opened a second location on Carolina Beach Road. By 2006 I made the decision to focus on one location and make it perfect. What we have now is a perfectly designed set up that we find keeps the dogs safe, is easy to manage and the dogs always have lots of fun! In fact DAP has been operating so smoothly for so long and with the same staff members in place that since January of 2010 I have been living in Vermont almost full time. I visit Wilmington every couple of months and spend several months there in the winter over the holidays. Vermont is home for me now and I am grateful for all the people and the state itself. I love working with the Humane Society of Chittenden County and all the Vermont dogs I meet!
"My goal is to make training fun yet effective, and most of all fair, for all dogs and their humans. There is nothing I want more than to see dogs and their humans reach their goals. I will work hard and be available to ensure every one of my students learns the best information in a motivating way."
My amazing staff at Dogs At Play in Wilmington, NC
This is where my dog training life in North Carolina met my dog training life in Vermont. In the first picture you meet Cheyenne, a dog I helped to rescue and train through the Pawsitive Partners Prison Program in Burgaw, NC. In the second picture you meet Shug, re-named and adopted by my Aunt and Uncle, Pam and Ray Allen. She now has a very happy life on a farm, just as her inmate always knew she would.