In 1993, I received a B.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis, and earned a Masters Degree in Animal Behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis in 1995, both from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN. After receiving my Master’s Degree, I began working with Dr. R.K. Anderson and Ruth Foster, co-inventors of the Gentle Leader, through Alpha Academy in Minneapolis. Dr. Anderson designed a ‘new’ style of Gentle Leader and tested the prototype in my Level 1 class during my last year with Alpha Academy. In 2001, I moved to Denver, Colorado and created Wag & Train because there were no reward-based trainers there at the time. In 2017, I expanded Wag & Train to Minneapolis after I moved back… I wanted to be near lots of water again! I continue to volunteer my time with Big Dogs Huge Paws and Safe Harbor Lab Rescue in Denver, and I work with several rescues in the Twin Cities.
My goal is to provide pet parents an alternative to punishment-based behavior modification, while educating and building an unbreakable human-dog bond. I have 30 years of experience working with anxious, fearful, and aggressive dogs, and am very proud to say I don’t use any choke chains, prong collars, or shock collars. I use my knowledge from my Animal Behavior degrees, my experience working with thousands of stressed dogs, and my passion for creating a safe space for both dogs and humans to help change emotions and behavior.
My dog’s name is Turtle. Yes, I know that’s a funny name for a dog, but I always wanted a dog name Turtle, and it totally fits her! She and I are working towards becoming a finished service dog team with Luna Service Dogs. She will (hopefully) be my Medical Alert/Gluten Detection Dog, as I have severe Celiac Disease. Fingers crossed!
Sadly, my perfect, beloved Chocolate Lab, Paisley, died in January 2021. She was 11. She and Turtle were best buddies, and her loss has left a huge hole in both of our hearts. Paisley was my ride-or-die for 11 years, and I learned how to be a better human because of her joy, spunkiness, fairness, and forgiveness. She is still in all of my pictures on the website, and I will keep her there so others can see her beautiful smile. I will always refer to her as my “Dessert Dog” and I hope everyone gets to be loved by a dog like her in their lifetime.
Follow Turtle and her service dog journey on Instagram @glutensniffingturtle.