You may be wondering why a dog trainer has a Ph.D...
Initially I studied to become a scientist and my love for animals led me to choose the Neuroscience and Behavior program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. My degree gave me an excellent background in animal learning and now I am delighted to be using my education to teach people how to train their dogs.
I started teaching dog obedience classes for the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District in 1995 and continued offering classes there for 10 years. In 1996, I began developing my own dog training business; offering private training and teaching classes at several locations on Portland’s West Side. In 2002, I joined the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and passed their exam to become a Certified Pet Dog Trainer.
Currently I teach training classes exclusively at Schroeder's Den, an outstanding dog daycare facility. I was greatly honored to be voted the Willamete Valley's best behaviorist in 2008 and 2009 and best trainer by Spot Magazine readers in 2009.
As for my approach to dog training, I don't insist that people use a particular training method. I prefer to help them discover what works best for them and their dog. In general, I emphasize using praise and built-in rewards to teach dogs good habits in any situation. With this approach, results can be achieved even if treats or training equipment are unavailable.
If I don't think I can help you solve a problem with your dog, I won't hesitate to say so and help you find another trainer or behaviorist who can.
I strive to be the best teacher I can so that my students understand the philosophy behind the training. That way they can adapt to any new training challenges they encounter. Above all, I want to help owners provide a better life for their dogs through understanding their dogs’ needs and through fun and effective training.
The Alaskan Malamute has been my personal breed of choice since I was 10 years old. I have enjoyed the challenges of training them to compete in obedience and have been rewarded with top finishes on the way to finishing their titles. My dogs and I also love backpacking, agility, dog sledding, and skijoring (the dog is harnessed to a skier). I have also had the pleasure of living with other breeds, large (a Doberman) and small (a Schipperke). One of the things I love about my business is the chance to work with all types of dogs.
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Copyright 2004 Kirsten Nielsen
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