I live in the mid-Southern U.S. and have three dogs. I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance, and a master’s degree in engineering science with an emphasis on Active Sound Cancellation (noise control). I am recently retired from a wonderful non-profit agency that helped impoverished women access health services. I have worked as a performing musician and also as an academic editor.
I teach a yearly writing mentorship through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, and also run a self-paced short course called Edit Yourself: Writing Skills for Dog Trainers.
I came to dog training a typical way: I got a dog with problem behaviors. This was Summer. After a brief but all too long stint with local trainers who mixed aversives and rewards, I found the positive reinforcement training community on the Internet, then locally. I got turned on by learning theory and the wonderful realization that force-free training is not only humane and kind, but is science-based and shown to be extremely effective in training all animals.
It has become a passionate hobby and I spend the bulk of my free time training, learning about training and dog behavior, and writing about what I have learned.
What I offer in this blog is this: a window into what I learn from training dogs, and videos of dogs actually learning behaviors. My mechanical skills as a trainer don’t rise about the B level most of the time. I don’t practice timing enough, and I am not too good at raising criteria. (See the Blooper movie or Lumping It: A Public Service Announcement.)
But sometimes seeing the “warts” can be more helpful than seeing an expert run a dog who already knows tons of behaviors through a variant of something they already know. Those dogs tend to learn way faster than the dogs of us non-professionals. Or rather, our dogs obviously learn just as fast, but perhaps not what we were intending to teach them.
My own life experiences, particularly in teaching, curriculum design, technical writing, and making technology accessible to lay people often can give me a sense of what may help people get over a hump in understanding or execution of training problems. I’m a pretty good problem solver and communicator, and I love a challenge. I hope to help some other people, learn from them and their dogs as well as mine, and spur some good discussions.
Other Places You Can See My Work
- My book on dementia in dogs: Remember Me? Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
- My website and blog on canine cognitive dysfunction: Dog Dementia, Help and Support
- Here is an interview I completed for the Pet Friendly Blog challenge, about six months after I started this blog. It tells a little more about why I blog and what my goals are.
- Here is the second interview I did for the Pet Friendly Blog challenge, 3 1/2 years into blogging.
- Here is an interview I was invited to do for Helping Hounds Training in St. Charles, MO. I loved working with these great folks.
- I am a featured trainer on Clickety Clips.
- Here is my YouTube channel. I’ve been publishing movies longer than I have been blogging.
- I’m quite active on Pinterest. Here is my board, “Behind the Scenes with Eileen (and Dogs)”
- You can find me also on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.