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About me

This website was developed shortly before I got Voodoo, to track our journey and to share some resources I have found helpful over the years for creating an attentive, bonded, versatile and happy dog. My dogs are first and foremost my family. My training methods get the dogs as addicted to training as I am and I have learned to effectively apply reward-based training to many different situations and behaviors (even ones traditionally thought to only be reliable using corrections).

About me: I LOVE training dogs and my life has revolved around training, competition and teaching others to train their dogs. I have been training dogs for over 40 years and have used positive reinforcement methods since first learning about them in 1999. I am constantly expanding my knowledge and use of ‘It’s your choice’ methods and I have helped literally hundreds of people train their dogs for a variety of sports as well as problem solving and behavior modification.  In August of 2014, I was approved as a Barn Hunt Judge and Judged many trials. And I was approved as an AKC Scentwork Judge with the first group of applicants just before AKC Scentwork started.  I do have arthritis and nerve pain that is getting worse, but as I find things getting difficult, I just get creative and find ways that I can continue to do what I want to do in spite of the pain. In 2019, I stepped down as a Barn Hunt Judge because I could no longer stand for 10 hours straight without debilitating pain.

In the past, I have owned a Border Collie/Husky mix, a Rottweiler, 2 Cattle Dogs and 2 Beagles all of which lived long and full lives, learning new skills their entire lives. To learn more about them, visit:

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My retired service dog is a working line Belgian Malinois, born in July of 2008 (currently over 14 yrs old), that I trained to “do it all” and he has multiple titles in several different venues.  He has also learned a wide assortment of skills from Search and Rescue to Carting and even sign language!  I trained him to pass the voluntary Public Access Test and to be my Service Dog to help with picking up stuff I drop, helping me up stairs and pulling a wheelchair on days that I need it (I now have a power chair for when I need it, so don’t need a big dog).  You can see all his titles and scores here:


My past experience includes several years as a police officer in Cincinnati, Ohio, a few years working at a couple local dog day cares and several years as Administrative Assistant and then President of a national, non-profit, pet dog training organization. I was the founder, trainer and chief rat wrangler at the S.E. Indiana Rats and Dogs Club where I taught almost every day. I was a Barn Hunt Judge for over 5 years and currently am an AKC Scent Work Judge and a Rat Games Judge.  I also offered scent work training as well when I had a large training space set up in my full basement.

I am proud to say that I have been told by a few breeders whom I respect that they wish I could have one of their puppies. And I feel that is very high praise considering how carefully they screen their puppy buyers. If it wasn’t for the natural and very strong “defense of handler” tendencies of a working line Malinois, I would have gotten another in a heartbeat. I have been VERY happy with Dazzle and all we have accomplished together.  I didn’t want to lose the energy level, work ethic, and intelligence of the Malinois, but needed less ‘defense drive’. So I felt that an energetic, tall (24″ at least) field Lab would fit my needs nicely.  I was SO right and could not be happier with Voodoo!  He is all the traits I love about the Malinois with none of what I didn’t. He has excelled as both a service dog and in competition, with titles in obedience, agility, scentwork, fastCAT, tricks, and more.

In 2019, my husband passed away after a battle with COPD and my life was changed in some very big ways. We had planned to travel the country together and with his blessing I made plans to do it after he passed. By January of 2020, I had sold EVERYTHING (50+ years of accumulated stuff!) and bought a box van that I built out as an RV. I hit the road planning to make that my permanent lifestyle and made it as far as FL before everything started closing. I rode out the worst of the pandemic at my parents house, then hit the road again and traveled extensively with Dazzle and Voodoo loving the adventure.
But as gas prices went through the roof and the future of the country became more and more uncertain, I decided to settle down again and bought 4 acres of land in SC and have been developing that for self-sufficient sustainability since I bought it in Sept. of 2021. I still have the van and plan to take short trips if prices ever come back down, but for now it’s life on the farm.

11-20-15 Extraordinary trainer

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