Who We Are – Smarty Dog Training

Who We Are

About Smarty Dog Training

We are two best friends who have known each other since we were 5 years old and are lucky enough to share a passion for learning, training, & animal welfare.  We believe that people and dogs deserve to have great relationships with each other and take joy in helping people build these relationships.  Through our work with dog rescue organizations, we know that many dogs that do not stay in their home are killed- in fact, every day 2,200 healthy and treatable dogs and cats are killed in shelters across America(Best Friends ). We believe that by improving the quality of life for both pet owners and their dogs we can decrease the number of animals entering shelters.  A dog that comes when called is less likely to end up in a shelter or be lost and  a dog that has learned general obedience or manners is less likely to be abandoned.

About Jessica

I share my life with my heart dog, a rescue Border Collie named Kyla. Kyla came into my life at eight months old, and now at 12 years old, she and I have done alot of learning together. We have competed in dog agility, herd sheep a bit, completed Kyla’s CGC, presented at NHS’s Camp Kindness for kids for three years, and more. One of our favorite activities to do together is spending hours hiking, with no real agenda.  I also have a border collie named Murdock who is 3 years old and is deaf.  His favorite activities include snuggles and playing ball.

A bit about my background with dogs…
I have always loved animals and Kyla is my first dog. In 2001 when I began volunteering with Nebraska Border Collie Rescue, Inc. I worked with hundreds of rescue dogs.  Each dog was different and had varied training and rehabilitation needs. I am a past president of Nebraska Border Collie Rescue and have been a volunteer for many years. My experience with dogs in rescue as well as having worked at a doggy daycare facility has given me many skills including a thorough understanding of dog body language.

My experiences in training dogs….
My initial introduction to training dogs was very much traditional methods, with some positive reinforcement thrown in. Over the years I realized that I would much rather reward (and teach) a dog what I DO want her to do, than correct for what I DO NOT want her to do. Soon positive reinforcement and operant conditioning training became my mainstay – and what a difference it had in my relationship with a dog! Positive reinforcement training and operant conditioning are the foundation of the relationship Kyla and I share.

About Whitney

I share my life with my my three dogs, two cats, and one fish. Two of my pups are shepherd mixes and my youngest pup is a deaf and vision impaired Australian Shepherd. I’ve volunteered and fostered for various rescue organizations in the Lincoln & Omaha area and am passionate about animal welfare. Some of my favorite things to do with my pups include going on long walks and teaching silly new tricks. When we aren’t training, tracking, or running around, Nyx (who is my heart dog) loves belly rubs and naps in the sun.

A bit about my background with dogs…
I volunteered for various rescue groups in and around Lincoln, Nebraska, and have had the opportunity to foster dogs with each them. Over the last 4 years, I have fostered over 40 dogs including dogs who have been deaf, blind, or both and varying in age from 5 weeks old through senior.  Fostering dogs has given me extensive experience in reading dog body language as well as how to build trust with foster dogs through positive reinforcement.  Out of my experience volunteering with rescue groups I have found my passion for saving lives through training. I have also taught classes at Greater Lincoln Obedience Club as a volunteer instructor and served the club as Training Director.

My experiences in training dogs…
When my husband and I adopted our first dog together I researched various methods of training and used traditional methods. I started off using tools including a choke chain and prong collar but soon realized that the tools weren’t giving me the results I wanted.  I also started to ask myself what I wanted the relationship with my dog to look like.  I was encouraged by Jessica to research operant conditioning and behavioral science methods and in no time, I was hooked! I read and studied and came to the conclusion that the I could reach my own training and relationship goals with my dog through positive reinforcement. By transitioning my focus from what tools I was using to correct my dog to how I wanted to reward my dog I was able to forge an incredible bond with Nyx.

We base our training methods on a single question

“What kind of relationship do I want with my dog?”