About Smarty Dog Training
We are lucky to be best friends since grade school who share a passion for dogs. 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 9,000 healthy and treatable dogs and cats are killed in shelters across America.(Best Friends ) We believe that we can impact the lives of dogs by equipping dog owners for success. A dog that comes when called is less likely to end up in a shelter. A dog that has good house manners is less likely to be abandoned.
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 nine 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.
A bit about my background with dogs…
I have always loved animals but was not able to have a dog as a young child due to family members’ allergies. In 2001 I began volunteering with Nebraska Border Collie Rescue, Inc. I have worked with hundreds of rescue dogs with different training and rehabilitation needs. I am the current president of Nebraska Border Collie Rescue. In 2007, I adopted Kyla from NBCR. I worked at dog daycare facilities for 7 years. Those seven years provided me with a great education in 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 several years time, 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 bedrock of the great relationship Kyla and I share.
I am loved by two dogs named Nyx and Kirin. Nyx joined our family in 2013, and Kirin two years later in 2015. Nyx is a Chow-Shepherd mix and my running partner. We got our CGC in January of 2015 and do tracking with hopes of training for agility soon. When we aren’t training, tracking or running around, Nyx loves belly rubs and naps in the sun. Kirin is the second dog to our family and is likely a shepherd mix of some kind. We are working on obedience, nosework, and tracking.
A bit about my background with dogs…
As a child I was afraid of dogs, they would jump on me and scratch me and some even chewed on me! It made me scared to meet new dogs. My husband wanted a dog but I was hesitant. Then when I picked up the puppy who would join our family as Nyx, our sweet Chow-Shepherd mix, I couldn’t say no!
I have 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 experience in reading dog body language as well as how to build trust with foster dogs. 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.
My experiences in training dogs…
When Nyx joined our family, I began training by reading about commonly used traditional methods. I even used a choke chain and prong collar. However, I realized that these tools weren’t giving me the results I wanted, and even more importantly, I didn’t have the relationship with my dog that I craved. Jessica became my mentor and pointed me towards operant conditioning. When I learned the science behind it, I was hooked. I read and studied and came to the conclusion that the relationship I wanted with my dog could not be achieved through traditional methods of punishment and compliance. I quickly transitioned from relying on tools like training collars and focused on building the bond between myself and my dog. Nyx and I were able to complete her CGC when she was a little over a year and half old and I have never been prouder. We worked through many issues including separation anxiety and fear of people and situations.
We base our training methods on a single question
“What kind of relationship do I want with my dog?”