About the Trainer

My Philosophy

I believe in positive, common sense training and management techniques that are dog and human friendly. These methods can be used for everything from basic training to competition work and fear or aggression issues. I currently focus on K9 Nose Work® and use these techniques to help build strong, happy search teams who participate in the activity and sport.

My goal is to help you and your dog enjoy searching as a team. When you can appreciate your dog’s skill in this area it will build a relationship with him. The partnership and bond created by being your dog’s detection partner is like none other. Both the handler and dog will grow and thrive as they work together to solve scent problems. This carries over to the rest of the world because K9 Nose Work® is an excellent physical and mental outlet for the dog and can dramatically increase his confidence. That helps your dog be a better member of your family and society.

Photo by Dee Dee Murry

My history

I have been training dogs since 1995. I started like many people by taking basic classes with my own dogs. My first dog, Mocha (a small Bernese Mountain Dog), loved training and we really enjoyed our classes and training time together. I also  became enamored with the breed and joined the local Bernese club and became active in helping with rescue and education. Volunteering in this area started me down the road of learning about dog behavior.

In 1997, I attended a seminar by Karen Pryor about clicker training (www.ClickerTraining.com). I was hooked and knew I had to find a trainer that could help me learn more about this technique. Fortunately, Kathy Sdao, MA, CAABA of Bright Spot Dog Training (www.KathySdao.com) was also in attendance at the workshop. I attended my first clicker class with Kathy and my new Berner puppy, Gambit, in the fall of that year.

Unfortunately, as he neared maturity Gambit developed some dog and people aggression issues. These problems forced me to go beyond basic training in order to help him. Gambit made great progress and both dogs taught me so much that it literally changed my life.

I continued working with my own dogs, Berner rescue and began volunteering at the Lewis County Animal Shelter. I spent time assisting Kathy with her classes and continued taking classes in the Olympia area as clicker training became more widely used. I met Rachelle Bailey-Austin (www.AboutFaceK9Academy.com) in 1999 when I took my new rescue dog, Lucky, to her class.

I had been assisting other trainers and continuing my education about dogs as best as possible while holding down a full-time retail job. In 2002 that all changed when I left the retail world to pursue dog training full-time. I was very fortunate and attended some wonderful educational events that gave me a great start on my new profession. Let’s Talk Dogs, LLC officially formed in 2004.

I was very fortunate to travel throughout the US with Kathy and assist in her workshops. Though I don’t get to travel with her anymore, I continue my friendship, mentoring and close working relationship with Kathy.

I now share a training building in Lacey with Rachelle and another wonderful trainer, Ann Howie (www.humananimalsolutions.com).

I am a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (http://www.apdt.com). In 2006, I became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed through The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (http://www.ccpdt.org).

I regularly attend conferences and seminars to continue to improve my education and skills. In 2007, I graduated from sessions one and two of Bob Bailey’s Chicken Camp. I completed session 3 in 2008 (see video). In 2007, I was honored to win the Dogwise John Fisher Essay award through The Association of Pet Dog Trainers for an essay I submitted. To read the essay, go to: insert link to article here.

I also host educational seminars and Nose Work trials throughout that year.

My Path to K9 Nose Work®

In 2010, I attended a seminar on K9 Nose Work® with Ron Gaunt (one of the founders of K9 Nose Work®). I was immediately hooked. I started working with my own dogs and began teaching classes within a few months. I attended the instructors training course later that year and became a Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI) in June of 2011. Since then I have had the joy of competing with my own dogs and watching my students grow in the activity and have success in the sport. I have had the honor of teaching at Nose Work camps in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Colorado.

I am also hold several different jobs with the National Association of Canine Nose Work (NACSW.net) including; National Trial Coordinator, Trial Representative, Supervision Certifying Official, Member of Certifying Official Education Committee and Trial Judge.

The dog that I started in Nose Work in 2010, Zoey, is still with me though now retired from competition. We had the thrill of attending Nationals in Boston, MA in 2017. I have had the joy of working many different types and sizes of my dogs in Nose Work and am currently starting on our NW3 title with my Chihuahua mix, Brigette.

I currently share my life with my husband, Chuck, and our three dogs (Zoey, Brigette and Eevee) in Rochester, WA.

Photo by Dorothy Turley

Photo by Kristy Strunks

Photo by Terri Spaeth-Merrick