In 2010, we adopted a puppy. We named him Mulligan, and our lives have never been the same!
As sweet and goofy as he was—and still is—his behavior was frequently challenging and stressful. Mulligan presented with fearful behaviors and reactivity to other dogs and people. I struggled to understand his behavior and help him feel better. I witnessed first-hand how training methods that utilized force and pain exacerbated his behavior problems. I made a promise to Mulligan that he would never be hurt or scared in the name of training again and that I would find a better way. After committing myself to solving my own dog’s behavior problems ethically with science-based, aversive-free methods, I discovered that canine behavior was much more than a side interest for me. So, I made a career shift from philosophy professor to dog trainer. I put my career where my heart is, and I’ve never been happier.
As a former philosophy professor, I specialized in applied ethics and held academic appointments at Vanderbilt University, Linfield College, and the University of Southern California. My years of university teaching experience serve me well, as I genuinely love teaching people. I maintain a strong commitment to education. I have earned my Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) credentials from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. I earned my Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) and graduated with Honors through the Academy for Dog Trainers, the most comprehensive dog training educational program in the world.
I live with my husband, and our five adopted rescue dogs: Mulligan, Paloma, Gus, Miles, and Thelma. Each of our dogs has experienced behavior challenges and each has prompted me to grow and learn as both a trainer and a person.
When I’m not training dogs, I am working on my ongoing photography project called Miles on Hydrants.
Me and our Chihuahua, Gus. Photo credit: Cassandra Sadler
In addition to maintaining a commitment to aversive-free, science-based training methods, I abide by the following ethical and professional standards:
Transparency: I clearly articulate what happens to your dog when your dog gets something right or wrong. I frequently use video to record training and coaching sessions to provide clients with objective feedback.
Continuing Education: I regularly attend seminars and acquire relevant certifications in my field to serve my clients better.
Empathy: I’m here to help! I approach each situation with a cool head and a warm heart.
Intellectual Integrity: If a behavior challenge is beyond my area of expertise, I refer to others who have competence to obtain support and relief for the client as quickly as possible.
Confidentiality and Professionalism: I take client privacy seriously and treat other canine professionals with respect.
I maintain professional affiliations with organizations that promote science-based training methods.