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I have wanted to work with animals for as long as I can remember; unfortunately, I get nauseated by the site of blood; so it is safe to
say a career in veterinary medicine was probably not going to happen. Fortunately when I moved to the Orlando, FL area I began
working with Animal Behavior Systems, a company that trains guide & service dogs as well as obedience training for everyone. I
spent several years training with them and logged countless volunteer hours before heading off to train on stage at Sea World, San
Joel Slavin’s Professional Animals’ is the company responsible for the “Pets On Stage” shows at Sea World theme parks across the
country. (For those of you who haven’t seen this must-see show it is a domestic animal show featuring: cats, dogs, pigs, ducks,
pigeons, exotic birds, skunks, and even a donkey all performing on stage.) This was ‘paws down’ the most fun I’ve ever had at
work. The first time I stepped on stage was one of the proudest moments of my life, as it was the realization of a lifelong dream to be
a trainer at Sea World.
When I returned to Orlando I went off on my own and started All Star Animal Training in 2001. Small group classes operated out of a
local feed & pet store allowed me to grow as a trainer with my own unique style. Unlike most behaviorists who were trained in one
methodology, my background allowed me to see the polar ends of animal behavior modification. Paul Brouchard of ABS guide
dogs has a military background and this is reflected in his style of dog training, which could be compared to the Koehler method of
dog training. Also, since he works with guide and service animals – treat training for basic obedience is a no-no. I agree with this
belief, if a guide dog can work all day long for a pat on the head at the end of the day – I’m pretty sure your pet can sit nicely with out
a food reward. As you may have suspected, this was not how things went at Sea World. So I took what I liked best from both
worlds, plus my own studies and came up with my own unique approach to behavior modification.
While I was doing volunteer I met Anastasia (who was called "Sky" because of the color of her
eyes) while I was doing volunteer work at The Animal Shelter in Winter Garden, FL. I was there
training the “hard to adopt” dogs when she was brought in. She had been found wandering down
a very busy central Florida roadway. I was shocked after a few days when no one came to claim
such a beautiful animal. I decided to take Ana to one of my group classes so people could see
what great dogs can be found in a shelter. When we first arrived I thought I’d made a HUGE
mistake, Ana was pulling me all over the place and basically just going nuts. However towards
the end of the class we played an obedience game similar to musical chairs (all the dogs walk in
a circle and have to sit upon command, last dog to sit is out) and out of about 25 dogs we won!
That was it, Ana came home with me and the rest is history. She I met Anastasia (who was
called "Sky" because of the color of her eyes) is my every sunshine and I love her dearly. Below
are pictures from her first couple of photo shoots.
|In this shot Ana wants
to get in on the
recess fun by
standing pretty with a
|And the winning picture is:
|In this last shot Ana must follow Ariel in an off leash heel,
with a back pack on to the bus stop.