I have been training dogs for 30 years, starting when positive reinforcement was not common as it is today. My mentors of that time used correction collars. I volunteered with Project Safe Run, a personal protection-dog organization that assisted women joggers, while completing degrees in journalism and political science at the University of Oregon. I left Eugene, Oregon with my first dog: a German Shepherd named Inda. After graduation I moved to Vancouver and got involved with the quarry program at the Vancouver Police Dog Squad unit, where I worked from 1991 until 2003 as a “hired bad-guy” to assist in the training of young police service dogs. It was through my work with police k9 agencies where I met the first person who, I now realize, quietly influenced me towards a path in positive reinforcement training. I would later named my border collie after his first police dog. Today I would call myself a "cross-over trainer" as I use positive reinforcement for my training, having come from a traditional background.
I consider my dogs my greatest resume and have enjoyed competitive sport with most of them. I am so privileged to share my life with incredible dogs. My first competition dog, Saint von Grunheide CDX TD, introduced me to competitive obedience and tracking. He was truly a great dog in character and type. He made me proud. My current retired sport dog, MOTCh ATCh Mila von Grunheide TD RA was the first dog where I came to understand the magic in more positive methods and she led me to so many great trainers who have influenced me. I had the perfect picture in her: a happy dog with beautiful work. I loved it when people would tell me they enjoyed watching us compete. She obtained 22 working titles, two performance championships, national placements in two sports, multiple high in trials in competitive obedience and titles spanning four sports.There is no dog with a greater heart than my girl. She makes me sing. My current competition dog, Wannahave Tell, is my first border collie. He is from the highly regarded Wannahave Kennel in the Netherlands. I am blessed to be his person. He is just beginning his sport career in agility, and I love with all my heart running this little dog. He makes me think.
I started Zen Dog Canine Training in 2002 and work tirelessly with both my competition dogs and my clients' dogs. I attend an exhaustive number of seminars, classes and on-line courses each and every year, learning from some of the world’s best. I am driven by my passion to know and understand more so that I can do better by my dogs and for my clients’ dogs. It is a great privilege to be asked by people to assist with their dogs and their journeys together. I am recommended by veterinarians, breeders, and rescue organizations because of the work I do.