My name is Isabelle, and I was born and raised in Edmundston, New Brunswick, and have now found my forever home in Fredericton, New Brunswick!
My entire life I have always been around dogs. From birth to age 17, my family always had Dachshunds and it was my task to “train” them. Although I had no idea what I was doing as a small child, I still had lots of fun teaching them new tricks to impress my family. I always knew I had something special with dogs, but I didn’t know exactly what it was. From what I can remember, my life has always revolved around dogs, and my dream career as a kid was anything to do with dogs.
In 2014 I moved away from home to live in Fredericton, where I attended UNB and got my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. Being a busy student and living in student housing, I could not get my own dog, and my life always felt a little bit empty during that time. So, to fill the void, I began working as a dog walker to make a little extra money while in university, and I LOVED every second of it! Eventually, dog walking turned into dog sitting while owners were on vacation, and I had so many clients that I had to create a waitlist. I thought this was crazy, as there were plenty of other dog walkers in the city.. but I just knew that it was because I had something special with dogs (and people, too).
After graduating from university and entering the workforce in my field, I took a break from dog walking as I was learning to “adult” and trying to find my way in life. In 2020 I found that my mental health was at an all-time low, and I was struggling. I got caught up in the daily routine of going to work and coming home, struggled with completing basic tasks, and overall had no idea what my purpose was in life. I felt an emptiness inside of me and knew I needed to be around dogs again, but this time I knew I needed my own dog. I knew I needed a reason to wake up every morning, and I knew I needed a purpose again.
In mid-2020, I adopted an 8-week-old German Shepherd and named her Kaiya; she was everything I did not know I needed. The beginning stages were difficult, as Kaiya was a velociraptor puppy, and I was trying hard to train her the “right” way, even though I had no idea what the “right” way was given the amount of conflicting information I came across.
Although training Kaiya was no easy feat, I was extremely determined to have a well-trained dog. As Kaiya began to grow and hit the adolescent stage, she started developing serious behavioral issues after having a traumatizing visit to the vet, and a few random attacks from off-leash dogs. Kaiya was no longer able to cope with the outside environment and was severely reactive and fearful, and even taking her for a short walk around my block seemed impossible. I knew that I had to do everything within my power to help her. I began seeing trainer after trainer in my area with no luck. Some trainers would not even work with us due to the nature of her behavior issues, and some would simply give up and tell me that there was nothing they could do for me and my dog. I was devasted and felt myself falling into that same hole that I was in before.
I knew this wasn’t the solution I wanted for myself or my dog, and I knew that there was something or someone out there that could help me. After exhausting the resources of trainers in my area, I realized that if I was going to help my dog, I needed to learn to be a dog trainer myself. I knew there was a huge gap in the dog training industry, and I made it my mission to close that gap, help my dog, and help other owners in the same boat as me and set out to be one of the best at it.
That’s when I contacted Duke Ferguson from UPK9. I knew that if I wanted to be one of the best, I needed to learn from the best. Duke and his team took me under their wing, showed me the ropes, and made me feel like family. Most importantly, I was able to finally get my girl the help that she deserved. And now thanks to Duke and his team, my girl is thriving.
Since then, I have gone on to complete UPK9’s School for Dog Trainers and obtained my certification which has been one of my proudest achievements to date. I have found a whole other level of inspiration and motivation to work with people and their dogs. I have been so fortunate to be able to give owners the same kind of help that I was desperately looking for and help them live safe, happy, and fulfilled lives with their dogs. My passion for dogs has grown stronger and remains to grow every single day, and my passion for working with people is higher than it has ever been. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that I was able to help owners who were struggling with their dogs and now get to go out and enjoy all the things that they were not able to do before.
My background in health sciences, rehabilitation, and competitive sports has truly helped me become the dog trainer that I am today. I can effectively diagnose problems and create a training plan, all while meeting the owners where they are at and making them feel like they are in control of the process and loving it!
I always knew I had something special with dogs and always wanted them in my life, but I never thought that my passion for dogs would lead me to become the dog trainer I am today. I truly believe in the training system that we use at UPK9 and believe that it is the best system to achieve clear and effective communication with your dog and to allow you to live the life you truly want with your dog. I can say that because I have tried and experimented with all different methods.. but nothing beats what we teach here at UPK9!!
I am genuinely excited to work with each and every one of you. See you at the Dog House!
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