I grew up in the heart of PEI in the small town of Kensington and now make my home in the beautiful countryside of Stanchel, PEI.
I had a Lab/Daschund mix dog from birth to age 15. Her name was Sambo. When she was gone I got a job at the Kensington Vet Clinic feeding and walking the dogs in the kennels. At age 16 I got a Cooperative placement with the vet clinic through my high school and worked side by side with the staff weighing animals, assisting in surgeries, caring for animals pre and post-op, working reception greeting clients, selling pharmaceuticals, booking appointments, and assisting the vets during appointments.
From 1999 to 2004 I lived in Whistler BC, working in luxury resorts and teaching skiing. My job in hotels required a high level of customer service and the ability to anticipate the needs of others. On a cloudy day in a park, I saw a vet tech walking a fat black dog. I asked what was wrong with the dog and they said nothing, she is looking for a home. I said I’ll take her! She was a 7-year-old lab mix and her name was Brandy. I slimmed her down with trail running and mountain biking, trained her and she lived to be 11 years old.
In 2008 I lived in the hills of Brookvale PEI and got my 3rd black dog Sailor. Sailor proved to be a challenge as he often would run away and seemed to show no interest in me or my husband. I was heartbroken as I wanted a biking and running partner. That’s when I heard about Duke Ferguson and Unleashed Potential. Duke came to my house to do a consult and I was extremely impressed that he had my dog heeling off-leash in 5 minutes. Sign me up! After only 3 weeks of lessons, I had Sailor biking and running with me off-leash and doing backflips in the group class. Duke saw that I had skill training my dog and offered me a job which I regretfully declined due to input from my family who said I could not make a living training dogs.
In 2009 I became very ill and was diagnosed with a mood disorder which led to severe depression and anxiety. It was a long road back to wellness but with the support of my friends and family, my medical team, and my own strength and determination I made it back and continue to manage myself and thrive. I have always had active jobs and somehow I ended up working a non-challenging office job. I was not allowed to have pets where I lived so in 2014 I started a business called Trail Dogs K9 Adventures. For a fee, I would pick up people’s dogs and take them trail running or mountain biking. It was a way for me to continue to beat depression and to spend time with dogs. I used to sit at my desk job and wonder how I could go full-time working with dogs?
Inspiration hit in early 2015 and against all advice from friends and family, I quit my job and asked Duke if I could come and see him. I wanted to know if becoming a dog trainer was still a possibility as it was all I could think about. I happened to contact him at the right time as he was looking to mentor a new trainer. After countless hours of study and over a year of apprenticing under Duke I earned my diploma from his government-recognized trainer school. I have now become the manager and head trainer for our 2 PEI facilities and have trained and rehabbed 1000’s of dogs and puppies of all sizes, breeds, and temperaments. I assist in training trainers who attend our trainer school and have mentored my own students from time to time. My extensive background in coaching and teaching sports, music, and the arts has been helpful in diagnosing problems, offering solutions, and motivating.
I advocate for the dog owner because I have been right where you all are. Sitting across from a trainer in a consult at your wit's end about your dog. I believe passionately in the balanced system we teach and my clients report better communication with their dog, increased trust, and a new off-leash lifestyle never possible before.
I now own 2 dogs. Kyro, a male Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd that I’ve raised from a puppy, and Hurtta, a female sable German Shepherd who was rescued from a bad situation of neglect out west. She was one of the most human and dog aggressive dogs I’ve worked with. Her psychological damage prevented her from seeking affection from me for a full 5 months when I first got her. I could train her but she was too scared to be touched or shown affection. She’s now the sweetest girl and people love her and she enjoys playing with all my board and trains.
Need help with your dogs training? Book a Free Consult with me to get started: www.dukeferguson.com/consultationbooking