We approach our training with positive reinforcement to strengthen relationships between animals and their people.
The Life of Riley is founded on four guiding principles:
As a life-long learner, Wendy continually studies the latest dog training information based on scientific research, which identifies how dogs learn and provides evidence of the training methods which are most effective at helping dogs become willing and happy partners with their human companions.
Educational credentials Wendy has achieved to date include:
- Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT): The Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT) course was developed by FitPAWS® and the University of Tennessee. The role as a Canine Fitness Trainer and a valued member of the Canine Health team is to support proactive foundations to the health and well-being of dogs in any life stage – from puppy to senior. This area of expertise allows Wendy to help develop proactive fitness and conditioning programs to reduce the chance of your dog becoming injured, and encourage lifelong canine health through exercise.
- Certified Family Dog Mediator (FDM): Until the FDM program, dog training has been mostly about “fixing” dog behavior problems through training methods, without digging deeper into the reasons why the behaviors are happening in the first place. Today we have more dogs with behavior “problems” than ever, which begs the question why, when our understanding of how dogs learn, through an increase in scientific research on the subject has exploded in the past 20 years, giving us more insight than ever before about our canine companions. The FDM program bridges the gap between why a dog’s behavior is happening and how to resolve it in ways that often go beyond just training the dog to “do something else” instead. As a Certified FDM, Wendy has invaluable insight that can help you better understand your dog, which is an important step in resolving barriers in your relationship and the happy life you dream of with your dog.
- Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA): this certification is through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the leading independent certifying organization for the dog training profession. Dog training is a science, and working with a professional dog trainer can make the difference between having a harmonious life with your dog or your dog developing behavior issues that result in a need to rehome or, worse, euthanize it. With this certification, Wendy has demonstrated her knowledge of the latest and most effective dog training principles and methodologies to best help you with your dog so that you can achieve the success you deserve from your dog training professional.
- Certified Behavior Consultant for Canines – Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA): another certification through the CCPDT, this designation certifies Wendy’s knowledge, skills and expertise on how to help dogs with behavior issues using the most humane and modern training methods.
- Certified Fear Free Professional (Trainer): The Fear Free Animal Trainer Certification Program provides education on the skills to manage and handle dogs and cats alongside the veterinary team during veterinary visits and care to ease the pet’s apprehension regarding exams, procedures, and other care. Designed to reduce fear, anxiety and stress in the veterinary environment, this certification focuses on body handling for veterinarian and grooming procedures, which all pets require throughout their lifetime.
- Victoria Stilwell Academy – Certified Dog Trainer (VSA-CDT): Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer best known as the star of the international hit TV series It’s Me or the Dog. Wendy became certified as a professional dog trainer through the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior in 2017. Wendy shares Victoria’s passion for positive reinforcement dog training methods, and is proud to be part of the VSA alum. Victoria is a vocal opponent of punitive, dominance-based training techniques which often result in ‘quick fixes’ but ultimately cause more long-term harm than good while damaging the owner-dog relationship.
One of the biggest disconnects between dogs and humans is the language barrier. Dogs are constantly communicating, but unfortunately most people do not understand what dogs are saying because they have never learned how to interpret a dog’s method of communicating, which is through their body language. Wendy strongly promotes and teaches her clients how to understand and interpret dog body language, using invaluable tools such as Lili Chin’s graphics as depicted in her book “Doggie Language”. This is one area where we can all improve the quality of our dogs lives through an increased awareness and understanding of how they communicate. Here’s a link to the book “Doggie Language”.
3. MUTUAL RESPECT
Understanding and empathizing with another living being that has feelings and emotions just like we have can only lead to an improved relationship between them. This same principle applies to our relationships with our canines, which although are a very different species, have very similar internal reactions to fear, anxiety and stress, all of which are based on emotions that are quite similar to our own. Without the ability to understand our dogs from a place of mutual respect, we are likely to compromise our dog’s quality of life and inhibit their ability to cope in our human world in healthy and manageable ways.
Wendy asks clients to view their dog’s behavior from the perspective of the dog’s experiences, learning, history, genetics, and environment in order to obtain a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the behavior, which helps lead to workable solutions for behavior issues that are fair and achievable for everyone involved.
Dogs have cognitive abilities similar to those of a toddler, and play is an invaluable tool in building a strong bond and relationship with our dogs, as well as for a dog’s quality of life and happiness. Wendy emphasizes the use of play in her dog training methods to achieve the most successful results possible between her clients and their dogs.
Dog Training, Walking and Sitting
Cat Sitting and Behavior Modification
Customized Training Plans for You
Our training services are customized to the specific goals you have for your dog. Whether you want to get your puppy off to the best start possible, or have a behavior issue you would like to modify, or you would like to keep your dog in the best condition possible so it can live a long, active life with minimal aches, pains and injuries, we can help you with your training goals. We’ll create a training plan to accomplish your goals, and guide you through the training process with sessions tailored to you and your dog. Once you feel your goals have been met, we’ll be here to provide follow-up support and training, as needed. We never stop learning!
Here’s How We’re Positively Different
We only allow the use of positive tools and techniques.
Thoroughly Vetted Care Providers
Each pet-sitter and dog walker is personally vetted by The Life of Riley Principle Trainer, educated about dog & cat body language, and shown expertise while handling dogs and cats in everyday situations.
Training Is Caring
While your dog or cat is in our care, we’ll employ our Riley-approved training methods to improve their behaviors. If your dog pulls on walks, we’ll teach him to walk politely on the leash, and we’ll show you how to use handling techniques to help you achieve the same results while you’re out walking together.
Fear Free Practices
The Life of Riley pet sitters and dog walkers are taught fear free handling methods to ensure the safety and best interests of your pets. Our care professionals are trained to recognize and reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.