Welcome to Understanding Our Dogs LLC!
I was born in the Russian Federation. If any of you have Russian friends, you will know that we are true dog lovers. First dog that stole my heart was a Eastern-European German Shepherd, Lotta. She did not belong to me but to my aunt, who lived within a 10 minute walking distance from us. I was not allowed to have dogs due to my asthma and allergies (yes, I still have both). Instead, Lotta and I would go for long walks. She was so sweet and intelligent! She always seemed to know when to be silly, and when just to sit next to me in a mutual silence. Lotta is my lifelong inspiration!
I came to the United States in my early twenties, worked my way through school, received Master of Business Administration degree and proceeded to have a comfortable career in Marketing while dreaming about working with dogs. I then quit my corporate job and opened Understanding Our Dogs LLC. My husband and I currently have a black Great Dane, a sable German Shepherd and two Labrador Retrievers: one black from hunting lines and the other yellow which is being trained to become a Diabetic Alert Dog. I work with them in AKC Obedience, Rally, Agility, IPO (Schutzhund), and Nosework. First and foremost, our dogs are our family!
I have been training dogs since 1998 and used many mainstream methods. Once I began to study the science of applied animal behavior and learning theory, I chose to advance my education by enrolling in the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPA).
The Academy is built on decades of scientific research and practical development by behavior analysts, ethologists and event-marker trainers around the world. I was very fortunate to study at the Academy under Julie Shaw, R.V.T. At that time, Julie worked as the Animal Behavior Technologist at the Animal Behavior Clinic of Purdue University.
I also volunteer as an instructor at the Charlotte Dog Training Club. My trainer's "toolbox" contains the knowledge gained through elite education, and personal experience collected over 15+ years of working with dogs of many breeds and personalities.