K9 Insights
 
Positive Training, Rewarding Results


Michelle M. Grimes  CPDT-KA, CAP-1, CGCE
Professional Certified Pet dog Trainer & 
 Behavior Modification Consultant

Meet Michelle

 


Having worked in the corporate world for many years, in 2003 I found myself wanting some type of change in my life, not quite knowing what.  


Someone asked me a simple question, they asked me what I would do if I could have any job in the world.  Without hesitation I answered,  "I would be an Animal Cruelty Investigator!"

They responded "What are you waiting for?"

With that, I made the decision to pursue
my life  long passion of working with animals.  Starting with working as a Receptionist and Veterinary Assistant, life as I knew it changed course.  I submerged myself in Animal Health and Welfare continued education classes focusing primarily on Animal Cruelty Investigation and Canine Behavior. 

Along my journey, I was lucky enough to meet Denise Mazzola CPDT-KA, who soon became and to this day is still my mentor.  With her encouragement I attended Karen Pryor's Clicker Expo in Newport, RI and upon return, signed up for the first ever Monadnock Canine Training Academy in April 2006. This 6 day intense course focused on canine learning theory, dog behavior and development, obedience and positive reinforcement clicker training, class teaching and treating common behavior problems. 

After graduating from the Academy, I signed on as an Assistant Trainer and took a part time position with the Monadnock Humane Society as a Canine Technician and Field Services Assistant, assisting the Animal Cruelty Investigator.  As a Canine Technician, I was given amazing opportunities to work with a diverse selection of shelter dogs, many of them with unruly manners and behavior problems.  From simple obedience training such as "sit", "down", "stay" and "off" to more time consuming behavior modification training for resource guarding or food aggression.  These experiences have been invaluable to me and have contributed to my knowledge.

In 2007, life changes led me to The Upper Valley.  The more I worked in the Veterinary world and the more time I spent with clients and patients (animals) the more aware I became for the need for training and behavior counseling.  This left me with a desire to do more than assist Doctors and co-workers in a medically related way.  I wanted to incorporate my extensive customer service background with my medical, training and behavior knowledge and offer alternative opportunities to those experiencing frustrations relating to manners and behavior and feeling as though they had to make life wrenching decisions. 

My approach to training is sure to be a positive and rewarding experience for both you and your four legged family member.  I will teach you a successful way to learn what is needed for you to have a positive, trusting and respectful relationship with your canine family member and ensure you have a chance to apply what you are learning throughout the process.
 
Working full time as a Veterinary Technician at SAVES 24 hour Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Lebanon NH, allows me to "live" in the best of both worlds.  I relish the ability to do what I love and to truly love what I do.  Waking up every morning knowing I will no doubt be making a difference in someone's life is an absolute blessing.  

I've meet and continue to meet some amazing pets and families and am able to leave work every day with a feeling of contentment.   

     "Master Dog Trainer"       "Dog Whisperer" 

     "Dog Psychologist"
      "Canine Behaviorist"
 
         Do these titles really mean anything?



Titles like these are often loosely thrown around and added after trainer's names.  Sure, they sound impressive but do they actually have any value? 

It is unfortunate in this profession, anyone can refer to themselves as a "professional dog trainer" or "animal behaviorist".  There are no federal or state regulation requirements and for those of us who have spent countless hours educating ourselves and practicing hands on, it's quite frustrating.  When I first started my journey in this profession my first goal was to make sure I did everything possible to obtain the education and certification that has become highly respected in this field.   

Certified through the
Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, the first nationally recognized certification council in the dog training field, I believe it is critically important to monitor certification and that skills and knowledge of trainers are assessed before the trainer is considered a professional.

I continue to communicate and work with a number of other dog trainers, learning and sharing ideas.   I attends seminars in person and on line and conferences and am constantly reading to ensure I am current with the most recent ideas and breakthroughs in the dog training community.   Being a responsible, knowledgeable dog trainer is truly a lifelong process.  It's  challenging, fascinating, rewarding and fun.  

        In this career, a love of dogs is only the beginning.

I am VERY lucky to be owned by 3 beautiful souls...  all "Bully Breeds".

 


American Staffordshire Terrier/Dalmation mix, "Sidney Sanchez".  

(Sid was DNA tested.  Not sure where the Dalmation comes into play)

Adopted when he was 2, he had been relinquished to a shelter as his owners couldn't take him when they moved.  Although it may sound awful, we are so thankful he couldn't go with them and instead was able to come home with us. 

A true advocate for "Bully Breeds", I believe they are quite misunderstood.   I am so proud to say Sid has changed more than a few minds when it comes to "Pitbulls".

(which, by the way isn't even a real breed

Much of my continued education has to do with broadening my understanding of Bully Breeds and being a responsible Bully Breed owner.  Sid is a true ambassador for the breed and I take pride in knowing I am doing my part by helping to change opinions and spreading a positive word when it comes to these gentle giants. 

         





"Ziva Dingo" 
DNA Test:  Staffordshire Bull Terrier, French Bulldog, Whippet Mix 

I pulled "Ziva" from NYC Animal Care and Control in early 2011.  Relinquished to the high-kill shelter, "Ziva" was a 5 month old puppy that was given up because the family was moving and was not allowed to have dogs where they were moving to.   Having not even been allowed to truly start her life, it was already in danger of ending.  

A true spit-fire, Ziva has won my heart over and makes me laugh at her zest for life.  She has 2 speeds....  off and 100mph.  Everything she does, she does with gusto.  So full of life, I smile so big as she constantly makes me laugh.  Such a joy to be able to share my life with this girl.  


 
 
"Peter Meatball"  True Breed Unknown
My Best Guess is American Bulldog / Bully Breed mix.  

Peter was also pulled from NYC Animal Care and Control on the very same transport "Ziva" came on.  He too was about 5 months old.  
 (Past history unknown)

Once brought to The Upper Valley by a rescue I was working with, Peter was adopted out to 2 different families.  Both families returned him because he 
was "too much work".

Who knew? A puppy... work? Imagine that.
(Sarcasm? Yes.)  

Peter joined our family about a month after Ziva did.  They quickly became fast friends.  Peter is very much an "old soul".  Sure, he loves to play and act like a pup, however more often than not, he can be found curled up, lounging in our recliner. 

Peter's speed is about 30 mph most of the time, unless his sister has something to do with it.  When Ziva entices, he ramps up to about 70mph for about 45 seconds and then shifts right back into slow- mo.  


  Get educated.
Judge the deed, not the breed.






In Loving Memory

Zeus Alexander

10/12/2000 - 2/14/2010

Rest in peace my loving friend,
until the day we meet again. 




Lilly Beaner
8/2009- 7/25/2010
Our Beaner, an amazing little soul,
taken much too soon.  


       

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