Hi, I’m Sarina and here’s my story.
(the short version)
I help pet parents develop their animal companions into pets who are so well-behaved and brave, they can go just about anywhere.
I’ve made it my mission to teach pet parents how to prevent anxiety, build resilience, and develop the skills they need to live their best life!
I call myself a “coach” because I help people learn how to help their pets.
A holistic trainer and certified Family Dog Mediator, I consider all four of the dog’s L.E.G.S.:
My practice is centered on the animal and its family as a system; by addressing the entire system, we can ensure that everyone’s needs are met!
Owning a pet should be fun.
Being a pet should be fun.
I make sure everybody wins.
(the long, historical version)
I grew up with sweet but untrained dogs who spent their whole lives confined to a back yard. Because we couldn’t take them anywhere, vacations with the family dog were out of the question… and trips to the vet or groomer were traumatizing!
I eventually learned a better way, but it breaks my heart to think of all the doggos who live like this every day. 🙁
I began training animals for fun when I was a teenager in 4-H. Showing sheep, goats, and horses taught me how to connect and communicate with animals.
When I bought my first purebred puppy, a Rough Collie, I began working with a wonderful local trainer named Shannon Hall, in Silverdale, WA. Shannon was the first to help me really understand how dogs see, think, and learn – and she set me on the road to learn as much as I could about genetics and behavior.
I wanted my collie, Honey, to be like “Lassie” on the famous TV show!
Learning how to train her from basic manners to advanced obedience and agility built a great lifelong relationship with Honey – and set me on the road to helping others do the same.
A fan of rescue mutts and herding breeds for most of my adult life, I got my first toy dog in 2003, a Papillon, and immediately became hooked on those funny-but-challenging little creatures!
Fast forward a few decades to just after my old girl died, and I started looking for my second Papillon puppy. It took over a year, but I finally found a breeder who had two 6 month old girls available for sale, in my price range, within driving distance. Eureka!
But I was a bit worried…
We had missed the ideal socialization window of 7-16 weeks.
I did not know how much training and socialization had been done with this particular puppy. As far as I knew, she had never left her original home and family pack of 10 or so other dogs.
But I really wanted another Papillon – so I decided to take a chance.
Immediately upon bringing Lily home, we embarked on an exciting journey of de-sensitization and environmental exposure that I came to think of as:
a systematic plan to build a pup’s skills as quickly as possible and prepare her for the world beyond basic manners.
We worked on basic obedience, “office manners” (she came to work with me every day), and real world stimulus counter conditioning. Then we learned Agility and earned Trick Dog, Canine Good Citizen, and Farm Dog titles.
All training helps build a good relationship with your dog, but laying a foundation for Lily’s future was my sole focus for her first year with our family.
Every dog needs:
- carefully curated socialization with humans and dogs
- non-threatening environmental exposure experiences to stimuli of increasing variety, duration, and intensity
- gentle habituation to every possible handling scenario (face, feet, grooming, vet care, etc.)
I did not want a shivering purse dog. 🙂
Once Lily had the basics down, I began building the skills and resilience Lily would need to join us for greater travel and exploration, up to and including active sports.
Now, my 5 lb. Papillon is right there with us for ALL of our adventures!
Whether that’s a full day moto ride through the jungle, or a sea kayak trip to a deserted island…
…joining us for dinner at an outdoor restaurant, or riding the light rail to the Farmer’s Market…
…a day of shooting practice in the mountains or gun range, or watching New Year’s Eve fireworks on the beach…
…our robust little dog gets to enjoy an amazing life of inclusion with her family!
And I know I am anthropomorphizing a bit here, but indulge me just this once – she couldn’t be happier.
In 2022 I obtained my first Adventure Cat prospect… and the race was on to see what we could accomplish together! Raising Starbuck, the traveling, motorcycling cat who loves dogs and walks on leash, has been an adventure in and of itself.
A certified Entrendora Canino Profesional with the Federación Canina de Costa Rica and LEGS Applied Ethology Family Dog Mediator, I call myself a “coach” because I take a holistic approach to helping people and their pets.
Instead of centering my practice entirely on human goals for canine companionship, I analyze the dog’s life and family as a system.
By addressing the entire system, we can ensure that everyone’s needs are met!
Owning a dog should be fun. Being a dog should be fun. And guess what? Dogs love having a job!
So if you want to:
- help your doggo learn to ride in your sidecar, motorcycle, or scooter
- take your furry friend along when you kayak or stand up paddle board
- or just get your tiny toy dog to walk with confidence through the park and not bark at the neighbors
… I might be the coach for you.
Because nothing is more fun than sharing life with a “Social Dog!”
Woofs and wiggles,