Operant conditioning requires an Antecedent to elicit a Behavior that prompts a Consequence for future learning. Good consequences (rewards) usually teach repetition, bad consequences usually teach avoidance. While this may sound complicated, it’s actually quite simple. As we teach the various behaviors, your dog will receive a reward (a good consequence) for each successful behavior. Over time your dog will learn it’s exciting to do this behavior because it receives a reward (a yummy treat or playtime with favorite toy). How fun is that? Your dog will soon learn to think “What can I do get my human to reward me?” This learning process is why operant conditioning is unique and highly successful for not only dog training, but any animal, even people. Communication is also key to operant conditioning. We will describe the tools to correctly mark a behavior, which tells your dog it has done something correctly and a reward is on the way. Think of it as a universal communication device that tells every type of animal the same thing- Yes, that’s it! By building a positive relationship through effective communication, you will be a successful trainer!
We train animals utilizing Operant Conditioning. This method was developed in the 1950’s and is based on consequences following a behavior. This method is used throughout the zoological community to train a variety of species- reptiles, fish, birds, and mammals. Operant conditioning uses good and bad consequences; however we will focus solely on the good consequences, also known as "positive reinforcement". This method may sometimes take longer for an animal to learn, but it allows them to learn at their own pace, and true learning actually occurs. This is what enables the animal to maintain the behavior memory much longer than other methods. We strive to make learning fun, because animals who have fun want actually want to participate in the training and learn. We also want to educate you, the owner. We will teach you the necessary operant conditioning techniques to be successful. We will not train your dog for you; you will be training your dog with our guidance.
Growing up, my mother was instrumental in developing my love and interest in animals. When I was a child we always had a houseful of various critters such as cats, dogs, ducks, parakeets, turtles, and guinea pigs just to name a few. I was always drawn to animals and spent a lot of time not only caring for them but getting to know them and trying to figure them out. As a registered nurse, the last twenty years of my life have been dedicated to taking care of people. Yet, I began to recognize and could no longer ignore the impact that animals have on our well-being.
I have been actively studying the training of dogs for the last five years and in 2013 graduated as a certified pet dog trainer from Animal Behavior College. After completing my mentorship with Mutts With Manners, I joined Heather and Trelle as their business partner. I am a full member of Association Pet Dog Trainers and I look forward to helping grow Mutts With Manners in the future. My pack consists of three dogs: Spanky, Darla, Bunny and a talking nanday conure named Rasta. My dog Darla and I are a registered Pet Partner's team, I am an AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Instructor and a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. Also, and I am a Pet Tech Instructor and offer classes in pet CPR, first aid and pet care at Coastal Canine CPR.
My family currently includes one husband, two dogs (a black lab and a mutt we affectionately call our American Pabweegle), and one kitty we found on the streets. I have been fascinated with animals since I was a little girl. This fascination blossomed into passion and desire when I was about 12 years old and my family moved onto a ranch in Oklahoma. We had Brahman cows, mules, donkeys, horses, lots of cats, and every little stray dog that needed a home. I took a random psychology class in high school and it completely changed my perspectives on training. Since then, I have been training animals using the positive reinforcement techniques I acquired in a form of learning called Operant Conditioning. From wild donkeys, horses, and stray dogs to sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and animals in-between I have over 15 years experience in the training community. I am a full member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and am working on my certification to be a certified professional dog trainer. Mutts with Manners also works closely with our local animal shelter, Galveston Island Humane Society, and volunteer training some of the dogs to increase their adoptability. i have countless hours of class time in behavioral sciences and bring this and my desire to teach people how to have a more positive relationship with their dogs based on mutual trust and respect to the table. All i need are owners who are willing to look in the mirror and modify some of their own behaviors, believe in their dog, and success is on the way!
I’ve had a love for animals as far as I can remember and decided I wanted to work with animals when I saw my first pod of dolphins swimming close to me in the Gulf of Mexico. I started volunteering at the Knoxville Zoo during the last two years of high school and was hooked on the zoo industry. I continued with the zoo on my breaks from college and graduated from Texas A&M Galveston with a degree in marine biology and started working at Moody Gardens with the marine animals I learned so much about. I have been actively training exotic animals since 2000, namely birds, reptiles, and mammals (pinnipeds, primates, carnivores, and rodents to name a few). I currently work in the rainforest and train otters and primates. I have also been training search dogs since 2004. I am the training coordinator for Greater Houston Search Dogs where we train dogs to look for missing people. I have given several presentations at training conferences around the country. I am a professional member and past president of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance as well as a full member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. My goal is to help owners see what I see with behavior and pass on my training knowledge so you have a great, positive relationship with your dog. I currently have three beagles and four ferrets.