Meet The Team
If you ask Trainer Chris to recall a time in his childhood where there was not a dog close by, he won’t be able to. Dogs were a fixture in his life from early on, and he knew that he wanted to train dogs as early as elementary school when he found himself learning about dogs and wolves alike. Fascinated by the behaviors – and what those behaviors can tell humans – of dogs and wolves, Trainer Chris started volunteering at animal shelters to get a more hands on look at how animals behave and react. His time in college even found him sponsoring a wolf and learning about their behaviors so that he could safely enter a wolf enclosure. This combination of education and real life experience has given Trainer Chris an invaluable outlook on canine socialization and behavior.
We also love that Chris makes an active decision to continue learning about dogs and training. He has attended a workshop specializing on Pitbull breeds and mixes, giving him information on the breed instincts and how to best train and play with them. During his time at the workshop, he was able to get a chance to see tugging as more than just playtime for a dog. Through tug-work training and demonstrations, Trainer Chris was able to see the direct correlation between play, instinct and the value of “the hunt” for all dogs; this has paid off in his training sessions with dogs of all types.
Further, Chris recently attended a training session specifically about difficult dogs and healthy socialization. During this time, Trainer Chris was able to see firsthand the benefits of healthy socialization with balanced dogs, and how that environment could help with rehabilitating dogs considered difficult. We love when he returns from his workshops so that he can share his information with us!
He’s also a certified dog trainer with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals, and a certified AKC Canine Good Citizenship evaluator.
Trainer Chris understands that there is more to dog training than just understanding dogs. You also have to understand the owners in order to give them the confidence that their dog is in good hands, and to be the bridge that can give owners the skills they need to be confident. To gain that human knowledge, Trainer Chris spent his time at Eastern Illinois University gaining a sociology degree. His mix of the knowledge of human behavior and dog behavior makes Trainer Chris kind, approachable, and really good at his job.
“Trainer Chris cares for the dogs and for the entire trainer team,” says another one of our DTN Trainers. “He is a hard worker and gains respect from the dogs and their owners. It is fun to watch him work.” We are certainly thankful for Trainer Chris and are excited to continue to learn from him here at the studio.
Have you had the chance to meet Trainer Chris yet? If not, you are missing out! Take some time to introduce yourself and tell Trainer Chris hello the next time you are in the studio. You’ll be glad that you did!
Like most of the staff at Dog Training Now, Amy grew up living with – and loving – dogs. She was also known to be the girl to take in stray animals of all kinds from her neighborhood. In fact, her husband and kids will still tell you stories of the strays that she has helped now as an adult! We love this nurturing side of Amy, and she puts her love into action when working with ourDay Academy dogs, sneaking dogs out for an extra long walk, or giving plenty of cuddles to puppies who are potty training with us.
Amy has been an official staff member of the studio for over a year now, but she has been a part of the extended Dog Training Now family for even longer. Her family dog Halas was trained here, long before Amy was hired to work part-time with our dogs. Now, Halas is a DTN success story and the newest addition to Amy’s family, a puppy named Madison, is already in training here too. In fact, Amy brings more to work with her than her dogs. Her boys – a 7th grader, a 4th grader, and a 2nd grader – are often found in our studio, snuggling and socializing dogs in our programs who do not have kids in their homes. We love when her kiddos come to visit, and our dogs do too!
“I love the greeting that Amy gives my puppy in the morning,” says a DTN dog owner. “She makes me feel comfortable and confident that my dog is going to have a great day.”
If you haven’t had a chance to meet our Amy, be sure to make it a point to do so soon! You’ll love getting to know her and watching her love for our dogs in action.
Trainer Nels grew up with a natural love for animals, and for the past few years, he’s been working hard to help less-fortunate dogs find a loving home at the Animal House Shelter in Huntley, IL. He started as a Kennel Attendant, responsible for caring for dogs and cats while they awaited adoption. His duties ranged from administering medical care and physical therapy all the way to dog walks and kennel cleaning. No job was too big or too small for Nels! “Working at a shelter has given me the ability to work with thousands of dogs with different personalities and given me the knowledge to most effectively work with them.” Nels says when describing his time at the shelter.
He was soon promoted to a full-time Adoption Counselor. He continued to work with the animals, but he also had the chance to work with potential adopters to help them find their perfect pet. He would meet with the adopters to determine which animals would best fit their home, to help ensure that the new homes were permanent and happy. It was during his time as an Adoption Counselor that he came to love working with owners as well as their dogs, and it’s why he’s a perfect fit here at Dog Training Now. He wants you to be successful with your dog!
He has also graduated from the National K-9 School for Dog Trainers’ Master Course. During this program, he lived on campus, working with dogs and learning all of the skills necessary to be a professional, certified trainer. Not only did he master the basics of obedience training, but he was one of only two students to be certified in all possible areas including: behavior modification, utility work, AKC beed identification, puppy development, tracking and scent detection, personal protection, police K-9 work, assistance/service dog, and retrieval. He certainly brings a wealth of knowledge to Dog Training Now!
Trainer Nels understands that dog training is much more than training your dog, it’s about training you to communicate with him. He says: “I love working with families and their dogs cohesively! I especially enjoy getting kids involved in the training process because they are a part of the family too and enjoy a trained dog just as much, if not more, than their parents!”. He’s a great teacher, and is committed to strengthening the bond between you and your dog!
The trainers at Dog Training Now know what a catch we have in Nels. His colleagues notice and appreciate his hard work and positive attitude. But more than that, the other trainers can tell that Trainer Nels genuinely cares about his job. It’s fun watching him connect with families and see them leave with a confidence they didn’t have at the beginning of their training program. “Obedience is a way of life but it can be fun at the same time and that is exactly what I believe.”
As many of our trainers did, Marcus grew up having a love of all animals. As he grew and started a family of his own, dogs were always a part of his story. Now with two elementary aged kids at home, Marcus brings a special knowledge of getting kids involved with dog training. “Kids should definitely be involved with training and command practice,” says Marcus. “Not only does it maintain pack order at home, it can give the kids lessons in kindness, responsibility, and confidence – it’s great for the whole family.”
Marcus seeks to get to know the families of the dogs that he works with in the studio, including the kids. He knows that a wonderful bond can form between dogs and owners through practice and training. Through time and patience, along with getting to know the family goals, Marcus can teach owners how to communicate best with their dog. “Every dog trains a bit differently and it’s my responsibility to figure that out and then give those tools to the owner,” Marcus says.
Marcus continues to hold a passion for dogs and animals in shelters. He works with Animal House still to find the right home for the right dog, matching about 200 animals per month to the perfect family. It is challenging at times, but Marcus knows that the payoff is worth it to watch an animal who was otherwise unwanted become a loved member of a new family.
Don’t be shy – stop in and say hello (or welcome back) to Marcus the next time you are in the studio.
Jackie has been retired for almost 10 years, and had spent much of her retirement with her own dog, a greyhound rescue named Mandy. Together, Mandy and Jackie spent a lot of time walking. Jackie loves to walk (she’s has walked marathons in her retirement!) and she loves the outdoors, so spending time with Mandy in that way was extra special.
Unfortunately, Jackie had to say goodbye to an ailing Mandy. She found comfort where she knew it best – outside walking. While she was walking, she would often see DTN trainers walking the dogs. Curiosity got the best of her and Jackie worked up the nerve to ask if they ever needed help walking the dogs.
The rest is history. Jackie joined our team as our morning dog walker this past spring and our studio is better for it. She loves spending time with all our dogs, and makes each walk an important part of the dog’s day. “I know that these dogs are a loved part of a family. It’s my job to keep that treasure safe and happy,” says Jackie.
Jackie also knows that walking is a crucial part of the dog’s training. “The dogs get the chance to go outside and they also get the opportunity to practice their walking commands with me,” says Jackie. During their walk, dogs are getting exercise and practice with taking commands from Jackie.
“I love it – this time I spend with the dogs is a great part of my day,” says Jackie. We love Jackie too; her happy personality and compassion for our dogs makes her a perfect fit for our team. She’s even going to start boarding dogs from the studio. “I can’t wait!” she says.
Stop by in the morning and meet Jackie. She might even invite you along on a walk!
Zach has been working with the Dog Training Now dogs for about three years, spending his time at the studio when he is home from college. While Zach works with all the dogs, he is especially dedicated to the Academy dogs who are Alumni that spend time in the studio to brush up on commands and build distraction endurance. It’s also common to see Zach walking dogs – or running them, depending on their preference – so that they get the outside time they need to better succeed during training sessions.
When Zach isn’t hanging out with our dogs and being an encouraging team member at the studio, he is pursuing his Bachelor degree in Secondary Education at a college in Springfield, Missouri. He hopes to be a history teacher when he graduates in just a few more years. Zach is also a college athlete, taking his wrestling career from high school to Harper and to his current school.
What keeps bringing Zach back to the Dog Training Now studio? “I like the atmosphere here,” he says. “It’s a great way for me to work with dogs during my school breaks and keeps me motivated to find a way to continue my love for working with dogs when I do have a job at a school and still have time in the summer.”
Zach is no stranger to dogs, as he always grew up with them in his house. Currently, he spends his time with his chocolate lab Oakley. We love how he can connect with dogs with different personalities and can find a way to motivate even the most reluctant student. We think these qualities will make him an excellent secondary teacher as well!
If you haven’t met Zach yet, now’s the time to do so. He’s here for the summer and we are so happy about it!
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