USING FORCE-FREE SCIENCE-BASED METHODS TO TRAIN DOGS & THEIR PEOPLE
and Instructor for:
*Online training options available, when booking check in-person or Zoom
All in-person training is conducted with a mask and COVID-19 compliant protocols
WHAT WE HELP WITH
Learn about your Certified Professional Dog Trainer
Cara Armour grew up with a myriad of pets and anytime she wanted to bring a dog into the house her parents required her to take them to training classes. She loved not only learning from those classes but had a particularly close bond with the dog she would bring.
When she started her pet care business in 2003, she found herself dealing face first with some challenging dogs. Some that would pull, others that would jump and yet others that would pee upon her arrival. She and Gerard consulted with some trainers, even about their own dogs having recall issues but the training never felt right. It was aversive, using choke chains, prong collars and other tools that caused your dog to behave out of fear and didn't make you feel good about using these tools.
Finally after meeting Martha Francis from Fetch Dog Training Cara was introduced to the world of positive reinforcement training using tools like clickers. It was then that training clicked, literally. Bad behaviors extinguished new and good behaviors rewarded. Cara was able to have success with client dogs learning that loose leash walking was rewarded and pulling meant they went nowhere. Dogs that jumped suddenly stopped offering the behavior because she learned to stop offering attention of any kind. Cara learned that the secret to a good dog becoming great is being proactive instead of reactive.
In 2011 she took a detour from learning more formalized dog training because she also had a passion for animal health and safety. Cara felt that she had enough knowledge to work positively with her client's pets but wanted to share pet first aid & CPR with the world. That year she became a certified pet first aid & CPR instructor and in 2015 she built an online certification course. Cara continued her passion to keep pets happy and healthy by joining ProTrainings and becoming the manager of ProPetHero, their ER veterinary pet first aid & CPR certification division. But as the focus on saving the world's pets became successful, so did the training of her personal dogs.
In 2013 after suffering the loss of her previous Boxers from a disease that could have been prevented by better breeding practices, Cara researched getting a Boxer from a reputable breeder who bred away from known health issues. She knew in order to improve the breed she loved, she had to have a hand in helping, and this meant breeding as well as conformation. What she didn't realize is that despite the Boxer she worked so hard to find being genetically and physically everything she dreamed of, she also stumbled into other things she had no idea about but they became her new dreams, dog sports - particularly agility.
Debbie (yes, that is her dog's name) and Cara quickly found themselves at agility classes, fully immersed back in the face of positive reinforcement training only this went beyond stopping leash pulling and jumping up inappropriately. Agility showed Cara that she could get her best friend around an entire course with just the positioning of her body. The level of communication and the bond she built with her dog was incredible, and she wanted to learn more and more.
Eventually, this agility addiction would lead Cara and her Boxer Debbie to rise to the ranks of eligibility and success at Westminster, AKC Nationals, and her massive goal, to become the #1 preferred AKC agility Boxer and get invited to 2019 Invitationals, which she not only made, but was a finalist placing 8th in the 20-inch class, beating 121 other dogs. In 2020 Debbie and Cara became the very first Boxer team to win the lifetime award of Agility Grand Champion (AGCH). They proceeded to be invited to the 2020 AKC agility Invitationals, made finals again but this time placed 2nd! The journey continued with an invitation to the most prestigious AKC agility event, the 2021 AKC Agility Premier Cup. There have been many first for their team, they continue to set the bar as the highest preferred agility champion Boxer ever, first Boxer to be awarded premier class titles, first Boxer to ever achieve the AGility Grand Championship and they continue to qualify for AKC national events, including the 2022 nationals!
All goals seemed to just get crushed despite massive setbacks. Breeding, other sports, having and raising litters from Debbie, from Debbie's offspring, COVID-19 and of course still having to work to pay for all of this! But Cara continued to work hard at everything she did so that she and Debbie could enjoy every moment together. She now enjoys even more training and ring time with her two offspring, Walter and Phoenix. Walter has earned his Master Agility Championship and is currently the #4 ranked AKC agility Boxer, he also is phenomenal at scent work. Phoenix is a rising star and on her way to her agility championship as well and like Walter, excels in scent work.
After being reinspired by many positive reinforcement trainers and having the amazing fortune of attending agility trials with the world-famous positive reinforcement trainer, lecturer, author and guru, Emma Parsons, Cara decided it was time to formalize her education in positive reinforcement training so that she could help more people have wonderfully behaved dogs. We all adore our dogs but we all have that one or few things we wish could "fix". The demand barking, the jumping on visitors, the cute trick you want to show your family. There is always something and Cara wants to help people enjoy every minute with their dogs, they're only with us in our lives for a very short chapter in time, why not enjoy every minute with them?
Dogs have literally brought intense meaning to Cara's life, so much so that she met her life partner, business partner - her husband at a dog park. They have shaped her life, keep her waking up with a smile each morning and inspire her to get out and do things!
Cara now proudly holds the distinction of a certified professional dog trainer through the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy. She was trained by Emma Parsons and is now proud to be a KPA-CTP (Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner). She is also working on completing her training to become a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer so that she can further keep dogs happy and healthy. She is a registered AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator as well as Trick Dog and virtual manners. Cara is also a certified AKC S.T.A.R. puppy instructor and evaluator.
Cara has continued her studies by attending these seminars:
March 2, 2012 Malena DeMartini-Price, CTC and Gina Phairis, BSC Comms, CTC Fixing the Unfixable: A New Look at Separation Anxiety
Jun 19, 2016 Amanda Shyne puppy agility at Master Peace
Mar 25, 2017 Amanda Shyne weave poles
Apr 21, 2018 Amanda Shyne jumps
Apr 22, 2018 Amanda Shyne weaves poles
5/5/2018 Silvia Trkman running contacts
6/9-6/10/2018 Sue Sternberg Dog-Human Environment: Sociability & Aggression & Puppy & Adult Mouthing; Aggression & Safe/Defensive Handling
8/30/2018 Sarah Stremming Push Button starts and consent to work
February 2019 Fitness Trainer Certificate Program through Fenzi Sports Dog Academy
September 2019 Reducing Overarousal and Reactivity via the Circle Method of Leash Walking by Denise Fenzi of Fenzi Sports Dog Academy
October 2019 Walking with Reactive Dogs by Amy Cook through Fenzi Sports Dog Academy
October 2019 Diane Patterson - String Theory, training yourself to see where your dog is coming from, going to and where it is on an agility course
Cara Armour and her dog Debbie at the 2019 AKC Agility Invitational Finals