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Trainer Interviews

A Positive Oasis: Rivendale Learning Center

Steve and Jen White have been training animals positively for more than 25 years—long before clicker training became a household word. Steve has been a faculty member of ClickerExpo since its inception, and Jen has now joined the Expo team as a coach.

Steve brought marker-based training to the training of Seattle's K9 unit, while Jen helped introduce positive training to rehabilitate aggressive dogs at the MSPCA in Boston. Since their marriage in 2003, they have joined their formidable talents to teach more clients, both professional trainers and pet owners, the power of the principles of operant conditioning and positive reinforcement.

Recently, we asked them to tell us about their new life work, the establishment of Rivendale Learning Center, a hub of teaching and training in no force, no fear techniques in Woodinville, Washington.

Helix Fairweather on the Art of Dog Play

Helix Fairweather became interested in the skills dogs need—and too often do not have—to play happily with other dogs. She decided to launch a series of Dog Park play sessions to allow skilled dogs to teach other dogs the art of playing and to teach handlers the observation skills necessary to understand canine communication.

Service with a Click

Debi Davis, service-dog trainer and ClickerExpo presenter (Minneapolis, November 2005), writes training articles for national and international magazines and is an Internet mentor for service-dog teams in training. In 1998, she co-founded OC-Assist-Dogs, a Yahoo Group Internet discussion list for those clicker training service dogs, now the largest service-dog discussion list on the web. In 1999, her papillon, Peek, became the first toy breed and first clicker trained dog to earn the Delta Society's National Service Dog of the Year award. In 2003, Peek was among the Pedigree Paws to Recognize Canine World Hero nominees. Peek and Debi were also profiled on a segment of the international television program Dogs with Jobs. A member of the APDT, IAADP, IABC, and the Delta Society, Debi lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband and five clicker trained dogs. Recently, we spoke to her about clicker training assistance dogs and her experiences attending ClickerExpo San Diego.

An Interview with Emma Parsons

Emma Parsons, author of Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog (KPCT, 2005), is a canine behaviorist and trainer. We spoke to her recently about her life with dogs, and how she developed the innovative clicker-based techniques presented in her book.

An Interview with Sheri Soltes, Texas Hearing and Service Dogs

Sheri Soltes is the Founder and President of Texas Hearing and Service Dogs. She pioneered positive training in the assistance dog industry. Recently, we spoke to her about her new training facility and her plans for the future.