relationship-based dog training
Gaia Richards, Santa Fe
Gaia Richards, Santa Fe
While I have a very strong record of success with serious behavioral problems as well as with ordinary obedience training, this approach is not for everyone. The question to ask yourself is this: Am I willing to work as hard and diligently as I expect from my dog and my trainer?
I began learning how to train dogs in Santa Fe, New Mexico in February 2017. I had arrived at the park with Spirit, my cattle dog/border collie mix, and Dulce, my Terrier mix, piled in the back of my little 1980 Datsun where they barked and barked and barked and barked.
I was at my wit's end. I had never thought of going to a trainer; I figured I should just KNOW how to handle dogs. I thought if I love them they will love me back and do what they are supposed to do.
Spirit attacked busses and little dogs, and even her shadow. She had been found on the meridian on Cerrillos Road and an acquaintance at HIS wit's end asked me to take her. Dulce was a potentially sweet dog but was reactive and too clever and totally self-willed.
After our first Initial Assessment, David said he couldn't work with me: my dogs were too fat, self-rewarding and neither needed nor wanted anything from me.
But when David saw how distraught I was, he had a softening of his heart and said, "If you go home and feed your dogs only by hand with a 'watch Me' command before each bite, and you come back in a week, perhaps we can work together."
I did as he instructed and returned the next week with more manageable and agreeable dogs. We began laying the foundation for training. (Training is ALWAYS happening and it also doesn't start till the foundation is laid. One of many paradoxes in the life of a trainer.)
I began apprenticing with David and two and a half years later set up my own shingle as a dog trainer. We had done a lot: About 300 hours of training. Hours of Search & Rescue, and more hours of community presentations and mentoring of high school kids for three seasons. I had trained about 40 dogs with him and have been working one-on-one with Santa Feans who are ready to do what it takes to have a stable, healthy & happy dog!
"Gaia consistently and completely engages my dog (and myself) in positive and rewarding training activities. She is sensitive yet firm in her approach. She communicates with clarity, caring, and humor; understands our needs, and targets training toward specific goals. Her technique has been tremendously helpful in making Maggie Mae a happy and courageous dog." - Nancy, Santa Fe
All donations will help The Sanctuary for Extraordinary Dogs. Each dollar goes to get their veterinary visits, shots, medicines, good food and help us maintain safe and loving accommodations.