Since she was a child, Jessica has had a natural ability to communicate with dogs. She often practiced different training techniques on her family dog, Murphy (much to his dismay, she’s sure). She could usually be found out in the neighborhood walking him after school or in the backyard setting up agility courses for him to run through. Since then, she has trained and rehabilitated many dogs with many different problems. Jessica has always been the person that friends and family called on when they had an issue with their dog.
In 2012, Jessica recognized the need for a skilled dog trainer specializing in behavior modification and opened The Balanced Dog, LLC. She has successfully focused her time on helping dogs and their human families better understand each other. Jessica works extensively with local rescue groups training foster dogs with behavioral issues to help get them adopted.
Jessica is a professional member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP), an organization established to maintain the highest standards of professional and business practices among canine professionals. Its aim is to provide support and representation for all professional occupations involved with any aspect of canine management, health, training and husbandry.
Jessica is also a certified evaluator for Therapy Dogs International (TDI) and President of local Virginia Chapter 296. Therapy dogs visit hospitals, retirement communities, schools, and libraries to give emotional support to those in need. Jessica has a certified therapy dog, Kayla, and the team actively works in the community, with both seniors and children.
She also teamed up with local libraries and started the “Dogs 2 Read To” program several years ago. Reading to a dog allows a child to relax and have fun, knowing that a dog will not judge or correct. This program is currently held at many different branches of the Massanutten Regional Library system.
Prior to being a dog trainer, Jessica was a social worker for 10 years. As a result, she has extensive experience working with families and with many different personality types. Often within one family, there are many different personalities all needing to learn how to communicate effectively with their dogs. Jessica believes that this is one of the most important aspects of her job and she enjoys meeting new families and helping their dog be a better member of the household.
Jessica uses a balanced approach to dog training; this means that she uses a combinations of positive reinforcement and correction. Just like humans, it is important for dogs to understand what behavior is and is not allowed. Simply put, a dog must learn yes and no. Jessica will show you how to reinforce the behaviors you want and correct the ones you don’t want. All methods and tools will be discussed at length with the family before application.
Jessica teaches the dog owners how to take a leadership role to create balance both inside and out of the home.