Written by Niki Tudge. Copyright 2011

Dip, ABT, Diploma. Animal Behavior Technology, Dip, CBST. Diploma Canine Behavior Science and Technology Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers -CPDT-KA, APDT – Professional Member, NADOI-Certified,The Canine Behavior College. Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Association of Animal Behavior Professionals - Professional Dog Trainer, American Kennel Club “Canine Good Citizen”™ Evaluator, The International  Training Board, TS1, TS2,TS3

How My Journey Began

I began my journey into the pet industry over twelve years ago. The industry had a very different landscape then. A dog trainer was somebody you called for advice on how to attain the leadership role in your home. The belief was that each and every day you awoke and got up from your bed you had to fend off a hostile leadership takeover spearheaded by your pet dog. The professional advice dispensed was all about how to make your dog OBEY!

Many of the readily available methods were far from humane and in many cases extremely ineffective or dangerous to the well-being of your beloved pet. Searching the internet for dog training books was another challenge. They were hard to find and when they could be located it was not unusual to read advice like “if your dog does not sit, then pull up strongly on the leash while pushing down hard on the dog’s back end.” This is actually a very tempered example.


Much of the professional emphasis was placed around punishing your dog and teaching them who is the boss. These methods and dispensed advice led to many misguided pet owners. Even in the year 2000, I could not comprehend these methods nor was I about to embark on a dog training journey with my first pet dog using such an unpleasant approach. An approach that appeared to be physically and mentally intimidating to my dog and proved to be highly aversive to me and I was at the more preferable end of the leash.

Training wasn’t the only challenge back then.  If you needed professional care for your pet while you vacationed and you were insightful enough to recognize that a commercial boarding kennel may not be a wise choice for your little ‘fluffy’ then you probably tried in-home pet care. This pet care would normally have been negotiated with your neighbor over the garden fence on a warm Saturday afternoon. This contracted labor agreement left some poor press-ganged teenager, who had other ideas about how to spend their summer vacation, caring for the family pet.  I know this all too well. Yes, I was once that begrudging and often belligerent pet-sitting teenager set loose into the homes of our neighbors to feed and water precious pets. I fondly remember a regular client of mine, Hercules. Hercey, as he was fondly called, was a large Ginger Tom who headed up the pet coalition in our neighborhood. Hercules intimidated all and any dogs that crossed his path. He certainly kept me on a tight feeding schedule with his insistent body rubs and shrill meows.

In my earlier years I don’t ever recall the need for dog walkers. Our neighborhood dogs took themselves off for their daily romps. It was a very usual sight to see Scruffy, our neighborhood’s resident canine, happily wandering around while his family members were at work and school.

So here we are at the end of 2011. Oh how things have changed. The marketplace is now saturated with dog trainers, pet-sitters and dog walkers.  Pet care books and the latest training fads are published at a fast rate. Because of the growth of the pet industry it can be difficult determining what works and what doesn’t.  The methods, philosophies and techniques of many  ‘experts’ on dog training and pet care  can be buried in the marketing message and industry jargon often hiding  obsolete techniques, questionable methods, regressive philosophies or damaging equipment choices.  As in any industry, Pet care professionals range from the highly professional to the 21st century version of the reluctant and now more technologically savvy teenager left to care for a beloved pet.

The DogSmith was created to provide a place where like-minded professionals can be more easily found by clients looking for highly effective, force-free, pet care and dog training professionals. The DogSmith provides a one-stop resource for clients who want highly professional pet care providers and dog training professionals who are honest in their marketing, force-free in their methods and highly ethical in their business practices. So if you have found yourself agreeing with my take on the industry then learn more about The DogSmith here