BARKS from the Guild Autumn 2014

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MEMBER PROFILE

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Making a Difference

In the ongoing series of PPG member profiles, this month BARKS features Mary Jean Alsina of The Canine Cure, LLC

ary Jean Alsina has had an affinity with dogs her whole life so it is only fitting that, having studied at The Academy for Dog Trainers in San Francisco under well-known trainer/author and PPG member Jean Donaldson, she now runs her own dog training and pet sitting business.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your own pets:

A: My dog, Pharaoh, is an almost eight-year-old Doberman who is the love and mush of my life. Our Welsh Corgi, Angel, passed away on 21 August, 2013 and we decided to stick with one dog for now. Pharaoh is a great friend to our eight-year-old son, Jason, and likes to take part in tug and fetch as much as he possibly can! He LOVES work-to-eat toys. He is a Velcro dog to his mommy so I do feel I have a shadow quite frequently but I wouldn't want it any other way. He is my best friend.

Q: Why did you become a dog trainer or pet care provider?

A: I have always loved dogs and felt a special place in my heart for them. I became a teacher right out of college and taught for 17 years but always had that soft spot for my doggies! I worked in shelters and with friends' dogs to get the experience and to attempt to quench my thirst for what I wanted to do. I feel dogs are WAY smarter than we give them credit for and the potential in them is infinite. Q: Who has most influenced your career and how?

A: Cesar Millan has influenced my career because he has

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BARKS from the Guild/October 2014

shown me exactly the type of trainer I do NOT want to be. I am hired by so many clients who use his techniques which in turn, make their dogs' behavior worsen, unfortunately. I am so unbelievably passionate about informing people about why force-free training is the way to go to achieve a happy, well-adjusted dog. Q: What do you consider to be your area of expertise? A: Fearful dogs.

Q: Are you a crossover trainer or have you always been a force-free trainer? Always force-free.

Q: What drives you to be a force-free professional and why is it important to you?

A: There is no reason that a dog, or any animal, should have to feel pain in order to learn. People don't learn well with pain, so why would we expect our animals to be any different? It is my goal to get as Doberman many clients, people, children, Pharaoh is a Canine Good etc. to see that dogs deserve to Citizen and a be treated with respect and “Velcro� dog that they simply learn better when they perform behaviors because they WANT to, not because they are being pained or scared into doing it. It is simple science. Q: How has the PPG helped you to become a more complete trainer? A: The camaraderie is wonderful, especially the Facebook page. I love reading articles and other people's ideas on the board. It continues to expand my horizons