People

Sherry AntonishenHead Trainer/Owner

Sherry Antonishen, CBCC-KABA (Honours in Communication)

Sher­ry loved dogs from before she could walk, and loved read­ing about and research­ing them pri­or to Kinder­garten!  Her love of dogs and edu­ca­tion came togeth­er when she received her Cer­tifi­cate in Train­ing and Coun­sel­ing (CTC) from the San Fran­cis­co SPCA Acad­e­my for Dog Train­ers in the spring of 2004, a train­ing pro­gram known as the “Har­vard for Dog Train­ers” because of its empha­sis on crit­i­cal think­ing and the sci­ence of learn­ing. What was sur­pris­ing was how much com­pas­sion and human­i­ty flowed from the prac­ti­cal, crit­i­cal skills — impor­tant as Sher­ry loves work­ing with peo­ple as much as work­ing with dogs. Fif­teen years lat­er, still inter­est­ed in deep­en­ing her pro­fes­sion­al skills, Sher­ry stud­ied the prin­ci­ples of learn­ing and Applied Behav­iour Analy­sis with Dr Susan G. Fried­man and was again struck by how a deeply skilled under­stand­ing of behav­iour can lead to force-free, last­ing change for our dog com­pan­ions.

Head Trainer Sherry with her dog Simon

Head Train­er Sher­ry Anton­ishen with her dog Simon

Sher­ry is a strong advo­cate for inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­tion and pro­fes­sion­al­iza­tion of the dog train­ing indus­try and holds a Cer­ti­fied Behav­ior Con­sul­tant Canine (CBCC-KA). The Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Coun­cil for Pro­fes­sion­al Dog Train­ers  (CCPDT) sets the world stan­dard in dog train­ing; its cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is based on con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion,  years of expe­ri­ence, and inten­sive stan­dard­ized test­ing.  All Smart­Dog Train­ers, regard­less of pre­vi­ous cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, must write and pass the exams and meet the cri­te­ria of the CCPDT.  Sher­ry is also a mem­ber of the Van­cou­ver Island Ani­mal Train­ing Asso­ci­a­tion (VIATA) and  The Cana­di­an Asso­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sion­al Pet Dog Train­ers  whose man­dates are embod­ied in Smart­Dog Training’s phi­los­o­phy, and was Pet First Aid Cer­ti­fied through Walks N Wags in 2015. She has appeared on the A-Chan­nel and Chek TV, been inter­viewed repeat­ed­ly on C-FAX and CBC radio, and writ­ten for sev­er­al pub­li­ca­tions on dog behav­iour.

With her in-depth train­ing and over 15 years of hands-on expe­ri­ence, Sher­ry spe­cial­izes in behav­iour mod­i­fi­ca­tion of  fear­ful and reac­tive dogs. Her own dogs include res­cues that oth­ers have found too dif­fi­cult — she works with all breeds, and knows that under the label ‘dif­fi­cult to train’, ‘shy’ or even ‘hyper’, is a dog that can be helped with the right skill set and tools.  Sherry’s prob­lem-solv­ing skills help her clients man­age and mod­i­fy even the most chal­leng­ing behav­iour issues with prac­ti­cal, humane pro­to­cols.

When not run­ning class­es or work­ing with clients on behav­iour and train­ing, Sher­ry can usu­al­ly be found in her agili­ty barn, run­ning her own dogs or coach­ing oth­ers in this excit­ing, fun sport!

img_1691_s2Roberta Press, CPDT-KA, BSc Hons, Lead Trainer

Roberta with her dog Cobi

Rober­ta and her dog Cobi enjoy­ing a walk in Cook St. Vil­lage

Rober­ta has a keen inter­est in the rela­tion­ship between peo­ple and their dogs, and enjoys work­ing with both humans and canines. An invalu­able mem­ber of our team, Rober­ta has been with us since Jan­u­ary of 2010. Her knowl­edge of both dog and peo­ple learn­ing is tru­ly amaz­ing and clients that work with Rober­ta will always come away with new skills and a feel­ing of accom­plish­ment. A strong believ­er in SmartDog’s pos­i­tive train­ing and prob­lem solv­ing phi­los­o­phy, Roberta’s goal is to deliv­er class­es that are both fun and edu­ca­tion­al for you and your pup­py or adult dog.

Rober­ta is s a Cer­ti­fied Pet Dog Train­er (knowl­edge assessed) by the  Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Coun­cil for Pro­fes­sion­al Dog Train­ers. (CCPDT), and was Pet First Aid Cer­ti­fied through Walks N Wags in 2015.

 

malli_uziMalli Hutchings, Trainer

Malli brings expe­ri­ence from 10 years in Ani­mal Care, includ­ing time work­ing in Vet­eri­nary Emer­gency. With an inter­est in dog train­ing and behav­iour, she joined Smart­Dog at the end of 2015 as a step for­ward in her knowl­edge and under­stand­ing dogs.  She enjoys work­ing with clients toward a bet­ter under­stand­ing of and enjoy­ment in their rela­tion­ship with their dogs. Malli brings with her a good under­stand­ing of ani­mal learn­ing the­o­ry and a vari­ety prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ences.

Malli is a Cer­ti­fied Pet Dog Train­er (knowl­edge assessed) by the  Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Coun­cil for Pro­fes­sion­al Dog Train­ers. (CCPDT)

 

In her spare time, she enjoys the out­doors and explor­ing our love­ly West Coast.

 

Heather Clifford, BA Hons (Political Science), Apprentice Trainer

While Heather has loved ani­mals her whole life, her fas­ci­na­tion with train­ing real­ly devel­oped when she adopt­ed her young dog, Toby. In her nev­er-end­ing search for jobs for Toby, she found Smart­Dog agili­ty and it was love at first jump for both of them. Heather brings to the class­room her keen obser­va­tion skills and a sol­id under­stand­ing of train­ing method­olo­gies. She also enjoys hik­ing and camp­ing — with dogs in tow, of course.

 

Karen Leman, ANWI, K9 Nosework Trainer

Karen is the newest mem­ber of the Smart Dog train­ing staff. She has been train­ing in K9 Nose­work since 2013 and start­ed Instruc­tor Train­ing and Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in Cal­i­for­nia in August 2018. Karen has 4 small mixed breed dogs, all adopt­ed as adults, that par­tic­i­pate in K9 Nose­work and Agili­ty. She became inter­est­ed in K9 Nose­work as a reward­ing activ­i­ty for her retired agili­ty ter­ri­er Spy and for her envi­ron­men­tal­ly sen­si­tive dog, Emmett. Karen is look­ing for­ward to work­ing with you and your dog to explore the fun activ­i­ty and sport of scent detec­tion.

Madlin Fitzner, Office Manager

Madlin is our fab­u­lous office man­ag­er who has moved here from Ger­many to enjoy our beau­ti­ful island. When she’s not in the office, you will prob­a­bly find Madlin out­side enjoy­ing every­thing our coast has to offer.

 

 

 

Margaret Parkinson, BA (Anthropology) CPA, CA, Office Manager

Mar­garet has always loved ani­mals.  When she got Ben, her first work­ing dog, she promised the breed­er she would try herd­ing and agili­ty to give him a job.  Herd­ing wasn’t their thing but they quick­ly became addict­ed to agili­ty.  Recent­ly retired from over 30 years with the provin­cial gov­ern­ment, Mar­garet is thrilled to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fill in for Madlin, where she can com­bine her admin­is­tra­tive skills with her love of dogs.  She’s look­ing for­ward to work­ing with peo­ple who share her pas­sion and learn­ing more about train­ing dogs.

Iain Down, Classroom Volunteer and Farm Worker

Iain vol­un­teers with us on Tues­day nights. If you are lucky enough to be in a class where Iain is present you will like­ly receive some extra help set­tling and/or train­ing your dog or pup­py. You can also find Iain doing gen­er­al main­te­nance on the Smart­Dog farm and agili­ty barn.