About Bark 4 Joy

How Bark 4 Joy was Founded

Bark 4 Joy started as a hobby. I would occasionally assist owners with training their dog and give advice to those who asked. Over time, it became not just a hobby, but a mission. Bark 4 Joy strives to provide high quality training to bring peace and joy to dog owners.  

About Me

I received my B.A. in Anthrozoology from Carroll College. It was there that I found my love of dog training. In my program, I had the opportunity to train two dogs- Trish, now my personal dog, learned therapy/service skills, scent detection, and tracking. My second dog, Major, was my first fully trained service dog. Major was placed with an Afghanistan/Iraq veteran!

 

In June 2021, I earned my M.S. in Animal Science from Texas Tech University. Throughout my time at Tech, I completed research on the environmental effects on canine olfaction, as well as canine threshold to double base smokeless powder. 

In addition, I am an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. This allows me to assess dogs for the Canine Good Citizen, Urban Canine Good Citizen, Community Canine, and S.T.A.R Puppy. I am also a Certified Trick Dog Instructor with Do More With Your Dog. However, the accomplishment I am most proud of was becoming a Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed with the CCPDT. They are a very highly recognized certifying organization in dog training that requires 300+ training hours within the last 3 years, as well as a 180 question exam on ethology, equipment, instruction skills, animal husbandry, and learning theory.

When I am not busy with school or dog training, I enjoy the outdoors, crafting, refinishing furniture, and watching movies!

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My Training Style

Bark 4 Joy prides itself in using training methods that have been well-researched by leading experts in the dog world. That being said, I am considered a reward-based trainer. I use treats (PSA: Montana Mutt has the BEST treats for your dogs), toys, and praise to reward your dog for good behavior. I also do believe in reshaping the bad behavior. This is done through time-outs! Just as a child would go to time-out for not listening or doing something they shouldn't, so do the dogs. Time outs allow our dogs to understand what exactly they did incorrectly. 

 

I do not use E-collars, prong collars, or choke collars. If used incorrectly, they can cause your dog to shut down, become unresponsive, and/or fear you.  Therefore, everything I teach you is safe and effective for you to use without a trainer around. In fact, I am required by the CCPDT to follow the LIMA hierarchy. This means I utilize the least intrusive and minimally aversive methods during my training with clients.

 

You'll find out in no time how much your dog enjoys having a trainer around. When I return to your house for a second session, your dog will go bonkers! This is the type of response I love to see with my clients. Every training session should be a fun play time for the dog and a learning experience for the owner.

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I'm Unsure About Hiring a Trainer

I get it. Hiring a dog trainer basically means you are admitting you need help, but when someone contacts me for dog training, I look at it as being admirable! You have already taken the first step towards improving your life and your dog's life. If you're unsure about working with Bark 4 Joy, I recommend you check out my training program pages for reviews, along with my Facebook reviews. All of my clients enjoy the immersive experience I provide. In addition, you get what you give. Once you've decided to make a financial commitment, you give training your all. Therefore, you see the results.

If along the way you find things are not improving as you'd like, we take a step back and analyze our methods. Sometimes, it is as simple as changing how we introduce a command or changing how you are working with your dog. Once we get you back on track, you will continue to see the success you'd like. 

While I never guarantee results (and no trainer should), I've been lucky with dozens of pleased clients. If you're unsure, take time to think about it. Sometimes, setting up a discovery call with me may be exactly what you need to feel confident in your decision! 

Prices

My training programs are designed to contain the most information and provide supplies you may need for your dog training journey. I not only help train your dog but help you learn to work with your dog when I am not there. Training requires a lot of knowledge; therefore, my clients' business allows me to attend national conferences where I can stay up-to-date on training and behavior. Be assured that my training is worth every penny and more. After all, you can't put a price on your beloved pup!​

Service Areas

I train in Helena, Great Falls, Butte*, Missoula*, and Bozeman*. I train in your home, at a park, or can arrange for facility training in Helena, Montana. I want training to occur where the problem behaviors occur. It will prevent your dog from having to relearn the concepts from a training center to in your home.

I also have a lot of online programs including Zoom sessions and classes. Check those out on the Virtual Resources page.

*Seasonal or weather depending. Contact me for more information.