Acquiring a dog may be the only time a person gets to choose a relative.
— Unknown
Debbie and Jackson   

Debbie and Jackson 

Snickers and Jackson ready for work!

Snickers and Jackson ready for work!

Tasha - 1988

Tasha - 1988

My Background

I have always loved dogs and been inspired by their devotion, fun-loving spirit and ability to bond with us in amazing ways.   To me, they're not just "four-legged children", but intriguing and intelligent animals with their own unique ways of communicating with each other and with us.  My formal educational background is corporate finance and accounting and I enjoyed a 20+ year career in the corporate world prior to launching Savvy Dog in 2012.  But my passion for as long as I can remember has been learning about and working with dogs.  What motivates them?  How do they learn?  How do we train ourselves so we can teach them to be happy, healthy, connected members of our family?

My Approach

My training philosophy focuses on answering those questions.  Inspiring people to build strong relationships, develop a common language and set clear expectations between themselves and the dogs in their lives is my goal. 

Regarding training techniques in general, I ascribe to what is referred to in "dog trainer lingo" as the LIMA principle, where LIMA stands for "least intrusive, minimally aversive".  I believe that applying this principle when determining a training plan is the best long-term approach to creating a great human-dog bond.

Application of the LIMA principle leads me to the use of rewards-based training techniques for the majority of training issues I encounter.  (You may also have seen the terms Positive Reinforcement Training or R+) Specifically speaking, I use marker training, rewards in the form of treats, play and praise and lots of reinforcing training games.  I believe that this approach teaches a dog to think for themselves, love to learn and most importantly,  look to their people as the cool, fun and most reinforcing part of their world.  

However, one of my favorite mantras is "Positive does not mean permissive".  Learning to listen to your dog and achieve that great bond requires a commitment to understanding what motivates your dog and then consistently ensuring that only the behavior you desire is reinforced.   It takes problem-solving skills, patience and a healthy dose of humor sometimes to achieve your goals.  

I am dedicated to providing personalized services that are designed to inform you, inspire you and encourage you along your training journey.  Additional details on what I offer are provided throughout this website or give me a call directly at (816) 866-5364 to discuss how I can help you and your dog become “savvy” together!

Debbie Disch

Owner / Trainer