SHADE WHITESEL - Owner / Head Trainer
At age four, I told anyone who would listen that I was going to grow up to be a “dog-trainer” (so my mother tells me) After begging for and finally obtaining a Samoyed mix, I proceeded to subject my neighbors and family to “trick” shows where Sunflower jumped through hula hoops, over bushes and caught Frisbees. Growing up, along with earning a BA in English, I always spent time in dog-related fields: caring for dogs in a humane society, working as a veterinary technician, and grooming dogs for ten years. In 1994, I finally came full circle and established “Shade’s Dog Training”. Along the way, I also became involved in the demanding German sport of Schutzhund, which consists of tracking, obedience and protection work. Intensive and precise, trainers take 2-5 years to train a dog to the highest level, Schutzhund 3, and the majority of dogs fail to reach that level of expertise. I have trained two of my dogs to the elusive Sch. 3, obtaining numerous high scores in all three phases, including two perfect 100s.

Because I train dogs to bite for my hobby, I feel like I know how to train a client’s dogs NOT to bite in every day life. This knowledge led quite naturally into dealing with dog aggression, both towards people and towards other dogs. Because dog aggression lends itself to understanding what the dog is thinking and feeling, and also to prevention of the behavior in the first place, I started offering group pet classes to help people start puppies and rescue dogs off on the right paw. I’ve always been very interested in the behavioral science of things and specifically, why a dog acts a certain way. Dogs are pack animals and everything they learn reflects those instincts. Positive reinforcement breaks down when the dog thinks that she is manipulating you for the treat, not the other way around. If you are not a clear leader to your dog, she thinks You should come when She calls! This behavioral aspect is apparent in my group classes when I teach you how to be a benevolent pack leader by teaching your dog to think and reinforcing the behavior you like and find acceptable.

This leadership-positive reinforcement method led into training competition obedience classes when people noticed the results I obtained on my own dogs. I find the same theories work in competitive obedience. Many people think that you need compulsion to obtain a reliable performance in the ring or the obedience field. Usually, I find this a case of “blaming the dog” when the handler should actually look at their own training methods. Usually, the dog has not been proofed against distractions enough and is only confused, instead of actively disobeying a command.

I am committed to finding a non force method in the teaching phase in order to be fair to the relationship we have with our companions. After all, the dog did not choose the sport. He would probably rather be hiking!



photo-shadeLEANNE STEVENS - Assistant Trainer
I started training dogs in the mid 1970’s with my first dog “Bluegrass” an Old English Sheepdog. Eventually I obtained his CDX (Companion Dog Excellent) in AKC competition.

A few years later I had Bearded Collies-once again competing in AKC-this time in conformation, obedience and herding as well. I also taught obedience classes in the Portland area-lots of fun for me!I enjoy working with people and love watching the dogs progress.

Lots has changed since the 70’s-I started with a choke chain and leash and used mainly correction with food reward. Now training methods have evolved to be much more positive-no more choke chains and very little correction.

So my last 2 dogs (German Shepherds) have been trained using positive reinforcement and it is much more enjoyable! Cedar has his CD (Companion Dog) and his CGC (Canine Good Citizen) title. He is also a certified therapy dog. Guinness is a youngster getting ready to compete and I have high hopes that he will do really well.

I have been working with Shade for 7 years now and am loving it!



photo-shadeLYNNE STEELE - Assistant Trainer
Growing up around pet dogs that were well loved, but not always well behaved, my first dog training class was a revelation on many levels. I found, using Shade’s methods, that I could teach my dog behaviors without yelling, endless repetitions of commands or empty threats.

Watching my German Shepherd puppy, Bernie, responding to Shade’s positive reinforcement methods hooked me completely on dog training. Five years later Bernie and I have earned two AKC titles (Ralley Novice and Companion Dog) and are working on her Ralley Advanced and Open titles.

I am also currently teaching Shade’s Beginning Obedience classes in the Kingston area, and soon will be teaching the Advanced Beginner classes as well.

I am constantly working to further my understanding of the human/canine bond. I do this through reading, attending continuing education seminars, and working closely with my mentor, Shade.




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