Meet Carla, CPDT-KA – Owner and Professional Dog Trainer

Carla and Karma Website
Carla & Karma – Photo Courtesy of Jen Miller

My relationship with animals started as early as I can remember- unlike a lot of kids my imaginary friends were dogs, make believe always included pretending to get a puppy and the playing house meant someone would have to play fetch.  I was five years old when I was finally able to convince my parents to bring home a dog.  My first dog, a golden retriever/farm collie mix named Pack, was incredible.  Every single day was a learning experience for the two of us- from potty training, to going to the park- he was the spark that lit the flame.  Pack was smart, loyal, gentle- the perfect dog to send me heart first into working with animals.  For years the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was always answered with a very stern response- “Zoologist.”  My answer was always met with confusion, “Don’t you mean Veterinarian?” but I knew from an early age- I couldn’t handle the procedures that went along with being a vet.  I wanted to observe and absorb all there was to know about behavior and social structures in the animal kingdom.  As I grew up my focus narrowed down to domesticated animals, more specifically- dogs.  And the goal became entrepreneur.

The moment I turned 18 I began to work with dogs professionally- first at a doggy daycare.  I started off as a handler working out in the playgroups- observing play, interacting with the dogs and learning as much as I could.  I grew from a level one handler to a level three handler- watching hours of instructional videos, reading books, writing papers and taking tests to get there.  Eventually I became Assistant Manager and not long after that- Manager.  Through my role in the management positions it became apparent to me that my real passion was solving problems the pet parents were having and working with the other handlers to help them understand canine behavior.  While at Central Bark I met and fell in love with Karma, the inspiration behind Good Karma Canine.  It was because of her that I started to dive deeper into obedience training and began to explore more ways to build our own relationship.

In 2012 I was given the opportunity to work with Milwaukee Pet Services as a dog walker- giving me the ability to grow as I worked one on one with puppies- particularly on crate training, and leash walking- two fundamental learning experiences for every dog.  And in 2013 I was offered a position at Zoom Room Milwaukee which gave me exactly what I needed- a place to focus on training.  It was there that my involvement with training became serious.  I had always known that working with dogs was what I wanted to do, but the exact way in which I accomplished that was not solidified until then.  While I still plan on diversifying my canine knowledge through mediums like grooming and massage therapy, my true love is training.  Helping families understand their dog’s behavior and helping to build strong, positive relationships is what pushes me to learn more everyday and to pass that knowledge on to the people I work with.

Meet Samantha, CPDT-KA – Owner and Professional Dog Trainer

Sam and Gwen
Sam & Gwen – Photo Courtesy of Jen Miller

I have always loved working with animals- my first job was as a veterinary receptionist- a job I held for eight years.  It was during this time that I began to explore solutions to the near constant stream of complaints from our clients about the behavior of their companion animals.  I spent many years taking horseback riding lessons, pet-sitting and volunteering at the Humane Society as well as other veterinary hospitals- anything at all I could do to learn as much as possible about the animals I was so fascinated by.  I had the good fortune to develop a professional relationship with a local Certified Professional Dog Trainer who offered me a position at her business.  I worked under her mentorship and then began to teach group classes and private training sessions independently.  I worked as a dog trainer at Zoom Room Milwaukee for two years teaching Puppy Classes, Obedience, CGC, Agility and Canine Nosework.

I love working with families to help their dogs become happy, healthy, and safe members of society.  A little training goes a long way and I have always been amazed at how big of a difference a little consistency can make in the lives of dogs and their people.  Last summer I brought home my adorable 20 pound terrier mix- Gwen.  Gwen has been a huge learning experience for me; adorable, sweet and spunky she won me over right away.  When I got her home, though, I realized that she was very nervous of people.  In the best of times that meant that she might look uncomfortable around a new person.  In the worst of times that meant that she would bark, growl and charge that new person.  It has taken months of management and training to build enough confidence in her that I don’t feel overwhelmed by the prospect of taking her new places or having someone walk in my front door.  She continues to challenge me and makes me a better dog trainer and a better dog owner by being a part of my life.  We are in a constant stream of classes together from Rally Obedience and Agility to Barn Hunt.  I also love hiking with her- training a recall reliable enough that I can trust her enough to allow her to run off leash has been a huge undertaking and I am very proud of her ability to maintain a connection to me without any type of physical restraint.