Training for Humans With Dogs



Shannon Thier


Welcome to learning more about the first and last trainer you will ever need! The passion that I have for helping you have a cohesive, loving relationship with your dog using only gentle methods is unparalleled. 

I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Certified Trick Dog Instructor, Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, Animal Behavior College Alumni and Mentor Trainer. I am an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Evaluator, a Karen Pryor Academy Puppy Start Right Instructor, Dr. Marty Becker Fear-Free Certified Professional, an active member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and am PetTech Certified in safety, first aid and CPR.

My Story

I started training horses and ponies at 6 years old. By 13, I was teaching my phony, Peaches & Cream, tricks [I will have a photo of my teaching her to bow inserted here], and Three-Day Eventing with my Thoroughbred, Zachariah. I've always worked with animals, even just for fun while attending the University of Miami, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with General Honors with a major in Communications. Training animals was always a hobby.

...they were a shell of their former selves. Their spirit was gone.

It wasn't until about a decade ago that I became a professional trainer full-time, after one irresponsible moment with one of my dogs, I had let my dog off leash for a moment, and she ran over and bit the tip of a chihuahua's tail. Never having bitten a dog in 6 years ever, I was stunned. My community gave me 3 days to "get rid of my dogs," which was not an option. I found a 3-week boot camp for them, bought out of my lease, paid the charges for the chihuahua's injuries and the owner's bloody clothes, my attorney, and first month + security at my new house. So one second of my being irresponsible ended up costing me over $12,000. I don't want this to happen to you.

When I got my dogs back, they knew all sorts of beautiful "commands" (I call them "cues"), however they were a shell of their former selves. Their spirit was gone. I found out that the boot camp used choke chains and sprayed my dogs with vinegar. One of the two wouldn't look me in the eyes for almost 2 years. She did all the cues I asked for, but our relationship was damaged. Punitive training worked to teach them behavior, but it ruined the trusting bond I had with my dogs.

Why I Use Positive Reinforcement Dog Training

As soon as I got them back, I realized that there has to be a more positive way of teaching an animal, so I enrolled and graduated from Animal Behavior College, and attended every conference (APDT, PPG, IAABC, Clicker Expo, etc.), educational seminar and workshop that I could to hone my skills. I volunteered at the Irvine Animal Care Center, and started working with people and their dogs one-on-one. I abandoned my career in Communications, and despite the huge decrease in income, I knew that my passion was helping others avoid what happened to my dog and share positive training with others.

Once I instituted clicker training and positive reinforcement with my dogs, they came out of their shells, looked me in the eyes, clearly enjoyed the training, and we formed a bond like no other. The dog that bit the chihuahua, a Husky/Dalmatian mix who is now almost 16 years old ended up passing her CGC, and became a seizure-alert service dog. At 14, she began titling in Nose Work, won the coveted Harry Award, as well as Pronounced in all four elements, which is rare and highly commendable. Her sister, Husky/Dalmatian Pongo earned her Expert Trick Dog Title. Presently I also am a foster failure with a 2 year old Cattle Dog/Staffordshire mix named Maeby who is in training to do service dog work.

I make learning for both you and your dog fascinating, fun, and frankly, really cool.

Achieve Your Training Goals Without Ever Hurting Your Dog

My goal is for you to avoid any costly mistakes like I made - everyone says their dog will never bite, until the first time it happens. Progressive training is fully devoted to respecting your dog's needs and motivations, by learning about body language (dogs are communicating all the time yet most people don't "speak" or understand dog body language). By teaching this way, I make learning for both you and your dog fascinating, fun, and frankly, really cool.

Let me train you. I can achieve your goals without ever hurting your dog, and I never forget about the other end of the leash - yours. I teach trust, I fix problem behaviors, and I create a lasting bond that you will cherish with your dog. I am here for you.


Professional Affiliations