elena is wonderful! She is very knowledgeable and patient! she has already helped so much… in just one session.
Experienced in Many Areas
Committed to Top Notch Training
Kind and Thoughtful
Elena has had a lifelong passion for animals. She began training dogs at a young age with her family Beagles but was limited by the age of her dogs and her lack of formal training. She decided to pursue a relationship with another dog, Stella the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Stella became the dog that started the joy for training in Elena. Since Stella, Elena has worked with hundreds of dogs of every breed type, age, and personality. Her training philosophy centers around the belief that both the human and canine should thoroughly enjoy the training process. Elena uses positive methods combined with creative problem solving and brain storming to keep dogs interested and frustration levels down. One of the things Elena prides herself on most is being able to communicate how to get a behavior from a dog, why we are working on the specific behavior, and creating a plan to maintain high levels of training for the dog.
Elena has participated in professional training of all sorts. She has worked with various kennel clubs as well as private trainers on Obedience, Rally, Agility, and Conformation. Although she has used various forms of training such as prong collars, E-collars, etc, Elena sticks with positive reinforcement after seeing negative results from dogs as well as significant research on increased stress in dogs using these techniques. When deciding on a formal education through college, Elena made the decision to attend one of the top animal behavior colleges in the United States: Purdue University. Here she received a Bachelor’s of Animal Sciences, Behavior and Well-being as well as completing three minors in Biology, Anthropology, and Psychology. Through college at Purdue University, Elena began her journey into Service Dog training. As she progressed through school she also increased her experience in training for higher level behaviors such as off leash work and Service dog tasks. In addition to dog training, Elena has done extensive horse training for over 10 years. She believes this makes her a more well-rounded trainer who is more sensitive to her animal’s needs.
She pursues hundreds of hours of continuing education each year including attending seminars presented by some of the top dog experts in the world.
Elena uses positive reinforcement training with a goal of minimizing fear and force in how we interact with our dogs.
Due to her wide variety of training experiences, Elena has many tools available in her toolbox. Each dog demands a slightly different approach and being flexible is one of the most important parts of dog training. Food is used heavily in positive reinforcement training but Elena will encourage you to find other ways of rewarding your dog. Elena’s goal is to minimize stress, confusion, and frustration for both the dog and the handler in her training. She strictly follows the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainer’s Humane Hierarchy Flowchart and will consider many different approaches and factors in her training. Elena closely follows research on how dogs learn and updates her techniques accordingly. She reviews the newest research on training, dog psychology, and dog physiology weekly to keep up to date with new information that could be helpful for her clients. She also attends multiple dog shows a year with her own dogs with a goal to improve her own handling and proving her training techniques.
With the belief that the hardest part of owning a dog should be the vacuuming that comes along with the dog fur or hair, Elena prides herself on improving each client’s relationship with their dog. She uses a comprehensive approach to training that involves the dog’s behavior history, the dog’s emotional needs, the client’s training needs, and the dog and client abilities. Firmly believing that each dog is an individual and needs to be treated like one, Elena works hard to come up with creative solutions that will work with each dog. She uses her science background from her degree in Animal Sciences Behavior and Well-being from Purdue University to take into account the dog’s learning abilities and biological needs. From her minors in Psychology and Anthropology she uses her knowledge of learning theory to apply it to both training her dogs and helping her clients to understand how to train. Her Biology background helps her take into account the dog’s biological state when it comes to stress and other important physiological factors. Her experience with hundreds of dogs helps her be flexible in her approach and use methods that work for each particular dog.
Elena's Dog Accomplishments
Stella was the first dog Elena did any serious training with. Stella passed her Canine Good Citizen test at the age of 6 months and then continued to improve her Obedience and Agility skills. Unfortunately, time constraints prevented Elena from competing Stella until she was older. At the age of 9 Stella became a Therapy Dog with Therapy Dogs International (TDI). At the age of 10 she earned 4 trick dog titles through Do More With Your Dog!: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Excellent. She earned her AKC Rally Novice title at age 10 and her Rally Advanced title at age 11. She is currently 14 and retired from competition but still trains almost daily and participates in regular enrichment with Elena. Stella also participated in barn hunt and conformation.
Bruno is Elena’s current competition dog. He is a 4 year old Cardigan Corgi. He came to Elena with an AKC Conformation Championship title at the age of 14 months. By 16 months he earned his AKC Rally Novice title. By 20 months he earned his AKC Rally Advanced title and his Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced trick dog titles from Do More With Your Dog!. By 2 years he earned his AKC Rally Excellent title, AKC Novice Trick dog, AKC Intermediate Trick Dog, and AKC Advanced Trick dog titles. At a little bit over 2 years old he earned his Canine Good Citizen title and his Coursing Ability title. In under a year of training and showing he qualified for the Rally National Championships. In his first year of showing he also earned an AKC Achiever Dog Certificate. Currently Bruno is working on his Rally Championship title, Open agility titles, his barn hunt titles.
Additional Certifications & Offerings
Elena keeps up to date with new research on dog cognition, physiology, training, and other canine subjects. She also has worked with University of Tennessee in their Canine Fitness Trainer program to add this service to her clients. To further her canine fitness knowledge she attended a seminar with Dr. Chris Zink on fitness for canine athletes. In addition to all the other things offered, Elena has a certification in Trick Training in from Kyra Sundance of Do More With Your Dog. This gives her an edge in her Service dog training and also allows her to offer some fun, confidence and trust building activities to do with your dog.
She is also a referral trainer for A Sound Beginning, a program that primarily works with rescue dogs with behavior modification issues such as reactivity or anxiety. A Sound Beginning is also associated with the Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants and the Veterinary Behaviorists Dr. Ciribassi and Dr. Jokela.
Elena has the following accreditations:
Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) from the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT) through University of Tennessee
FitPaws Master Trainer (FP-MT) through FitPaws
Certified Trick Dog Trainer (CTDI) through Do More with Your Dog
Canine Life and Social Skills (C.L.A.S.S) Evaluator and Instructor through Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)
American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator
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