My love of dogs started at any early age....like at birth! I always thought I'd become a veterinarian but decided that medicine wasn't my forte'. I loved working with kids, dogs and playing sports. I graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Physical Education and Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology. I also got my MA from Wayne State in Physical Education Pedagogy. I became an elementary PE/Health teacher and loved it for over 20 years. I taught general education, special education, was a diabetic care aid, CPR/First Aid trained and CPI/Menta trained. I also taught RtI, religious education and coached softball and baseball.
My childhood dogs were Pepper (AKA Pepperoni-Samoyed mix), Misti (Dobie/GSD), Cubbie and Phantom (terrier mixes and littermates) . Without knowing it, I trained my first dog (Misti) when I was only 12 years old. And then of course I trained Cubbie and Phantom too.
Then I met the love of my life at Michigan State University and married my hubby Jim. That poor boy never had a dog growing up so guess what we did when we got home from our honeymoon? Yep, straight to the humane society to adopt our Jazmin (border collie mix). We found out that this crazy, lovable pup was an adoption return because who knew border collies needed so much exercise LOL. I credit her with REALLY getting me into dog training and all the fun activities you can do with your dog. I started training her for flyball and agility. Jaz and I were known as the "Spazmatic Duo". I decided one dog is not enough. Off to the humane society to adopt our Dizney (Lab/Malamute). Let's just say this gentle giant was estimated to weigh in at 85 lbs. Nope, 125 lbs later she also became a flyball dog. During this time, I started dabbling with training other owners' dogs as a hobby.
Then came the human children. Our daughter Sydney is 20 years old and is a junior in college. Our son Spencer is 17 years old and is a senior in high school. When Dizney passed over the Rainbow Bridge we adopted Twixx (beagle/boxer). Eventually my Jazzy left us at 16 years young and Reesez (Cattle dog/GSD) joined the pack. After fostering service dogs for a year, my hubs and I saw the positive impact a service dog had on our daughter and her disability. We then decided to add our Golden Retriever Bindi to the pack and trained her to be a fully vested service dog.
In 2016, I made the decision to step away from teaching and focus more on my family and our needs. I still had the itch to work with dogs especially after training Bindi for service dog work. I worked for a doggy daycare for awhile during this transition time. That's when the idea of opening my own business focusing on training, play and fitness for dogs and humans came about. I combined my love of teaching PE and the love of my favorite breed the mutt to come up with MUTTZ GYM! Every dog needs a job whether it be a family companion dog, therapy dog, service dog, etc. I love helping people and dogs learn to understand and respect each other through positive leadership skill training, play and FUN! I'm here to help bridge the communication gap between dog and human by helping owners learn dog language .At Muttz Gym, you'll train in a safe, fun and easy going environment. You'll be amazed at what you and your dog can accomplish together as a team! We hope to see you soon!
I am an AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) Evaluator and passed the Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed exam April 2022. I am currently working on my Fear Free Dog Training certification.