I'm thinking that many of you may be new readers so I thought that I would introduce myself to you. That or at least give you a little insight as to who is behind "Just dogs with Sherri." I love writing about dogs; heck I love doing anything concerning dogs and I love nothing more than hearing feedback from you, my readers. There is a comment section at the bottom of each blog; love to hear from you.
It all started for me at the young age of 13; I was handed a leash and the rest is history. My show handling was mostly self taught through trial and error; but I did have the priviledge of receiving much knowledge from the renowned Marth Covington Thorne in Canada. I remember the day Martha said to me "young lady, never stop handling; the show world needs handlers like you," as if it was yesterday as she handed me my huge trophy. I started out in the conformation ring as a Junior handler and moved up to handling breeds of all kinds. Some of the breeds that stand out isn my memory are Dobermans of course, which was the dog that started it all. Airedales, Irish Deerhounds, Irish Terriers, Mastiff, Bull Terriers, Great Pyreneese, Shelties and of course Standard Poodles.
During my show years I was also active in obedience training. This was where I learned the conventional choke collar methods of training. I am not proud of training dogs like this but when I was 13, way back then; there was no other way. I never had fun training my dogs with this method and as soon as I learned of positive reinforcement training everything changed. I never looked back but I am happy that I have the conventional experiences. This gives me an insight into this type of training, the mind set and reason why I never use it. It is all a part of the evolution; one of the pieces of who I am today.
I gave up the show ring shortly after the birth of my first daughter; I put all my energy into being a Mom in a small town. As my children grew into their pre-teen years I became a well known baker in the area. I attended a weekly farmers market where I was quickly dubbed the "cookie lady." I also supplied a local restaurant with an array of cheesecakes which I have won many prizes for. During those years I was also involved with my dogs and did my own training and much hiking and other dog/human sports.
From baking I went back to the dogs as a Pet sitter. I loved spending the time while my children were in school just chill'n with lots of dogs. It is very rewarding walking and playing with dogs who spend their long days alone because their guardians worked all day. This was not a long gig as we were soon to move to California; so I gave up the dog walking and focused on the move. Once here in California I met and worked with another dog trainer and not long after that I became a private in-home dog trainer myself. Having years of experience behind me it was an easy transition. I loved it; for almost 15 years I have got to meet some amazing dogs and their guardians.
My specialty in dog training is behavior modification through positive reinforcement, focusing on living with our dogs in the best way possible. I love working with dogs and their guardians; helping them to come together, living life as smoothly as humans and dogs can. I have worked with everything from the tiniest little pocket pooches up to the giant Irish Wolfhounds and Great Danes. Each one was interesting and exciting in their own way and all play a part in life with dogs.
I started dabbling in photography and quickly discovered that this was yet another branch about to evolve. I am a freelance photographer with a preference for dogs. I do love photography in general but my camera is never far from a dog. I shoot for many of the big dog magazines and do private work. I love it all, capturing the very essence of a dog brings me great happiness. Having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and amazing dogs is truly a dream come true.
Throughout my years of training I have written and had many articles published. I have two books self published; many calendars, articles and photos published. I'm hoping to finish up my first training book very soon and others will follow. I am also working on a gorgeous coffee table book right now which has been a work in progress for several years now. As I always say, "life is an evolution of oneself," this has been mine in a nutshell.