meet the trainer
Heather Ross CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA
Heather is a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine and Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed, who strives to provide the most effective training for you and you dog.
She trains using motivational, science based methods. This means making each task a game so our dogs are motivated to work with us in a training partnership. Our ultimate goal is to teach our dogs how to make good choices on their own so we don't have to micromanage behaviors. Every dog is an individual, so each training program is unique and dependant on exactly what the dog, people, and situation needs best.
Heather graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy with a significant portion of study on wildlife, society and our behaviors together. Her passion for education continues through seminars and study programs. She has also graduated Trish King's Academy of Dog Behavior. Many of the training techniques Heather uses take advantage of Neuroscientific concepts and neuroplasticity (the ability for the brain to rewire itself). By using modern cognitive science, training both behavior issues and obedience can be more effective.
In 2005 Heather began fostering dogs and in 2010 she founded an animal rescue. Through fostering dozens of dogs and coordinating finding homes for hundreds of others, Heather has seen and trained first hand a wide range of behavioral problems. Almost all dogs have needed the basic obedience skills to help them find their forever homes, but they also needed to learn to overcome any fears, reactive behaviors and self control issues to ensure the adoption would stick! She works by prioritizing reading the dog's body language, and keeping them comfortable at all times. Heather specializes in working with dogs that are dog reactive/aggressive, precision heeling for competition and focus skills.
Currently, Heather is lives on 5 acres with a former very(!) dog-reactive rescue Cattle Dog, Surly; Dutch Shepherd, Rex; and puppy Dutch Shepherd, Tango. Heather and Surly have gone on to compete in herding, agility, obedience, and Rally despite her being dog-reactive. She now is an official 'ranch dog.'
Rex came to Heather with a suite of issues. A major lack of impulse control, shutting down under any stress and a history of some very rough treatment in training. With lots of work, he has earned his IPO3 title (three times!), the highest of three levels in Schutzhund competition which includes obedience, tracking and protection phases. He earned the Top Scoring Dutch Shepherd at the 2016 Working Dutch Shepherd Schutzhund Nationals, 2nd IPO3 overall. Since tracking is his favorite, we've also gone on to achieve advanced Shutzhund tracking titles, the FH1 and FH2. He is also titled in Rally, Dock Diving and has his NW2 Nosework title.
Tango passed his Nosework Odor Recognition Tests at 6 months, Rally Novice Obedience title at 9 months, and at 10 months his Preferred Novice Obedience title. At 12 months, Tango earned his NACSW Nosework 1 (NW2 at 14mo) and Sniffing Dog Sports Advanced titles. Tango kept it up this year passing his Nosework 3 title THREE times to earn the NW3 Elite title. We're also having a blast training for Schutzhund, recently earning his IPO1 (a trial of obedience, protection and tracking) with the highest scores of all dogs in the trial in all three phases (out of 100, 97 points in tracking, 93 points in obedience, and 95 in protection) and overall High in Trial.