Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristin Reno.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
The one thing that’s stayed consistent my entire life is my love for animals. As a young child, I was infatuated with anything that moved- lizards, worms, birds, you name it! After many months of begging and pleading, I was finally allowed to get my first dog at the age of seven… and it almost feels like the rest is history! I could tell right away that the bond one could share with a dog was simply incomparable to that of any other species. I spent summers volunteering at our local SPCA and was the youngest kid in town that was granted permission to do solo walks with the shelter dogs; having a way with animals has always just kind of been my thing! In college, I was initially a “pre-vet” biology major, with the goal of becoming a veterinarian. Mostly because that was really the only kind of “classic” animal job I was really familiar with at the age of eighteen. I then took a couple of courses that truly just changed my life- Animal Behavior and Evolutionary Ecology; shortly after that I changed my major so that I could focus more on my new found love: behavior! Meanwhile, I was fostering dog after dog throughout college, still having no idea that it was canine behavior, in particular, that would become my life path & focus; it wasn’t until a local trainer came to my house to screen my current foster dog for a potential therapy dog position; his job would be to turn on lights, perimeter check and give the “all clear” for a young woman who was a survivor of a terrible and traumatic event that happened within her own home.
My foster dog didn’t end up being the best fit, but that trainer ended up staying at my house for almost two hours, letting me pick her brain about her career with childlike curiosity. I became infatuated with the idea that I could marry my love for dogs, my background in animal behavior & helping people live happier, more fulfilled lives, all in one career! I took a job at a high volume doggy daycare/boarding/training facility and put in some HARD work for 4.5 years, starting as a yard & kennel tech and leaving as a lead training consultant; after which, I took the leap to fly solo and work for myself. Here I am, over three years later, still LOVING what I do!
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
In some ways it’s been smooth, in that my love and passion for dogs and their welfare has never wavered; however, working in the animal industry, period, can be both physically and emotionally taxing at times. The very nature of signing up to build these incredibly intimate relationships with so many wonderful dogs and their humans comes with its fair share of heartbreak… but the fulfillment I get, paired with being lucky enough to do what I truly love for a living, outweighs the downfalls a hundred-fold! Also, being a one woman show means I have to wear a whole lot of hats… but I’m slowly starting to get better at time management and setting boundaries.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I label myself as a “Canine Behavior Consultant” / dog trainer, but I would say that I’m a human-canine liaison and relationship enrichment coach more than anything! And often get called “a dog whisperer”, haha! I essentially provide humans with the necessary insight and tools to build a more enjoyable and harmonious life together with their canine counterpart (s).. I always begin by talking through the fundamentals of relationship dynamics and how to effectively communicate what you want from your dog… as well as what they’re trying to tell you! I then move into building unique training & management plans that will provide the most relief for each family’s individual needs & lifestyle. I cover everything from puppy basics & socialization, to more complex behaviors like leash manners and energy management in exciting/distracting situations. I would say, over the years, if I had to “specialize” in one particular thing, it would be either leash reactivity or working with fearful & anxious dogs; my favorite thing in the world is helping a fearful or anxious doggo build confidence and feel more at ease & in control. I think what sets me apart from other trainers is my holistic approach to “fixing” things and that I adjust my training style & methods to best suit each individual dog I work with… always using positive reinforcement and working in a force free way! It’s amazing how far you can get when you build trust and show a dog that you’re not going to force them to do anything they’re uncomfortable with; it’s as if you see a lightbulb go off in their head and they switch from being anxious and unsure, to excited and empowered! As far as service options, I offer Virtual Sessions, individual Private Sessions and, my personal favorite, a Doggy Day School program.
What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
My biggest hope is that we see more regulation within the dog training industry in the coming years. As of now, literally anybody could call themself a “dog trainer” if they felt like it… it’s kind of wild! Unfortunately, there’s still just too many trainers using very “old school” methods in their training practice, which often involve an unacceptable level of physical punishment and correction based techniques. Positive reinforcement training is becoming more and more popular, not only because it’s the ethical way to interact and teach animals, but also because it’s scientifically proven to provide better results and teach new behaviors more effectively. So I hope to see more of this and more regulation standards in the direction of positive reinforcement training become the norm within the industry. There are organizations like APDT that provide helpful “humane hierarchies” to follow when it comes to training that should be used as industry standard and that all trainers should be held to.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @dogtraineratx