Matt Beisner, host of the Nat Geo WILD and Disney+ “Dog Impossible” series, headlines FETCH a Cure’s dog-training webinar, “Transform Your Training: From Correction to Connection,” on Friday, April 23, at 7 p.m. We invited Beisner and two other trainers from beyond Virginia to share their expertise in innovative fear-free training methods. Matt was attracted to FETCH a Cure due to the Pixie’s Pen Pals program, which matches rescue dogs and inmates in Virginia correctional centers for training. Working cooperatively and bonding with the animals, the inmates learn responsibility, patience, and tolerance, while the trained dogs find permanent homes. (Pen Pals is currently on hiatus due to the pandemic.)
Beisner’s pioneering, progressive approach focuses on the unique needs of each animal, allowing them to change some of their most dangerous, fearful, and confounding behaviors without reliance on fear, force, commands, or control.
“My work deeply reflects my personal commitment to the possibilities of transformation that each dog – and every human – has, regardless of what life has given us,” Beisner explains. “Simply put, there are no bad dogs, which, ultimately, gratefully, challenges me to see people differently.”
Matt Beisner, CPDT-KA (pictured above), founded THE ZEN DOG on the premise that there are no bad dogs. In learning to help them, we can help ourselves. And Matt would know. He needed a lot of help to stay alive. Letting the dogs guide him, Matt has helped change some of their most dangerous, fearful and confounding behaviors, without relying on the use of fear, force, commands or control. Matt’s work deeply reflects his personal commitment to the possibilities of transformation that every dog and each of us has, regardless of what life has given us. He lives with his wife, Brooklin, their four-year-old son and one-year-old daughter, and their five once “impossible” dogs.
Kasey Herrera (moderator), master trainer, behavior specialist and owner of 2SpeakDog, is a FETCH a Cure board member and PenPals trainer. She thrives on training in seminars and private lessons. As a petite person, Kasey believes training is not about physically handling dogs, but about mentally handling them. Her background in litigation jury consulting gives her a unique understanding of human behaviors, and she is able to apply that insight to building stronger dog-people relationships. Kasey lives in Richmond with her rotating pack of seven fur kids – some family, some foster – as well as additional dogs that visit or come by to play.
Dee Hoult, (MBA, CDBC, CPDT, CTDI), CEO and founder, Applause Your Paws Canine Training Center, Miami, won her first pet tricks contest in 1987 with Babe, a border collie mix. She can still vividly remember her father picking out Babe from a litter of pups on a relative’s farm, beginning her lifelong passion for animals. Applause Your Paws is Miami’s largest privately owned positive dog training company. Her company’s mission is to help dog owners improve their quality of life through enjoyable, connected relationships with their canine companions by providing engaging, positive education and non-intimidating training. Dee shares her home with one orange tabby cat, a bunny, three border collies, a black labrador, her son Jack and her English husband Sam.
Trish McMillan, McMillan Animal Behavior, Mars Hill, N.C., is a certified professional dog trainer (through CCPDT), certified dog behavior consultant and associate certified cat behavior consultant (through IAABC) who holds a master’s degree in animal behavior from the University of Exeter in England. She specializes in training and behavior modification work using positive reinforcement with dogs, cats, and horses. For three years she was the director of the animal behavior department at the ASPCA’s New York City shelter, helping staff, volunteers, and adopters work with animals and make great matches. Trish presents and consults nationally and internationally on canine, feline and equine behavior as well as on sheltering topics.