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Last updated 2/2016

 

 

Biography

Greetings and welcome.

Let me take a bit to introduce myself and my dog related history.  My name is Karen Peak,  I have been married since 1993 and am an At-Home mother of two.  My husband and I share our home with four dogs, six cats,rabbits, guinea pigs, a hamster and a chincilla. My mother breeds and shows Shetland Sheepdogs and has been involved with the breed since before I was born.  She is supported by my father who is always in the background My sister is a veterinarian/breeder who recently relocated from Michigan to Virginia.  I have come from a very canine oriented background! My brother is the only one who decided to break from family tradition - he is an architect but he and his wife own a lovely Lab.  

I began formally working with dogs in 1982, when I was twelve. I was one of the two youngest members of the Old Colony Obedience Club in Massachusetts (my sister was the youngest)   At 13, I created a Pet Therapy/Visitation program as part of a volunteering project through my parents' church.  My first Sheltie (as well as my sister and her Sheltie) and I visited several nursing homes and a rehabilitation home for severely handicapped children.  I continued my program until college - just over five years.  After getting married, I began doing Therapy work with the Pets and People Foundation in Massachusetts for an additional 2 1/2 years.

During my junior high and high school years, I volunteered and later became a staff member at an animal shelter in Salem, MA (while showing and continuing with my Pet Therapy project).  Along with regular animal care duties, I would teach dogs basic manners to increase their chances of adoption - this was done on my own time.  It was while I was here, I learned that many dog are given up for what owners consider behavioral problems.  These dogs were generally adolescent, unspayed or neutered dogs that were never taught proper social skills as puppies.  Now, these dogs were unruly teenagers their owners could not or would not handle.   The importance of working with your dogs was driven home to me at a young age. It was also while working here and as an OCOC member that I realized that many training techniques are based on intimidation and pain of various sorts. I began looking for more humane and enjoyable alternatives.

Other canine work I have done includes volunteering at Gail Fisher's All Dogs Inc. Weekend Dog Play Group and a former Guiding Eyes for the Blind volunteer.

As an adult, I am a member of the Blue Ridge Shetland Sheepdog Club, the United Shetland Sheepdog Association, Granite State Shetland Sheepdpg Club, Association of Pet Dog Trainers, Pet Professional Guild - Association of Force Free Pet Profesisonals and an affiliate member of the IAABC.  I have future plans to take the a certification test when my human kids are older and I have the time and money to travel for testing and to keep my CMEs/CMUs up!

My dogs have obtained titles in Conformation, Agility and Obedience and two are formerly registered therapy dogs with Therapy Dogs International. Due to children and such, I am not competing as much as I used to. I am helping my children find their paths in dogs should they choose.  Both my children compete in Junior Handling, UKC Conformation and started Agility in the summer of 2009.  For fun I have taught my dogs Drafting and Skijoring.  But my main goal with any dog is having a well-behaved companion. This is what I hope to pass on.

Dog related resume.

Memberships and Associations:

 Pet Professionals Guild * Association of Pet Dog Trainers * International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants * United Shetland Sheepdog Association * Blue Ridge Shetland Sheepdog Club * Granite State Shetland Sheepdog Club * Will O'Wisp Shetland Sheepdogs

West Wind Dog Training is registered and licensed in Prince William County, VA and insured.