I am Florence Bernhard, the owner and creator of The Tail Wagger's Club. I have been researching animal learning, training, and behavior for over twenty years and have done research and training with everything from pigeons and doves to cats and dogs. I have been featured several times on NPR (National Public Radio) as their dog expert, as well as the focus of many newspaper and magazine articles about Therapy Dog work and Animal Behavior. I started The Tail Wagger's Club to help people better understand their dogs. If your dog can learn how to learn, you can teach him anything!
My training philosophy is positive; when we motivate animals to comply with our requests, we build a trusting, bonded relationship resulting in a more calm, confident, obedient dog. My ideaology aligns with that of world renowned Veterinarians and trainers Dr. Ian Dunbar and Dr. Patricia McConnell. I never use harmful equipment or tools like shock collars, choke chains, or prong collars. I use a scientifically researched and proven reward system because when we focus on rewarding animals for behavior that we want (a relaxed greeting at the door, a friendly introduction to another dog on a walk, waiting patiently inside the car when the door opens, coming when called) those behaviors continue and the unwanted ones (lunging and barking on the leash, escaping out the front door each time it opens, jumping and mouthing visitors) begin to disappear.
My main focus is on training the family dog, but I have been a consultant for Paws with a Cause, a service dog training agency based in Michigan. I have trained many dogs to perform very specialized behaviors that help create independence in the lives of people with disabilities. With time and patience, your dog can learn some of these unique skills too!
I have a BA in Psychology with a focus on Animal Learning, I am a certified pet dog trainer (CPDT), member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), member of the Animal Behavior Society (ABS), member of Therapy Dogs International (TDI), and a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC).