BEST LIFE DOG SERVICES | RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

Hi! I'm Gabrielle, owner of Best Life Dog Services.

I started Best Life with the intention of helping people and dogs live their best lives together. 

In 2008 adopted a little pit bull named Jolene and we had eleven wonderful years together. She inspired me to jump into the world of rescue and shelter work. I spent many years volunteering, rescuing, fostering, educating, and most of all learning. My work ranged from fostering shelter dogs, to on-the-ground support for the houseless population and their dogs in Hawaii, to outreach work here in RVA. 

 

I then had the wonderful opportunity to make my living working with dogs. For several years I managed a team of professionally trained dog handlers, and worked with dogs of varying breeds, backgrounds and personalities. 

I naturally became more and more interested in canine behavior. How to best help dogs who were scared, anxious, frustrated, or misheard became a key interest. I began learning more about training and behavior modification. I hold a Bachelor's Degree from VCU in psychology and in sociology, which has served as a wonderful foundation for understanding the process of learning and how we all interact. 

Dog training is completely unregulated in the United States. Ensuring that my training methods are in line with the latest scientific information we have available is important to me.  We are constantly learning more and that allows us to constantly do better. Growth is vital for us all. Please read on the science and ethics on which Progressive Reinforcement Training is founded. 

 

I regularly take advantage of the continuing education and certification opportunities available to me, and collaborate with many of the wonderful modern dog professionals in our area who are doing the same. 

It is equally important to me that our work together is ethically sound. Backed by what we know about learning and about dogs, we can rely on reinforcement, counter-conditioning, and desensitization to modify behavior and meet the needs of your dog and your family. Our work together will be force free, and will never rely on fear, pain, or intimidation to get results. 

Additionally, it is important to me to look deeper than the behavior itself and determine the function of that behavior. With a well-being based approach we ensure your dog's species-, breed-, and individual needs are being met. Incorporating enrichment, choice, and communication into our work allows us not to only create behavior change, but to increase your dog's well being (as well as your own!)

I am certified by the International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants as a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC).

 

To hold this certification one must have "passed a rigorous examination that tests their knowledge of dog training, biology, and species-specific behavior, as well as learning theory and practical training knowledge. IAABC's certification is based on case studies, not multiple choice quizzes, and each applicant is assessed by a panel of experts in dog training and behavior. All our consultants are bound by the IAABC Code of Ethics, chich includes a commitment to using the Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive effective intervention when working with your dog."

I am alsocertified through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Asessed (CPDT-KA). To hold this certification, I've demonstrated knowledge and understanding of key skills and scientific knowledge.

 

As a condition of my certifications, I adhere to certain ethical standards such as LIMA and I participate in regular continuing education opportunities so as to always provide my clients with the most up-to-date information from the scientific community. ​

Over the years my personal pack has changed, but I have always enjoyed spending time with my own dogs hiking in the mountains and playing at the ocean. Past and current pack members include love-a-bull pitties, intelligent border collie/hound mixes, an active little sighthound, and an exuberant German Shepard.

Non-Exhaustive Continuing Education Experiences and Certifications  

  • IAABC Conference 2019

  • Lemonade Conference 2020-2021

  • Aggression in Dogs Master Course 

  • Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed

  • Certified Dog Behavior Consultant 

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