Kay Lackey- Owner and Head Trainer
I have been around animals my entire life. I grew up on a small family farm learning how to handle and care for livestock. I helped a the local veterinary clinic for a few years, before I became a paid employee in high school. I had always wanted to be a veterinarian but changed my mind. I applied to a Wildlife Science program at State University of New York-College of Environmental Sciences and graduated cum laude. This program is rated as one of the best Wildlife programs in the United States. I had a major background on animal behavior. I changed my mind again on career choice my senior year. My rescued dog Rocky, Pit Bull mix, helped influence that decision. Rocky had a bad start to life and needed work on his confidence. I had always loved dogs and annoyed my family talking about them all the time. I realized that by helping Rocky, working with dogs is what I wanted to do with my life. I applied to two training schools and got into both but choose The Tom Rose School for Professional Dog Trainers. This program was a 4 month program that required me to work with dogs (my own and client dogs) 16 hours a day/7 days a week. I acquired Shawnee, German Shepherd, and Cree, Giant Schnauzer, to use for the program. Since school, I have started Katie’s Ark Dog Training, volunteered with guide dog programs and rescue groups, and have titled my dogs in multiple sports. My main passions in dog training are working with major behavior issues (aggression and/or anxiety) and training working, mainly service, dogs. I have found my passion and what I want to do with my life. My goal now is too help people develop a great relationship with their dogs and get the behaved companions that they have always wanted.
I believe training has to be based on mutual trust and respect. The dog has to trust you to be fair and clear and you need to trust the dog to make better decisions. A well-behaved and obedient dog is one that has respect for the boundaries or rules their handler asks them to follow. A respected handler is one that doesn’t force or push the dog into something it isn’t ready to handle and is very clear on what is expected of them. Without trust and respect, the relationship between the two is usually stressful to a degree. This is where I come in to help repair this relationship and open communication for both of you, so you can both benefit from lowered stress. This makes for a happy life for all of you. Every dog has a different temperament and the training plan needs to be drafted accordingly. The three most important words to remember in training are Motivation, Consistency, and Timing. Consistency is the most important. Consistency is what gives the clear communication to the dog. For example, a dog that is told “No” for jumping on anyone will learn faster than the dog that is allowed to jump on some people but not others. Timing is the next most important. Timing refers to the moment you give the reward or correction to the dog for their behavior. The better the timing the fairer and clearer you are in training. Motivation is what creates the happy dog that wants to please you. Motivation can be food, toy, tug, praise, or anything the dog loves. The greater the motivation the happier that dog is to be obedient.
Family Farm- I was raised on a farm with cattle, cats, hogs, and chickens. I also had rats, mice, and hamsters as pets.
Litchfield Veterinary Clinic- I worked with farm animals and companion animals. I received a great background in animal care. I worked with a wide variety of temperaments. Paid employee from 2000-2005.
B.S. in Wildlife Science from SUNY-ESF- this degree had an emphasis on Animal Behavior. Large part of study was on wolves (behavior, needs, and pack dynamics). Graduated cum laude in 2009.
Tom Rose School for Professional Dog Trainers- Mr. Rose is a world renowned trainer, competitor, and author. He teaches students in an intense 4 month program at the Dog House Kennel in High Ridge, MO. This is a program geared to training dogs with behavior issues and dogs for working situations. Attended from July to November 2009.
Elite K911- This is a training facility in North Ridgeville, OH. I am hired as an outside trainer to teach his agility, rally, and nosework classes. Working since 2012.
Seminars/Books- I am always continuing my education through independent study. I attend seminars and read books to continue increasing my knowledge. I believe dog training and animal behavior are continuously evolving fields.
Seminars I have attended:
- Canine Aggression with John Rodgerson (2010)
- What color is your dog? with Joel Silverman (2010)
- Pack to Basics Advanced Socialization with Chad Mackin (2012)
- E-touch and using retrieve to train with Martin Deeley (2013)
- Crucial, Cutting Edge & Common Sense Concepts in Dog Training with Dr. Ian Dunbar (2013)
- Dog Aggression with Tyler Muto (2013)
- Tug/Spring Pole with Jay Jack (2014)
- Faith in Handler and Leash Handling with Jay Jack (2015)
- Problem Solving with Tyler Muto (2015)
- IACP annual conference (2015)
- Nelson Hodges seminar on working with fearful dogs (2016)
- Fostering Seminar with Steffen Baldwin (2017)
- Training between the Ears: Resolving Conflict with Canine/Human Relationships with Mark McCabe (2017)
Competition- I used to compete in AKC (rally and obedience), IPO obedience, and Dock Dogs but I have been too busy to do that recently. Lure coursing is a sport I am just starting to get involved in.
Volunteer- Pilot Dog, Inc. puppy raiser for 7 years, an past therapy dog volunteer, Dogs on Deployment boarder, and a current foster home for a few area rescues.
Evaluator- I am a Canine Good Citizen evaluator. Approved in Feb 2011.