Hi my name is Juan Galvis!
My beginnings in dog training go back to my early years growing in Colombia South America. I was very curious about how animals in general could learn and live productively, in harmony with humans. Growing up at a cattle ranch/farm in the rain forest I had a multitude of experiences with many different species of animals (Dogs, cows, goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, birds, even monkeys and large reptiles!) I empirically learned about animal's body language and behavior by pure observation. While in those days most of the training used by seasoned handlers was only aversive (using compulsion/intimidation as means to control/create/extinguish behavior) I always wonderered if there could be a better way to create a mutually beneficial relationship between animals and humans, a more fertile, humane and happier ground for molding animal behavior. I moved to the US to attend business school and after graduation I rescued a black Labrador, Cobi was a great dog and once again I felt at home using my experiences in training with him. Later came "Fuser" a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. All I can say is that he was a huge behavioral challenge to me at the time, he rendered every little bit of knowledge I had about dog behavior useless. So I obsessively started delving into psychology (both animal and human) and discovered the research in classical conditioning by Ivan Petrovich Pavlov and later B.F Skinner's operant conditioning work. While reading about their work I found a glimmer of light to my childhood question of: How animals could learn without using force only? I started trying operant conditioning training with my personal dogs balancing out the equation and was rewarded with better behavior and a much more enjoyable relationship. I felt as if I had conquered the Kilimanjaro mountain of dog training. In seeking even more specialized training I decided to become a student under well known dog sport trainer Michael Ellis (www.michaelellisschool.com). Michael's background and success in becoming a "trainer of trainers" is very interesting to me personally. I continually take part in courses and seminars with him. I consider him my mentor and one principal individual who raised the bar in my never ending and voracious quest for animal training/behaviour knowledge. Dog training is a science and an art at the same time, but it is always best learned from contributions of a multitude of individuals with diverse backgrounds. Some of my other influences have come from trainers like Ivan Balabanov (2 time IPO world Champion), Andrew Ramsey (Military K9 trainer), Lisa Maze (Multi sport intl competitor), Lisa Geller (Mondioring world competitor), and many more. I am confident that I can help you get to the top of your own dog "behavioral Kilimanjaro" by building a symbiotic relationship were both you and your dog learn what can be expected from each other. Dog training is never without challenges and sacrifice, but, with the correct approach, guidance and the right attitude you can be successful at maximizing both yours and your dogs potential.
I would be delighted to meet you!
Juan's childhood in South America!