Personal Bio and Training

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Contact Char Turner: dogsontheball@gmail.com

Personal Bio

Training: My goal is to maintain a balance of enrichment, positive emotional connection and overall well-being. This includes activities to benefit physical, cognitive, behavioral, and relationship aspects. For me as a trainer, that means fitness, non-competitive scent work (nosework, tracking) parkour and  Cooperative Care training (as a former vet tech this has a special appeal and place in my heart). We also enjoy long walks in parks and at home on our farm.

In all training, my top priority is positive conditioned emotional response, relationship and trust. That includes overall CER (Conditioned Emotional Response) coupled with CL (Comfort Level), which requires assessing and adjusting to the individual dog. When you prioritize the dogs’ needs, your goals become clear. With growing awareness of these aspects and the desire to continually improve, my training has evolved to incorporate concepts and tools from many accomplished and knowledgeable trainers. These are the people with whom I continue my education on a regular basis to help me maintain these goals.

In the past 20 years especially, my sources for education and growth have been many. I have been especially inspired by the teachings of Dr. Deb Jones, Leslie McDevitt, Denise Fenzi, Michele Pouliot, Pat Miller, Julie Daniels, Ken Ramirez, Karen Pryor, Shade Whitesel, Kathy Sdao. I continue to broaden my learning from many other trainer educators through the Clicker Expos and Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, among others.

My Dogs: I have had a nonstop stream of wonderful dogs throughout my life, all of whom are my teachers. My current companions are both sighthounds, Flash, a Whippet, and Wilkie, a whippet x Cirneco D’ell Etna. Both sensitive, loving and bright. They also each come with their own set of training challenges in varying degrees-extreme prey drive, environmental sensitivities, and tendency toward emotional fragility. At the same time, they both love to learn and train various activities and they teach me every day!

Other: In addition to dog training, I owned and trained horses for over 30 years. I am a licensed Vet Tech and worked in both large and small animal practice for over 15 years. At home on our farm, my husband and I have raised livestock for over 45 years, including sheep, beef cattle, and currently dairy heifers. These days you will often see Holstein heifers in the background of my training videos:) Positive reward-based training also carries over to managing the livestock, as my husband Keith also practices humane and low stress livestock handling methods.

Education and experience: A.A.S. degree in Animal Husbandry, A.A.S. in  Veterinary Technology with a B.S. in Health Sciences (concentration in Animal Health), and C.C.S. in Biotechnology. Work experience includes owner/operator of a dog grooming business, 15+ years as a practicing licensed veterinary technician in mixed animal practice, veterinary research project manager, and college laboratory specialist.

Credentials, affiliations:

Continuing education, since 1991:

  • 2018- 2022, presentFitness and Scent Sports– Continuing education in this area has included parkour, fitness classes and webinars through FDSA and AKC (certified Level 2 Fit Dog Instructor). I have also taken a concentration of FDSA Scent Sport classes, many at the gold level. These include: Tracking (3 levels), Scent Theory and Dynamics, Building Confidence in the Nosework Dog, Nosework all 3 levels, Nosework Games. Plus many other scent sport webinars from FDSA, Scentsabilities Nosework, and Scentwork University.
  • Since 2013, I have been a student of the Fenzi Dog Sport Academy, (FDSA) continually taking online courses in relationship-based training for all dog sports and enrichment. I also serve as FDSA teaching assistant for many of Dr. Deb Jones’s FDSA classes
  • 2019-March 21-24 Clicker Expo, Washington D.C. 
  • 2018-Sept. 23- Stunt Dog Judge Certification with Kyra Sundance (Do More With Your Dog), All Dog Adventures, Richmond, VA
  • 2018- April 14-15. 2 day seminar with Michele Pouliot, Wholistic Hound, Alexandria, VA.
  • 2017: July 15-16. 2 day seminar with Michele Pouliot, at Wholistic Hound, Alexandria, VA.
  • 2016: November 13-14. 2 day Seminar and workshop in Mebane, N.C. with Shade Whitesel, Fenzi Academy faculty in Competition Obedience and IPO.
  • 2014: Clicker Expo, March 29-31, Norfolk VA. (Instructors Ken Ramirez, Kay Laurence, Michele Pouliot, Kathy Sdao, Hannah Branigan)
  • 2013: Trick Dog Instructor Certification Workshop  (Do More with Your Dog, Kyra Sundance), Richmond, VA
    Pat Miller 2 day Shaping Camp (Peaceable Paws, Fairplay, Maryland)
  • 2012-2017: World Treibball League, participant
  • 2010-11: Treibball workshops (4), by Pat Miller, Peaceable Paws
  • 2010: Clicker Expo Lexington, Ky. Instructors: Ken Ramirez, Joan Orr, Helix Fairweather, Kathy Sdao, Jesús Rosales-Ruiz, Ph.D., Jenn and Steve White, Eva Bertilsson and Emelie Johnson Vegh.
  • 2009: Guiding your Dog to Greatness, Virginia Broitman Clicker Workshop (Glen Allen, VA) 2 days- clicker, shaping and targeting.
    Michele Pouliot (Red Lion, PA) 2 days-clicker training for performance and competition.
  • 2008: Stuart Mah (2 days agility). Jane Killion (clicker/shaping for agility).
  • 2007: Canine Freestyle Festival (VA)- 3 days, clicker seminars by Kay Laurence, Julie Flanery, Diane Balkavich, and Nancy Von Koehnnen.
  • 2006: John Rogerson (Richmond, VA) (3 days-training for performance and competition obedience)
  • 2005: APDT Rally Judges and training seminar
  • 1991-2004
    Veterinary Technicians C.E. conferences -1991, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004;
    National and Regional Veterinary C.E.: American Veterinary Medical Association Conference 1992 (Pittsburgh, PA), North American Veterinary Conference 1994; Mid Atlantic Veterinary Conference (York, PA.) 1995

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