top of page


“You don’t always get the dog you want, but you get the dog that you need.”

-Cesar Millan


Learning To Take The Lead

Kennady Allie and Angel 010.jpg

Growing up, my parents were not animal people and any pets furrier than a fish were not allowed in the house. So my love for pets led me to befriend all the dogs, cats, bunnies, and other creatures in the neighborhood. After reading an encyclopedia about dogs in the 4th grade, I was determined to get a dog of my own. It took two years of research, dog-sitting for neighbors, and more than a bit of persuasion to convince my parents that I was ready to care for a dog entirely by myself. Finally, with their permission, I took in a six-month-old Border Collie Akita mix who was about to be surrendered to the animal shelter. I had high expectations for my young dog and gave her the name Angel.

I couldn't wait to put my research into practice, and I taught her sit, down, come, and rollover the day we brought her home. It didn't take more than a few weeks, though, for some of her less-than-angelic behaviors to appear. She was unpredictable with new people, and in some situations resorted to biting when she'd had enough. She became aggressive toward other dogs, even dogs that she played with regularly. As she grew into a strong 90-pound adult, her unsocial demeanor, intense prey drive, and high energy became difficult to control. I spent countless hours year after year, searching the internet, studying training books, and working with a number of dog trainers to find solutions. 

Raja Kermit and Angel copy.jpg

I became well-versed in a wide variety of training methods. I learned the dog-whisperer style of energy, discipline, and proper exercise. I practiced correction-based training using prong collars, shock collars, and check chains. And I became proficient in treat-based, positive reinforcement training, too. Over the years she acquired more than 50 different training commands (including fetching me a water bottle out of the fridge!). Although she was exceptionally well trained, it wasn't until I learned how to become the pack leader in her eyes, that her behavior really became manageable. With the pack leadership resolved, our training took on a whole new level. Once she knew that I had taken on the responsibility of being her leader, her beautiful, loyal, and sensitive nature could really show. She didn't transform into a happy-go-lucky friendly dog, but now we have a relationship founded on trust and respect.

Whether we are at home or out in public, I can have confidence that she will calmly follow my lead. As I've worked with dogs as a dog trainer, boarding facility technician, pet-sitter, and animal shelter volunteer, I've come to appreciate the way they process the world. When we can communicate with them in their language, we can connect with them on a far deeper level. My goal is to share what I've learned to help owners strengthen their relationships with their dogs, because a better relationship means happier dogs and people. 


Let's start training!

Allie Chatelain

Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist

(385) 484-9443

bottom of page