- She believes that good dog ownership (and good dog training practice) begins with a genuine willingness to listen and to learn
- She likes to have fun with her dogs, not dominate them or use them to prop up her own ego
- She understands that part of being a responsible member of a professional community is learning to evolve with that community by staying up-to-date on research and best practices in the field and always working to better educate yourself within your discipline
- She never loses faith in the people with whom she works, even in the face of ignorance, cruelty, apathy, and insanity
- She was there for me when I was struggling to help my reactive foster dog, even when the rescue group I was fostering for wasn’t
- She specializes in training therapy dogs and service dogs, which by default means specializing in creating happy, healthy, well-adjusted, well-socialized family dogs who you can take just about anywhere. I’ll take that over a show ribbon or a random competition title any day.
- She knows that the quieter, calmer, more observant, and more hands-off you learn to be, the more successful you’ll be at handling dogs
- She knows dog training is about shaping and managing behavior, not suppressing it
- She knows that dog training takes care and time, not man-handling and gimmicks
- She believes that if you can achieve the same desired result, or better, using pain-free methods with your dog, then it is your professional, ethical and moral obligation to do so
Michelle McCarthy is owner and director of K9 Home Schooling in Chelsea, Michigan. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Certified Therapy Animal Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and is a tester/evaluator for Therapy Dogs Incorporated. As a therapy animal specialist, she is the primary person responsible for establishing a successful therapy dog presence in Washtenaw County, including the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) programs at the Ann Arbor and Chelsea District Libraries, and Ann Arbor Open School, as well as the Pawsitive Comforts Therapy Dog program at Chelsea Community Hospital.
Michelle offers 1-on-1 consultations and group classes and clicker training workshops in Ann Arbor, Saline and Chelsea. Regularly revisiting and reshaping her course offerings to best meet the needs of owners, she offers classes and workshops such as Companion Obedience, Charm School, Outdoor Adventures, Group Socialization Outings and Therapy Dog Prep School for puppies and adult dogs. She also offers seminars and workshops for dog trainers, training groups,veterinarians, groomers, shelter/rescue workers, dog walkers and pet sitters, including a workshop she developed in partnership with the Ann Arbor Center for Behavioral Pediatrics titled, “Pawsitive Comfort: Special Dogs for Special Kids,” in which she discusses the process of raising, training and working Social Support Therapy Dogs for children with special needs.