Amelia Kellum B.Sc., CPDT-KSA, CTDI

Serving Hope and Chilliwack

Amelia is on maternity leave until 2023

Amelia Kellum is a certified professional dog trainer with nearly two decades of experience training dogs - including hunting, acting, and assistance dogs such as hearing, therapy, guide, and mobility dogs.

Amelia holds a Bachelors in Assistance Dog Education from Bergin University in Santa Rosa, California and is also a graduate of the Ben Kersen and the Wonderdogs professional trainer's program.

Amelia counts many of the North West's best trainers in her list of mentors, including:

  • Dr. Bonnita Bergin - Inventor of the mobility assistance dog and founder of Canine Companions for Independence.

  • Glenn Martyn - Head trainer of the San Francisco Hearing dog program and former head trainer of the Guide Dogs for the blind program in San Rafael, California.

  • Georgina Bradley, 'Top Dog' at DogStars, an animal talent agency.

  • Kyra Sundance - Author of 101 Dog Tricks.


Amelia's extensive training experience includes training service dogs for Pacific Assistance Dogs Society and West Coast Assistance Teams in Burnaby, B.C. where she taught dogs to help people with disabilities such as paralysis, Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy.

Amelia has also taught pet dogs like yours privately and in group settings for companies like PetCetera, earning certification as a group class instructor with Animal Behavioural Training Associates in 2005. Her own boxer, Doug, earned his Champion Trick Dog title!

Amelia can teach a dog to do pretty much anything:

Want your dog to win a trick competition or learn something special to help, amaze or just amuse? How about jumping over your head, getting a beer from the fridge, picking up laundry and then turning out the lights?

Want your dog to quit pulling on leash and start picking it up and handing it to you nicely? This is your kind of trainer.


Certified in Pet First Aid by DogSafe and taught by Dr. Anne Stark DVM as part of her schooling at Bergin University in canine health, Amelia has cared for fleets of up to 150 dogs, capable of anything from administering basic medical care to whelping litters (including providing amazing training IN the whelping box!).

Amelia's training methods are fun, fast paced, and hugely rewarding for dog and owner alike.


Amelia will return from Maternity Leave in fall of 2022.

How To Walk Your Puppy

How To Walk Your Puppy

February 01, 20244 min read

Stop And Smell The Flowers - How To Walk Your Puppy

Everyone knows that dog owners are expected to take their dog on a walk a couple of times a day.

It sounds fine in theory... until they try to get their ten week old puppy to leave the yard. Then their vet tells them not to take the puppy anywhere because it isn't vaccinated... but the dog trainer says to socialize it...

Cue screaming.

Yes, You Should Walk Your Puppy

1

First of all, yes, definitely take your puppy out for walks.

The first four months of a dogs' life are vital for socialization. If you wait until your puppy is fully vaccinated, it will be too late. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has released a position statement strongly in favour of socialization.

Incomplete or improper socialization during this important time can increase the risk of behavioral problems later in life including fear, avoidance, and/or aggression. 

Behavioral problems are the greatest threat to the owner-dog bond. In fact, behavioral problems are the number one cause of relinquishment to shelters.

Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.

--© 2008 AVSAB American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

Note:

It is still very important that your puppy sees a vet regularly through puppyhood and receives their monthly booster vaccines!

Puppy Walks Are Not Exercise

If you're used to getting 10k in before breakfast, it's time to kiss that routine goodbye for a while. In fact, if you're hoping to go around the block before breakfast you might be aiming too high.

Because your puppy is learning about the world, walks need to be taken slowly. Your puppy may be unwilling to even leave your front step before they've had a chance to sniff the air, and look around, and mentally adjust to the world.

Then your puppy will want to stop to check out everything. We mean EVERYTHING. A twig! A bird! A smell! And after every one of these your pup may need to sit down and THINK about what they just experienced.

Be patient. Your puppy is not thinking about toileting right now, or about getting in their daily cardio. Your puppy is creating a mental database of All The Things. Sometimes they get stuck on the loading screen, and that's okay.

Beware The Opposition Reflex

The "opposition reflex" is a term coined by Pavlov, which basically means "dogs try to escape when they're trapped."

Now understand that when your leash tugs at your dog's harness or collar, your dog feels trapped.

Now understand that until you relax that leash, you're not going anywhere.

As far as we know, Pavlov didn't give a name to the human need to turn leashes in marionnette strings, but let's call it the Puppet Reflex.

Stop Puppeteering Your Puppy!

That leash is a safety line to ensure your puppy doesn't wander into the road or down the maw of a roaming cougar. That's it.

Every time you try to use the leash to guide the movement of your dog, you're making them balk, and pull against you. This can become a habit that is incredibly hard to break.

You're also setting a really bad example. How can you teach your dog not to pull on the leash, when you can't even stop doing it?

I mean, we can land a man on the moon, but we can't model good leash manners for a puppy?

We're In This Together

When you're tied to a dog, and the dog is tied to you, you must now engage in a team sport.

You're the team leader. You're older, your brain is bigger, and you have a GPS on your phone. You should be the one leading the way.

But ultimately this is also a six legged race. Neither of you can move without the permission of the other, unless you drag each other which you do not want to do.

Instead, stand there and wait. Wait for your puppy to thoroughly investigate the area within the boundary of the leash. Wait for your puppy to process everything and feel ready to move on. Wait for your puppy to realize they are tied to you. Wait for them to look up.

When your puppy looks up, get very excited, praise them and rush forward a few steps, encouraging puppy to follow you. You can use treats, peanut butter on a touch stick, a toy, anything to make moving with you - engaging with you - fun. As soon as puppy looks away from you and starts tugging toward a bush, stop again.

Repeat.

You may not get far today, or tomorrow, or the next day. But when you do get somewhere, you'll get there together, and you'll move together for the rest of your dog's life.

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