When I was seven years old I got my first dog, a Bichon Frise puppy named B.J. This event quickly launched me into the world of purebred dogs. I joined a local dog 4-H club and began learning how to train and show my dog. Training my puppy was no easy task; I never would have thought that a cute, small, fluffy dog could be so stubborn and difficult to train. Looking back at B.J.’s puppy days I would not have asked for anything different, everything he had put me through has made me both a better trainer, handler and even a person. I quickly learned as a seven year old how to be patient, not get frustrated easily and that hard work pays off. B.J. was not a completely unruly dog, and once I learned better training techniques, he was actually very trainable. Although, performing out in the ring whether it was Junior Showmanship, rally, obedience; he was preoccupied with everything else in the show environment. I learned how to get his focus and he is now one of the most reliable dogs in showmanship, has 3 Rally titles and our teamwork is like no other.
I would have never guessed that a childhood hobby of showing dogs could have inspired a possible career. I will be attending the University of Washington next year to study Psychology with an emphasis in Animal behavior. With this degree I plan to concentrate on research in animal behavior and become a certified Animal Behaviorist. I am most fascinated by how animals, specifically dogs, learn and their cognitive abilities. I also have a great interest in genetics and how certain behaviors are connected to the genes especially in a species with such diversity like dogs.