Meet the Trainer

Caryl-Rose Pofcher opened My Dog, LLC in 2001, as a way to help owners build harmonious living relationships with their dogs through positive training and leadership. Her combination of training methods has evolved into a unique approach dogs and owners both love! Since 2005 she’s been based in Amherst. She offers private in-home sessions and conducts group classes at Dave’s Soda City in Hadley. She also offers classes in Leverett through Dakin.

Caryl-Rose’ educational background includes Certification with Honors in Behavior Adjustment Training (CBATI), a Masters of Education, and a Certificate of Graduation from Dogs of Course’ Instructor Training Course.  Additionally, she is a an Evaluator for the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Program, an Evaluator for the Association of Professional Dog Trainer’s Canine Life and Social Skills (C.L.A.S.S.) program, a Trainer Mentor for Animal Behavior College’s Externship Program, an Official Mentor Trainer for the CATCH Canine Trainers Academy, a full registered member in The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and a founding member of the Northeast Dog Trainer Posse, a group of dog trainers in the Northeast using primarily positive reinforcement training methods and well versed in Animal Learning Theory methodology, primarily operant & classical conditioning.

She also has published articles in The Whole Dog Journal, The Chronicle of the Dog (APDT), and Yankee Dog.  She regularly participates in workshops and seminars in the field as well, with internationally known animal trainers such as Karen Prior, Patricia McConnell, PhD, Bob Bailey, Sue Sternberg, Dee Ganley, Pia Silvani, Emma Parsons, Jean Donaldson, and Kathy Sdao.  Caryl-Rose attends dog trainers’ conferences such as Clicker Expo and the APDT Convention.

Of course, no description of a trainer would be complete without her dogs:

Caryl-Rose with her dogs Clyde (L, Boston Terrier) and Rover (R, English Bulldog)

Caryl-Rose with her dogs Clyde (L, Boston Terrier) and Rover (R, English Bulldog)

Clyde, a male Boston Terrier rescue originally came to Caryl-Rose as a foster dog but she says she knew very quickly that he’d be a permanent member of the family. She says that his first afternoon with her she showed him where to potty, bathed him (he was rank!) and let him rest. When she gave him his first little meal, he looked at the bowl, saw and heard her motion him toward it, and as he took the last step to it he lowered his head, sniffed, wagged his crooked little tail for the first time and before diving in…he looked up toward Caryl-Rose with such a soft, delighted face. She was his from that moment on. Later that evening when he picked up a dog toy and laid it at her feet, the life long contract was signed.

He’s had his challenges, Caryl-Rose says. At first, he became overwhelmed quickly and easily. Being anywhere except in the house or fenced yard was overwhelming initially, as was meeting new people, or seeing people running or shouting, for example. He expressed those feelings by biting HARD at human feet (punctured a leather shoe and made a dent in the skin beneath and unshod feet were also at risk) and bit leash and harness HARD too. “And don’t get me started on the work we’ve done around squirrel/rabbit/chicken chasing!” says Caryl-Rose with a grin. But he’s gained confidence, calm, self-control and what Caryl-Rose calls “worldliness” in slow, small, positive steps under Caryl-Rose’ guidance and training.

Clyde the Boston Terrier jumps the "tire" with Caryl-Rose beside him.

Clyde the Boston Terrier jumps the “tire” with Caryl-Rose beside him.

Nimble, full of energy and with a noteworthy tenacity for adventure and exploration, Clyde has begun training in agility, Rally-Obedience, family manners, Treibball, and fun scent tracking. He earned his Canine Good Citizen Award in December 2011. This was a big accomplishment because he LOVES to jump and lick in delighted dog greetings but it’s NOT good manners in the human world. In March 2012, Clyde earned his NTD and ITD titles (Novice and Intermediate Trick Dog titles).

Clyde is often full of surprise behaviors and keeps Caryl-Rose charmed every day!

And meet Rover, a female English bulldog, now firmly in her adolescence, whose purchase was carefully researched — with priority for a breeder whose lines showed good health and sound temperament and who provided careful and comprehensive puppy enrichment, stimulation and socialization.  Many people think of bulldogs as stubborn couch potatoes but with Caryl-Rose’ approach to training, Rover earned her Canine Good Citizen’s Award and, as you can see from the photos, is mastering all kinds of ‘higher’ learning, including Agility and scent tracking!.  She’s holding her own with the ‘longed nosed and long legged dogs’ in her competition Agility classes!   In March 2012, Rover earned her NTD and ITD titles (Novice and Intermediate Trick Dog titles).

Rover jumps through a hoop.

Rover jumps through a hoop.

Caryl-Rose says Rover is a snuggly girl and very affiliative in addition to being nicely social. While these are heartwarming traits, Caryl-Rose knows that in the extreme their attachment could make Rover somewhat more susceptible to Separation Distress or even Separation Anxiety so she’s been careful to incorporate preventative approaches into their everyday life together. As a result, Rover shows confidence and remains relaxed when left alone or in the care of another. “She’s such a delightful pup, I couldn’t have asked for more!” says Caryl-Rose.

Caryl-Rose describes bulldogs and several other breeds as “independent” not “stubborn” and she uses their independence to help train them to respond joyously to their owners’ cues. Many breeds are ‘purpose bred’ to make independent decisions and not always seek direction from handlers.

Rover is, of course, furthering her training in family obedience and will go on as Caryl-Rose determines her special talents and interests direct — one of the best things about individualized training sessions is exactly that, the chance to see and develop any specific talents or leanings your dog may have.

Caryl-Rose also enjoys hiking (in recent years exploring sections of both the Canadian and US Rockies) and figuring out home maintenance mysteries (e.g,. WHY does the garage door close and then re-open on it’s own? WHY does the furnace circulator pump sometimes fail to turn off? WHY does assembling the roof rake seem almost impossible?).

Best Friends!

Best Friends!

To contact Caryl-Rose, email info@mydogtraining.net or leave a message at 413-256-3647 (DOGS).