The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

May 5, 2013

Owners need to learn ‘dog talk’

The ring bearer waited patiently for the cue, and then trotted down the aisle with the wedding rings in a basket — in her mouth.

The attendant was Shudders, a Jack Russell belonging to Amanda Chamberlain, and the big event was Amanda’s marriage to Jim Silvers.

The dog was perfectly behaved, and everything went off without a hitch — thanks to Chamberlain’s background as a dog trainer and owner of Paws & Pals Academy.

In fact, anyone can train a dog — and even a cat — if you make it fun and use lots of positive reinforcement, she said.

Chamberlain, who lives in Attica, Ind., is a certified dog trainer who’s been giving classes in the Danville area for four years. A new set of classes is slated to begin this month.

Besides Shutters, 4, she has a three-legged cat named Leggo.

A native of the Rensselaer, Ind., area, Chamberlain graduated from Purdue University as a registered veterinary technician. She formerly worked at Vermilion Hillcrest in Danville and at Country Critter Care in Attica, and now works part-time at Creekside in Lafayette, Ind.

As a vet tech, she said, “I saw a real need for education and positive reinforcement.”

She’s been training pets for more than 10 years, but became serious about her mission in the past five years, and now trains six days a week. She gives both group and private lessons. The groups are limited to seven people, and the in-home classes are limited to seven people a week.

Chamberlain travels a 35-mile radius from Attica; after that, she charges a travel fee for in-home clients.

The biggest problem between people and pets is that we don’t speak the same language.

“My job as a trainer is to open the lines of communication,” she said, “and teach English as a second language.”

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