Meet Grace, Founder and Head Pack Leader of Urban Dog Leader, LLC!

“Working with dogs has taught me a lot about people. And working with people has taught me a lot about dogs. Both species are connected in that they require motivation to learn and a solid relationship founded on trust and communication. I truly enjoy working with both but I love dogs just a little bit more!” — Grace 

Grace has been training and working with dogs professionally for nearly 10 years. She is a certified trainer and behaviorist through Ralf Weber and a professional member of the IACP (International Association of Canine Professionals.) Grace and her dog Maverick are also members of the GRC (Gameness, Responsibility, Control) Dog Sport and are currently training to participate in an SR1 trial next year.  

Before her journey with dogs took flight, Grace discovered a love for horses. Working alongside horse training mentors she immersed herself in the behavioral understanding, riding, training, and rehabilitation of horses. Grace helped horses and their young riders build lasting relationships for four years.

It was because of her prior work with animals that Grace gained an early start in the dog training industry. As a child she was inspired by the show “The Dog Whisperer” and what she thought she knew about dogs was completely changed. She began caring for dogs in her youth. Her expertise continuously evolved through years of walking dogs. Soon, clients began noticing that their dogs would come home from walks noticeably more calm and well-behaved. It wasn’t long before they began requesting training advice. After helping numerous clients find balance and happiness with their dogs, this feedback inspired Grace to pursue her true calling with a passion.

She spent several years using Cesar’s philosophy with dogs. She soon realized that she could open her mind to other ways to train, so she started to seek guidance from several professionals in the industry across the U.S. Grace learned many approaches and methods from various mentors including balanced and positive reinforcement training. She finally decided on a training system that aligns perfectly with her values: Relationship-Based Training. Ralf Weber, owner and head trainer of Happy Dog Training, became her mentor in this method. He has spent the past 3 years mentoring Grace and she is now one of his lead trainers for behavioral work. 

She believes that the best and most effective form of training puts relationships first. She understands that all relationships take time to establish and training takes commitment and consistency. She does not believe in quick fixes, so if you are looking for a fast, easy solution, this is not a trainer for you. 

She has also been incorporating concepts used in professional dog sports such as PSA, IPO, Schutzhund, GRC to build precision and reliability into her pet dog training system. Grace loves working with all breeds and behaviors but has a true passion for training two extreme cases: insecure dogs and high drive, (usually working dog breeds such as Pitbulls, shepherds, terriers, hunting/herding breeds)  If your dog is absolutely crazy for prey, the tug toy or a ball, she can’t wait to work with your dog! 

One thing that Grace strongly believes and encourages is the continuation of learning and education. Our scientific understanding of dog behavior is always evolving, and it is therefore important to remain open-minded in adjusting one’s approach to helping dogs.

“You can never have too strong of a foundation in your education and life experience, just like you can never have too strong of a foundation with your dog.” 

Grace continues her passion for learning and regularly attends several dog training workshops, seminars, and internship opportunities every year. She has participated in many of these events hosted by internationally recognized behavioral experts such as Jay Jack, Chad Mackin, Pat Stuart, Joel Silverman, Cheri Lucas, Brian Agnew, and Nelson Hodges.

She hopes to attend these educational experiences in 2020:

  • Jay Jack SR 2 Workshop
  • Devine K9 Decoy Internship
  • Michael Ellis School of Dog Trainers
  • Heather Beck’s K9 Lifeline Workshop
  • Chad Mackin Shadow Student Program