Cheryl: Well, after 33 years as a dental assistant, I realized that my passion was always with dogs. I had this very difficult dog named Fiona. She’s now nine, and at the time she needed some great behavioral changes. She was over-the-top hyperactive. I had two options: get rid of the dog, or become a trainer and see what I could do to help with her behaviors.So in 2008, I pulled out of my dental career. They thought I was crazy, but it was just a great opportunity to pursue my dream of working with dogs. Then I got hooked on Clicker Training because I enjoyed the mark and reward system.
With Fiona, working with the clicker trains her to do an alternative behavior when she goes into reactive mode. It helps with teaching her what to do without falling back on aggression. And, focus is the most important thing because, without that, you don’t have behavior change. With Clicker Training, that mark – the click – becomes the focus, and then they know a reward is coming.
So, first you train your dog to actually pay attention to you. Then, you can start training for those positive behaviors. When you have aggression, hyperactivity, or a sensitive dog, you work on focus first by calling their name and having them look into your eyes. And, if you don’t have a shy dog, you can do targeting with a hand touch.
Wondercide: Why did you choose to educate yourself on canine nutrition?Cheryl: I have a Golden Retriever whose digestive tract has always been really bad. I researched dog nutrition because I couldn’t find a commercial food that she would tolerate. So, I switched her to a raw food diet. I do feed some of my dogs dry food, but it is the best of the best. I also feed raw vegetables to my dogs and supplement with omega 3s.
It’s so important to read labels. Most mainstream dog food is of poor quality. The baking process destroys nutrients. And, carbohydrates and grain fillers, such as corn, are often added. Fillers lack nutrients. They’re now finding that corn causes allergies in many dogs.
Good nutrition can change behavior. If you go grain-free, you can sometimes see improvements. It’s the same with children. When they don’t feel good, they don’t act good. They’re sick – they’re not feeling well. You know? And here we are using processed foods for our animals, and we’re thinking they’re fine. They’re not.
Wondercide: Aside from raw feeding, what other holistic practices do you incorporate into your lifestyle?
Cheryl: I go to my hometown vet, but I also see a holistic vet because it’s an additional layer of pet care. Mainstream vets are not taught nutrition. What they know about nutrition is often sponsored by mainstream pet food companies. These companies put their own spin on what to feed. The holistic vet has gone deeper into studying nutrition and alternative things you can do for your animals’ health. For myself, I get massages; I eat properly; I do essential oils. I also use essential-oil-based products that I get from an herbalist on my dogs.
Wondercide: How do you use Wondercide at home and for your business?
Cheryl: I learned about your products when I expressed my concerns about how we are over-medicating and over-vaccinating our animals to my holistic vet. I mentioned that the topical flea medication made me particularly nervous because of the toxicity. Dogs are very scent-oriented. That’s their main focus. When I pulled out the traditional spot drops, they would run. When dogs smell something they don’t like, they’ll run from you! It would just hurt my heart when they’d run from this product. And us, having that on our skin… I’m thinking half the time I get it on myself while applying it, and then I end up petting my dogs, forgetting that it has to dry. So, I get those toxins, too. It’s just not a win for anyone.
My holistic vet enthusiastically recommended Wondercide, so I started ordering it online and using it on my dogs. I can spray down the dogs easily. They don’t have that reaction to run into the bedroom and hide underneath the bed. It protects against fleas, larva, eggs, and all that stuff! I use Wondercide in the house and on my four dogs. It really works! I haven’t tried the outdoor product yet, but that’s next for me.
Wondercide: Is there anything else you want to share with our readers? Cheryl: I just think this is a great product, and I only promote products that I believe in and use. Unlike traditional spot drops, Wondercide smells wonderful; I like the lemongrass. It’s a wonderful product because it’s so safe; it’s safe around children and people with poor immune systems.
Wondercide: Seems like dogs have a much better sense for those things than people do sometimes. Cheryl: Oh yeah. We haven’t even scratched the surface of what they can accomplish with smell. I have a diabetic alert dog I trained for my husband. Dogs can sniff out cancer, bombs, and drugs; there’s so much they can do because they’re scent-oriented. Why use something that is aversive to them when you can find a product like Wondercide where they think, “Oh, okay. I like this. Go ahead and spray me!”?
Cheryl Flemming is a certified professional dog trainer based in Portland, OR. Cheryl specializes in clicker training, with a positive and respectful approach. Her special areas of expertise include working with dogs that exhibit behavior challenges such as barking, aggression, and extreme shyness. She is also skilled when it comes to more common challenges like jumping, digging, pulling, rushing out the door, and chewing.