Meet Allison - Founder and Behavior Consultant
CPDT-KA - Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, given by the CCPDT, certification council of professional dog trainers. This certification "measures a broad range of knowledge and skills in ethology, learning theory, dog training technique, and instruction."
Professional Fear Free Animal Trainer - certification course available to qualified trainers and setups trainers to be able to "prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety and stress and improve an animal’s emotional well being during veterinary care and home care."
Professional Member, Association of Professional Dog Trainers. (APDT)
Canine Training Professional - Pet Professional Guild (PPG)
Supporting Member - International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
AKC CGC Approved Evaluator - Given by the American Kennel Club, Canine Good Citizen evaluator
Creator of Paws with a Cause - Folsom Prison Dog Training Program with shelter dogs
Founder of Daack Pack Dog Training, Allison Daack, has been working with and training dogs, along with other species since 2008. In the beginning of her career, Allison was a Kennel Technician working closely with a Veterinarian where she learned all about developmental periods of dogs, handling skills and how to prevent behavior issues.
From there she spent several years working with exotic animals at numerous wildlife facilities and reserves, first in North Carolina, then California. She did everything from educating the public, rehabilitation, and using training to help animals cope with life in captivity, usually due to injury or illness. Her passion for behavior modification began with teaching cooperative care cues to a Black Vulture in the raptor / avian exhibits.
Allison then had a long career with Petco, where she became a Dog Training Mentor. Not only did she train other dog trainers to be dog trainers, she taught group classes, and was an integral part of a corporate team that created continuing education materials for trainers, and updated Petco's dog training program.
However, Petco does not take behavior modification clients, so on June 1, 2016, Allison founded Daack Pack Dog Training as a way to better support the needs of her clients whose dogs might struggle with fear, anxiety, or display aggression. Through this company she has been able to provide the community with custom, in-home training to support their specific needs and the needs of their pets.
From the beginning of her career through today she has trained and applied behavior modification to a wide range of species and prognoses. Whether you are looking for help dealing with a high-energy dog, dog or people directed aggression, separation anxiety, inter-species conflicts, leash reactivity, a shy and hesitant dog, etc.; Allison would be happy to work with you to find a solution through a customized training plan.
Allison is also a great believer in continuing education for herself, yourself, and your dog. Each situation, pet, and household is entirely different, that's why each training plan is customized to you and you dog's specific needs. She is able to help with a wide variety of cases through her vast experience but specializes in dog aggression and prevention.
Through her dedication to continued learning, 13 years of experience, and passion - Allison can help empower you and your dog to live a less stressful, more enriching life together.
One training story Allison wanted to share in her own words:
Separation anxiety is something that more pet owners are becoming aware of, and it’s a behavior that we are seeing more frequently than a couple years ago in the dogs we work with at Daack Pack Dog Training, INC. Treating separation anxiety has elements that can make it more complicated but treatment does have a much higher success rate than most people think. A lot of times with separation anxiety, people can focus on the behaviors that tend to affect us directly, like destruction or barking, when separation anxiety can present differently with each dog.
A dog could have moderate or severe separation anxiety without destruction or barking. We can see separation anxiety present with things like shadowing, hypersttachment, frenetic behavior upon arriving home, fixation of point of exit, self mutilation, aggression, physiology changes, even excessive shedding, etc. There are a lot of unique ways dogs can express anxiety, just like people have unique ways to express their own emotions. Some of us may withdraw and internalize, while others may be vocal and direct or try to distract ourselves.
I want to talk about one of the more severe anxiety cases I have seen in the last couple of years. Since it’s something more and more people are experiencing as our lives keep fluctuating, I thought it would be a good topic! Let’s talk about Kona, a 2-3 year old herding mix. When I met Kona it was because another dog passed away in the home that he was really attached to and started developing what seemed like separation based anxiety behaviors. Two weeks before reaching out he had broken through a window and his pet parents knew it was finally time to call for help.
In Kona’s most severe expression of anxiety around separation, he had broken through a second story, double paned window after he'd broken out of the metal crate he was in. His separation anxiety was so severe, he broke his crate (cutting himself up in the process), then pawed and scratched at the window and surrounding wall so forcefully that he broke his nails down to the quicks (a dog’s quick contains an artery and nerve). He finally succeeded in breaking through one, then the second, pane of glass, and leapt out the second story window, falling to the porch roof about 10 feet below. The photos of the destruction were really devastating. I always think about the emotions an animal would have had to be experiencing in moments like this. It’s heartbreaking.
Kona's case of separation anxiety escalated because the other dog in the household, who Kona had grown up with, passed away. Beforehand it sounds like he may have suffered from milder separation anxiety, as did the other dog. Kona was never without that other dog, and when he passed, Kona's separation anxiety amplified. He began self mutilating, climbing over the back yard fence and escaping, vocalizing non-stop, eliminating in the house when left alone, chewing at the walls, fixated on points of exit, and obsessively panicking about all departures. He had a lot of triggers, from being crated, to doors being closed, multiple aspects of the client’s departure process, the particular bzzzt sound the client's electronic door locks made, even one squeaky step that led to the exit - all sent him into a full blown panic attack.
Kona's success story is one of slow, methodical, collaborative work with his parents. It began with a stimulus vacation, attempting to take as many triggers out of his routine as they could, and leaving him alone as infrequently as possible. We then taught him targeting behaviors, rewarding him for choosing to interact with targets such as his beds, his crate, and floor mats. We rewarded him when we saw him exhibit independent behavior, and he also began a behavior medication regimen that reduced his baseline anxiety. We used counterconditioning and desensitization very slowly, one step at a time, to reintroduce those things that used to trigger his panic. We focused heavily on desensitizing him to a variety of triggers around his family's departure. We also increased his enrichment during the day, and especially when left alone.
It took us many many months of regular training. His extremely dedicated parents worked with him multiple times a day between training sessions, and also adjusted some of the routines of their daily lives to lessen the stress Kona would experience regularly. Some of these routines continued, even after Kona's extreme reactions were under control, since Kona will always need a certain level of behavior management for his anxiety.
Kona is a case I'm very proud of. It’s an example that using scientifically backed methods in a patient, systematic, and evidence driven way with diligent owners reinforcing what I taught during his weekly sessions, that even extreme cases can be helped. I think it’s another great example of how critical behavior medication and collaborating with veterinary behaviorists can be in some cases. Due to a variety of aspects of this case, I don’t think success would have been possible without behavior medication support. And now Kona and his family can now live more peacefully together as a result.
If you want some more resources for separation anxiety, check out our live recorded webinar on separation anxiety here.
Separation Anxiety 101 Webinar
- Learn what separation anxiety is and how to spot it
- Learn contributing factors to Separation Anxiety
- Learn treatment overview
- Learn management and prevention techniques
- Learn how to be a ‘lifeguard’ for our dogs