Meet Joanne - Virtual Trainer

Meet Joanne - Virtual Trainer

Joanne Bignoux McMahon is a Karen Pryor Academy – Certified Training Partner, holds the Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed credential, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and an affiliate of Peaceable Paws LLC.  Dedicated to presenting effective science backed solutions, Joanne actively pursues ongoing continuing education and professional development by attending seminars or conferences, reading books, and is a current student of the Victoria Stilwell Academy – Online Dog Trainer Course. 

She works for us remotely from Virginia, and is our go-to trainer for our Trainer on Retainer program, where she regularly helps fostered rescue dogs brush up on their manners, so they can find their forever homes.

Joanne’s goal is to provide fruitful interaction that proactively improves the lives for not only the guardian or potential guardian but the dogs, whether they are adopted or awaiting their forever home.  When not improving the skills of clients and canines, she contributes to the care and health of pet animals as a Veterinary Assistant at a local Veterinary Hospital.

Here is one of her most memorable training stories, in her own words:

"While working at a retail pet store as the Dog Trainer, I had a grade school teacher inquire about training her dog so that she could bring her to class to help her students. We went through basic manners, getting the core of her behaviours fluent in the six weeks of the beginner class, so that they could go on to the next level, advanced manners.

They were quite a team, being able to use the basics in a practical manner with the distractions you could expect when patronizing a retail store. They showed up to every lesson and practiced often, both the teacher and her dog had a lot of fun in class and they had a really great close bond through training together, they really were dedicated and enjoyed the challenge.

Each week I would incrementally build their skills and the distraction level that by the end of the six weeks of the advanced class they were undoubtedly ready for the The American Kennel Club (AKC), Canine Good Citizen (CGC) preparation and evaluation. They needed the CGC in order for her to bring her dog to class but the test steps are challenging, and rightfully so since the AKC is ensuring that any dog who passes the test is a good canine citizen in the community or able to progress to therapy work.  Another six weeks of preparation, going through each of the ten test steps and a 'dress rehearsal' before then evaluating all the steps in a row the following week.

All their hard work came to fruition when I was proudly able to pass her dog as a Canine Good Citizen. The teacher was thrilled that she was able to bring her dog to class and help the children.
A few years passed, and the teacher came to visit me at the store, and she proudly told me how well her dog was doing, and that not only did her dog help her students, but now they both participated in therapy work with one of the leading dog therapy organizations in the nation. To my surprise she gave me a little gift, her dog's 'official trading card' picture that they use whenever they are visiting a facility, it was so cute and brought back all the memories of our training together." 
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