Elisabeth founded Epic Tails (then Dog Daze) in 2015 with the intention of providing enrichment and socialization to dogs, while combining her love of working with animals and hiking. She is a passionate advocate for reward based training methods, using this in her business as well as with her personal dogs, particularly enjoying the hobby of trick training.
Elisabeth completed her BA of Psychology at the University of King’s and Dalhousie University, focusing on courses relevant to dog training (animal behaviour, learning psychology, neurobiology of learning, The Dog [a pre-vet course through University of Florida], etc). While undergoing her degree, she started volunteering with the Canid and Reptile Behaviour and Olfaction Team, assisting on various projects that involved training volunteer dogs on sniffing tasks.
After graduating, Elisabeth began working at a dog daycare, as a pet-attendant and assisting in several training classes. She worked there for several years, and carried on at another dog daycare for one summer. In this environment, she learned a lot about dog behaviour, socialization/body language, and how to manage large groups.
Elisabeth took these skillsets to dog walking, first working for another local dog walker, learning the ins and outs of the business, and then gradually growing her own clientele. All the while, Elisabeth has been passionate about continuing her education in dog training and animal behaviour.
Elisabeth shares her life with three wonderful dogs. Penny, Shiloh Shepherd, and two Thai street dogs Ody and Persie. As a pup, Penny started volunteering with Elisabeth at the Canid research lab, and has participated in every step of her career along the way. She has a Trick Dog Champion title and is lovingly known as the regal Queen Roo of both the house and the hiking crews. When traveling in South East Asia in 2016, Elisabeth volunteered briefly with the Soi Dog Foundation, falling in love with (and promptly adopting) Ody. Several years later she contacted Soi Dog again and found another perfect match in Persie. In 2019, along with the adoption of her third dog, she began volunteering with Soi Dog Canada as part of the Adoption Support Team — helping newly adopted street dogs, and their owners, adapt into their second-chance at life.
Catherine is passionate about force free training and helping dog owners maintain a positive and rewarding relationship between them and their dog. All of her training uses reward-based methods and is scientifically informed.
Catherine has extensive experience working with a variety of animals in a scientific capacity. She has an honours degree from Saint Mary's University where she studied psychology and biology, with her research focusing on the behavioural ecology of European starlings. She then went on to complete her Masters degree in Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science at York University where she studied perceptual cognition in Sumatran Orangutans. Catherine came to study and work with dogs during her PhD at Dalhousie University where she studied factors that contribute to the performance of sniffer dogs with applications to Diabetic Alert Dogs.
After completing her PhD, Catherine (and her dog, Walker) moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she lectured at Queen's University Belfast in Psychology and Animal Cognition and conducted research on domestic dog cognition, olfaction, and behaviour. While working in Northern Ireland, she gained experience with force free dog training and behaviour modification through mentorship with Al Rankin (CDBC, My Dog's Best Friend). After three years in Northern Ireland, Nova Scotia called Catherine back home, but she maintains an honorary lectureship at Queen's University Belfast. Catherine is a an accredited dog trainer with the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants (IAABC) and is working towards being an IAABC Certified Dog Behaviour Consultant.
Catherine enjoys all aspects of dog training and behaviour modification, but finds working with reactive dogs and their owners especially rewarding.
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