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Meet the Trainer: Shanna Stichler

About the Trainer


Shanna Stichler has been a guide dog handler since 2001, and a professional dog trainer since 2007. She began her career as a trainer at Guide Dogs for the Blind, inc., the world’s largest guide dog training program. While at GDB, she spent a lot of time working with dogs throughout their time in formal harness training. She also worked extensively with blind handlers coming to receive new guide dogs, helping the new teams learn to work safely together.


After leaving GDB in 2012, Shanna realized that Nestle, her guide dog at the time, would need to retire, so for various reasons, she decided to train her own. She purchased Diamond, a female German Shepherd puppy, in August of 2012 and completed her formal harness training 8 months later! Around that same time, Shanna began mentoring under other service dog trainers specializing in training dogs for mobility, hearing, and psychiatric work. She joined the International Association of Canine Professionals in 2014 and became a certified service dog trainer through the IACP in 2016.


Training Philosophy and Goals


Shanna considers herself to be a balanced trainer. She is committed to facilitating clear communication between humans and the dogs they love and uses a myriad of training techniques to make that possible. Treats are an important component for teaching new behaviors, along with clickers and/or verbal markers. Her current favorite training treats are Petality Bountiful Recipe Lil Nuggets because they’re relatively healthy, and even picky eaters like them. She also uses Petality Bountiful Recipe String Chews if she needs treats that can be broken into different sized pieces.


She plans to offer fun and educational segments that will help pets and their people live more peacefully together.


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