We had the good fortune of connecting with Sara Miles Canine Behavior & Training Specialist and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sara Miles, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Dog training as an industry is completely unregulated! Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, regardless of experience or education. It’s so important that pet owners learn about a trainer’s background and what certifications they hold (and the code of ethics that generally agree to when earning those certifications). I work very hard on pursuing certifications and continuing education to bring the safest and most efficient training methods to my clients, and to provide evidence of my expertise in changing behavior. I train dogs in front of my clients so they can see all the methods and techniques I employ, and I always share the reasons behind any technique I’m using so the owner understands why I chose it and why I’m avoiding other techniques they may have used in the past. Research on canine behavior has exploded in the last couple of decades and the evidence is pointing away from using punishment to train dogs, so owners should look for trainers that are staying on top of that science and educating themselves to train without pain or fear as a motivating factor.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Smiles Dog Training is revolutionizing dog training in Arizona. My clients learn how to address training and behavior problems in a holistic way – addressing all the influences on a dog in a way that is safe, kind, and effective. I am a member of the Pet Professional Guild and committed to the guiding principle of doing no harm. I love working with clients that are committed to their relationship with their pet and open to learning more about why dogs do what they do in our human world! 2020 brought with it plenty of challenges as a service-based small business owner, but I’ve been able to expand my services to include online sessions, webinars, and courses as a result. It was tough to pivot away from that in-person time I was spending with humans and their dogs during the lockdown, but it opened up so many new client relationships. Not only do I work with dogs and their guardians here in Arizona, but throughout the rest of the country as well!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I take everyone to The Coronado PHX. Amazing vegan food and sweets, delicious coffee and drinks to match the time of day, awesome staff and patio. Roosevelt Row is another fun place to spend some time shopping and eating.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shoutout tons of thanks to Kathrine Breeden (Be Kind to Dogs) and Dr. Lisa Gunter (ASU’s Canine Science Collaboratory). Kathrine introduced me to lots of pet parents in the Phoenix Metro community, which made starting my own business easier. Dr. Gunter has been amazing in introducing me to even more pet professionals in the Phoenix area, but also in the industry worldwide. I am forever thankful for both of them!