ABOUT THE TRAINER
Claire Cochemé, owner and head trainer at WAGDogs, is a certified dog trainer and behaviour consultant, newly relocated on Vancouver Island in Beautiful British Columbia.
Claire successfully completed her dog training education with the Cochrane Humane Society (Alberta) while working directly with shelter dogs. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI). Her dog, Lexi, has won four trick titles. Claire is also certified in Pet First Aid.
Up until 2015, Claire was a professional wedding and portrait photographer in Calgary. She also enjoyed photographing dogs and cats, and for the next 10 years, became a volunteer pet photographer for A.R.F. (in Alberta), showcasing adoptables pets on their calendar.
She shares her home with her rescued dog, Lexi (now 10 years young). Her beautiful rescued cat, KC, has unfortunately passed away at the young age of 12.
How did it all start and what made Claire want to be a dog trainer??
In 2012, Claire decided to foster and adopt a rescued 6-month old puppy. That cute puppy became that "one" dog... the difficult case...
This was Claire's first foster dog and it was one HIGH energy pup! After 3 DNA tests, it was determined that Lexi was a mix of breeds, including Australian Cattle Dog and Border Collie.
This cute stray pup had been rescued from one of Alberta's landfill sites, and had never lived in a city, much less with people. She was skinny, had mange, had been bitten by a dog before her rescue and had infected wounds as a result. She also had many issues ranging from fear of doorways and sounds, to anxiety, reactivity towards other dogs, and extreme fear of people.
Nonetheless, Claire decided to officially adopt Lexi.
This decision was no small task! Claire soon realized that she needed help with Lexi's training. She started taking a few obedience classes but was quickly disappointed with the training methods used by some trainers. Claire decided to take on Lexi's education by enrolling her into agility, flyball, and scent classes, while teaching her a lot of fun tricks and slowly conditioning her to a variety of canine fitness equipments and objects to increase Lexi's overall confidence.
Lexi's extreme fear of people and situation started to slowly fade away with her daily training routine. Her little K9 silly personality started to shine, and soon after, Lexi was successfully passing her CKC Canine Good Neighbour Test! Claire and Lexi were on the fast track of learning!
That same year, in 2014, Claire enrolled into an almost 2-year long intense dog training & behaviour program, and worked directly with shelter dogs of various backgrounds at the Cochrane Humane Society.
After a thorough education and many hours of hands-on training with shelter dogs, observing classes, and getting overall prepared for the dog training world, Claire passed a series of examinations as part of the shelter's program, and was awarded her Certificate of Achievement in June 2016. She also completed the "Walks 'N' Wags" Pet First Aid program that same year.
After working and volunteering for various dog training schools as a dog trainer and instructor, including volunteering at the Calgary Humane Society (Behaviour Department), and Pawsitive Match Rescue (as an on-call dog trainer for foster dogs in South Calgary), Claire decided to start her own business, WAGDogs, for the purpose of helping people understand their dog better, develop a solid canine-humane bond, and have fun in the process.
In the fall of 2019, Claire successfully became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through CCPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers), which is the leader in the development of rigorous exams to demonstrate mastery of humane, science-based dog training practises. Please visit their site to familiarize yourself with your trainer's official certification: CCPDT.
To learn more about WAGDogs and our philosophy, please click on: philosophy.
These days, Claire is actively continuing her education in the science of dog training and canine behaviour by regularly going to workshops and seminars, watching webinars, and taking online courses.
Claire's training methods is based on a "Do no harm!" motto. She continues to be inspired by many trainers and dog behaviour consultants, such as:
Dr Sophia Yin, Dr Ian Dunbar, Dr Patricia McConnell, Kyra Sundance, Susan Garrett, Bob Bailey, Emily Larlham, Pat Miller, Malena DeMartini-Price, Nicole Wilde, Karen Pryor, Jean Donaldson, to name a few.
But her greatest inspiration of all: Lexi, her dog.
"Inspiration can come in many forms. For me, it came in the love of a very silly dog."
~Claire Cochemé, Certified Professional Dog Trainer.
Continuous education is key. How else can anyone be a good dog trainer? The dog training business is unfortunately unregulated in Canada, and now more than ever, dog owners shall be careful with whom they allow into their dog's life.
Below, you will find a list of Claire Cocheme's latest professional and personal development:
- IAABC dog training and behaviour, conference.
- The Aggression in Dogs Conference
- Clicker Expo Conference
- IAABC dog training and behaviour conference
Programs & Workshops (2021):
- Resource Guarding webinar (by Sternberg/King)
- The Aggression in Dogs Conference
- IAABC Conference
- Geek Week - For The Love of Science Conference
(Pet Professional Guild)
- The International Dog Trainers Winter Summit
Programs & Workshops (2020), just to name a few:
- Janice Gunn Competition Obedience Workshop
- Live Courses: Dog Aggression Cases (with M. Shikashio)
-Resource guarding: Treatment & Handling of Resource Guarding in Dogs. (by Dr J. Ciribassi)
- Dogs that guard their owners (by M. Shikashio)
- How to recognize signs of pain in dogs (by C. Santos)
- Home Alone: Treating Separation Anxiety (by N. Tucker)
- Obedience Starter Games (by J. Symons)
- Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA): Please visit the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers' site and learn more about your trainer's official certification: https://www.ccpdt.org
- The Aggression in Dogs Seminar (by M. Shikashio and T. McMillan)
- Susan Garrett: Recallers
- Certified Trick Dog Training Instructor (CTDI) (Certification via Kyra Sundance's program).
Claire is a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.