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Meet Michelle Campbell of Well Trained in El Segundo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Campbell.

Michelle, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
As the Vice President of Animals for Dolphin Quest, a veterinarian owned interactive dolphin conservation center, I was a frequent traveler to our worldwide locations. In the summer of 2013, I relocated from the Big Island of Hawaii to Southern California. It was a priority to be centrally located for our global training department and to reduce the number of hours on the road.

Upon moving, my kids, avid animal lovers, wanted a dog. It was for this reason my family volunteered to foster dogs for a local nonprofit animal rescue. While walking and training the pets in our care around the neighborhood, neighbors initiated conversations about their pet challenges. Their curiosity inspired conversations that created numerous dog training opportunities for me. I was thrilled at the chance to put my experience to the test in training non-marine animals for a change. No longer working hands-on with dolphins on a daily basis, I jumped at the chance to keep my training skills fresh.

During these dog training interactions, I highlighted the philosophy of positive reinforcement and the successful practices employed in our marine animal field. This led to further discussions on ethics, effectiveness and the importance of a collaborative animal (learner) and trainer (teacher) approach. When the results of my approach, so commonly utilized in the marine mammal profession, became evident with their furry family member, it created a growing respect and interest in the marine mammal field.

This rich foundation and reservoir of results built strong advocates for positive animal based training and with it came the benefit of conservation initiatives. In my partnerships with families, we had open and expanded conversations about conservation while we trained. We engaged the children, and our success with the pets demonstrated the value and efficacy of positive, respectful and enriching pet connections. It was a win for the family, a win for the pet, and a win for the conservation of our natural resources. But perhaps the most personally meaningful win was the preservation and enrichment of our human-animal bonds. I really began to enjoy that my interactions within our greater community extended beyond our marine animal ocean sanctuaries and into my neighborhood, where I served as an ambassador for the animals whose lives I enriched and whose wellness I fostered.

In 2016, Grateful Dogs Clubhouse was seeking to partner with an animal trainer to be able to provide value added services for their clients. A past coworker of Dolphin Quest, who had previously worked with Grateful Dogs, reached out to me to see if I had interest. From this request, Well Trained was formed. Myself and two other marine mammal trainers, Bill Wolden and Taiki Yoshida, came together to establish and operate a company based in ethical and effective animal training practices that put the animal and family first. On our one year anniversary, we continue to enjoy our client successes and watch our families grow and develop alongside their pets.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We have been fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful people who put the interest of their pet first. With open communication and the sharing of what it means to set a clear foundation of learning for their dog, we’ve had success from the beginning. The Grateful Dog Clubhouse crew have hearts of gold. So, pairing with them to train and troubleshoot has been a lot of fun. We think alike and value our furry friends along with their dedicated parents.

Starting a business has been a journey. I was fortunate to fall upon the nonprofit organization named SCORE who is comprised of volunteer experts to help guide the new business journey. I’m a behaviorist learning how to establish a business. That’s relatively new territory!

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Well Trained story. Tell us more about the business.
As experts in behavior modification, Well Trained is comprised of professional dolphin trainers that love the art of training.

Our training foundation is built on the philosophy of positive reinforcement. These techniques are used by the most highly respected behaviorists around the world. Our style of training is not just effective, it’s also ethical. We extend the same principles used to train dolphins, dogs, kids, and employees. It works…its fun…and it’s worth it!

We offer private in home services, daycare training at the Grateful Dogs Clubhouse location and can extend our behavioral expertise beyond pets to the corporate world as well. We are well rounded, fun and good at what we do.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
As behaviorists, we tend to be good at understanding how people and animals operate on their environment. People and animals do what they do because it works; there is a payoff. Our job is to provide clarity to those we interact with so they, too, can see the connection between choices and payoffs. This is a skill set we have spent many years honing. Looking collectively at our newly established business and all of the positive people in our lives, I realize there has been a little bit of luck involved. Luck has graced us with new opportunities by connecting us through shared experiences. Taking the leap of faith to move to California has proved fruitful in both business and personal experiences. Falling upon new professional development opportunities truly was by chance. For that, I am grateful.

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  1. DennienHammond

    April 19, 2017 at 18:12

    What a nice article Michie. No wonder you are so busy!! I’ll tell everyone what a great job you are doing raising two great boys too. We’re proud of you!! Mom

    • DennienHammond

      April 19, 2017 at 18:15

      What a nice article!! I’ll tell everyone what a great job you are doing raising 2 great boys, too. Mom

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