Today we’d like to introduce you to Tasha Miner.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I began training my own dog when I was 10 years old. My wire-hair fox terrier was like my sister, since I was an only child. Through trial and error, using mostly physical manipulation and praise, I taught her how to sit, stay, down, come, and shake. I’ve since learned better methods, and have decided on positive-reinforcement methods, nicknamed “force-free,” as my personal philosophy in dog training.
Back when I still lived in Michigan, I volunteered my training expertise with a greyhound rescue group. I helped newly adopted hounds fit into their new forever homes by calling and giving advice to their new families on issues like house training, separation anxiety, walking well on a leash, and not reacting to children or new dogs. I also addressed fear issues, since greyhounds have never seen home-like environments at the track; they’re often afraid of new flooring, ceiling fans, televisions, and even mirrors. I had to give up that role when I moved to California.
I initially wanted to be a horse trainer and horseback riding instructor when I grew up, but multiple shoulder dislocations caused me to change career paths. I was initially set on Psychology, but it was my stand partner in orchestra my junior year of high school who convinced me to pursue music. I obtained my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Violin Performance from Eastern Michigan University, and very quickly built up my private lesson studio when I moved out to California in 2010. However, it wasn’t enough money for myself and my fiancé to live on, so I decided to start a dog walking service.
My clients were so happy with how much better their dogs behaved on-leash, it wasn’t much of a leap to begin offering training services.
I first started as Granted Wishes Pet Care, then Granted Wishes K9 Training, and am now Hounds in Harmony Dog Training. I’ve studied a lot independently, been mentored a bit by Pamela Johnson of Pam’s Dog Academy in San Diego, and am largely self-taught. I am heavily influenced by Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. Patricia McConnell, Dr. Susan Friedman, Ali Brown, Leslie McDevitt with her Control Unleashed program, Grisha Stewart with her Behavioral Adjustment Training (BAT) program, Denise Fenzi and all the fabulous instructors at the Fenzi Academy, and have recently begun training my border collie mix for competitive Rally Obedience with Holly Fergason in Texas via Skype sessions. I founded the Irvine Dog Owner’s Group for Socialization (IDOGS) in 2012, to help my dog-reactive and fearful rescue, Dolce, overcome his issues. I would have been happy with 20 members with whom I could mutually help all our dogs overcome their issues, but it has grown beyond my wildest dreams and now, just over 5 years later, we’re nearing 600 members! I have been so blessed to be exposed to a wide variety of breeds, temperaments, motivations, and behavioral issues. I host 1-2 events weekly on Sundays, and we just celebrated our 400th meetup.
My primary focus these days is on aggression and service dog training clients, but I help everyone from puppies to sportsters. Having received my Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI) certification through the Do More With Your Dog organization, I thoroughly enjoy teaching dogs to do tricks, and have a few of them on my new YouTube channel with plans for many, many more. Kikopup (Emily Larlham), is my inspiration, and I truly believe all behaviors are essentially just another trick for the dog to master. I look forward to expanding my YouTube channel to bring an ease of humane and kind dog training to others who would like to learn themselves. Dogs are my everything, and I hope to volunteer again one day to give back to the animals who give me so much.
Has it been a smooth road?
I have struggled obtaining clients. It takes a lot of confidence in oneself to market successfully, an issue I struggle with as part of my PTSD from childhood traumas. I worked for a facility for a couple years, and while I thoroughly appreciate the lessons I learned there, the environment with all the kennels banging, staff rushing, and crowds of clients just wasn’t for me. I learned I need to primarily work one-on-one with my clients, human and canine.
I still struggled to gain enough clients to make ends meet, so partnered with a referral-type company, which has helped tremendously. The reviews I’ve gotten from those clients has bolstered my confidence, and now my own clientele has started to increase as I learn how to market myself and value what I have to offer.
Being a woman doesn’t help either. A lot of people doubt I can deal with their large-breed, aggressive dog. Many who prescribe to the old-fashioned dominance theory dislike that I am likely to be too “mothering.” When given the chance, though, I prove all of them wrong.
Being a woman in fact gives me a significant advantage with fearful aggressive dogs, as I am less likely to trigger their aggression with my less intimidating stature than a man’s.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Hounds in Harmony Dog Training – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Hounds in Harmony focuses on: puppy manners and socialization, remedial socialization for rescue and adult dogs, basic obedience, fear and aggression behavior modification, service dog training and tasks, and tricks. I’m known for “having a way with dogs” that makes my clients think I actually must be a sort of “dog whisperer,” because the dogs seem to catch on so quickly before their very eyes. I always “prime” the canine end of the leash, but cater to the human end of the leash so they are able to continue that training successfully on their own afterward.
I’m known for building a relationship between dog and handler, as well as ensuring the comfort and safety of everyone involved. While I know I can’t fix everything for everyone, people appreciate it when I am honest and give them options to choose how best to proceed for them. I am willing to be flexible when something isn’t working, and clients find that refreshing.
What really sets me apart is how I help fearful dogs. Having PTSD myself, I truly understand all the different types of fear, and am able to understand the psychology behind the dog’s intricate behaviors that have largely gone unnoticed. This empowers the dog’s human’s family to know how to help the dog in their home, but especially uplifts the dog to their potential.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I love about living in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, is the access to all the different terrains. I love hiking with my dogs on mountains and various wilderness trails, and I love the ocean. All of which is easily accessible and available to me with my dogs. I also enjoy the dog-friendly atmosphere at many malls and restaurant patios, as well as the many nearby neighborhood parks to frequent.
What I wish were different is the traffic, but also the knowledge base of the average dog owner I observe virtually everywhere I go. Dog ownership doesn’t come with a one size fits all manual, and there are many tragic dog fight incidents that could have been avoided if the owners were more aware of dog behavior. I also would like to update the average person on the appropriate training methodologies to deal with many of these common behavior issues, as many of the old standbys have become wives’ tales at best, and abuse at worst. I cringe when I watch someone walk their dog, the dog barks excitedly at another dog across the street, and the owner feels it necessary to correct their dog for barking. While I understand the barking is unacceptable in public, the correction for the bark inhibits a symptom, and doesn’t actually fix the issue of excitement.
- $125 first session and consultation – 90-120 minutes
- $100 followup sessions – 60 minutes
- Website: www.hounds-in-harmony.com
- Phone: 949-735-3652
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: GreytShotPhotography
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/houndsinharmony
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaLI9h34GDvxbFPae66-6nQ
Greyt Shot Photography by Tasha Miner