While growing up in Colorado, the daughter of a dog groomer and obedience trainer, Jody would regularly fall out of bed if there wasn’t a dog sleeping on either side of her. Her mother says she walked in one day when Jody was two, and there she was, reading a book to the dog. To this day, Jody still maintains that a poodle taught her to read. In her teens, her family became puppy raisers for a national service dog organization, and her mother later founded a non-profit organization dedicated to placing much-needed service dogs in the Rocky Mountain Region.
An avid equestrian since the age of six, she earned many championships in multiple disciplines, including an individual Junior Olympic medal and the United States Dressage Federation gold, silver and bronze medals. While traveling the country to compete, she earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of California, San Diego. After graduation, she remained in San Diego, becoming a well-respected dressage trainer, coaching numerous students to year-end awards. She was also a two-term president of the California Dressage Society, San Diego Chapter.
A long-time proponent of clicker training with dogs, Jody began to expand her professional horizons when she attended the 2007 Clicker Expo and learned about a brand new, cutting edge coaching technology called TAGteach, or Teaching with Acoustical Guidance. Within months she had reached an advanced level of TAGteach certification, and was inspired to incorporate more positive-reinforcement based methods into her training business. She has continued to pursue new and exciting concepts ever since.
She is an active committee member of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance, and through this amazing organization has been given opportunities to work with a huge variety of species, from rhinos (surprisingly horse-like!) to shrimp (trainable…despite the the lack of a brain stem!). Articles have been published about her work in major magazines including Practical Horseman and California Riding, and she has been featured as an animal expert on BBC Radio.
She and her two rescue dogs Toad and Aero are certified pet therapy partners, and she has volunteered countless hours of her training expertise to multiple non-profit service dog organizations as well as to owner-trained teams. She helped pioneer ground-breaking, goal-directed animal assisted therapy programs for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan transitioning back into civilian life, as well as “at-risk” teens in both day-treatment and residential facilities. Her spectacular 18-hand rescue horse Q (aka The Lone Ranger) is a “permanent foster placement” entrusted to her by San Diego-based FalconRidge Equine Rescue after he was abandoned, starving and alone in the High Desert.
In 2014 she relocated to Sonoma County in Northern California, but returns to Southern California regularly to teach classes for Scripps Health, offer consulting services and teach dressage clinics.