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Inspiring Conversations with Emily Dombrowski of Spotted Success

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Dombrowski.

Emily Dombrowski, the trainer behind Spotted Success, LLC, is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).

With over 14 years of professional training experience, she began training her own dogs in 2003 and started coaching people to train their dogs in a professional capacity in 2006. Emily routinely works with clients to help evaluate and modify the behavior of their companions animals, including those exhibiting aggressive behavior, anxiety, and other unique, potentially dangerous behavior problems. She also works as behavior consultant for a number of local rescue organizations to help evaluate the behavioral needs of dogs within rescue and foster home networks.

In addition to certification as a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, Emily also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Biology with an emphasis on animal behavior, conditioning, and learning from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Some of her extensive professional experience with animal behavior includes working for seven years in zoo and aquarium settings with California sea lions and Atlantic and Pacific harbor seals as a marine mammal trainer and educator within the Milwaukee County Zoo in Milwaukee, WI and at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, LA. She also served as the Animal Behavior Director at Halifax Humane Society, a large intake, open-admission animal shelter in Daytona Beach, FL and spent time working with the Service Dog Training Team at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, FL.

Emily has personally owned, trained, lived with, and loved dogs of all sizes, from Doberman Pinschers to Yorkshire Terriers. She currently lives with and trains three fantastic dogs – Widget, a Bull terrier mix, Sprout, a Yorkshire terrier mix, and Beneteau, a Doberman – along with a steady rotation of foster dogs.

Emily actively trains and competes in American Kennel Club (AKC) Obedience, Agility, and the sport of K9 Nosework with her own dogs, has dabbled in many other canine sports and has participated in therapy dog visits through Therapy Dogs International (TDI). She and her dogs have also made appearances in national print ads, local news stations, and various performance venues, and she has been featured as a dog behavior consultant on The Pet Vet radio show on 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Emily is an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator and is an active and certified member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and a member of the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association (IMATA). She regularly pursues continuing education seminars and other learning opportunities in the field of animal training and behavior to stay current with the most up-to-date knowledge, best practices, and resources available.

Emily’s dog behavior consultation business, Spotted Success LLC, is the culmination of 14 years of professional training and behavior modification experience. It became a reality in 2020 following Emily and her husband’s relocation to St. Petersburg FL (recognized as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country!).

Emily has a real passion for using effective, pragmatic, and ethical behavior modification strategies to help solve behavior problems and bring back the joy of living with your dog. She enjoys sharing that passion with others and helping them bring out the very best in their companion animals!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
While the year 2020 was a challenging year for so many due to the worldwide pandemic, I do feel fortunate that it still set the stage for Spotted Success LLC to grow and even thrive. Dog trainers and behavior professionals across the country, myself included, have been trying to keep up with the increased demand for behavior modification and training services during the pandemic. Many people rushed to foster, adopt a rescue dog, or add a new puppy to their families last spring as COVID-19 restrictions set in. While I have been able to resume in-person sessions, virtual behavior consultations have also become mainstream and can be utilized for new clients or to provide follow-up and ongoing support to already established clients.

Over the past year, many new canine guardians have struggled to find quality socialization opportunities for their puppies or newly adopted dogs, and I am now working with a number of clients on “remedial socialization” to help bolster their dog’s comfort and confidence when out and about in the world.

Their are also a fair amount of dogs and puppies who were brought home during the height of “stay at home” orders that have since developed separation distress. This means that they show distress and anxiety when left alone because this is not something they were exposed to early on.

That being said, overall, I am always pleasantly surprised at how resilient dogs are. They really live in the moment. At the height of the pandemic, so many people were struggling to cope with changes in our lifestyle. While dogs certainly need some predictability in their lives, change can also often be just another beautiful adventure to them. They often just roll with the punches, regardless of everything else happening in the world around us!

As you know, we’re big fans of Spotted Success. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Spotted Success LLC offers behavior modification and training services for dogs and their people in St. Petersburg, FL and the surrounding areas. The focus is on coaching people to train and coexist in harmony with their dogs, improving people’s relationships with their animals, and bringing back the joy of living with a canine companion. Spotted Success, LLC offers private training sessions and behavior consultations to meet the ​unique needs of each individual, family, and dog. When it comes to behavior modification and evaluation.

Emily also routinely works with local rescue groups and other animal-based companies and organizations to help evaluate the behavioral needs of dogs and to provide continuing education seminars and workshops. Emily Dombrowski CDBC CPDT-KA, owner and operator of Spotted Success LLC, is one of less than five Certified Dog Behavior Consultants through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) in the state of Florida.

Driven by her boundless curiosity about how animals think and learn, Emily has spent more than a decade as a professional in the field of animal training. Emily’s goal is to give clients not only the skills needed to solve behavior problems, but also to have a stronger relationship with their canine companions.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
It can be daunting to embark on finding a professional to help you reach your dog training and behavior goals. The market is saturated and there are no shortages of companies offering and advertising dog training services. It is important to note that the field of dog training and behavior modification is currently unregulated, meaning that legally any person can offer dog training and behavior modification services regardless of prior education, certifications, experience, or preferred methodology.

For more help in choosing a trainer or behavior professional, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) provides an excellent resource: https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/How-to-Choose-a-Trainer-Position-Statement.pdf

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Image Credits

Blase Dombrowski Julie Thelen Phillips Lauren Marvel Illustrations Laura Westley Morgan DiMaggio

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