About & Testimonials

paulaanddogs

I’m Paula Shimko of Paula’s Dog Service. I’m a certified clicker dog trainer. I believe that you can train an animal without using force of any kind. Giving the dog choices enables the dog learn faster and learn to love working for what he desires.

Training dogs is my passion and profession. I began my journey by training my own dogs. My much loved Shelties Shane, Mika and Blaze are all preformance dogs in Agility, Rally and Obedience. I’m proud of the many first place ribbons they’ve won. The success of training my own dogs gave me the incentive to take my skills to a professional level. After researching several options and wanting to learn from the best in the field, I chose the highly respected Karen Pryor Academy.  It was the best educational decision I’ve ever made. That started me on the path to becoming a highly regarded trainer.

Simply put, I love training dogs.  Watching dogs “get it” for the first time is pure joy. My goal is to help you have a happy, well-mannered and respectful dog that is a pleasure to have in your home. In addition to teaching your dog needed skills (and a few games and tricks) I’ll show you how to better understand dog behavior and communicate in a way dogs understand. Training your dog should be fun for both you and your dog. Below are testimonials of people who benefited from my skills, experience and love of dogs. I’m looking forward to meeting you and your wonderful pets

 

 

I have had a lifelong love for animals.

Cats and dogs have always had a place in my heart and home. As a young adult, I rescued my very first dog, Matt, a collie/shepherd mix from the local shelter and the first of a long line of dogs. For Matt, training was all about the fun. Matt became the model for my idea of what a well-trained and happy dog should be.

After raising a family, having a busy work life, and spending 14 years with Matt along came my love affair with shelties, more rescue dogs, and the beginnings of a new career. As a breed, shelties need training and lots of it. They can be skittish with very high energy due to their herding instincts.

As a young pup, one of the shelties, Shane, was very shy and needed socialization. Paula enrolled him in a basic obedience class and realized quickly that not all dogs are created equal. The next step for Shane was agility training supplemented with the use of the clicker. Incorporating positive reinforcement using the clicker, Shane overcame his shyness and is now a happy and confident dog.

My love of dogs and Shane’s success with the clicker prompted me to pursue a career in dog training. After careful consideration I decided that the Dog Trainer Program at Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) offered the best instruction to fit her needs. I am proud to say that I am the first KPA Certified Training Partner (CTP) clicker trainer in the Pittsburgh area. I am also part of a large network of trainers who share ideas and the latest training methods. A thoughtful understanding of a dog’s behavior and patience and positive reinforcement are the basic tenets of my training program.

Currently I have three shelties that train in agility, rally, and obedience. Two of her shelties, Shane and Mika, have several AKC titles, and her youngest dog, Blaze, is well on his way to earning titles. I also do Collie/Sheltie rescue and, more often than not, will have a foster dog rehabilitating in our home.

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Pippi and Spike – My Rescue Papillions!

Pippi is lying down and Spike is behind her. I have always wanted a Papillon after seeing them preform in agility. The Papillion is a very fast and extremely intelligent breed.
In 2012 I was looking for a Papillon agility dog and I wanted to rescue. I found Spike on the Pet finder’s website. The picture the rescue had on the website was not a very good one, but I figured I would take a drive to Ohio and check him out. When I got to the rescue I was led to an area where the small dogs were fenced. Spike was standing on top of a huge bowl of food eating, which was quite amusing, but I felt he was not what I was looking for.  He had floppy ears, no fur to speak of and a severe under bite. He also was deaf which in AKC agility is not allowed. It was apparent that he was poorly bred and was the product of a puppy mill.

I was very disappointed until he turned and looked at me. He smiled at me, wiggled his whole body and ran towards me. I instantly fell in love with him. I knew that this little guy and I were going to be the best of friends. Leaving him behind was not an option. Taking him home was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Although Spike does not perform in any dog sports he is the perfect lap dog. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A few years had passed and began thinking about rescuing a young female Papillon, but I was in no hurry. I knew if I just waited I would eventually find a pup. One of my agility friend ran Papillons in agility and knew I was looking for a young female Papillon. She just happened to see a picture of Pippi on Craigslist and posted her on my Facebook page. I was hooked, she was adorable so I immediately contacted the Craigslist poster.

I knew Craigslist was a dangerous place to sell a young dog. I knew I needed to get her safe quickly.  Dogs can end up in the wrong hands, such as the dog fighters. I wasted no time getting to her. As soon as Pip and I saw each other we knew we were to be a team. I brought her home and she and I immediately bonded. Unfortunately, she had not been socialized or trained in any behaviors. We got down to business and I trained her foundation behaviors in a matter of weeks. She is as smart as a whip and loves to work. She also is one of the fastest dogs I’ve ever seen run. I call her my little Border Collie in a tiny body. Tiny, but mighty!  Pippi is being trained in Agility, Rally and Obedience.

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Testimonials

 

cooper

We have been utilizing Paula’s services to train our 4 month old Chihuahua puppy & our 10-1/2 year old Papillon. She has been outstanding to work with. She is well versed in animal behavior & also offers lots of tips regarding nutrition, etc. I look forward to more sessions & am anxious to see all that we can accomplish.

Amy L

zoey

I contacted Paula after 3 failed atempts with other trainers and training facilities. My Zoey is a pit mix who is very fearful. By the end of our sessions Zoey took a walk around the block with Paula and me. I NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS expected Zoey to be able to do that. THANKS PAULA FOR ALL YOUR HELP

Elaine A.

doodles

We have Golden Doodles (from the same family) and we both thought we were losing our minds. They were getting big fast and soon we knew we couldn’t control them. If you’re looking for a top-notch trainer, you need look no further than Paula Shimko.

Stephanie K.

 

 

collie

I trust Paula completely with my dog. I have a rescue dog who has anxiety issues with cars and Paula has worked tirelessly with him to soothe his fears when out on walks. I also have a tricky work schedule and Paula is very flexible and accommodating to last minute changes, which I greatly appreciate.

Heather H

curly

Paula is an excellent teacher and trainer. She understands your dog’s needs and his behavior. She is able to help you work with your dog in his specific environment. He just turned one year old and responded quickly to this training. I enjoy the time I spend with her training my dog and would take additional classes form her.

Sheryl S

bully

I would highly recommend the services of Paula’s Dog Services. She was very knowledgable of positive reinforcement, rewarding, and classical conditioning.She also provided handouts and books. In addition, she is very reasonably priced. I would use her again in the future, without hesitation.

Jodi D

 

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