Branching out with Lee

It has been my good fortune to have met and worked with so many wonderful people who love their dogs and want the best for them. Whether in classes or privately, I have enjoyed spending time with people, helping them teach their dogs behaviors that allow the dog to be an integral part of the family.

Many of you have requested further training that takes your dog beyond the basics. While I do offer additional classes, all of which will be highlighted on my website later this year when it is updated, there are other classes that would be most enjoyable for both you and your dog.

To be able to offer additional basic classes as well as more advanced classes, I am happy to announce that I have taken on James Lee Phelan as an independent contractor for Pawsitive Companionship, LLC. Before letting you know about the classes he will be offering, I would like to tell you about his dog training background.

I first met Lee when he was a volunteer at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County. He served as a volunteer in many capacities, including dog walking. It was soon obvious that Lee wanted to become a dog trainer. As part of the certification process, hours are required where you assist or teach dog classes. It was my pleasure to have Lee assist and teach classes with me, and he soon earned his Certification of Professional Dog Training – Knowledge Assessed. He has continued to assist me with my puppy class for several years now.

Lee has taken three academies with Pat Miller, a nationally recognized certified dog trainer and behavior consultant. Taking these academies along with the exams that are part of Pat’s courses, Lee has obtained the Pat Miller Certified Trainer certification.

Shelter dogs and adolescent dogs are Lee’s passion. He has been instrumental in setting up a dog-dog play program at West Memphis Animal Shelter, allowing staff and volunteers to test dogs for play with other dogs, thus ensuring the dog can be transported or fostered if necessary. This is crucial to the shelter’s ability to find homes for dogs they house.

Over a year ago Canine Companions for Independence approached me as they were starting a puppy program at the Forest City correctional facility. The first person I thought of to take on this project was Lee. He has been the lead trainer for this program since that time.

I am happy to announce that Lee will be teaching Basic Family Manners classes, allowing more opportunities for those who wish to help their dogs become well-mannered members of the family. It is with greater excitement that I let you know of two new classes Lee will be offering: Canine Cognition and Treibball.

If you are interested in Canine Cognition, the class, according to Lee, is described as follows. “Modern behavioral and cognitive science is rapidly advancing our understanding of the cognitive ability of our pets. In this class, we will explore how dogs think, feel, learn and process the world around them. Working with your dog, you will teach him to discriminate between objects, shapes and colors, and help him learn to follow written instructions. In addition, we will discuss introducing choice into your dog’s life and how to teach him to imitate your behavior on cue.”

Do you have a herding breed? Would you like to put that “herding instinct” to good use or offer your dog a way to enjoy herding without having to find someone with sheep? Then Treibball is for you. This class teaches your dog to herd large balls. Yes, very large balls. And why not! It is fun; your dog is enjoying himself or herself. And that herding instinct now has an outlet.

If you are interested in any classes taught through Pawsitive Companionship, including Canine Cognition or Treibball, please email me at so we can be sure you are contacted when the dates and location of the classes are set.

Happy Training everyone!!