Victoria Trainer Marie ZirkMarie is the first Canadian member of the DogTech team which now consists of more than 30 trainers in 6 countries. She has studied in Australia under John Richardson and has had the master himself work with her on cases in Victoria. With a corporate history in business management and public relations, she is highly skilled at human communication and has now taken that skill into the canine world.

The DogTech system of positive motivation and reward fits exactly with her training philosophy learned through experience.

Marie has had a lifelong passion for animals and her interest in behaviour developed more than nine years ago when she adopted Stella, a Collie mix from a local rescue organization. Knowing that a large dog especially needed to have great training, Marie set out to find someone to help her with the task. The first trainer was unreliable and ineffective, the second trainer was the same. Meanwile, Stella who was fearful, was not getting any better. She startled at any noise and cowered from strangers.

Eventually Marie found a trainer but she had to commit to driving to the training location, 45 minutes away, everyday for 10 days. Taking a leave from work, she did so.

It was effective and Stella learned quickly. Sadly the training was based on negative reinforcement but fortunately Stella was quick to try and please once she knew what was being asked of her so the negative reinforcment wasn’t overly harsh.

When terrier mix, Becks, joined the pack 3 years later, Marie used reward based training and will never accept that a dog has to be trained with anything but positive motivation and reward again.

A dog who is trained with positive methods is a dog who wants to please, who will look for solutions and happily offer behaviours to get a reward – whether that is food, a toy, play time of affection. A dog that is trained with corrections only, learns simply to suppress behaviour, he learns what not to do, not what to do.

In the last nine years, Marie, Stella and Becks have trained many foster dogs and friend’s dogs. They have also been featured in Dogs in Canada Magazine as models for a well behaved dogs in the city article and have helped to raise thousands of dollars for animal rescue as the founder and organizer (Marie) and models (Stella and Becks) in the Man and His Dog Fashion Show.

Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers