For the 127th week of "7 QUESTION SUNDAY" we shine the spotlight on another influential individual from the PNW. Brianna Maurer is the owner and trainer at All Ears Pet Care which offers many mobile services for your furbabies.
4EVRGRN: Hey, BM! Tell us a little about yourselves.
BM: Hi, I’m Brianna Maurer, I grew up in the PNW on a small farm in Olympia. We were always rescuing and fostering various pets from kittens, birds, dogs, goats, and bunnies. I knew I wanted to work with one of my many passions and chose animal well-being while going to UWT in 2017. I started handling big dogs who couldn't go to daycares and helping as a dog walker and sitter. Fast forward 4 years, I have grown to serve over 140 families to date from dog sitting and dog training. I am the owner and trainer at All Ears Petcare a mobile dog training and online boutique. I train with positive reinforcement, science-based methods and pivoted to dog training at the end of 2021. I love enhancing the owner-dog bond through training, puzzles, and making it a family event. I’m a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) who abides by LIMA method - Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive tactics and is excited to get my Canine Good Citizen evaluator this March.
What's unique about pet culture in the PNW?
BM: PNW loves their animals like kids, and businesses are more welcoming too! There are now more dogs in Seattle than children, by a lot: about 153,000 dogs to 107,178 kids, according to figures from the U.S. Census and the Seattle Animal Shelter (2011). I am a Tacoma-based trainer and keep a local list of shops (from breweries to juice shops to cookie dough shops) many PNW business owners are open to "good dog" companions. With the pandemic, shelters have seen a dramatic increase in adoptions with owners who are open to discussing various training styles. (There's a whole range to choose from in PNW too!)
Best tip to keep the house clean while keeping your animals safe?
BM: Investing in a rumba, or something with a vacuum timer, and air purifier will help keep dust and dog hair from taking over the house too much, depending on the dog. These double as great training tools for your dogs! Do you have a barker? He may be keeping you safe from the vacuum. ;) As for household cleaning supplies, check for dog-friendly cleaners and use reusable paper towels (designated cleaning rags) as they are less likely to be shredded to bits if your dog gets into the trash.
What is a common mistake people make when training dogs?
BM: A lot of times, the whole household is not on the same page of what method of training to use on with one dog (positive reinforcement or balanced training.) The adults in the house need to agree on a consistent method for everyone (roommates, or kids, guests, etc.) to "speak" to your dog. It takes 40 times for your dog to understand one cue... for each person. Now if one person in the household says "down" to mean "off the couch" but another person says "off" to mean "off the couch", the second person will be frustrated when your dog looks at them confused. This is why it's important for owners to be their dog's advocate by speaking up to guests or others in the family to train as one unit until your dog is "fluent" enough to understand variability. This can be compared a lot to learning a new job or a new language. It takes time, consistency, and learning at your dog's pace.
What do you wish people would consider before purchasing a pet?
BM: This is a lifelong investment (typically dogs live 7-15 years depending on their breed.) Consider budgeting for upfront costs, and ongoing care (vet, grooming, daycare, and training.) This is not a temporary solution for boredom at home. Find the breed type that works for your lifestyle. If you took the dive into dog ownership and feel overwhelmed, there are a lot of resources before surrendering your pet to consider. Find your community through dog parks, breed-specific Facebook groups, as well as other dog people who will share what we know. I get asked frequently about situations that are too far gone that sometimes rehoming is the better option. Being proactive in training will reduce the behavior problems you have in a year or two. Promise, we don't bite!
What should owners know before hiring you?
BM: Ask all your questions and concerns. Not every trainer is a good fit! That's okay. I am a fully mobile trainer and do not have a facility. We work from your home, backyard, or nearby park. I have a thorough screening process when you first reach out to me. My goal is to help first-time dog owners keep their puppy in their furever home by becoming well-mannered gentle giants. I prefer working with big dogs but the smallest I go are typically corgis and bulldogs. I use puzzles and games to drill through a new skill and make it a fun learning experience for everyone, kids are invited and encouraged to come to class. I discuss everything from basic obedience to nutrition to reactive behaviors. I will take on a select number of reactive aggression cases at once.
Favorite place to let dogs explore the PNW?
BM: Steilacoom Dog Park is a fully fenced 22-acre off-leash dog park with a Lake trail. Bring a couple of towels and treats to work on recall. This allows for great exposure to different elements you will experience hiking. If you're wanting to bring your pup hiking nearby mountains, there are precautions before diving right in, check out my blog.
Favorite local dog product?
BM: There are so many options! Local pet supplies store Mudbay is my go-to for training treats (size of dime or quarter depending on your dog's mouth) as well dog toys big enough for my Great Dane clients. If you have a new puppy, go in with your puppy to get an in-store coupon! They have built out great handouts on nutrition and each employee is well trained to answer your pet questions. They happily contributed to my welcome packets for my upcoming Puppy classes too.