Growing up in Japan, Atsuko was always surrounded by animals. In 2004, she moved to San Diego, California, with her husband, two daughters, and their four-legged children—a Belgian shepherd (Sheena), a Shiba-Inu mix (Misty), and a Doberman pinscher (Oscar).
Atsuko then shared her home with more fuzzy critters including two Dobermans (Mercury and Venus), both having earned AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification, and Venus having earned a separate Rally Novice (RN) qualification. She now has three rescue dogs; two miniature pinchers (Apollo and Sophia) who used to be shy/fearful of strangers and a Maltipoo (Atlas) who used to be a stray and now has his AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification. She also raises two cockatiels (Peach and Chiquita) and four adopted cats (Tiger, Stitch, Feona, and Cali). Atsuko enjoys participating in dog sports like rally-obedience and lure-coursing with her dogs.
In 2006, Atsuko graduated from the Canine to Five dog training apprenticeship program in San Diego, and in 2011 she became a proud graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Dog Trainer Program. Atsuko is a KPA Certified Training Partner (CTP). Continuing her education, she earned a TAGteach Primary Qualification in 2011 and a Puppy Start Right Instructor Certification in 2013. Atsuko is an active member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainer (APDT) and International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and is certified by the American Red Cross in pet first aid and CPR for cats and dogs. Since 2014 she has been involved in two service dog organizations. She has helped teach group lessons for mobility dogs and hearing dogs for Leash for Life International and puppy raising/Training (Russell, Tobin, and Tank) for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with the Freedom Dogs Organization. Currently a volunteer at the San Diego Humane Society, behavior and training center to help dogs with behavior issues to make them more adoptable.