Charissa grew up around many different animals on a large farm in Salida, Colorado. Her best friend was a hybrid dog named Raydar. Raydar and Charissa spent their childhoods together adventuring and exploring the Rockies. Charissa moved to Ohio during her teen years. There she began working professionally with animals at a local humane society; she soon discovered her passion for helping those in need.
Charissa was able to intern under a Balanced Trainer, teaching classes and training the shelter dogs. At the shelter, a skinny pit bull mix named Dylon walked into Charissa's life. Dylon had been abandoned and tied to a tree, his collar had become imbedded, and he was diagnosed with acute renal failure. The shelter’s veterinary team was not optimistic. Charissa says, “Dylon chose me” and he went home with her as a foster dog. He recovered quickly soon after Charissa adopted him.
Although he was healthy, Dylon had many behavioral hiccups, such as separation anxiety, handling sensitivity, and lack of manners. Charissa was unable to use force or intimidation with Dylon due to his injuries, so she began researching positive training methods. Dylon proved that trust was the key to building a lifelong relationship with Charissa, a relationship that to this day is unbreakable. Charissa is happy to demonstrate these relationship-boosting training methods for you and your rescue pups!
In 2014 Charissa dedicated her career to positive-reinforcement, marker-based training. She decided to complete the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Dog Trainer Professional program and become a KPA Certified Training Partner (CTP). Charissa is enthusiastic about continued education and public outreach. In 2015 she received her second animal training certification through CCPDT, becoming a certified pet dog trainer-knowledge assessed.
At the Humane Society of Weld County, Charissa develops the behavior department and group classes for the animals in the shelter's care, as well as the animals in the community. She is also working as a Colorado State University lab instructor for the first-year Veterinary Students.
Charissa spends her free time camping and hiking with Dylon and her newest addition, Arja, a Cornish Rex kitten, in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado. Contact her today to begin your adventure with the four-legged members of your family!