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Talking Dogs with Tazzie Winkler





What to listen for:


Today, Robin and Crystal sit down with Tazzie Winkler.


Born in Norway, raised in England, and now based in Virginia, Tazzie’s original dream was to be an Olympic dressage rider. However, she discovered a far more alluring path for herself after spending time around military dogs while in the Army. She was given the opportunity to join the dog platoon in 2005, mainly working with German Shepherds. She retired from the Army in 2014.


Tazzie decided at that point to dive into the wilderness and avalanche search and rescue world. She started with a Doberman puppy and, after making a myriad of mistakes coupled with the challenges of training the challenging breed, Tazzie was certified.


Today, she works with the Virginia-based Rivanna K9 Services, and has recently started her own LLC, Empathic Dog Training Academy.


Listen in as Tazzie demonstrates, through her experience working with Dobermans from the start of her career, that breed is not as critical a factor to a dog’s potential as the individual dog’s personality and temperament.


Drawing from both her time with the dog platoon and her search and rescue career, Tazzie highlights the techniques she has seen from the best handlers. Chief among them is empathy for the dog—being able to see the situation from their point of view and adjusting your training approach accordingly.


Tazzie also explains that high-drive does not equal hyperactivity, how to use the least amount of manipulation to get the behaviors that you desire, and why it’s important to apply positive reinforcement and negative punishment as early as possible when training a new dog.


Key Topics:

  • An introduction to Tazzie Winkler (01:15)

  • Tazzie’s foray into wilderness search and rescue (05:48)

  • Training a Doberman and other so-called challenging breeds (08:49)

  • Selecting the right dog (11:14)

  • Joining the dog platoon (14:15)

  • What makes a great handler (20:09)

  • Working at Rivanna K9 Services (29:21)

  • Tazzie’s biggest piece of advice to handlers (30:54)

  • Working with a puppy (37:47)

  • Tazzie’s favorite training activity (41:52)

  • Working in the dog sport world (47:49)

  • What Tazzie offers through Empathic Dog Training Academy (50:11)

  • Tazzie’s advice to her younger self (51:58)


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