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|Tell us about yourself:||I was born in Moscow, and grew up in Toronto. I grew up loving all animals, from the pigs and chickens at my grandparents’ farm, to the budgees and guineapigs we had as pets. When I was 5 years old, after my parents divorced, I begged my dad to get me a dog. A few days later we picked out a Russo-European Laika (related to the Karelian Bear dog) puppy at the local market, who I named Touman (Fog in English). Touman, not only inspired my love of dogs, but also my passion for outdoor adventures. In the summer, we would go camping on the White Sea near the arctic circle, for weeks at a time and largely rely on hunting and fishing. Touman was incredibly loyal, intuitive and always up for adventure!
My interest in animals and behavior led me to study neuroscience, doing research on addiction and brain reward systems as an undergraduate at the University of Florida and sensorimotor learning and memory in rats as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. I started learning about different dog training systems after adopting my first dog (Misha) in 2014 and subsequently fostering dogs, who had different behavioral problems (eg fear aggression, resource guarding). I soon realized that I find the application of learning theory and behavioral analysis to dog training as well as having the ability to directly help people have more enjoyable lives with their dogs, incredibly rewarding! Two years ago, I also started dog walking and doing basic training through rover.com. I’m now going through the Foundation Style Training certification course and pursuing my goal of training professionally. I'm a huge dog nerd 🙂 ! I really enjoy learning everything I can on topics from canine body language, to breed specific traits, behavioral modification & training, management, disease, physiology and nutrition. I currently have two shepherd-husky mixes (2 and 8 years old).