About Us

Tara Stermer, Owner & Head Trainer

For 28 years, I have been helping owners understand their canine companions by teaching them how to communicate through body language and pack behaviors. I teach owners to protect more than they correct, as a dog would do. I specialize in canine aggression. Through my research and rehabilitation programs, many dogs deemed dangerously aggressive and unadoptable have been able to live calm, happy lives with their owners. 
 

I started my career as a veterinary technician, where I quickly observed the lack of communication between human and dog.  This is when I decided to dedicate my life to helping humans understand their dogs. I have never turned a dog away because I believe, unless there is a medical reason, any dog can be rehabilitated with the right program.  My methods are based on how dogs communicate with each other by following their natural instincts, and, most importantly, keeping them in a "working-mind." My own pack includes 12 wonderful rescue dogs, all of which had serious aggression issues, and now are all "good citizens" that help us help other dogs resolve their issues.

 

I fight everyday for all dogs and try to educate as many people as possible through our community programs, work with area shelters, and seminars; in hopes that our research and experience may someday help the public understand our "misunderstood" dogs.

Kim

Hi!  My name is Kim and I live in Waco with my adopted American Pitbull Terrier mix Guinness.  I work a full time office job during the week and travel to Austin on Sundays to intern at K9 WorkingMind. I can only come on Sundays but because of the diverse classes Tara offers, I'm able to learn everything I can about obedience training and behavioral issues and how to handle them. My goal is to one day help families in Waco as well as local rescues and the humane society with obedience training, dog handling and behavior issues. 

Laura

Howdy!  My name is Laura and I have lived in the Austin area my whole life.  My passion has always been centered around dogs and helping others to understand them.  I am married to my wonderful wife, Kelly, and we have four rescue dogs in our pack: Jake (Border Collie/Heeler), Cisco (Dachshund mix), Charlie (German Shepard/Ridgeback mix), and Raven (Malinois/Shepard mix).  I had been searching for a way to be an advocate for all dogs and move into a new career that allows me to intertwine my passion and help people communicate better with their dogs.  I attended one of Tara's seminars years ago on body language and realized K9 Workingmind was the perfect place for me to learn, grow, and start my new journey.  Everyday I experience amazingly diverse classes and strive to become the trainer that every dog deserves. 

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Interested in learning how to become a trainer?

Our Internship leads into the apprenticeship programs

Our internship programs are usually four to eight months long; depending on how much time you are willing to commit. Each candidate is required to observe an entire 6 week basic course from start to finish and take notes during this time. You must be able to dedicate some time to walk and handle the dogs we have staying with us, to learn hands-on how to safely and properly work with the dogs. We have a multitude of classes/sessions that you can observe and the more you observe the quicker you may be able to move into an apprenticeship. Sundays are a must if you are considering moving into a behavior trainer program, since the most variety in dog personalities happens in group classes. 

You don't need any experience to qualify for the Internship program; you just need the passion to help dogs and the drive to want to learn. If you have a fear of certain dogs, please make this known at the interview. We specialize in aggressive dogs and I turn no dogs away. You will be taught how to work safely with all dogs, handling and training. 

My entire goal is to help owners understand their dogs in order to save more dogs from being wrongfully euthanized. If you are interested in becoming a dog trainer for fame or to become rich, I ask that you do not consider my intern/apprentice program. Everything we do here is to save lives, not become rich. The dog training field is very rewarding, emotionally challenging and very physical. You must be able to commit to all of these areas. 

Every program that is taught in my facility is based on 30 years of experience and research prior to making that program available to the public. I strongly believe that a dog does not need to fear a human to be rehabilitated and use a working style of training instead. I do not use an all treat based method for training, however I want all trainers to know how to use an all positive approach when that is needed. We do not use force or pain in our training, and by no means will we allow prong or electronic collars in our facility. 

Internship programs do have some required reading and writing assignments. For those who may not have the required English skills we may be able to do oral assignments. 

Each stage of the learning process is part of the selection process. This means that each phase is part of the process to determine if we are a good fit. I am not charging a formal fee for the Internship program. However, helping with training, care, set up, and research will be part of the internship. 

If you cannot commit to finishing the program it is best if you don't start. If you are simply out to gather information for your own profit, please do not sign up- all interns and trainers must sign a non-disclosure contract. It will eventually benefit everyone if we can all work together for the common good of dogs, pet owners and society. 

The beginning training will often require the learner to do things they think are unimportant. You will be required to help care for the dogs, this means cleaning, waste patrol, walking, setting up and taking down for classes. If these tasks cannot be done, please be honest with yourself and us. 

Acceptance into the Internship program and apprenticeship program will depend a lot on one’s attitude, passion and how much you want to train with me. Probably the most important factor is, if we will be a good fit.

After the internship is finished there is a chance of being given the opportunity to participate in the apprenticeship program. As an apprentice dog trainer you will earn a small income. 

 Basic Internship Program Outline

· Observe full 6 week basic course (6 hours)

· Reading and writing assignments first 6 weeks- learning ethology, canine history, body language, personality, drives, training theories and methods.- (6 weekly intern sessions-6 hours)

· Handling and applying learned commands to dogs in the center. ( 6 hours)

· Learning how to handle/restrain dogs safely

· Assist in Basic 6 week obedience class (6 hours)

Our basic intern program only equals 24 hours of time. This is for those that are only interested in going on to become basic obedience instructor.

Internship to Apprenticeship Outline 

(For behavior training)

All of the above 24 hours, plus:

· Observe consultations/evaluations

· Observe all stages of obedience classes (each class equals 1 hour)

· Learn how to record and research canine behavior

· Observe reactive classes (each class 1 hour)

· Observe private sessions for behavioral issues (each session 1 hour)

· Assist in obedience & reactive classes

· Assist in private sessions

· Assist in evaluations

If this you are interested in becoming a behavior trainer, six months to one year of your dedicated time is required. 

Apprenticeship Program Outline

Once the intern to apprenticeship program has been completed and you have been successful in assisting in classes, you will be given the opportunity to teach your own basic class. The right person will also be given the opportunity to teach other obedience levels as well. This position requires passion, dedication and knowledge of canine communication and pack behavior. Only the right person will be tested and given the opportunity. Apprentices will be monitored throughout the classes and receive a small commission.  

Email us at k9workingmind@gmail.com to apply!

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