Laurie Yakish is a Colorado Springs dog trainer widely renowned in the Pikes Peak region for effective and fast dog training.

Colorado Springs Dog Trainer

AboutLaurie Yakish

As a highly experienced dog trainer in Colorado Springs, I understand the importance of using a balanced approach to create changes in a dog’s behavior.

Using a combination of consequences and rewards, I can quickly teach dogs good behavior and correct issues like aggression, disobeying commands, and separation anxiety.

I specialize in fixing typical dog training problems like biting, jumping up, housebreaking and aggressive behavior.

My goal is to help dog owners in Colorado Springs develop strong relationships with their furry friends. If you’re struggling with your dog’s behavior, please get in touch with me. Let’s work together to turn your dog’s behavior around and make them a happy and well adjusted member of your family.

Did you know: 60% of dogs in shelters today are there because of behavior problems? 90% of problematic dog behaviors are addressable if their owners only knew how.

Don’t let behavior problems be a death sentence for your dog.

Call me before it comes to that.

Dog Training Credentials

Laurie Yakish is certified through the:

Most importantly, I participated in mentorship by Gary Wilkes.  Gary has taught me more about dog behavior and saving dogs from the euthanasia table in several months than my years of studying dog training.

Together you and I will get you and your family the dog(s) you deserve.

My Dog Trainer Journey

My name is Laurie Yakish.  I want to tell you my story about myself and how I developed my dog training and dog behavioral therapy programs.

Dog Obsessed Childhood

I have been dog-obsessed since I was four years old.

The first dog I can remember was a cocker spaniel puppy named Suzie. We got her when I was about three or four years old.

Later, when I was about six years old, the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a puppy. I got Pepper, a black cocker spaniel terrier mix. She was the best Christmas present I ever got. (I understand people who want to give their kids a puppy for Christmas.)

When I was seven, I taught Pepper to play high jump using the lure and reward method that I taught myself. Growing up in Wisconsin, I always had a dog by my side. They were my best friends.

I Began Dog Obedience Training in the Public’s Eye

Living in the heart of dairy farm country 4-H was the next logical step. (If you are too young to know about 4-H, you can Google it.) I learned to train with the traditional military style of obedience training. I competed at the county fair for three years with a standard Dachshund named Bach. Yes, my first obedience dog was a Dachshund. (You can stop laughing now.) We always did reasonably well, but neither of us really enjoyed that type of training, but there wasn’t anything else back then. Those of you who know Dachshunds know the frustration in shouting commands and popping a training collar (not a method I use any longer) to get your way with one of these guys. You have to have a sense of humor and the patience of a saint.

I Learned a Tragic and Painful Lesson

Later, as my kids were growing up, I worked at a couple of different pet shops and began teaching obedience and puppy socialization classes. I developed my curriculum and even designed my diplomas. I adopted a pit bull named Mad Max at about that same time, who quickly showed me how much I didn’t know about dog behavior and training.

I contacted a local group with not much more experience than I did. They taught me about clicker training and positive reinforcement training.

Max and I made tremendous dog training progress, but his behavior problems persisted. Max’s aggression became so severe that I had to put him to sleep.

I Was Searching For Answers

Failing Max broke my heart and hurt my confidence. I didn’t dare go into dog training full time because I knew there was so much I needed to understand to be effective. Still, I vowed that I was not going to fail another dog. I continued doing research but kept ending up at the same sticking point. I couldn’t seem to create the kind of meaningful changes in dogs with severe behavior problems that the owners were seeking. I continued working part-time while continuing my studies independently. My progress was slow.

 A Case Study

Shiloh was a two-year-old deaf male cattle dog, and he was a mess. The couple that I got him from rescued him from certain death with the sole intent of finding him the right home. They were both in their seventies and typically rescued senior Newfoundland dog breed as a specialty.

Shortly after Shiloh (then called Putt-Putt) came to their home, the wife, Emmie Lou, had to have hip replacement surgery. Then her husband, Ron, had to have open-heart surgery. They didn’t have the time or the energy to deal with an adolescent male cattle dog.  They spent what time they had with him and continued to look for the right home for him. They had no idea it would take a year and a half. Meanwhile, Shiloh was slipping into crazy and dangerous dog behavior.

Shiloh was reactive to almost anything that moved, cars, bicycles, motorcycles, and garbage trucks. Mail trucks were his mortal enemies. He was obsessive over lights and shadows, so much so that he had to spend hours at a time locked in a darkened room.  He reacted to the neighbors coming out onto their front porches if he was in the front yard. He attacked anyone who made eye contact with him.

I spent over nine months using only positive techniques with him. Shiloh spent six months of that on the canine equivalent of Prozac. Progress was incremental, but I wasn’t about to give up. I owed it to him and my commitment to Max to try everything possible never to fail another dog.

However, keeping a healthy young cattle dog locked in a bedroom day and day out while making baby step progress felt wrong and unethical. I was sure I was missing something. I posted questions and asked for help on dog behavior discussion groups. I called other trainers and behaviorists. It was all more of the same. I lost ten pounds walking him at odd hours and worrying. Still no answers.

Then I Discovered a Little-Known Breakthrough in Correcting Unwanted Dog Behavior

Finally, Gary Wilkes, the father of clicker training, saw one of my posts and emailed me privately, stating, “I can fix your dog.” Neither my life nor Shiloh’s were ever the same from that moment. Gary taught me the importance of using a balanced approach to create meaningful changes in a dog’s behavior. He used both consequences and rewards. Gary most often uses a harmless rolled-up cloth towel which he calls a ‘bonker’ as punishment.

I will admit that the first time I ‘bonked’ Shiloh, I cried because other trainers had told me horrible things would happen if I punished Shiloh for anything. You know what? Nothing horrible happened. Shiloh got a little ‘flinchy’ for a few days, but once he sorted out why he was getting ‘bonked,’ he was a different dog, and I became a unique dog trainer and specialized in dog behavior.

Shiloh now goes everywhere with me and works as my service dog on days when my spine is bothering me. He gets along with everyone and takes every new experience in stride.*

* Shiloh is gone now. He lived to be 14 ½ and if I stayed on the all positive and medication coursewith him, he wouldnt of made it past his 3rd birthday. As it was, he lived a long, happy and normal life.

I Carved Out My One-of-a-Kind and Highly Successful Dog Behavior Training Program

I now can turn some of the worst behavior cases around in just a few visits. My priority is to make dogs feel safe. In time, I helped Shiloh become a relaxed, well-adjusted family member. I don’t take months or a couple of years.

A well-defined dog training curriculum combined with a balanced measure of dog behavioral training is crucial because dogs don’t live for eighty or ninety (dog) years.

It feels unethical to leave them in a state of high stress and anxiety for longer than I have to.

I love dogs, and I want to move them out of those painful ’emotional’ states as quickly as possible so that we can start rewarding them for new appropriate and safe behaviors and let them get on with their lives.

My Unique Approach to Dealing with Autism is Using Dogs

I also have a son on the Autism spectrum. My experience with him and his compassion for animals prompted me to look for a way to use that to help other families facing similar challenges. Many children on the Autistic spectrum can connect with animals faster than bonding with other people, even family members.

With that in mind, I developed a program called Sirius Kids’ Connection designed to equip family members with additional tools to help deal with behavior problems. Sirius Kids’ Connection’s design was to teach communication and social skills to the children on the spectrum through learning to train the family dog. It was a family program that included both parents and siblings.

The Sirius Kids’ Connection pilot program was very well received. Still, offering such a unique approach to helping families with Autism, it was a challenging time to secure financing during its infancy, and eventually, the program was closed.

I still help train service dogs for the North Star Foundation. Their mission is to provide service dogs for special needs children and children who have suffered a traumatic loss.

Leading Local Foundations and Local Dog Industry Pros Recommend Laurie Yakish

My services are regularly offered to the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation to do behavior modification work and train the public access portion for their clients’ seizure alerting and seizure response dogs.

The Harley’s Hope Foundation contracts me to work with behavior cases and dogs fostering who have behavior problems.

Cynthia Bullock at the Harley’s Hope Foundation has witnessed firsthand the dramatic behavior changes.

Dogs learn to realize that certain behaviors they display are unacceptable. At the same time, desirable dog behaviors get rewarded.

Several local veterinarians in the area, including Woodland Park, Colorado, and Fountain, Colorado, are familiar with my work and regularly refer their clients to me. They have seen dramatic changes in their clients’ dogs in a short amount of time and feel confident in putting their faith in me to come through for them.

I even have other dog trainers and groomers who continue to endorse me and often refer their clients to me. I love what I do and take it very seriously.

The core of my mission statement is: First, Do No Harm.

Like your veterinarian, I may do things that your dog doesn’t like at first, but I can guarantee that your dog will become better than when we started. I can change your dog’s future for the better.