Meet this week’s truly amazing Rockstar Doggy Momma Colleen Steckloff. Colleen is not only Cesar Millan’s Head Trainer, but she founded her own training company LAK9S.com. Colleen’s journey began as a student of zoology, where she also studied with animal trainers on movie and commercial sets. Colleen soon realized this type of work was not for her as she was passionate about connecting with animals on a more instinctual level and created her own dog walking business. Colleen recognized that she had an inherent talent for connecting with the more “difficult” pup in the family and a career was born.
As Cesar Milan’s Head Trainer Colleen is the producer of segments for his live shows. She casts the appropriate pup for each behavioral segment and works with the pups so they are comfortable enough on stage to exhibit the inappropriate behavior which Cesar “magically” transforms throughout his show. In addition, Colleen works on his T.V. shows: The Dog Whisperer and Cesar 911. Colleen is tasked with doing an assessment of each pup before filming to determine how much rehabilitation he or she needs, acting as a “mini-Cesar” if you will. Colleen also teaches the owners how to make the training work for them once production has finished. In addition, Colleen serves as the Head Trainer at Cesar’s Dog Psychology Center, instructing workshops with students from all over the world.
Through L.A.K-9’s Colleen rehabilitates dogs and their owners. As Mommas we all fall into a routine with our pups and can unintentionally create some bad habits. Therefore, Colleen takes your dog out of the home environment for a period of time and teaches him new behaviors. She then brings the owner back into the mix to teach her the new behaviors, and in doing so, mends the relationship between the dog and his owner. Colleen notes that she strives to teach owners how to assert themselves in the leadership role and communicate appropriately with their pups. Too often dogs are forced into the leadership position, which is not where they’re happiest, causing behavioral problems. In addition to you Mommas, Colleen is super thrilled to teach other dog trainers through her company’s shadow program and workshops.
Furthermore, Colleen is excited about matching pups with the right owner. It’s all about ENERGY ladies!! For instance, if you’re a very active bubbly Momma you want a high energy dog BUT if you’re a little more sedentary this mix will not be up your ally! And just like hiring a personal trainer to get your ideal body requires hard work and consistency, so does training your pup. As Colleen advises, “you can have whatever kind of dog you want as long as you’re willing to put in the work and time.” If your dog’s needs are met you can cuddle on the couch all night, but if not, you may just lose a pair of those designer stilettos as I’m sure some of you Mommas know all too well!! Plus your dog has an innate sense of picking up on your emotions, and if you have a solid foundation, he will act accordingly if you’re having an off day.
Colleen is the proud doggy Momma of three pups as well as her current foster Lala, who was rescued from Thailand’s meat industry. Lala initially exhibited aggressive behavior, but thanks to Colleen’s love and expert training, she is now passive and ready for adoption. Of course, Colleen needs to find Lala the right fit!! Colleen also keeps in fantastic shape by regularly hiking with her pups and eating a clean whole foods diet. Colleen gives her pups Greek yogurt chicken, rice, lots of veggies and salad. Remember “it’s only people food when you give it from the table.” Don’t miss out on wonderful whole foods that can advance both you and your dog’s health.
When asked what her top tips are for us doggy Mommas, Colleen advised:
- “When you treat your dog like a human the more like a dog he will act, but when you treat him like a dog he will act like a human.” As wonderful as it is that we love our pups and consider them family members, we must remember they are not human children. We may call them our babies, but they are happiest when we treat them as dogs. When we do so, he or she will become our greatest buddy and sidekick!
- Many Mommas are having children later in life and when the baby comes the pup’s role inevitably changes and he does not know how to relate. Remember you have 8 months to foster his new role before your bundle of joy arrives!
- Learn how to WALK your pup! Instead of getting your pup over excited, start out with a calm behavior. You want your pup excited out on your walk when YOU decide it’s time to play. Many Mommas are inconsistent with their walks, which leads to unwanted behavior so remember to give your dog the appropriate amount of time and exercise. And realize that if you’re too busy one day to take your dog for an appropriate walk, it’s not his fault when he acts up. Don’t yell, just chill out and do better the next day. None of us are perfect all the time, Momma or dog.
As you can see Colleen is simply a true gem and a phenomenal Rockstar Doggy Momma. Can’t wait to see what new adventure she rocks next!!!! 🙂