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East Van Dogs was built by dog trainer and outdoor enthusiast, Jo Dworschak. As a child, Jo was terrified of dogs, and still has a scar on her forehead from being pushed down the stairs by an Irish Setter. To overcome her fear, she focused on researching dog behaviour, compiling an impressive amount of data that not only helped vanquish her phobia, but also instilled a new fascination and respect for canines. She started over 20 years ago working with horses, and has since refined and adapted her skills to serve dogs in an urban setting.
Jo’s first dog, Shepherd, was a wild one – anxious, untrusting and aggressive towards other dogs. She couldn’t find a dog walker who would work with him. Back in 2005, there weren’t many dog walkers serving East Vancouver and those that did refused to take on problem dogs. Jo encountered other pet owners with the same issue, as many people in the community adopt problem dogs. Unfortunately, when these dogs don’t get out for exercise, their problem behaviours get worse. Jo was motivated to study further and become a dog trainer, to help Shepherd and other East Van dogs.
Jo has developed training methods that reinforce positive behaviour without bullying or bribing. Jo uses her knowledge and experience to train dogs while on hikes, allowing her to take on dogs that are too difficult for the average dog walker. This methodology has helped her establish a loyal clientele and has resulted in calmer, happier dogs in her care.
Jo has recently started writing about her creative approach to dog training, offering her insight on her blog.