Sara McLoudrey is the founder of ROOT Dog Training a successful training boutique that specializes in positive, reward based, relationship focused dog training. In addition to ROOT’s Highwood, IL location Sara also offers in-home private lessons on a variety of behavioral issues. ROOT will help you with any dog training issue from puppy training to behavioral training to competition dog sport activities. Sara’s specialties for behavioral training are both reactive aggressive dogs and resource guarding. Both of these problems have effected Sara’s own dogs over the years and training them has helped Sara be the professional dog trainer she is today. Sara is proud to be a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA), Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI), TagTeach Level 2 trainer, and a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer.
Dog training, for Sara McLoudrey, started when she was nine years old and received her first dog Gus, a Schnoodle. Gus eventually became her 4-H obedience dog and was trained solely with the help of 4-H books, no classes or formal instruction. Thankfully, due to Gus’s wonderful temperament and their strong bond, they did well at the 4-H fair.
Her first introduction to higher-level training was through a service and therapy dog organization. She trained her Border Collie, Scout, to be a therapy dog with the organization and began puppy raising. Sadly, even though Scout was a great therapy dog and excellent trick dog, she started developing a number of fears and phobias. It was then that Sara decided to retire her. Sara realized that she had learned a valuable lesson about not stressing my dog for someone else’s benefit. Scout taught Sara many things over the years about breeds and behavior. She is always grateful to her for being kind and patient.
Sara also shared over seven years with her husband’s yellow Labrador, Bailey, who was a retired service dog. Bailey was trained by an organization using “traditional” obedience methods that relied heavily on force. During his training Bailey became extremely dog reactive, but was still placed as a working dog. Finally he was retired from public work, due to his escalating behavioral issues. Bailey’s reactive nature was minimized over the years with the help of positive training (under the initial guidance of Dr. Karen Overall) and various management techniques.
It was Bailey’s behavior and consults with Dr. Overall that led Sara to find a more compassionate way to train. She never again wanted to treat (or train) a dog the way that Bailey had been. Sara knew she had dogs because she loved them, enjoyed their companionship and partnership. She knew that she would never treat a friend like that so why treat her dog in that manner, there had to be a better way. It was the best path ever taken, and Sara is so glad to have found a more compassionate training method.
Sara believes you can always learn and grow as a dog trainer. So we try to attend as many seminars and lectures are possible. She also belongs to educational groups that promote positive dog training and her breeds of choice (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers and American Water Spaniels). Currently Sara shares her home with an elderly Toller Dara, an American Water Spaniel Rizzo, her Burnham Terrier Bueller, a very patient husband and her elementary aged son.