The Better Companion was launched by Claudia Sihler CPDT-KSA in July 2002, which makes 2012 our 10th Anniversary! It was her intention to provide professional assistance in training animals in the Mat-Su Valley of Alaska using positive-reinforcement, motivational methods geared towards individual requirements. She also wished to meet the need for private, individualized treatment and consultation to solve a wide variety of behavioral problems. Her love of agility soon set The Better Companion on a course of offering agility classes. Claudia Sihler will be happy to demonstrate her belief in and use of reward-based training, with or without the use of a clicker, by request and during her classes. In September 2003; BetCo also began teaching Weight Pulling Classes as well as obedience/behavior and agility classes. Since then, she has steadily added advanced obedience/behavior classes, a variety of different activity classes like Flyball, Nose Work and Treibball, Tricks & Clicks (fun!) classes, CGC, C.L.A.S.S. training and more.
In October 2005, Claudia & Frank Sihler opened their newly built training facility and now have a permanent space for their ever- growing list of classes. This also allowed them the opportunity to offer regular Doggy Daycare and Open Play Time to their clients as well as the evening and weekend classes. Their 10,000 sq-ft fenced grass area allows for outdoors training of Agility, Flyball, Treibball, Nose Work, Rally… and outdoor Open Play Times during the summer. They added the Pet Partner® Therapy Dog Seminar and evaluations in 2007 and then, with Frank’s expert assistance; Mushing and Skijor Workshops in 2009, using their very own “house-trail”, a groomed trail running along the perimeter of the property around the facility. It’s a fun, challenging little trail and great for training! Our facility is now in use seven days a week most weeks, with seminars and workshops on some weekends and rental use of the facility when available.
Meet Claudia Sihler
As a veterinarian from Germany; I have always had a special interest in the behavior of small animals, with an emphasis on dogs. My doctoral degree thesis was a research project about temperament testing of dogs in animal shelters to help placing the right dogs in the right homes. I have since followed the development of positive reinforcement techniques in behavior modification and dog training with great interest and enthusiastically embraced these methods into my training practices. I am a member of the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) and the ABN (Animal Behavior Network). I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPTD) as well as an official Canine Good Citizen® (CGC), STAR Puppy® evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC). Since February 2012, I’m also certified as an instructor and evaluator for the C.L.A.S.S® program through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).
My experience began with training a big variety of dogs as a teenager on free running walks in Munich, Germany. I knew early on that I had an affinity for dogs. I opened The Better Companion Dog Behavior Training & Consultation in Wasilla, Alaska in July 2002. My husband and partner, Frank Sihler, and I owned a sled dog kennel for mushing which included long distance racing. In 2003 and 2004, Frank completed the Iditarod Sled Dog Race (the Last Great Race!) … 1049 miles from Anchorage to Nome across rugged Alaskan wilderness by dog-team. Now we own only four sled dogs for recreational mushing. I also have two pet dogs for recreation, agility and companionship. You may get to meet my dogs Sally (Aussie/Husky) and Lucy (Jack Russell Terrier) during your class. They are both currently competing in agility and competition rally obedience. Little Lucy is also excelling in the fairly new dog-sport of Nose Work. Working with dogs is my passion as well as my career!
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