Though originally started in Salida, Gone to the Dogs has gained popularity at its second location in Buena Vista as well. The store has won three awards from Best of BV 2020, including Favorite Animal Trainer, Jenna Geldreich.
Geldreich became a certified dog trainer in early 2018 under the tutelage of Laura Bussing, Gone to the Dogs co-owner. Geldreich has worked as a dog trainer there ever since. Additionally, she has worked as behavior lead and volunteer coordinator at Ark-Valley Humane Society since 2018. Before that, she volunteered at the shelter starting in 2017.
Her journey to become a dog trainer started much earlier, in 2010. “I used to be a dog walker in Berkeley, Calif.,” she says. “I have always had a passion for animals, but while being a dog walker I realized that a lot of dogs need certain training.”
She started with a little leash work and specific commands for the dogs she was walking. Seeing how some dogs would be reactive on walks, she took more of an interest in making walks more comfortable for all parties.
In her group dog training classes, Geldreich focuses on teaching people and their dogs basic manners including sit, down, impulse control and how to solve problem behaviors.
“At times as people we don’t realize that all dogs learn differently, so what may have worked for a previous dog you’ve owned won’t work for this other dog, and seeing that click with their owners and seeing results from the dog using a different method is what I love seeing most,” she says.
Geldreich has met with frustrated and upset owners, even some driven to tears over giving up on a dog that refuses to listen. With some advice, persistence and applying structure for the dog, she has been able to help both dogs and their owners.
“My goal being a dog trainer is to keep dogs out of the shelter and in a forever home,” she says. “Working at the shelter has been very rewarding for me as a dog trainer as well. At times we get dogs in with behavioral issues that I get to work with, train, create a behavior modification plan for and see true results that get that forever home for that dog.”
As well as satisfaction from helping others, Geldreich has been able to help herself a little. Never one for public speaking, she feels she has slightly overcome that fear from working in group classes as a dog trainer.
“I feel truly honored and shocked to be voted Favorite Animal Trainer,” she says. “I am constantly changing how I do my group classes and know there is always more for me to learn so I can share what I’ve learned with dog owners.”