Local Dog Trainer Encourages Healthy Relationships between Dog and Human Using Positive Techniques


Posted Tue, Apr 15, 2014

Local dog trainer Laura McGaughey

Delightful Doggies: Dog trainer Laura McGaughey brings a fresh outlook to dog–human relationships. [Courtesy Photo]

Denver –Local dog trainer Laura McGaughey is using her background of varying experiences in the animal care field to offer unique services to her clients with a fresh outlook on the dog-human relationship.

McGaughey didn’t start out with a career in animal care. She found her past career to be too stressful, and when she began feeling burned out, she knew it was time for change.


In 2010, McGaughey volunteered at MaxFund, a local no-kill animal shelter, and participated in the CHAMPS program, where a volunteer trainer works with other shelter volunteers to conduct basic training exercises with dogs in the shelter.

From there, she quit her job. She pursued education in both training and vet assistant certification programs. After working at dog daycares, volunteering, and learning from her own personal dog ownership experiences, McGaughey started her own dog walking and pet sitting business called Delightful Doggies.

What started out small grew quickly, and after two busy years, McGaughey handed over most of her clients to her three employees while she moved on to another vein of the field – training.

Focused On Outreach

“I now work solo,” she says, “and don’t offer daily dog walks so I can accommodate customized training clients and other services, like Day Training and Off-leash Adventures. It also helps me have more energy for clients who may have more serious issues with training.”

McGaughey now runs Delightful Doggies on her own, and loves “being able to help dogs and their people understand each other and live together peacefully.” Focusing on positive training methods backed by research, McGaughey says, “Knowledge is so important; education is key.”

Integrity is essential to McGaughey. In addition to striving to be affordable and flexible, she says, “I think my focus on community outreach and education helps set me apart.” McGaughey believes successful trainers should not only demonstrate their expertise, but also be focused on outreach.

McGaughey’s background has allowed her to learn from dogs in many different environments. From working at a shelter and being a foster parent for a dog named Uma, who has both health and behavioral issues; she is able to tell her clients dealing with challenges, “I understand! And I do! Having a dog with issues can be a lot of work… so I can relate and also give them hope.”

Building Trust

McGaughey will not use choke chains or prong collars in her training. “I have been able to transition some people to harnesses and off the prongs,” she says, “which is a big win for everyone. I think being able to shift that view from old-school techniques to new-school methods is really wonderful, and it takes tact.”

McGaughey feels that moving away from the use of negative tools and methods and building trust is extremely important.

“Being able to open the minds of people to understand proper communication and trust between their dogs is the biggest part of the battle sometimes,” she says.

“I want to empower my clients and give them all the tools I can to give them and their dogs happy, long lives together!”


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About Shaun Kramer

Shaun Kramer is a Denver-area photographer and writer.

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