Jenny Ruth Yasi wore many hats while raising her family on an island off the coast of Maine. She can kill a rooster, sail a boat, grow onions, raise babies, build houses, rescue dogs, catch fish, sing songs, and tell stories. She’s been a performing singer/songwriter, substitute teacher, gardener, writer, real estate flipper. And animal trainer!
Before she married Albert in 1985, Jenny was raised in a home that loved and collected animals: goats, chickens, pony, rabbits, cow, kitties, dogs, birds, guinea pigs, fish. After marriage and as a young mother, she became serious about training and behavior science when one of the family pets, a young german shepherd rescue, not only repeatedly attacked her sweet older shepherd mix, but also snarled and lunged at small children.
Jenny went back to college and dug deep into behavior science studies, designing and completing a self-designed major in behavior science and character development (her teachers included Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh, agility clicker trainer Leslie Whitney in Falmouth Maine, ethologyist Alice Eichholz, and many more wonderful researchers and practitioners working with human behavior as well as animal behavior.
As part of her continuing studies, Jenny and Tigerlily volunteered providing pet assisted therapy in the pediatric psychiatric unit of Spring Harbor Hospital. She has practiced with, observed and studied some of the best animal trainers and behaviorists in the world, taking “clicker” seminars, competing in dog sports and Practicing behavior analysis in a variety of contexts. Jenny started working professionally with dogs through Petco, but soon realized the significance of environment in learning. She first opened “Whole Dog Camp” on Peaks Island, taking “board and train” and day training dog clients beginning in 2004. In that next decade she worked directly with over 350 board and train clients, putting thousands of hours into conditioning dogs with generalized anxiety, escape avoidance behaviors, or other difficulties in adapting to their human’s condition. In the process she developed a set of signals that dogs can really understand.
Now Jenny and Albert have moved Whole Dog Camp to Freeport, where Jenny continue to develop not only observing dogs and dog trainers, but also through community with fellow animal trainers in many fields. Jenny takes advantage of every opportunity to observe seal, dolphin, horse, livestock and other animal trainers.
These are exciting times for animal trainers, as behavior science research revolutionizes pet animal training. Jenny’s training lineage is science based. She shamelessly copies the best of trainers Emma Parsons, Kathy Sdao, Virginia Broitman, Sherri Lippman; Terry Ryan, Musical Carolyn Scott, Mary Ray, Attilla Suzukalek, Diane Kowalski, Agility with Ann Andrle, Susan Garrett, Leslie Whitney. In addition to all those and others Jenny continues to take classes, compete and workshop with a variety of trainers. She attends dog events and educational activities, she has Participated in neuter and rescue of feral dogs in the Caribbean. She has a certificate in Canine first aid and CPR.
Albert retired (he was Freeport’s Town Engineer and Public Works Director) this year and took Jenny and the dogs on a 2000 mile adventure on their sailboat. Now he’s chief in charge of doing whatever he feels like doing.
Jenny is hearing impaired (she sang in front of drums a few too many times?) and Tigerlily has been her hearing service partner, but now Tiger is getting deaf and ready to retire too.
Jenny plans to start a new hearing puppy again in 2018, to join Tigerlily (13) and Bee (8) in their traveling humane education program, “How to Make Big Problems Smaller.” This program visited many schools in the Bahamas in 2017, and they plan to sail back to visit the schools again in 2018. Jenny and Tigerlily danced for two years in New England Wagtime, a regional canine musical freestyle group based in Western Massachusetts. Jenny is owner/operator of Whole Dog Camp.