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 a young mother, Jenny started to lose her hearing ability (like her parents and grandparents). As part of her continuing studies, Jenny trained Tigerlily in hearing service behaviors, and 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 to a wonderful new habitat, Bliss Woods Farm in Freeport, Maine. Tigerlily is getting old now, and losing her own hearing abilities, so Jenny is getting ready to train a new hearing service puppy in the spring. As young grandparents, Jenny and Albert continue to develop a sustainable lifestyle of organic gardening, a healthy outdoor lifestyle, and joy in the study of animal behavior. Their mission is to cultivate not just a healthy garden, but by extension a healthy community, with guest visits from fellow animal trainers in many fields. Jenny takes advantage of every opportunity to observe seal, dolphin, horse, livestock and other animal trainers, and her goal is to bring behavior science insights gleaned from animal training into Maine schools and neighborhoods.
Beginning in 2018, Whole Dog Camp will provide a summer training and play and stay based training program. Whether you are passing through at lunchtime or planning to stay and develop a training plan for your dog, Bliss Woods Farm’s separately fenced organic gardens, agility yard, courtyard, performance space and picnic spaces is the perfect spot to host a canine birthday party, or just take your dog for a romp. A living museum, you will learn a bit about the history of behavior science as you dogwalk your way around or through training and play stations. Help us collect training data! Fill out our dog training survey here: ( TBP)
Jenny and Albert with Tigerlily (13) and Bee (8) bring their traveling humane education program, “How to Make Big Problems Smaller,” to schools, visiting throughout the Abacos, Bahamas in 2017, and they plan to sail back to visit these schools again in 2018. In addition to introducing behavior science, they found a strong interest in gardening . Jenny and Albert are heading back one more winter to help make composting more fun, a theme that is helping them develop the dog show!
We love flowers, boat, children, dogs, ducks, and sharing a hopeful beautiful world with our neighbors.