About Sara

Layla, Sara, Matt, and Mischief. Photo by Dan Reusche.

Layla, Sara, Matt, and Mischief. Photo by Dan Reusche.

Sara Reusche, CPDT-KA, CVT, ANWI owns Paws Abilities Dog Training, LLC in Rochester, Minnesota. Sara has ten years of training experience. She became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer in 2005 and a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2006. In addition to training, Sara has worked as a dog groomer, vet tech, doggy daycare attendant, and animal shelter caretaker and trainer. She currently spends the majority of her time working with serious behavior cases and has a special fondness for reactive and anxious dogs.

Sara, Layla, Mischief, and Dobby. Photo by SC Studios.

Sara and Dobby. Dobby was recently, sadly euthanized after a long battle with a seizure disorder. Photo by Ryan Windfeldt.

Sara loves teaching! In addition to this blog, she writes regularly for Dogster and SitStay. She has contributed to the Rochester Women’s Magazine, the Wagazine, the APDT Chronicle of the Dog, and was the 2008 John Fisher scholarship award winner with her article about using the Premack principle, “Lessons from Layla.” Sara speaks at a variety of locations across Minnesota, including at colleges, community centers, veterinary hospitals, and pet events.

Sara presents to a packed house at Rochester Feed and Country Store. Photo by Amanda Taylor.

Sara and her boyfriend live with two adopted mutts, Layla (ARCHX RL2X RL3) and Mischief (also known as Trout, CGC RLPX RL1), and frequently foster dogs for rescue organizations. When she’s not working with dogs, Sara enjoys reading, dancing, and staying up too late.

Inquiries about speaking engagements or articles can be sent to sara@paws4u.com.

Layla, Sara, and Mischief hiking at Whitewater State Park. Photo by Clara Yori.

10 responses to “About Sara

  1. Thank you Sara for the great work you do.

  2. Hi i have a 3year old pitbull x hunterway, i got her out of the chewing and whining when she was young but now she has continued to do it. nothing has changed she gets lots off attention. She will be tied up and continuously whine. and she now chews everything. ive tried most methods to stop this behaviour but nothing seems to be working and the neighbours are getting very angry. is there any other advice you could give me? thanks tayla

    • Tayla, what kind of exercise are you providing for your dog? Also, giving attention and affection to the wrong state of mind will increase the behavior.
      Dogs often act our in chewing, whining, digging, barking, etc. when they are not properly draining their physical and mental energy. Often, pitbulls need a longer walk 2 to 3 times a day for about 45 mins to an hour each walk. Making sure the walk is done properly not willy nilly is very important also. Dogs are migration animals, walking for miles to find food, water and shelter is in their DNA. The walk is as important as breathing air is to you and I. If you are not draining their energy properly the dog will release that energy in any way it can; chewing, whining. Having that energy pent up is like having bad anxiety everyday. Hope this helps. If you are already providing the walks for your dog, are they done properly? Walk’s can create more excitement than exercise if they are not done properly.

  3. Hi, I read with interest your anxiety medication post. None of the replies actually match Holly’s problem. She has panic attacks, which result in destroying something either furniture, carpet or a dog bed. At home her safe place is our bed, anywhere else she has no “safe” place and will try to get behind me. She can’t bear any loud noise, her whole body shakes. Day time walks are fine, evening walks (not twilight or dark) she gets anxious and wants to go back and will run home if off the lead. Now she has started doing it on the morning walk. There has been some improvement since my husband started encouraging her more on the morning walk. She is ten this year and the problem is getting worse as she gets older. I have been thinking about medication and was going to try something I got at the pet shop when the firework season was upon us, which had some effect.

    • Hi A.,

      Have you had Holly into the vet? A thorough physical check-up, including vision, hearing, and bloodwork, would probably be a good place to start. Your vet can also help you determine whether anxiety medication would be a good fit for Holly.

      Please let us know what you find out!

      Kindest regards,
      – Sara

  4. The Vet suggested medication, didn’t check her blood or hearing, said her vision may be going! Decided to try medication before the firework season starts and if we go (and stay) anywhere. My husband has continued his “nice talking” to her since getting home from holiday and it has had some affect. I have spoken to the vets several times before and they have not been that helpful. Angela

  5. A very good read. Thank you Sara.
    I will look forward to future blogs.

  6. Hi Sara! Thank you SO MUCH for your balanced and experienced approach to living with dogs. You’re such a great communicator.

    My husband and I are considering adding a young (spayed) female to our pack. She’s a 6 mo old labXschnauzer (?) who was hit by a car at 10 weeks and left for dead. She lived in a shelter after a vet repaired her before an adoption group found and fostered her. Her foster said that she tried crating her at first, but because the puppy has lived in a small shelter cage and frequently relieved herself in the cage, she would wet in the crate every time. She has a bit of anxiety when left alone (easily explained by the fact that she’s only had a stable home with her foster for a month now) and is contained in a mud room with the foster.

    My question is whether she could be reintroduced to a crate, for her safety and containment while she works through house training and anxiety with us. (I work from home, but occasionally I’ll have to leave her for an hour or so.) We have one older dog whom we crate trained, and it was wonderful for him– and I assumed most dogs. Is she too scarred to try crating again?

    Thank you so very much.

    • Hi Olivia,

      Thanks for writing, and for considering giving a home to a needy dog! Do you live in the MN area? If so, I’d be happy to help you set up an appointment to assess your potential new dog and put together a plan for reintroducing her to crates. This is the sort of behavior issue that can’t really be dealt with over the Internet, since there are so many variables in play and each dog is an individual. It’s possible that your new pup could learn to view a crate as a safe place, but that depends on many different factors.

      If you’re not local to Paws Abilities, you should still be able to find an experienced trainer in your area who can help you with this. I would recommend that you check out http://www.ccpdt.org to find a Certified Professional near you.

      Best of luck with your new dog!
      – Sara

  7. Hello ! I would like to thanks you for this wonderful blog, which is a pleasure to read. I’m french and even if my english isn’t perfect, I’ve learn a lot of things with you, and if I can say only one thing, it would be… ” more ” !
    I don’t know if you still have the time to answer this kind of questions, but if you have any ideas, it would be really appreciated. In France there are really few positive trainers and none in my area, so I don’t know how to deal with this problem.
    I’ve a 7 months australian shepherd and as a lot of puppies, he likes to eat poop. But it’s not one or two per trip, this habit has become a real frantic search, and he listens to me anymore, even if I’ve worked a lot for his recall with meat and really great rewards. He knows “leave it” which works really well with detritus but I totally disappear when he smells a dung, and let me tell you that they’re everywhere ! In two months, he had two gastritis because of this, and he was tired, apathic, with a diarrhea that looks like more liquid than anything. The vet and I were really worried about his health and he told me to buy a muzzle to avoid such dangerous situations. It’s been two weeks that Diez wears it and he still try to eat or lick the feces , he’s not stupid, he’s really obstinate !
    I would like to know how to deal with this problem ; I’m a hiking lover and my pleasure is to see my dog running around me, free and happy. But with this problem, he’s always on leash and I can feel his frustration, his desire to run and play in the grass. If you could help us, it would be really great !

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