Henry & Hedy Talk to The Balanced Canine


Michelle, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Dog & Member of The Balanced Canine Pack
Michelle, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Member of The Balanced Canine Pack

Ever wondered why someone decides to become a dog trainer? Or want to know more about virtual dog training and in-person dog training?

Well we got to talking with Vanessa Jaramillo, veterinarian technician, certified dog trainer and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever owner about opening The Balanced Canine.

Henry & Hedy Toller Tails (HHTT): Hello Vanessa and thank you for talking with us about opening The Balanced Canine and all things doggy. Also a TollerTails.com bark out to Michelle, our Ducktoller cousin. Woofy Woof!!

Vanessa Jaramillo of The Balanced Canine (TBC): Hi Henry and Hedy. Happy to talk about dog training and what The Balanced Canine offers.


HHTT: What made you decide to become a dog trainer?


TBC: Animals have always been a passion of mine since I was little. When I started working in the veterinary field over 12 years ago, I became more and more interested in animal behaviour. My curiosity and desire to learn more led me to further studies in the area of animal behavior and my ongoing education in the area.

But my inspiration to pursue dog training and behavior modification was our dog, Michelle (who is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever). Having an active working dog, I really wanted to make sure I was doing everything right by her. That’s when I began pursuing my certification in dog training and behavior modification and also deepening my understanding in this area.



HHTT: How did you become or what kind of training did you have to become a dog trainer?


TBC: My journey in the field of animal care began Sheridan College in Toronto, Ontario where I received my certification in Animal Care. From there I then went on to complete my Fear Free certification.

What a “Fear Free” certification means is that I am certified in techniques that ensure the patients I work with, as a veterinary technician, in the clinic have a stress free appointment. This is very helpful in ensuring our patients feel safe. It’s also useful in dog training.

Especially because Fear Free training includes learning about dog behaviour and how to read dog body language to ensure they are stress free. Reading dog behaviour is a challenge and takes practice. To do it really well also takes formal training. Afterwards, I completed my education with the Animal Behaviour College.

In animal behaviour there is always something to learn. There have been a lot of changes in dog training over the decades grounded in science-based positive reinforcement and redirection with a Fear Free approach. As well as new research and ongoing education from organizations like the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (ADPT)

That’s why I’m committed to lifelong learning. Ensuring my ongoing growth as a dog trainer and professional and makes sure I keep up to date with the latest research so I can offer the best dog trainer and behavior modification services to my clients.

One the areas I am working on and specializing in focuses on canine behaviour modification, aggression and anxiety. Currently, I am continuing my education in these areas and working on my certifications for these specific needs.


HHTT: Why the name “The Balanced Canine”?


TBC: I believe that balance is on the inside and outside. Not just for humans, but for our dogs too. By providing dogs with structure, exercise and enrichment, our dogs will have sound minds. It’s also important to ensure that as dog owners we provide our dogs with proper nutrition and basic grooming necessities.

The Balanced Canine approach combines the internal needs of your dog, such as good canine nutrition and nurturing your dog’s mindset through canine enrichment, alongside what some consider external aspects such as obedience training, exercise and basic grooming needs. It’s a wholistic approach to assessing and meeting your dog’s needs. When everything is balanced in your canine, you can see it.

Meeting the needs of dogs also means meeting the needs of dog owners. Through The Balanced Canine, dog owners have options. They can access private lessons for dog training, behaviour modification, canine nutrition consultations and also grooming basics consults.

As a Veterinary Technician, everyday I see the importance and need for proper dog nutrition at the clinic. Nutrition is an important part in your dog's mental health and overall wellbeing. Just like with humans, canine nutrition is complex. Dog owners are looking for science-based and correct information. That’s where we can help. Nutrition consults are a service offered through The Balanced Canine.

Also, grooming basics is very important to your dog's overall health. During Covid-19 restrictions many dog owners were or are unable to access dog grooming services. And they were unsure how to groom their dog. That’s why The Balanced Canine offers virtual dog grooming sessions upon request.

Because ensuring that your dog’s coat is brushed, nails are trimmed, ears are clean and so much more is a way to avoid skin issues, mobility issues and infections.

So, when it you combined positive reinforcement dog training techniques, sound canine nutrition and dog grooming basics, you can have balanced canine!


HHTT: You’ve worked as a Veterinary Technician (VT) for over a decade. What are the advantages of having a dog trainer who is a working VT?


TBC: Working in the veterinary industry, gives me unique insight. I can provide clients with the tools and information not only on positive reinforcement dog training techniques, but also the tools and information they need for sound nutritional health and dog grooming basics they need for their dog’s specific needs.

When dog parents are searching for advice to help their fur baby, it’s important they get their information from trained professionals. There is a lot of information and advice out there, and some things will work for some but maybe not others.

As a practicing veterinary technician, I have the knowledge, experience and certifications to provide The Balanced Canine clients with science-based information specific to them and focuses on the whole dog. Meeting their full and balanced canine needs!


HHTT: Because the humans still have to practice social distancing, what types of online virtual programs do you offer? How does it work?


TBC: We offer private zoom consults by the hour and we also offer a 3 lesson value pack.

It’s best the first private lesson be online or virtual. Since this is an initial intake consultation where will be getting to know you as dog owner and your dog. Taking time to connect and gather in-depth information about your dog's behaviour is needed to tailor a dog training or behaviour modification plan specific to your needs.

There will be instances when in-person lessons will not be feasible not just because of Covid-19 restrictions but because of a dog owner’s schedule. Virtual classes and video chats are a great alternative for busy dog owners.

One advantage of virtual classes and video chats is we can also demonstrate behaviour cues and help dog owners by offering adjustments in handler techniques.


Michelle, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever & Member of The Balanced Canine Pack
Michelle - Member of The Balanced Canine Pack

HHTT: Why should a new dog or puppy parent consider a virtual class?


TBC: Virtual lessons are a great way for new pet parents to learn how to understand their dog and effectively communicate with them. Dogs are amazing companions and have great personalities!

Although sometimes as pet parents we all may humanize our dogs, we have to remember that dogs are a different species. Dogs speak a different language, and they have different needs than humans. By learning how dogs think, how to read their body language and how to provide them with the canine enrichment they need, you will have a happy balanced canine!

HHTT: Thanks Vanessa!

TBC: Thanks so much for the interview!


Please note: Neither Hedy, Henry nor their humans have received any treats or remuneration, sponsorship or services in relation to this article. As always, our TollerTails.com will identify on its posts, including Straight from the Snout™ posts, if a product or service being recommended and/or discussed is a sponsored product/service, or if there has been remuneration of any type.