The Engineering Change Team
Owner and Head Trainer of Engineering Change: Canine + Equine Training
Me with two of my (many) animals. Billy, a goofy and lovable Arabian, was adopted from a horse rescue 10+ years ago and has been my "heart horse" and constant companion. Abe, a little lab mix, was adopted from a shelter several years ago with a severe case of fear aggression. He's now a happy, well-behaved, well-adjusted canine citizen, and the best snuggle buddy.
Hi! I'm Kassie!
For a long time, I was in the field of Engineering. I was a design engineer, then an engineering manager, and then Vice President of Engineering at a local manufacturing facility. I trained part time for years, and made the leap to full time a few years ago.
I started my training career with horses in my county's 4-H program, where I became the person that could swing a leg over anyone's horse and fix whatever issue they were struggling with. Over the following years, I trained horses to help pay for college. Horses are my true first passion. When I got my first dog, Abe, that passion transferred to dogs as well. Abe was severely fear aggressive, and I knew that I needed to get a handle on his issues if I wanted to keep him. That started the dive into the rabbit hole of dog training, and I haven't looked back.
Through my work with rescue horses and rescue dogs, I've developed a love for working with the "problem dogs" and "problem horses" - those that exhibit unwanted or even dangerous behaviors. Figuring out what makes them tick to find the root of the problem is a challenge, and as an Engineer, I love a good challenge. I really pride myself in my ability to "cut the crap" and get to the bottom of a problem by utilizing the same skills that made me successful in my day job in Engineering Management.
I've studied extensively with professional trainers in the industry and I've used that knowledge to develop my own style and methods to approach training. My main focus is facilitating a strong working relationship between the human and the dog. A strong relationship is the driving force behind cooperative, enjoyable life with your dog. Your dog should work with you because they WANT to, not just because they want the treat you're holding or are scared of the consequences of not listening. I spend 95% of my time teaching the dog what I want them to do through positive reinforcement and reserve the use of pressure for the rare occasion that they are needed. I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and ALWAYS want to keep learning. You can learn something from everyone, but my biggest influence in how I train and live with my dogs is Jay Jack, who uses a play based approach to training.
My partner, Hope, and I currently have 4 horses, 1 pony, 2 miniature horses, 4 goats, 12 personal dogs, a lot of chickens, and some barn cats. That number is always threatening to grow; we have a very hard time saying no to an animal in need.
Me with my most enthusiastic sport dog, Monet. She's a Malinois/Bull Terrier mix and a very intense dog. She gets it from her mother, who is another of my 7 personal dogs. Monet is a confident and intense partner who excels in disc, GRC, dock diving, and tricks. She loves to hike and travel with us, and is always down for any adventure or challenge I throw her way.
Hi! I'm Hope!
Prior to discovering my desire to train dogs, I spent my days cleaning up their poop. I was a kennel tech and dog daycare attendant for 5 years who managed large social groups in a play-all-day style dog daycare. During that time, I started to dip my toe into the endless ocean of information that exists in the dog training sphere. Mainly I was interested in teaching my personal dogs party tricks, and that passion is still a large part of my identity as a trainer today. Toward the end of my kennel days, I discovered Freestyle Dog Frisbee and it was love at first sight. I purposely adopted dogs from a local shelter specifically with frisbee goals in mind, and we attended competitions and traveled the country to compete in disc. I added more toy skills to my training, and we started to explore the larger world of dog sports as a whole.
Meanwhile, I shifted career paths to pursue my talents as an artist. For years I taught Paint Your Pet classes in St. Louis (born and raised!) and sold custom pet commissions. I still dabble in the realm of painting dogs on canvas, and host an occasional class for the public a few times a year. I also picked up my first DSLR camera and learned about photography to expand my options for creative outlets.
In 2021 I decided I wanted to further my dog knowledge, and took a few apprentice positions under various trainers who used a variety of methods to train pet dogs and Service Dogs. I wasn't in love with much of what I was learning and I was hungry for more knowledge and new skills. A friend suggested a seminar put on by a few big name trainers, one of whom was Jay Jack. That weekend blew my mind in the best possible way, and it's also when I met Kassie for the first time. I was invested in learning everything I could about play based training, and booked another seminar date with Jay as soon as I could. That second seminar happened to be hosted by none other than Kassie herself, and the rest is history.