A Good Dog’s Life, now A Good Dog's Life Training Center, opened their doors in 2018 to other trainers and dog professionals to rent space for classes, workshops and seminars. 

Susan Wilson and Gail Hubbard established A Good Dog’s Life in 2001. The 3.5 acres at 33 Hidden Acres Drive was purchased to build a training center in June of 2003. Since then we have never lost sight of how we have earned the trust of so many dog owners and professionals who recommend our training services. For that we say: “THANK YOU.” 

As a humane partner in the dog community, our goal still remains -- to continue to teach and offer at AGDL Training Center the best training instruction for improving the home environment of dogs in and around WNC. As we open our doors as a rental facility to other trainers, rescue groups, and dog professionals, we plan on presenting proven training techniques that help owners see the long-term effects of positive approaches to learning. 

We feel blessed to be able to open our doors to offer an affordable safe area to train and hold classes. Susan and Gail will continue teaching as they welcome others to use the campus to ignite the minds of all canines in our area. 

A Little History

In June of 2003, Susan Wilson and Gail Hubbard purchased the land at 33 Hidden Acres and planned to develop Asheville’s largest place dedicated to dog training. We started out in a side yard and a 1100 square foot building on a half acre and we were excited to create a charming campus for all of Buncombe and the surrounding counties to enjoy!

The campus sits on 3.5 acres and includes a 100 square foot outdoor agility field and a 6,000 square foot heated indoor and we dedicate almost an acre to a wooded walking path for students and their dogs to use before and after class. There are also two fenced-in areas to run the dogs and socialize with other dog-friendly classmates. Our goal was to create a way to unwind after a long day, potty the dogs and prepare for class. We encourage students to come early or stay a bit late to take advantage of what the campus has to offer.

 

Gail Hubbard  |  828.712.4245  |  gail@wnck9.com

In 1995, Gail Hubbard set out on a mission to better understand how dogs think so she could help owners deepen their relationship with their dog, train needed behaviors, and rehab those those that need a helping hand.  Training that is fun, humane, and works as well as effective was her goal. While reading and researching dog training, Gail first started a dog walking business, A Dog’s Life, in Cleveland, Ohio. After helping clients with the basics and building more of a love for helping dog owners, in 1996, she out-sourced her advertising work to close colleagues and enrolled at West Virginia Canine College (WVCC).

At WVCC she lived and breathed dogs 8-10 hours a day for 3 months. The experience was full of classroom work learning the dog’s mind and to naturally communicate with them. The experience of training several different breeds and personalities was a great start in understanding how our communication efforts effect dog behavior. Extra emphasis was placed on tracking, drug detection, and protection work. 

After receiving a certifcation from WVCC as a professional trainer and behavioralist in 1997, Gail hasn't stopped learning. She has adopted a coaching approach tailored to each particular dog, its breed and personality, as well as the dog/owner relationship. This approach is based on experience with and knowledge of positive motivation and scientific methods of animal learning. All trainers use scientific based methods whether they understand them or not. Gail helps students narrow down the different techniques of training into a well-defined, proven approach based on humane principles of how dogs learn and approach life. She understands that training is a process, not an event, and encourages her students to develop a simple communication style to achieve their goals based on what the dog likes and how the dog learns.

Gail has trained at Terry Ryan's with Bob Bailey. She has driven to Canada to train at Susan Garrett's with Susan Salo. She has attended multiple APDT conferences to learn many reowned trainers (Suzanne Clothier, Patricia McDonnell, Ian Dunbar ... etc.).  Her studies do not stop at behavior rehab methodologies, she also attends at least one agility workshop each year. Training a dog to successfully and independently perform all the agility obstacles takes patience and an understanding of how dog learn. 

Gail feels that attending workshops and seminars is the best way to stay attuned to new information which altimately makes her classes and private coaching sessions one of the best and sought out in the Western North Carolina area.

A couple of her top experiences has been training Tayt for a few commercials and Quinn for a substantial role in "Seven Days Til Midnight" which will hopefully hit the big screen in 2019.

Her sport of choice is a toss up between SAR/Tracking, Treibball - Urban Herding, and Agility. In 1999 she got involved with NCSARDA after her dog retired from that she when on volunteering through therapy dogs. She started AKC tracking, rally and agility with her Border Collie born in 2004.  She has had a Dalmatian, Sydeny; a German Shepherd Dog, Madison; and currently has a Border Collie, Quinn; a Parson Russell Terrier, Tayt; and a Belgian Malinois, Gaia. Even though competing is important, the relationship between the handler and dog out weighs any title recieved. Gail encourages anyone interested in creating a stronger relationship with their dog to investigate some sort of sport with their dog.  A sport could be anything your dog loves to do ... What does your dog love to do?!

Gaia, a Belgian Malinois, happened upon Gail in 2014 which she welcomed happily into the pack as if she were there since 8 weeks of age.  At that time, Gaia was believed to be 7-8 months.  "Gaia is an angel. She is eager to play any game I show her!" Gail says.

Not pictured below ... in March of 2018, I aquired a Rat Terrier, Nolya!  You can see her on Instagram ... YouTube ... or, Facebook.

Below you see Tayt, Quinn (03-2004 - 03-2018) and Gaia... taken Fall of 2016.

family web

 

Susan Wilson  |  828-231-4172

 I started my dog training career as a search and rescue handler for a NC unit with my dog Ayla in the late 90s.  In this first experience I learned how rewarding and fun it was to work as a team with a dog.  I decided I would like to help others with their dogs, so I went to dog trainer school at Triple Crown Academy.  At Triple Crown I became certified as a Canine Training and Behavior Specialist.  In this program a malinois named Sadie taught me the importance of building a relationship of trust with a dog.  I believe you can not just dominte them, you need to build a trusting positive relationship with an animal.  Sadie bit the student prior to me and the student after me and she had to be euthanized.  I will be forever grateful to Sadie for what she taught me about the relationship you can have with a dog, when you build a trusting relationship with mutual respect.   

After returning from Triple Crown I started A Good Dogs Life with my business partner Gail Hubbard.  I really wanted to help people build solid relationships with their dogs in a positive way.  I was also very interested in helping people with reactive dogs thanks to Sadie and my dog Razzle.  I rescued Razzle (Austrian Cattle Dog) prior to going to Triple Crown and she ended up being reactive to other dogs.  I had learned some about working with reactivity at Triple Crown but was driven to learn more.  So I continued to learn by attending reactive dog workshops and reading many books about reactivity.  So I could help my dog and better help my clients with reactivity.  It takes a lot of work to help a dog with reactivity, and in many cases they are not 100 percent bomb proof.  But it is worth all the work and you usually end up with an amazing relationship with your dog.  I did agility with my reactive dog, Razzle for 10 years without an incident. She taught me how to deal with reactivity and to love the sport of agility.  I still really enjoy working with reactive dogs and if you need help I can help you in a private lesson.  However my passion now is training people and dogs to do agility for fun and for sport.   

I started learning agility 16 years ago.  I have competed with dogs and taught agility for 14 years.   I have participated in 4 national championships and achieved 2 Master Agility Chanpionships with my Border Collie Zinger.  At this time I compete with three Master Level dogs, Border Collies Zinger and Wish, and papillon d'Art.  d'Art is a young dog who qualified for is first nationals in 2017.   

I have trained with many different agility trainers and continue education facilitators,  traveling and attending over 40 clinics and conferecnces over the years. As a member of The Association of Professional Dog Trainers I strongly believe in continued eduction.   I teach 10-12 classes a week.  I love getting to know my students, and figuring out what handling and training techniques work best for the person and their dog.  Dogs and handlers start in puppy, then basic classes and then foundation agility or some come to me later in their training.  I have classes for dogs and handlers at all different levels.  I love watching the relationship between dog and human grow.  I train only with positive reinforcement.  It is essential that the dog loves training and it is a fun and in a  stress free enviromnet.  

My latest joy in dog training has been introducing new trainers to the sport of Agility.  Judy Chaet, a long time student now also teaches at Shooting Stars Agility.  She has been a joy to watch as she excelled with her standard poodle Asha, MACH3 Max (minature poodle) and now her young border collie Leila.  I am very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to start her in the sport of Agility.  

I love teaching Agility but one of my favorite classes to teach are the young dogs in puppy and Basic Manners classes.  It's an opportunity to help people with dogs figure out how to reach the dreams they have for their new friend.  The two most important things for me when I start a new dog are: 1.  Setting up a good comunication system with your dog, so you can teach them what you desire. 2. Buiding a strong relationship between the dog and their human.  Training should be an exciting and fun experience for the human and their dog.  

 

 

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A Good Dog's Life
Training Center

33 Hidden Acres Drive
Asheville NC 28806

Susan    828.231.4172
Gail    828.712.4245

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