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Top Tier K9 Student Spotlight: Maria Schultz, Fredericksburg Virginia

Maria Christina Schultz, – Outdoor enthusiast, ACA-certified stand up paddleboard instructor, art director, and author. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Maria is now based in central Virginia, where she lives with her husband and two Australian shepherds, Riley and Kona. The first day Maria ever got on a stand up paddleboard Rile­y was with her – they learned the sport together. That summer they attracted lots of attention and curiosity from people who wanted to learn to paddle with their own dogs. But with few resources available on training and guidance, Maria took matters into her own hands. She combined her passions for graphic design, photography and paddling to create her first book How to SUP With Your PUP. Maria also teaches SUP PUP classes in Virginia, and other cities along the East Coast. When she’s not out paddling with her dogs, Maria also enjoys mountain biking, hiking, climbing, skiing, and finding new ways to wear herself – and her dogs – out.

Maria’s love of all outdoor activities and including her dogs in every single one of them has attracted the attention of companies like Ruffwear, Zuke’s, Hala Boards, KONG, and Grand Trunk Goods. Partnering with outdoor industry companies, Maria is helping to inspire other people to get outside with their dogs.

It was only a matter of time before Maria saw the need for specialized training – adventure dog training. On more than one occasion, and too many to count dog owners would approach Maria on trail, and admit they wanted to bring their dog along but didn’t for one reason or another. “We don’t get dogs to leave them at home! I can help teach people how to do this too, says Maria.” So in early 2018 Maria enrolled in the Pet Trainer Certification Program with Top Tier K9.

“Australian Shepherds are easy to train, and I knew if I wanted to be successful at becoming an adventure dog trainer, I would need to know how to work with all types of breeds and their temperaments.” After examining a great number of other dog trainer programs, Maria knew Top Tier was the right fit. “I had three criteria for finding the right program: First I wanted to learn from master trainers, Jeff and Kari are just that. Second, I needed a program that wouldn’t force me to quit my job. And third, I wanted to learn about balanced training. I know there will a lot of challenging dogs that will come my way, and I need a solid foundation of skills to help those dogs too.”

Maria is preparing for her attempt at certification as a Top Tier K9 Certified Pet Trainer. During the certification, Maria will take part in intense business development sessions, design and quantify her business plan, and train dogs at Top Tier K9's Madison Florida campus. Maria will be presenting at Bass Pro Shops where Top Tier K9 will assist her in developing a new business relationship.

Visit Maria's Facebook page "How to Sup with your Pup"

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