Proud owner of two guinea pigs, a cat, a hamster, a spider, an aquarium full of fish and four dogs, Kennedi Travis has been an animal lover since she can remember. Now, as the owner of Pawsitive Dog Training, Travis has translated his love for animals into a business, providing private, in-home training for dogs of all breeds and sizes.
“I go at the dog’s pace,” Travis said. “If you go too fast, you’re going to take two steps back and undo a lot of the training you’ve been doing.”
Travis is a Certified Fearless Professional, taking training courses aimed at preventing fear, anxiety and stress in pets by inspiring and educating pet caretakers.
She is also a dog bite prevention educator, promoting dog safety through proper body language and keeping everyone, humans and dogs, safe.
“I don’t use aversive tools like claw collars, choke chains, shock collars. The dog is part of the training and they consent to that,” Travis added.
Growing up in small town South Dakota and Alaska, Travis rescued dogs, kittens, birds and raccoons on a farm with horses and cattle.
“I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything,” Travis said.
It was on the farm that his love for animals grew and eventually spurred his interest in pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management.
Travis moved to Fountain Hills six years ago, where she completed a six-week dog training program and, after a while, became a mentor, training other dog trainers and honing her training skills of dogs.
As a trainer and mentor, Travis began racking up certifications from credible institutions and programs such as the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Doggone Safe, Fear Free, and most notably, the American Kennel Club.
“The American Kennel Club – Canine Good Citizen is described as the gold standard for dog training,” Travis said. “He teaches pet owners how to train their dog to be a good citizen so that when you take your dog out in public, he doesn’t cause disturbances and is pleasant to be around.”
Travis works hard to keep up to date with new training methods and is always tracking his recertifications. Most of her work keeps her in Fountain Hills, but she also has clients from Scottsdale, Rio Verde and surrounding areas.
Travis typically meets his clients at their homes, where dogs can be trained in a comfortable environment without any unexpected distractions. Often, Travis will train dogs in Four Peaks Park, reinforcing their obedience in a public space.
As training progresses, she may take dogs to Fountain Park where healthy distractions such as ducks, birds and other pets are inevitable, however, Travis will not train dogs at dog park.
“I don’t train [at the dog park] just because treats are a really bad idea at a dog park,” Travis said, which could spark unwanted dog fights.
Travis never trains off-leash, especially in the desert where snakes, toads, coyotes and other animals can scare or cause damage.
“I think the hardest part is people expecting a quick fix,” Travis said. “Training takes time, patience and compassion.”
Beau, a 6-year-old mixed breed and one of Travis’ four dogs, was tracked to the Maricopa County shelter after being abandoned by his previous owner.
“He was extremely aggressive and had kennel stress at the shelter, he probably would have been shot,” Travis said.
She gave Beau a second chance and after a year of training, Beau is a very good boy and friendly with visitors.
“The best part of the job is meeting all the wonderful people I meet and their dogs and helping them with some of the issues they’re having,” Travis said.
In the future, Travis would like to start running group training classes at the park where the dogs can learn about interacting with the public.
“I love what I do,” adds Travis. “You never work a day in your life if you love what you do, and I really love what I do.”