Educational seminars and workshops are periodically held at Best Friends Dog Academy.


May 2018

Sue Sternberg spoke to a sell-out crowd of over 100 people at Best Friends Dog Academy on May 2.  Stay tuned for announcements about future events. 

June 2018

Therapy Dogs of Johnson County evaluated five dog/handler teams to work as therapy teams for Pet Partners  on June  24.  Find more information here.

July 2018

Thursday, July 19, 2018

6 - 8 pm

Liz Ford and Sara Bright presented "Canine Body Language", a 2 hour workshop discussing the ways that dogs communicate with us and with one another.  There was no cost to attend this workshop, but registration was required, as it is limited to 20 attendees.  PLEASE LEAVE YOUR OWN DOG(S) AT HOME.  More information here.

August 2018

Thursday, August 23, 2018

6 - 8 pm

Liz Ford presents "Shaping - Using a clicker to shape behavior".  This 2 hour workshop will introduce you to the why and how to using a clicker.  Learn to capture and shape your dog's behavior.  There is no cost to attend this workshop, but registration is required, as it is limited to 24 attendees. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR OWN DOG(S) AT HOME.  More information here.

September 2018

Friday, September 14, 2018 

6 pm

Have you always wanted to take your dog to a movie? Here's your chance. Liz and Sara will be watching dog training videos on the big screen at Best Friends Dog Academy. Bring your dog, a chair or picnic blanket and join us for popcorn and a movie. Dogs must be comfortable being in the presence of other people and dogs. Limited to 20 dog/handler teams. It's a great opportunity for your dog to practice good manners in a controlled and safe environment, surrounded by other dogs and dog lovers.  Register here. 

October 2018

Saturday, October 20, 2018 

9 am - 5 pm

Nosework is a sport that was inspired by the real life model of working detection dogs. It was created to provide an opportunity for dogs to have an outlet for their natural hunting and scenting abilities. Dogs working in this activity use their nose in order to locate a target scent odor. Nosework can be done anywhere allowing for dogs living in any setting to participate in this wonderful activity! In this seminar, you will learn the basic concepts in searching for odor, proper use of equipment, how to handle odor, how to make and place hides, and how to teach your dog the important of odor obedience. You will also learn how to make the search for scent extremely important to your dog.


Joanne Soyke has been teaching and competing in Nosework since 2012. She is a UKC and AKC Nosework judge traveling all over Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Her philosophy on the sport of Nosework is to hand over the reins and let the dog do what comes naturally. Only then will you see your dog’s true natural ability and be able to let them truly shine. Joanne’s years of study into canine behavior allows her to quickly shape and adjust early training to maximize learning and keep things fun for the dog. 

Register here. 

November 2018

November 13, 2018

6 pm

This presentation will cover a variety of ways in which to keep your dog busy indoors during the winter months. Work his mind, add enrichment to his days, and you can avoid having a high energy stir crazy wild child racing around your home. Specific products will be discussed, as well as DIY ideas.  Leash on Life will have samples at the event, so you can explore the options.  Register here. 

June 2019

Sat, June 22, 2019, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM CDT & Sun, June 23, 2019, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM CDT

Michael Shikashio & Trish McMillan present:

"Aggression in Dogs: Safety, Defensive Handling and Training"

Michael Shikashio, CDBC and Trish McMillan MSc, CPDT-KA, ACCBC, CDBC will be presenting a two day workshop on safety, defensive handling, and the behavior modification techniques used with aggressive dogs.

Attendees will learn what is needed before working with aggressive dogs, gain hands-on experience in defensive handling and leash skills, and see videos of behavior modification in aggression cases.

This workshop is open to all trainers, behavior consultants, veterinarians, shelter staff, animal control officers, or anyone interested in learning more about dog aggression and how to stay safe.

Day One - Dog to Human Aggression

* Presentation includes hands-on practice of defensive handling and leash skills


  • Understand the ramifications for dog bites


  • What to know before taking aggression cases


  • Canine body language including precursors to aggression


  • What to do BEFORE meeting with clients


  • Additional safety measures to have in place


  • Safety and management equipment


  • How to take dogs in and out of kennels safely


  • Initial greetings in aggression cases with video examples


  • Defensive handling and leash skills including leash locks, muzzle wraps, back ties, accordion leash holds, and more


  • What to do if attacked by a dog


  • Presentation of case studies with video of dog to human aggression and how to choose appropriate tools and techniques


Day Two - Dog to Dog Aggression

* Presentation includes hands-on practice of defensive handling and leash skills


  • Dog-dog interactions with video examples


  • Canine body language in dog-dog interactions including precursors to aggression


  • How to introduce dogs to each other in shelter and home environments


  • How to safely break up a dog fight


  • Leash handling skills when working dog-dog cases


  • Shelter dog playgroups


  • Shelter dog assessments


  • What to do with off leash dogs that approach the dog you’re handling


  • Presentation of case studies with video of dog to dog aggression and how to choose appropriate tools and techniques

Speaker Bios

Trish McMillan is a certified professional dog trainer (through CCPDT), certified dog behavior consultant and associate certified cat behavior consultant (through IAABC) who holds a Master’s degree in Animal Behavior from the University of Exeter in England. She specializes in training and behavior modification work with dogs, cats, and horses.

During her seven years with the ASPCA, Trish gained a wide variety of experience in the field of animal behavior. For three years she was the director of the animal behavior department at the ASPCA’s New York City shelter, helping staff, volunteers, and adopters work with animals and make great matches. Trish has also helped assess and rehabilitate animals from cruelty, hoarding, and dogfighting cases, as well as pets rescued from natural disasters. In addition to writing for the ASPCA’s Virtual Pet Behaviorist and other publications, she helped create and present several very popular webinars on dog and cat behavior and handling for the ASPCA Pro website. Trish also co-chairs the Shelter Behavior division of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and runs an online shelter behavior mentorship through IAABC twice a year.

Prior to her work with the ASPCA, Trish managed dog daycares, volunteered in animal shelters, taught obedience classes, and worked with board-and-train dogs in her home. Trish has also spoken and consulted nationally and internationally on canine, feline and equine behavior as well as sheltering topics.


Michael Shikashio, CDBC, is the president of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and provides private consultations working with dog aggression cases through his business Complete Canines LLC. Michael is fully certified through the IAABC, is a full member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), and is a mentor trainer for Animal Behavior College. Michael also offers mentoring and training to other professionals.

Michael is sought after for his expert opinion by numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, New York Post, Baltimore Sun, WebMD, Women’s Health Magazine, Real Simple Magazine, The Chronicle of the Dog, and Steve Dale’s Pet World.

He is a featured speaker on the topic of canine aggression at conferences and seminars around the world, and he currently teaches courses through The Dog Trainers Connection and the IAABC.

Dates: Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23, 2019


Times: 9am to 5pm, both days

Registration begins at 0815 both days



Kirkwood Community College

6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404



Early Bird Discount – until April 22, 2019

Individual – $250

Group Rate for 4 or more registering and paying at the same time – $225


Registration after April 22, 2019

Individual – $275

Group Rate for 4 or more registering and paying at the same time – $248


CEU’s: Pending for CCPDT. IAABC


Cancellation Policy- Refunds up to 30 days before event


Other Details -

Coffee, tea, water and light snacks provided

  • Lunch will be on your own.

  • If you would like to bring your own lunch, paper products will be provided.


What to Bring:

  • Paper/pen to take notes

  • 6 ft regular leash and slip lead

  • A large stuffed dog in the standing position with a flat buckle collar, 6 ft regular leash and slip lead on it (Melissa and Doug Black Lab, Husky, Yellow Lab, etc.….). While we do not need one for every person we need quite a few for our hands-on sessions. Please let me know if you have access to one and can bring it.

  • Please dress in layers for comfort and wear closed toe shoes


Misc. Items

Questions? Email us!

© 2018 Best Friends Dog Academy, LLC.

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