Welcome to your Adventure Hounds Community!
Adventure Hounds’ vision is to create a cohesive life for humans and hounds, our relationship with the natural world around us, and our connection to the human experience.
Adventure Hounds’ mission is to offer holistic training programs for dogs and their humans, as well as accessible guides and programs for integration into our everyday lives.
Adventure Hounds’ purpose is to honor the diversity of dogs and humans. We recognize that each dog is unique in its traits, personalities, genetics, and background, just like humans. Our approach is to meet each dog right where they are and enhance the owner-dog relationship, while improving both our lives in the process.
Hi humans! My name is Sam and I am the lead trainer here at Adventure Hounds. Below I am going to share my story of how I got to where I am today, the experiences I have had, and introduce both my dogs, Tena & Hanalei! As you'll learn when you work with me, context matters! So read on so you get to know me a bit :)
Where I Started
As a kid, I loved all animals. But I focused on dogs when our neighbors dog, Tahoe, "terrorized" the neighborhood. He was an unruly Labrador who would break out of his invisible fence and interrupt all our games in the yard. I was 8 years old, and I decided I wanted to train Tahoe to be a better dog. And I did! I taught him sit, down, and come. Tahoe started my love of training dogs, and from then on I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian.
And if you think I'm kidding, here's a review, 20 years later, from one of the first families I ever dogsat/trained for!
The Experiences I Gained
I started dogsitting and dog training all the neighborhood dogs. I even had my own business cards for "Sam's Sitting Service" (I wish I had a picture of them but it's been oh too long). I started reading every James Herriott book I could get my hands on, and memorized every single AKC breed from a poster on my wall (I can still tell you what every breed is).
The Experiences I Gained (Ctnd.)
From there, I continued gaining as many experiences as I could working with dogs through high school:
I shadowed at a veterinary hospital and kennel under Dr. Liz McMurtrie
I volunteered at local dog shows
I continued dogsitting and training dozens of dogs
At 16 years old I learned how to dogsled with Outward Bound
I once ran a fundraiser giving dozens of dogs baths for donations, and raised over $1000 to donate to a good cause
By the time I graduated high school, I had handled hundreds of dogs.
Photo: me with Brownie the sled dog in the remote Boundary Waters in Minnesota, where we spent 16 days sledding over frozen lakes and sleeping under the stars!
My Path Diverged
While volunteering at the local animal hospital, once I got a bit older, I started going into watch surgeries performed. It was the next step in my path to being a veterinarian. However, every single time I went into a surgery, I would faint! I tried over and over and over again, and it reached a point where I couldn't be in the surgery room anymore for my own safety. It crushed me, and ended my dreams of being a veterinarian.
Photo: Me as a teenager with our family dog, Bella.
Flash forward to the next decade of my life. I never stopped working with dogs, but it shifted to be a side gig as a way to support being a student and an avid world traveler. After battling C-PTSD and Panic Disorder, I decided to enter the mental health field as my career. I received a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Somatic Psychology, as well as a 600-hour Yoga Therapy certification. I worked for years primarily with military members with PTSD and chronic pain. I LOVED it, and still integrate it into my work with the human side of dog training. But as we know, life loves to throw curveballs!
After the pandemic and losing all my work contracts, getting married and moving cross country, a lot in my life changed. I decided to test the waters of training not as a side-job to make money, but as a full-time gig to create the life I dreamed of living. I had already been MORE successful in running an Adventure Dog Walking business than I had been in my Yoga Therapy career, so I knew I was good at this stuff.
I laugh now because looking back at my childhood, how could I ever have ended up anywhere else but here. Dogs are my life, and always have been <3
Photo: The OG Adventure Dogs, back when I only offered Adventure Dog Walking. Bilbo, Hanalei, Dakota and Juniper were regulars and we had SO much fun!
I run Adventure Hounds as a full-time job, and my own two dogs, Tena and Hanalei have helped me along BIG TIME in how I run this business. I have cultivated a lifestyle in which being in nature & having well-trained dogs is a major priority, and I want to teach you how to live that way too!
Hanalei is a 7-year old Duck Tolling Retriever mix. I adopted her at ~10 months old and she was a psychotic screamer of a dog! However, she has a very confident and stable personality. She is now 7 years old, is a fully trained Service Dog, and is my absolute soul mate. Hanalei is the dog I never knew I needed, and she is the love of my life. She also has extremely high prey drive, which is the reason I started learning about e-collars! We first used e-collars for learning off-leash recall, but it ended up opening up an entire world for us!
Tena is a German Shepherd mix adopted from Mexico. Tena came to me after having experienced seizures, which left her with neurological difficulties. We believe this plus her genetics have led to her having reactivity towards people and dogs. Tena is my "difficult" dog, the dog who taught me more about dog behavior than I ever would have known. The first year of Tena's life with me she had severe stomach issues that ended up being due to a hernia, but that plus her reactivity challenged me to my core! After working through those long term challenges, I cannot even express how grateful I am for who Tena is, and the absolute pure joy she brings to our family with her goofiness!
And so here I am!
My girls: Hanalei!
Named after Hanalei Bay, Hawaii
My girls: Tena
Named after Tena, Amazon Basin, Ecuador
Thank you for being here.
No, but really, thank you. You are a part of our community.
If you aren't already, make sure you are following me on Instagram! I do my best to share as much free information I can to help you and your dog live your best adventure lives!