Paws & People - est. 2003 - is an integrative training business that focuses on the whole dog - socially, emotionally, physically, and nutritionally. Our programs are designed to create a willing learner, a skilled handler, and to train at the highest levels whether you have a family pet dog, are involved in dog sports, search and rescue, or want a working ranch dog. If you are looking to up your education we can help you with that! All of our programs are taught with marker reward training methods. Paws & People specializes in puppy training and adolescent development.
My professional career started in the mid 1980's while working on the ski patrol. My rookie year I was put on the Team with the K9 avalanche director, and my entire first season was devoted to carrying things around the mountain, being buried in snow-pits for search drills, and exercising and conditioning one of the dogs during the summer season. I continued this work for 4 seasons, building my knowledge and skills, and can safely add that I was heavily influenced by this style of training, handling, and working with dogs professionally. I would later term this style of training, play with a purpose, which basically comes down to trust in the relationship while working together in some pretty intense situations. I never saw a dog harmed in work, and was never taught how to harm dogs in work, and our dogs were trained to the highest level of skill.
I spent years with my own dogs as a young adult, varying breeds, and learning as much as I could about communication, body language, and that relationships were normal. Why did I do this? I thought it was super interesting, and for no other reason. I traveled and lived in four different countries with my dogs along side me. Honestly, I am so grateful that there was no internet or tv show at the time telling me how and what my relationships with my dogs should look like. I believe with my first professional experience, and then boots on the ground learning by doing, I was continuing to build solid skills, love my dogs honestly, and have some amazing adventures together. During this time I hiked through four mountain ranges with one of my dogs, and too many miles to count.
I came from an animal rich home and upbringing, but the years I spent living in other countries turned out to be more animal focused than the job that originally brought me there. I always, like a moth to a flame, found myself drawn to a person or a farm that needed extra help, or just allowed me to help because I just kept coming back. I started to build my language with other species like I had with dogs, and found that ALL relationships were normal, with all animals. I always found more comfort working alongside people that saw and felt animals in this way. Every animal I was meeting or caring for was a new relationship, a new understanding, building more knowledge and more skill.
And then as if I needed a deeper or richer experience with communication and what the heart was capable of, I got married, found a dog on a beach in Mexico, and had my first child all within a year. We adventured and worked from coast to coast, learned about each other, and built the foundation for Paws & People, without knowing that was happening, it was such and innocent and natural process.
My children were raised with my dogs and visa versa. We were a family in all sense of the word. At this very time, I was entering the world of dog sports. With my children and dogs in the car we traveled about twenty-five weekends a year around the state of Montana going to herding trials, clinics, agility trials, training workshops, and events.
Paws & People was established in 2003. My focus at that time was competition and professional handler training. I learned super quickly that that niche group of Teams was super small. So I expanded my business while continuing to compete with my now four dogs.
I was invited to be a spokesperson for dog sports in the USA, through my freestyle dog sport, and had the experience to be on national tv with Martha Stewart, that was super special. I declined future offers as it would take me away from family and my new business, and my dogs, which is how this all started to begin with. I wanted to be honest with myself and with my new business, and especially my growing family.
In a matter of three years I started family pet training classes, competition classes, mountain adventure programs, and entered the world of consulting on serious behavioral problems. With each step of teaching, coaching, and competing, I was also a student, and on a wild steep learning curve. I poured through books, attended every conference I could afford, and volunteered at AZA accredited zoo's for training opportunities.
I became a certified professional trainer with CCPDT at this time, a member of the Animal Behavior Society, and started to write about the relationships we have with animals and how training fits into this.
For me, I am curious about everything, a robust learner. I guess I want to know why. I believe this is what has given me my observational skills, and why I can read dogs, and some other species, by the way that they move or behave. Observation without judgement. Sometimes I believe I chose this path that I am on and other times I believe it has chosen me because of the way that I learn and how I see the world.
I spent ten years of my career not only teaching and training in my local community, but giving presentations, speaking at conferences, performing at conferences, giving workshops and seminars, teaching canine nutrition classes, and giving free talks to my local community every year.
And then there was writing. A lot of writing. I had things I wanted to say, a conversation of sorts, and it seemed to come out better on paper than anyway else. It felt like flood gates had opened and I put it all out there. It was honest and raw to be sure, and of course lots of grammar issues, but this opened the doors to not only put my thoughts on my blog but to also write for other publications. I have been honored with writing awards and nominations over the years, and that has actually meant the most to me, perhaps it is the accumulation of my life's work in words that make sense to me. My words have gone far and wide over the years.
As my business matured and grew so did my desire to make my business an integral part of my farm. I love the changes I am seeing, the opportunities for my Teams to work around farm animals and people doing chores, and to be in the great outdoors in all seasons. It's super real all of the time. It is what it should be as I enter the 20th year of Paws & People.
Outside of my teaching schedule, I am raising goats, border collies, quail, and ducks. I am a natural rearing breeder, and spend my time helping and assisting in births, raising my animals, learning about their species appropriate nutritional needs, and forming more relationships.
Our farm now produces - produce, herbs, dairy, eggs, and meat in a chemical free biodynamic way, that we started practicing in the late 1990's. We now give farm tours that are educational, and hopefully inspirational, and host farm pop-ups with other farms to support local agriculture. The learning and teaching never stop for me.
So you see it is a full circle kind of life. Everything that was important to me took me in directions that were unknown to me at the time that brought me back to the life I love so much. And this is my life's work I love to share with others.
Nancy Tanner CPDT-KSA is a certified dog trainer and award-winning writer and photographer. She’s the founding owner at Paws & People, Border Farm, and The World Treibball League and has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show. She and her family live in Montana on their farm that is a blend of everything they do and love: working with dogs, biodynamic gardening, nutrition, and farming. Nancy has specialized in puppy training and adolescent development since 2003.
Paws & People, est 2003
2005 - 2020
Story was a large, powerful, kind, and deeply honest dog. HIS STORY
NADAC - 4245 life time points, NATCH, V-NATCH, N triple superior, O triple superior, E triple superior, N superior versatility, EJC - P5, TG-E P9, TN-E P20, WV-E P7
MDSA - Novice Freestyle Dog, Standard first leg, appearance on the Martha Stewart Show
WTL - GGL1, PL2, DDL3, SIL4, WP5
2000 - 2013
Franny never competed in any sport, but she trained for them all. She never had the desire to compete, she loved being with our family or in the mountains, it was that simple.
1997 - Because she started it all.
Ready, Set, HIKE! 2009
Dog is my Copilot - Boating Tips 2010 - by Pete Muennich Outside Bozeman Magazine
Free To Be... 2011 Whole Dog Journal Article - by CJ Puotinen
DOG WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
2012 – LIVING WITH A DOG OUTSIDE OF NEUTRAL – 7 PART SERIES – nomination
2012 – WHEN SENIORS HAVE DOGS – PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE – MAXWELL MEDALLION AWARD
2012 – TOP 10 TIPS FOR PUPPY OWNERS – nomination
2013 – SHE HAS NEVER APOLOGIZED FOR HER CHOICES, EVER – MAXWELL MEDALLION AWARD
2013 – TOP 10 TIPS FOR FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN PUPPIES – nomination
2013 – WHEN DOGS SPEAK THEIR TRUTH WE SHOULD LISTEN – nomination
2013 – WHEN IS A RESCUE NO LONGER A RESCUE? – nomination
2015 – SHUTTING A DOG DOWN – nomination
2015 – CITY SLICKER PUPPY – nomination – AKC S.T.A.R. PUPPY CGC SPECIAL AWARD
2015 – MY NUMBER ONE RULE FOR MY PUPPY – nomination – AKC S.T.A.R. PUPPY CGC SPECIAL AWARD
2015 – WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH CALVIN THESE DAYS? – best in photo series – nomination
2016 – HERDING LIGHTENING – RHUMB OFF LEASH – nomination
2016 – RHUMB & STORY – WINTER TIME – best in photo series – MAXWELL MEDALLION AWARD
2018 - TOP 10 TIPS FOR DEALING WITH A TRAUMATIC DOG EXPERIENCE - nomination
2018 - TRADE SECRETS! satire series - nomination
2020 - RESCUE BLOOM - article for Dogs Naturally Magazine - nomination