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Nobody knows how to enjoy the Great Outdoors like a dog (20 photos)

Freelance photographer Violet Aubertin spent some time recently with Brandie Sanderson and her very skilled pups

With the weather warm and her dogs eager to show their skills, outside is where you'll find Brandie Sanderson these days.

And that's where we found her last week when we dropped by a local outdoor obstacle training course.

Sanderson's love of dogs became very apparent early on in life.  She has always had a penchant for canine companionship — owning as many as six faithful companions — training and competing with them for over 16 years.  

Her pets have been active competitors in Rally Obedience, Dock Diving, Agility, Confirmation, Obedience and Canine Good Neighbour as well as participants in Barn Hunt. Of them all German Shepherds are her favourite breed and she presently owns two — Sonny who is a senior dog and Rhythm still a very young junior.

"It's ok to talk about my disability. It's usually the first thing that people see," said Sanderson. 

This Sault Ste. Marie native, born with Cerebral Palsy and legally blind, shatters those limitations daily. 

After graduating from Sault College's Graphic Design course in 2005, she went to work for Liforia and Maitland Ford before settling into her Marketing Coordinator position with National Supply Company.

Presently three of her four dogs are actively training and competing, but although Sonny is enjoying more retirement, he does like to demonstrate he still has his desire.

Through the years Brandie's interest and love of Canines and their behaviour grew. She researched and read regularly online and in books. With dogs of her own soon she realized that she was gifted with a skill she could grow.

Determined to succeed she considers herself to be self-taught. 

"I got good at reading a dog's body language," said Sanderson.

Several years ago, Sanderson wanted to become an instructor with the local Kennel Club. She rose to the challenge by learning and teaching their methods such as — Obedience, Rally Obedience and behaviour modification. Soon she concluded that training methods could be expanded and improved upon. 

She began to study training by counter conditioning. This would involve changing a dog's emotional response to stimulus and reinforcing positively with treats.  She has also hosted clicker training and behaviour modification seminars, instructed at and developed a dog training course previously held at Sault College. 

Clever Canines Training was born in 2017 after Sanderson and friend Stephanie Blaney began researching further and combined their knowledge. The two began offering classes of their own. Blaney has since stepped away to raise her family and Sanderson's husband Mike is now involved.

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About the Author: Violet Aubertin

Violet Aubertin is a photograher and writer with an interest in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma's great outdoors
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