Hello! My name is Al (short for Alison) and I co-own The Playground with my wonderful mom, Barbara. The Playground is my dream-come-true, and the culmination of my life's work!
I have been working with dogs in San Francisco for the past thirteen years. When I'm not taking care of things at The Playground, I train and rehabilitate dogs, while helping their families better understand their dog's behavior, thus facilitating a good relationship with the dog and promoting and overall happy and harmonious household.
My specialty is working with dogs that have aggression issues, rescue dogs, and dogs that have been abused. I also am a consultant on home set-up, and can help with leash training, park manners, potty training, and any number of basic training issues.
My philosophy centers around structure, calm consistency, good communication, (which means listening to your dog as well as asking them to listen to you) and of course lots of love. Reasonable expectations need to be set, and time needs to be put in to help your dog meet these expectations. Of course, there is no one way of training that will fit every dog. Each dog is an individual and training needs to be tailored to meet the needs of that specific dog.
To say I love my work is an understatement. I have worked tirelessly to help families and their dogs understand each other and work together as a team.
For the past several years I've been running CITIPETS, which is a store that is focused on health, safe, and durable pet products. The Playground is the natural next step for me, bringing my hands-on work with dogs together with providing them with the very best that life can offer our best friends!
- Member of the Board of the FUDDP (Friends of Upper Douglas Dog Park)
- Member of the Fort Funston Dog Walker Coalition
- Volunteer with Niko Rescue Foundation
Working in rescue you come across many different dogs with many different issues. We know there is no dog Al can't hand and would trust her with any. She has dedicated countless hours working with some of our difficult dogs resulting in them getting placed in great loving homes. Without her patience and knowledge, it just wouldn't have happened. She takes the time to get to know the dog, and figures out what methods would work best for each individual dog. She is truly there to help dog and owner.
When I first brought my dog to Alison he was unsocialized and a nervous wreck around other dogs (because I was so nervous…) . He desperately wanted to play with them but didn't know how. Alison worked with him gradually enabling him to run with the pack three days a week at Fort Funston! Now I can walk with him at the beach off-leash, and he can greet the passing dogs and walk on with me. She has bar-none saved my dog's happiness and mine! I have never seen the likes of such a loving, fun, and committed dog walker. My son calls her the canine social worker, and I my husband and I call her the Miracle Worker.
The animal kingdom has taken me down a wonderful road, starting in the family as a child, then introduction to the magnificent Giant Schnauzer. As a breeder when they were first shown in the U.S., research and training classes enriched my life. (Especially the Tellington-Jones "Ttouch" techniques.) But more opportunities brought me into the world of horses: foaling, therapeutic riding for the disabled, and those wonderful sport horses - and always dogs present!
I'm excited about the many new directions and opportunities of The Playground - offering other people's best friends a safe place to enjoy. It is a return gift to the many dogs who have given me so much through the years.