We had the good fortune of connecting with Miranda Baxter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Miranda, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Ultimately, it was my students. They not only gave me the idea to start my own business, but even pushed me to do so and came up with the name. I cannot put into words the love and support that went into the decision to start Treat Lady Training; it truly took a village.
Like many dog trainers, I started out working in the corporate and franchise worlds. There are many wonderful things about those business models and I’m grateful for them because they allowed me to learn and grow over the years. I left the corporate world when I saw that I couldn’t help the dogs who needed it most. Group and puppy classes are fun, but most of the dogs that truly needed me weren’t allowed in those settings because it wasn’t safe for them. That’s when I joined a franchise for a few years, which offered the best of both worlds and I was able to help the most dogs.
Early in my dog training career, a student dubbed me “The Treat Lady” and the nickname stuck. The more students I taught, the more education I received, the more motivated I became to start my own business. Next thing I knew, that same student gifted me a sports bottle with “Treat Lady” printed on it. That one kindness set everything into motion; the obvious name for my business was now staring me right in the face. When yet another student, who happens to be a savvy business attorney, offered to help me, I was out of excuses. Finally, I sat down with my husband and we did a risk assessment to see if the time was right for me to set out on my own. One of the most emotional days of my life was when Treat Lady Training, LLC was created.
So, as you can see, my students deserve a ton of credit for the idea of my business. Once you get to know me, you’ll learn that there’s way more to training than handing out treats, but it clearly communicates that I use positive reinforcement. Treat Lady is a nickname that sums up my training style really well.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am the Treat Lady. I see myself as more of a translator than a dog trainer. Dogs already know how to sit, lie down, and come; they just don’t speak our language. Whether it’s potty training, socialization, obedience, behavior modification or tricks, I’m here to help. I am a 100% coercion free trainer. I believe in training through education, not intimidation. I train dogs without force, fear or intimidation, to help families communicate more effectively with their canine companions. The use of scientifically proven, reward based training methods extinguishes unwanted behaviors while building trust. When expectations are clear and desired behaviors are rewarded, everyone involved benefits.
I was so afraid to go to work for myself. I must have talked myself out of it at least 100 times. I got to where I am today by surrounding myself with uplifting, like-minded people that motivate me. My business is my life and training a family’s dog is very personal. I’ve learned that to keep from burning out or succumbing to compassion fatigue, as so many do in this industry, finding a work life balance is crucial. It has been extremely difficult for me to learn to schedule time for me, my students and my family. I have found that I really enjoy continuing education courses to better myself and stay motivated and excited about training.
If you’re looking to train your dog using scientifically proven, reward based methods, you’ve come to the right place. At Treat Lady Training, we offer reward-based mobile dog training services. I Come To You So They Will Too!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My entire career is based on the support, love and encouragement of more people, groups and mentors than I could possibly list. The reason I became a dog trainer was because of a puppy we adopted 7 years ago, from Montgomery County Animal Shelter. Since then, my biggest supporter is my husband, Robert. He has believed in me since day one and never thought twice about me leaving the security of a regular paycheck and benefits to pursue my passion. Even with the crazy hours, nights, and weekends, the difficulty with finding a work life balance, and the countless stories about dogs, he continues to cheer me on.
I initially started having success with dog training due to Kyra Sundance and her online Trick Training Course, “Do More With Your Dog!” I later attended her certification course to become a certified Trick Trainer. The person that introduced me to Dr. Ian Dunbar and the world of positive reinforcement dog training was Abi Beaty, a colleague at the time.
Special thanks to:
Barbarah Coelho Ferreira and her dog, Emma, for showing me, very early on, the amazing bond that can be created through training. Suzi Friedman for giving me the nickname “Treat Lady” as well as the sports bottle that started it all. Kyla Wilder McGee, the business attorney that helped me start my business and continues to guide me in legal matters. She, and her family, have become my family over the years. Deb Evans, who helped me create my logo. She also took amazing photos of me and my dogs that were published in “Tails of Houston”; one even became my first tattoo. Kenni-Richelle Coaching for giving me the support I needed to work for myself full time. Devon Scott-Daniels with Sweet Magnolia Monograms for all my personalized Treat Lady Training gear. Jessica Taulbee, for building my website, and for the friendship we found through our love of tiny therapy dogs. Thank you, all, so much!
My amazing tribe of dog people that I depend on to keep me sane, share knowledge, experiences and refer students to: Courtney Cobb is a vet tech and so much more. Dr. Ericka Gillette is a wonderful human being and an even better veterinarian. Melody Glass is an advocate for all animals, especially the misunderstood, and the owner of No Worries, LLC pet sitting. Mallory Robinson is my mentor and colleague with Oak 9 Training. Misty Mills is also a major mentor, motivator and colleague with Lotus Canine Companions.
As a dog trainer, I work very closely with families and have made friends for life; some of which are more family than friend at this point. Kristi Gavranovic Price was not only one of my very first students, but was actually the first student to ever call and ask for me specifically. Thanks to Tia Daugharty, without whom I wouldn’t be doing this interview with you now. If it weren’t for our mutual friend, April Tully, I might not have met Tia and her amazing family. So as you can see, I owe everything to my network of amazing people that have supported me and continue to support me while I follow my dreams.