Linda Randall, DVM, KPA-CTP, TagTeach Level 3 - One Smart Dog [Episode 34]

Linda Randall, DVM, KPA-CTP, LLA, TagTeach Level 3 Bio

Owner: One Smart Dog, Seville OH, USA

Linda sold her veterinary hospital in 2019, where she had practiced as an ABVP Board Certified Diplomate, Companion Animals, for 20 years, and also worked with exotics. She then opened One Smart Dog, a full-service dog training facility, the month Ohio shut down for the pandemic in 2020, which, she says, was “exciting”.

Linda has been engaged in dog sports, obedience, agility, and field trials with her Flat Coated Retrievers, and sheep herding, agility, and Scent with her Border Collies. Her passion for behavior grew from learning about training from a variety of trainers (she is a cross-over trainer) and realizing that although all the trainers she worked with felt they had a method that worked, only a few took the time to develop insight into why animals did what they did, or had the curiosity needed to want to understand what function their behavior had. Most had a “top-down” method of working with dogs which, the more she learned about the science of behavior, she found uncomfortable. And then: a friend came back from one of the first clicker conferences and talked about clicker training.  Linda couldn’t get enough information about it. She started attending positive reinforcement conferences such as Clicker Expo and taking classes (Living and Learning With Animals is a favorite!) and joining intentional R+ communities such as the Animal Training Academy.  

Linda works hard to maintain a positive presence in her daily interactions with friends, clients, students, and instructors. It can be difficult to run a full-service dog training facility, maintain her relief veterinary business and find time to do webinars and conferences, but Linda feels strongly the effort is worth it.  She especially finds joy in working with kids who want to learn to train their dogs. With their increased ability at a young age to have excellent hand-eye coordination (hello cellphones and video games!), kids make wonderful, compassionate trainers. She believes that engaging with another species and working in age-appropriate spaces helps develop compassion for others and encourages acceptance of diversity. 

Linda has produced a 4-hour series on Kids, Race, and Positive Reinforcement for the Heart Album and, along with her co-host Kathie Nurena, MD, KPA-CTP, NACSW Cert. Instructor, Linda has spoken at The Convergence of Human Behavior, Animal Training, and Technology (CHATT) conference, The Lemonade Conference, and is speaking this fall at APDT. Linda and Kathie discuss Trauma Informed and Trauma Assumed Care in animals and people, with an emphasis on the intersection of animal training, human caregivers, and behavior.

As a Black woman in the majority white professions of veterinary medicine and dog training, Linda has had experiences that have been life-changing and soul-searching at the same time. She is inspired to support others who have ventured into these worlds and to seek a deeper understanding of why we do what we do and why we believe what we believe. Behavior can help, and it can hurt, both the giver and the receiver. In a world of increasing compartmentalization of groups, and anger directed towards those considered “other”, she hopes encouraging a behavioral view and positive reinforcement interactions will, in some small, but tangible way, make a difference. As Linda says: we have to try.

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