As the demand for training grows here at GoldenQuest, we have begun the search for finding talented individuals who show great promise as future dog trainers (as well as already established trainers). With careful selection and trust these individuals learn along side Lara Guthrie, our Head Trainer, on what we here at GoldenQuest are looking for when training our Comfort Retriever® and Goldendoodle puppies.

Those chosen go through an introduction process based on their experience level then are given tasks and learning opportunities on-site that allow them to grow as trainers as well as dog handlers. The educational experience that is received can take up to a month or more of training depending on the experience level, as well as the schedules of the Head Trainer and the Apprentices (as the program can take a full time schedule or a part time). 
During their time on-site, the apprentice gets to experience the different jobs a dog trainer performs here at GoldenQuest; from learning the procedures of ENS (“Early Neurological Stimulation”), assisting with Puppy Culture (a puppy enrichment program we use), all the way to standard socializing and working with all the dogs.
Due to our working with neonatal puppies up to about 11 weeks of age typically, we primarily employee a positive reinforcement learning/training environment. We want our puppies to grow up to be happy, curious & confidently outgoing. Just like when you are learning something new, it wouldn’t be fair to get corrected and we apply this same principal to our little ones. They are just learning about the world around them so we want to encourage them! Even though we primarily focus on young ones in our training program, there are opportunities to work with older dogs (particularly in the adolescence and young adult stage). Alongside the positive reinforcement training (such as clicker training – which you can read more about in our Puppy Culture page linked above), apprentices will be trained how to use all tools available to trainers today. Although we may not use them here at GoldenQuest we want our trainer apprentices to have an all-encompassing knowledge, whether they choose to use or need it. This way they can feel completely prepared to face the world as a knowledgeable dog trainer. We would rather teach people how to educate others on proper usage of training tools than to give a limited perspective; it is up to the trainee which approaches they prefer to employee.  
Once the apprentice has proven that they are passionate, reliable and knowledgeable regarding dogs and their behavior, they may be given an on-site dog to work with during their apprenticeship hours with our Head Trainer. As progress is seen with their on-site trainee (or what we may refer to as their “demo” dog), the apprentice is then given the opportunity to train a client puppy with some oversight by one of our experienced trainers.
Only an Apprentice who clearly displays their love, passion and commitment to training our dogs as if their own are given the privilege of training a client puppy off-site. After training multiple GoldenQuest puppies, the trainer apprentice will gain the title of Off-Site Trainer for GoldenQuest. 

As our Apprentice has their title promoted to GoldenQuest Trainer, they may be given the privilege of working directly with our clients and gaining more experience through training a variety of puppies. GoldenQuest expects their Apprentices to commit to a minimum of a year of training with 
GoldenQuest so that we can not only help you continue to grow as a trainer but also so that we may see the benefits of the time and education we helped to instill in you. 
Our trainers also sometimes receive unique experiences here, from learning more about breeding to attending conferences to help receive further education on various subjects. GoldenQuest is a family and we intend to treat all our trainers as such. During the apprenticeship there is an hourly pay but once one advances to a Trainer they receive training pay which varies depending on on-site versus off-site training. 
If you are interested in learning more about becoming an Apprentice please email, info@comfortretrievers.com with the title ATTN: Trainer Apprentice! 


Below are the bios of the Trainer Apprentice that we currently employ as they have proven their abilities and compassion for not just GoldenQuest Comfort Retrievers® but for dogs in general. 



 At this time we have three off-site trainer apprentices. If you or someone you know may be interested in learning more about becoming an Trainer Apprentice contact us at  trainer@comfortretrievers.com with the title ATTN:Trainer Apprentice. 


Susan Miller 

Susan Miller is a native Kentuckian and has been an animal-lover since birth. She has owned dogs all her life and become passionate about rescuing greyhounds in 2008 when she adopted her first retired racer. She has owned three greys, having recently acquired her newest addition, Scarlett. At her previous job, Susan got hands-on experience wrangling various farm animals, such as goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and ducks. Susan is fascinated by animals’ abilities to learn and adapt, which is one reason why she was so enthusiastic about joining the Apprentice Program. 






Natalie Cannon

“Hi, my name is Natalie Cannon.  I am a homeschool momma to two beautiful boys that keep me on my toes.  Silas is 12 and loves basketball, Finn is 9 and loves baseball.  I have loved dogs since I was little.  I grew up with two German Shepherds.  My husband, Chris and I had a German Shepherd as our first child too, so I guess you could say they are my first love.  Chris is a dog trainer as well.  I don’t think there has been a time in my life I haven’t had a dog.  I want to take home everyone I see.  Dogs truly make me happy.  We have 3 of our own.  Baron, a Golden Retriever, Greta, a Spaniel Mix, and Vlad, a Boxer mix.  I am so very excited to be working for GoldenQuest and training your new special family member.”



Melody Hickey

Melody Hicky is currently a graduate student at Asbury Theological Seminary working toward her Bachelors as well as Masters Degree and is anticipated to graduate this Spring. She lives in Wilmore with her husband, Thomas and their two dogs, Lucy, a standard Golden Retriever and Lockett, a Basset Hound. Besides being a student, she is an absolute dog lover and spends much of her free time hiking and traveling with her own dogs. 

Melody grew up in rural central Ohio where her family was surrounded constantly by pets of all kinds, including snakes, chameleons, birds, cats and — of course — dogs! Because her father was a herpetologist and a breeder of the rare Green Tree Python, she cultivated a love and an appreciation of animals from a very young age. 

Melody is new to the GoldenQuest family and to obedience training but is ecstatic to be a part of the program and to cultivate her dog training skills so that she can be a helpful resource in creating long lasting bonds between dogs and their families!