Dr. Sheryl Walker's Biography
- Puppy Start Right Instructor Graduate; Karen Pryor Academy (2015)
- Doctor of Philosophy degree; Animal Behavior; Purdue University, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program (2014)
- Master of Arts degree; Behavior Analysis; Western Michigan University (2009)
- Bachelor of Science degree; Psychology; Michigan State University (2006)
EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
It was apparent at a very early age that I had an affinity for animals. I shared my Home with animals since I was 6 years old. I walked all of the neighborhood dogs, and had a passion for dog training. That flame has never gone away. Positive reinforcement came very naturally to me - it was always about building a bond with the animal.
After my life-long aspirations of becoming a veterinarian quickly changed in college, I pursued Psychology and learned that I could take a different path to studying Animal Behavior.
After undergrad, I worked at a Contract Research Organization: two years in the Reproductive Toxicology Department focusing on behavioral assays with rats, and two years in the Quality Assurance Department, where I was a Good Laboratory Practices Research Auditor. I absolutely loved being an Auditor, despite it having nothing to do with behavior. It catered to my perfectionism and having a knack for being detailed oriented. While I was working full-time, I pursued my Master's degree in Behavior Analysis at Western Michigan University.
At that point, I wasn't quite satisfied with where my life was at. I still wanted to study animal behavior, but with dogs. Timing is everything; the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at Purdue University had just started, and they were looking for a Ph.D. student. After 4.5 years of studying canine behavior in animal shelters, and successfully completing a Ph.D., I decided to do what my heart and soul told me to do - work with puppies!
CAREER INTERESTS AND CONTINUING EDUCATION
My current career interests include puppy social development, training, and setting the entire family unit up for success.
My continuing education includes attending professional development opportunities hosted by the:
- Pet Professional Guild (PPG: http://petprofessionalguild.com/)
- Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA: https://theabma.org/)
- Karen Pryor Academy (KPA: https://karenpryoracademy.com/).
I am currently working towards my Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) title through the Animal Behavior Society (ABS: http://www.animalbehaviorsociety.org/web/applied-behavior.php/).
I have previously shared my home with rabbits (Pepsi, Thumper, and FooFoo), a cockatiel (Sammy), rats (Harmony, Daisy, Melody, Meleia, Greta, Petunia, and Lily), a wonderful Sheltie (Lucy), a Beagle (Spuddy) who recently passed away due to cancer, and a German Shepherd/Rottweiler (Luigi) who also recently passed away due to cancer.
I currently share my home with my husband, Bobby, and Katy Purry the cat. She was the resident cat at the shelter where I did my Ph.D. research, and she adopted me :0) She is constantly making me laugh, and has been extra cuddly since her big brothers have passed away.