About Denise Holmes

Pet trainer Denise HolmesOver the course of my 25 years of pet training in Northwest Arkansas, I’ve seen it all. From aggressive dogs that others recommended for euthanasia to dogs that owners didn’t realize were deaf, I’ve rarely found people with pet problems. Instead, I usually discover pets with people problems. In these situations, successful communication is key; I help pets and people understand each others’ languages. My education and experience reflect my passion for socialization and effective communication and contribute greatly to my abilities to help people get the most out of their relationships with their pets.

I have a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and a minor in psychology from the University of Arkansas. I’ve actively applied this knowledge to help further the health and well being of both people and animals through my work to establish successful animal-assisted therapy programs and to train volunteers throughout the state.

As a consultant for Arkansas Children’s Hospital, in 2001 I helped bring about their very first animal-assisted therapy visits and develop the T.A.I.L.S. (Therapeutic Animal Interventions Lift Spirits) program. My work has been published by the Child Life Council in Bulletin, and I contributed to Pet Partners’ first book educating visiting animal teams on interactions with hospitalized children. I became a Pet Partner visiting animal team with my St. Bernard in 1994 and I’m also a trained team evaluator.

In addition to being a professional pet trainer, I have also served the Northwest Arkansas community by helping to develop visiting animal programs at many facilities. In 2002, I created Sit. Stay. Read!, the first animal-enhanced reading program at the Fayetteville Public Library, and BARK (Behavior and Respect through K-9s) at the Washington County Juvenile Detention Center for which I received the Arkansas Juvenile Detention Center Association’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

I served for more than five years on the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team as both a dog handler and a field searcher, and for two years I was the training specialist on the area’s first pet program, All Pets Considered, aired on Jones Television Network.

After witnessing my clients’ needs for more advanced “family planning,” in 2009 I produced a CD of baby sounds titled My New Best Friend to help pet parents prepare and introduce their pets to a human newborn. My most recent project, Travel Tails, was launched in 2015. Travel Tails is a unique blog detailing travel adventures with my terrier mix, Henri. Together we encourage our readers to hit the road with their own dogs with the slogan, “Adventure is Everywhere!”

Whether you’re training, traveling, volunteering, or just hanging out in your own backyard, I can help you make the most of your relationships with your pets. I offer both problem-solving and basic to advanced training for dogs and many other animals.