We had the good fortune of connecting with Lindsey Lieberman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lindsey, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
The principal that guides my life and my work is the yogic concept of Ahimsa: non-harming. I strive to practice Ahimsa in my daily life by being mindful of the impact of my actions, speech, and thoughts on the people & creatures around me, the planet, and myself. I do my best to have the most positive and least harmful effect as I move through each day. Professionally, as a dog trainer and behaviorist, I want to ensure the physical, mental, and emotional safety of those I work with: both human and canine. I am a positive reinforcement trainer, which doesn’t just mean training with cookies (although that is definitely a part of it!), it also means that I adhere to the principals of LIMA (Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive) as a guide for how I work with my canine clients. It’s the animal behaviorist’s version of, “first, do no harm.”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My professional career with dogs has spanned over 15 years, but despite being completely enamored with just about everything in the animal kingdom from a very early age (my first word as a baby was actually :”doggy”), surprisingly I initially had no specific goals to work with critters. Getting hired at the Oakland SPCA fresh out of college with a BFA in photography was an unplanned career move – I just wanted a job that wasn’t at a café and thought it would be cool to work at a shelter, but that became my first step to becoming a professional trainer. Becoming a dog trainer, and after that a certified behavior consultant, has been a pretty amazing journey, one that I know will keep me engaged and growing until the day I can’t hold a leash anymore. I continue to learn new things every day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. One of the big game-changers in my career occurred through studying yoga. I’ve been practicing on the mat since I was in high school, but it wasn’t until the last few years that I started digging deeper into the other branches of yoga: hatha yoga, or the physical part of the practice, is only one of its eight limbs. Studying yoga introduced me to mindfulness practices, and that shone a bright new light on how I wanted to work with dogs. in 2019 I went through a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program, and that helped me solidify some of my ideas and brought me to where I am today. I don’t just train dogs, and I don’t just coach people, I strive to present dog behavior and training through the lens of mindfulness. I even have a specialty group class that I teach on mindfulness-based dog training where we explore the attitudes of mindfulness and how they apply to living with and training dogs as part of the curriculum.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Love this question! There’s so much great stuff right here in Vista and the surrounding cities, I don’t think we’d need to travel far for an incredible week. I’m not a “big thrills” or nightlife kind of person so most what I’d love to share with a visiting friend are the smaller, quieter joys of North County. We have some truly gorgeous outdoor spaces here. I love hikes and walks at Daley Ranch, Guajome, Calavera, and Batiquitos Lagoon. Time on the mat is of course non negotiable, so we’d definitely take yoga classes at Yoga Branch in Vista, Peace, Love, and Yoga in Carlsbad, and the wonderful classes at that Alta Vista Botanical Gardens. For food and drink, Vista has some truly amazing places right in our little town! I would definitely want to hit up Milk Organics for their amazing smoothies, vegan breakfast sandwiches… and basically everything else on the menu. URBN pizza has legitimately the best salad I can remember eating, and I love sharing one of their amazing pizzas with a friend over beer at Barrel & Stave.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give credit to all the shelter dogs who have crossed my path on this journey! I spent 15 years working in animal shelters and had the honor of meeting some truly amazing canines who taught me some incredible lessons. A very special shout out goes to the shelter dogs that made their way into my personal pack: Kisa, Shine, Stormy, and Kit (who especially has taught me about patience).