About

Tovah Riester & Project Potential

About Tovah

Project Potential owner and puppy expert Tovah Riester is a graduate of Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers, the most highly regarded and rigorous school available for dog trainers. She is also a graduate of Pat Miller’s Reactive Rover workshop, has achieved Fear Free certification, and is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. Tovah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Spanish, and continues to pursue Spanish fluency. She is particularly interested in and actively studies cognitive development in dogs as part of her commitment to early puppy training, socialization, and behavior problem prevention.

In addition to helping raise fabulous dogs for her puppy training clients, Tovah is an active supporter of puppy foster parents, inviting foster puppies to participate in Puppy Socials and including one foster puppy in each Puppy Prep School cadre. She appreciates the hard work foster parents put in to raise puppies outside of shelter environments to maximize their chances of successful long-term adoption.

In the rare moments Tovah is not training puppies she enjoys practicing aerial circus performing arts. 

About Tovah

Tovah Reister Puppy Trainer

Project Potential owner and puppy expert Tovah Riester is a graduate of Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers, the most highly regarded and rigorous school available for dog trainers. She is also a graduate of Pat Miller’s Reactive Rover workshop, has achieved Fear Free certification, and is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. Tovah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Spanish, and continues to pursue Spanish fluency. She is particularly interested in and actively studies cognitive development in dogs as part of her commitment to early puppy training, socialization, and behavior problem prevention.

In addition to helping raise fabulous dogs for her puppy training clients, Tovah is an active supporter of puppy foster parents, inviting foster puppies to participate in Puppy Socials and including one foster puppy in each Puppy Prep School cadre. She appreciates the hard work foster parents put in to raise puppies outside of shelter environments to maximize their chances of successful long-term adoption.

In the rare moments Tovah is not training puppies she enjoys practicing aerial circus performing arts.

Portland Puppy Training Expert
Portland Puppy Training Expert
Portland Puppy Training Expert
Portland Puppy Training Expert

Den’s story: The inspiration behind Project Potential

Tovah rescued Den, a Mountain Goat Herding mutt, when he was just 5 weeks old. Like the typical Portland puppy parent, Tovah had heard lots of “shoulds” about how to raise her puppy. Among them: She should take him to puppy class. She should make sure he got lots of socialization.

So she took Den to puppy class and she dragged Den all around the city with her to “socialize” him, not really understanding what she was doing, how to do it well, or how much of it was needed. Like any puppy parent who cares for her new family member, she did the best she could as she understood it and as her schedule allowed.

And like many puppy parents she found her efforts weren’t enough. Den grew up into a challenging adult dog. He barked and lunged at other dogs when on leash. He barked and growled at strangers. He was fearful of most situations outside the home. Tovah was crushed. She blamed herself. And she vowed to do everything she could to help Den.

Tovah’s mission to help Den overcome his fear-based aggression issues due to inadequately executed puppy socialization eventually led her to become a dog trainer. Den learned to handle life more smoothly, but the process took years and he’ll never be the fully confident, relaxed dog he might have been. As Tovah learned, there is no substitute for early puppy socialization, when puppies’ brains and personalities are malleable. Lessons taught easily early on are hard-won later.

Based on her own story Tovah has dedicated her career to puppy training and socialization, believing her talents, skills, and knowledge are put to the best use in preventing other dogs and people from the near-tragedy she and Den experienced.

She and Den now live happily with Luke, a Chocolate Lab who, having been properly socialized as a young puppy, is a well-adjusted Canine Good Citizen who spends his free time rocking it at Rally-O Obedience just for fun.

Portland Puppy Training Expert

Bringing out your pup’s potential through positive training

The whole point of early puppy socialization and training is to build happy, well-adjusted, well-behaved dogs. Given that goal, it’s only logical that we would rely exclusively on positive-based, force-free training methods. The science of canine learning theory and training has come a long way in the last several decades, providing us solid, effective training methodology and results without the use of fear, coercion, or pain. If using outdated methods requiring pain or fear is not necessary for achieving great results, we cannot justify their use with dogs of any age, let alone impressionable puppies.

Bringing out your pup’s potential through positive training

The whole point of early puppy socialization and training is to build happy, well-adjusted, well-behaved dogs. Given that goal, it’s only logical that we would rely exclusively on positive-based, force-free training methods. The science of canine learning theory and training has come a long way in the last several decades, providing us solid, effective training methodology and results without the use of fear, coercion, or pain. If using outdated methods requiring pain or fear is not necessary for achieving great results, we cannot justify their use with dogs of any age, let alone impressionable puppies.

The Project Potential guarantee

While we cannot guarantee specific behavioral outcomes for your puppy or the dog she’ll grow up to be—both because it’s impossible to guarantee the behavior of a living animal with free will and because doing so is considered an unethical practice by professional training associations such as the Pet Professional Guild to which we belong—we can and do guarantee we will:

  • Create a training and socialization plan customized to your needs and your puppy’s learning curve and cognitive development.
  • Deliver as much relief from current puppy problems as possible, as quickly as possible.
  • Do everything in our power to help your puppy grow up to be a calm, confident dog with strong social skills adaptable to any situation.
  • Use only the most up-to-date, scientifically sound, force-free training methods.
  • Treat you, your puppy, and your home with the highest regard, respect, and care.
Portland Puppy Training Expert

Ready to bring out your puppy’s full potential, today and tomorrow?

Portland Puppy Training Expert

Ready to bring out your puppy’s full potential, today and tomorrow?

Academy for Dog Trainer's Graduate
Proud Member of the Association for Force-Free Professionals
Fear Free Certified Professional
Dog Tec Business Code of Ethics Pledge

Private puppy training in Portland, Oregon, and group puppy socials in Portland, Oregon.

    

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