Don’s foray into dog training began in 1979 when he was fresh out of high school and looking for an exciting career. Being that he had always loved animals, he decided on dog training. Don enrolled in the “Canine Behavior Academy” in Los Angeles. He did so well there that upon graduation he was hired by the owners of the academy to work for them in their training kennel, “The Canine Behavior Center”. This provided Don with the priceless experience of working with all breeds of dogs, with all sorts of behavior problems. After learning all he could at the Canine Behavior Center, Don struck out on his own and started offering private in home instruction and board training in Orange County, Ca. Over the years Don has evolved his training techniques and into an efficient and humane system that stresses the relationship between the owner and the dog.
Susan has always been an animal lover, attending her first dog training class at age six with the family Dalmatian. When Don and Susan met, it was a match made in dog lover’s heaven. Susan jumped right into Don’s dog training business and soon became an invaluable partner in both the business and in life. Susan has a special interest in genetics as it pertains to breeding and temperament, holistic canine nutrition and conformation showing.
About our family
Don and Susan started their human family in 2005, with the birth of their daughter Skylar. Skylar inherited the animal lover’s gene, and has been crazy about dogs since day one. Her first word after Mama and Dada was dog. By age one she was happily bossing the dogs around and mimicking Mommy and Daddy’s dog training lessons. Don and Susan’s son Jet joined them in late 2008. While it’s a little to early to tell if he’s going to be as crazy about dogs as the rest of the family, but Jet does crack a big smile when the dogs lick his toes.
About our furry and feathered family
In addition to the Golden Retrievers in our training program, the Van Tassel family has several of their own Golden Retrievers, two horses, two sheep, one goat, two cats and five chickens on a 3 ½ acre lot. All of the farm animals are beloved pets and are very friendly with people and dogs. The farm animals also partake in the trained Golden Retriever program by helping to socialize the dogs with animals of all sizes. The littlest ones like the cats and chickens teach the dogs to be gentle with small animals and to avoid any prey dive issues. In addition, many of the families that purchase dogs from us are equestrian families so it is beneficial for the dogs to become socialized with horses while they are puppies.
How ABC Golden Retrievers came to be
Don came up with the concept of selling trained and health checked Golden Retrievers during a busy summer in his in-home dog training practice. He had several clients at the time that had purchased Golden Retrievers for their families and were having a terrible time raising and training them. One family had purchased their dog from a back yard breeder and the dog has temperament problems and was hyperactive, another family was having a lot of trouble housebreaking their dog, and a third family had purchased a dog which ended up having severe hip dysplasia, causing heartache for the children in the family. These were all very sweet families who were ideal dog owners, they just hadn’t gotten the healthy, calm dog they had wanted for their families.
Don thought that if we could start with a well bred Golden with a correct temperament and raise it on our home; we would have an ideal candidate for off leash obedience training. We then added comprehensive health testing and neutering/spaying to ensure that the client would receive a healthy dog. At the time selling a trained Golden Retriever as a family pet was unheard of. There were kennel raised hunting dogs available, and protection trained German Shepherd and Rottweilers, but no one was selling dogs trained to be the ideal family pet. Our colleagues called us crazy! We went ahead anyway and raised two male littermates, finished their training and then and put them up for sale in the local newspaper, (at the time there were not many dog breeder web sites on the internet), and they sold within 48 hours.
Through the years we have perfected our training routine, but we still maintain a “kennel free” environment and raise our Goldens in our home. We still only raise a few dogs at a time in order for them to receive a maximum amount of time and attention from us. The addition of our children has been beneficial for our dogs because they are now raised in a home with children, and the business has been a blessing for us because we are able to earn a living while working from home and spending time with our children. While raising and training Golden Retrievers hard work and very time consuming, it’s what we love to do. We feel very lucky to have our dogs and our wonderful clients as part of our life.