This week’s pet expert, Erica Young, discusses training for multi-dog households

Hi all,

I am thrilled to welcome Erica Houck Young as our Pet Expert of the Week on Rewarding Behaviors this week. Erica will be joining us to answer your questions on how to manage and train effectively in a multi-dog household environment.

Join the discussion on The Rewarding Behaviors Dog Training forum!

Introducing Erica Houck Young:

Erica Young is the newest addition the dog training outfit Urban Dawgs in Red Bank, New Jersey. She has been training for both competition and companion animal purposes for over 10 years. She was born and raised in small-town Minnesota, surrounded by both large and small animals. She was successful in training and showing large animals and dogs during her high school and college careers in several facets. She spent nearly 3 years working as a part, and then full, time veterinary technician for a veterinary clinic with 6 doctors on staff.

Upon relocating to the East Coast in 2000 she began careers in Logistics and Transportation, taking her professionally away from her first love – dogs. In Fall of 2006 she went back to her roots and regained the opportunity to working with dogs professionally. In late 2007 she became part of the Monmouth County SPCA’s adoption manager staff and quickly settled into a role that balanced between both the adoption and behavior departments. She focused on training, rehabilitating, and rehoming dogs whose fear and mistrust of humans made them virtually unadoptable. She dedicated herself to those particular hard dogs to adopt, fostering and training those animals most of the public would overlook in order to make them more attractive.

It was while at the MCSPCA that fellow trainer Drayton Michaels began an enrichment program specifically aimed at Pit Bull Dogs that she partnered up with Urban Dawgs, first. The program was designed to provide an outreach for shelter dogs who needed extra behavioral training and guidance that could not be achieved in the shelter environment.

In late 2008 Erica graduated with honors with her certification in training and behavior counseling from the prestigious San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, She worked and studied under the direct tutelage of some of the best in the business, including Jean Donaldson and Janis Bradley, while there. The San Francisco SPCA’s Academy for Dog Trainers has been hailed as the “Harvard” of dog training schools for its rigorously scientific and humane approach to behavior and training.

Erica has continued to remain active in rescue, volunteering her spare time to fostering and training for various all-breed and breed specific(Pit Bull) rescue organizations located along the East Coast. She is also committed to continuing her education about dog behavior and training, as well as shelter enrichment. She regularly attends seminars and workshops given by dog behavior experts such as Dr Ian Dunbar, Dr Karen Overall, and Jean Donaldson. She strives to be at the forefront of the newest studies and techniques in positive, reward-based training for dogs.

Erica lives in Middletown, NJ with her husband, Chris, and their rescued 3 year-old Australian Cattle Dog mix named Jack, 14 year-old Husky/Great Pyrenees Mix named Yoda, 11 month old American Pit Bull Terrier named Pearl, and a few cats.

You may follow Erica on twitter at

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