Sandra Machado was born in New York and raised in Brazil. There, her gift for communicating with dogs began with her work in the rescue of stray dogs. After obtaining an Associate Degree in Psychology and an International Business Bachelors Degree, she pursued a career in the corporate arena, where she had the opportunity to travel the world. Traveling exposed her to different cultures and their relationships with animals, dogs in particular. This led Sandra to follow her heart and work with dogs professionally.
Sandra is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), and a licensed Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT), whose renowned positive reinforcement methods entered public attention through the show “It’s Me or The Dog” on Animal Planet. As part of Stilwell’s hand selected team by Victoria herself, Sandra became a member of a global network of world-class positive reinforcement trainers. Sandra is also a graduate of the Animal Behavior College, a Certified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator for the AKC, a Certified Trick Dog Instructor, a member of the Doggone Safe program (an organization promoting safe relationships between children and dogs), a member of the Association of Force-Free Pet Professionals (PPG, Pet Professional Guild), a member of the Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers, a member of the South Florida Force Free Trainers Network and is certified in Dog First Aid with the American Red Cross.
As important as certifications are when choosing a dog trainer, experience, science based methodology, and above all, love and concern for the well being of dogs are just as crucial. Her work as Head Trainer of a local dog training company for years led Sandra to open her own business, Learned Behaviors Dog Training, where she could broaden her scope of clients and apply her expertise in dealing with challenging cases following a fully humane, force-free concept.
Sandra enjoys working with children and easing the communication between children and dogs. Engaging children in training and making it fun for all involved helps the learning process and prevents future mishaps.
Having trained many different breeds from teacups with potty training problems to 135-lb Mastiffs with reactivity and aggressive issues, Sandra proves that no breed is too big or too difficult to be trained force-free and humanely. Sandra was mentored by Force Free Trainers and Behaviorists and have applied the techniques on her own challenging rescue, a Ridgeback Pit Bull mix, which only validated the concept that fear should not be confronted with intimidation and pain.
Love for all dogs come naturally to Sandra, but her real passion lies on dogs much like her own; dogs with a real need to be understood, dogs perceived to have aggression issues, dogs that fit in what is known as the “bully breeds” category and dogs that do not fit at all.
It is important to note that force free and positive reinforcement do not mean lack of structural conduct or free rein of the house. Sandra believes that patience, structure, consistency, a little more patience and a lot of love are the key elements to a happy, well balanced and confident dog, and therefore a great family member. Sandra also believes that, every dog, no matter how well-behaved, needs training, which will strengthen the bond between pet and owner.