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Community Highlights: Meet Ariel Santa Maria of Canine Coach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ariel Santa Maria.

Hi Ariel, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Thank you for reaching out to me and my dog training company, Canine Coach. I have lived in San Diego county nearly all my life and it’s been a dream to run my business right here along the Southern California coast. 

I was born an animal lover. Not just an animal liker but a true, die-hard, don’t-even-kill-garage mice kind of animal lover. My family noticed my abnormal interactions with animals from a very young age. It seemed I had a unique ability to read them. But this was no superpower. I just paid such close attention to detail that I was cued in to the behavioral patterns other humans around me seemed to miss. Flash forward over 15 years later and I began my first job as a dog trainer for the large chain, Petsmart. My obsession with training began…

Eventually, I started working for one of the largest organizations for animal welfare and animal rights, The Humane Society of the United States. It was there in the shelter system where I gained a deeper understanding of domestic and exotic animals This included cats, small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and of course the DOGS. They were homeless, scared and hungry. Some of them had been abused and many of them were victims of neglect at no fault of their own. I admitted 10-20 owner relinquished pets and stray dogs every day. They were being separated from their human companions and I watched as their lives change in an instant. For some of them, what was supposed to be their forever home, would now become their forever. This was one of the most insightful experiences on the path of my career in regards to empathizing with animals and the humans in and out of their lives.

I volunteered and worked with Sea Lions and Seals at The Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, California. Pinnipeds are the dogs of the sea! I’ve spent most of my personal life outdoors where I could be near and admire the wildlife around me.

In between it all, I received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. My studies emphasized both human and animal psychology because what I do in my business requires not only animal understanding, but human understanding as well.

After years of hands-on experience, what called to me the most were the DOGS. I deeply connected with these everyday companions, including my own, who I fell madly in love with. I discovered that communication is the key that helps us form the deeper connection that we, as humans, desire. The real discovery is that it is not just possible between humans, but between us and our pets as well. *Clear communication can bring about massive change.* Through many years of education, personal and professional experience, I have come to understand dogs at a deep behavioral level. Fueled by passion, I have dedicated my life to teaching dog owners how to utilize the gift we all have within us. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Life has taught us all that the sweetest coconuts are the hardest to reach. Beginning and maintaining a business, especially as a solo entrepreneur, has many benefits but is no easy task. I worked as an employee and as an independent contractor for most of my life. I recognized that as lucky as I felt to have had the experience and how vital it was to begin my own business, I felt limited by the systems that other companies had already established. I am a free bird, I thought, with too many ideas NOT to share, and with that, my personal motivation to shift to business ownership was decided.

Some personal obstacles included brand creation: everything from scratch and from the inside out. I remind myself that everything doesn’t have to be perfectly authentic, especially with a business that follows science and technology already out there, but they do have to be well designed and organized. I am still learning about marketing, social media, and everything technology. If I am doing it right, it will be this way for the life of my business and beyond.

A more recent and personal obstacle was having to say goodbye to my dog, Kiera, a German Shepherd/Rottweiler/Husky mix. We spent 12 years together forming a bond. She was not only my best friend and adventure buddy, but she was the driving force and inspiration behind my company @canine_coach 

We have helped thousands of dogs and their owners overcome behavioral problems and strengthen bonds. It wouldn’t have been possible without her. Continuing on without my most trusted partner has been an emotional challenge of its own. I know her memory will live on through the stories I tell and the lessons I am able to teach others. 

As you know, we’re big fans of Canine Coach. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
For over a decade, I have helped humans and their dogs make a unique connection using a combination of classical and modern behavioral psychology. My abilities are rooted well into my childhood. Meanwhile, my skills have been improved and refined through years and years of work.

Canine Coach specializes in personal obedience and behavioral training for dogs and their owners. Coach Ariel personally creates training plans that are uniquely designed and tailored to each individual dog and their family. The dog’s breed, age, temperament, personality and natural drive are taken into account when teaching owners about the best approach for their dog. No two plans are the same because no two situations are the same.

I approach EVERY client with the kind of quality coaching that I would pay for myself. With it includes clear communication, truth, family support well beyond the life of a dog and inspiration that brings about real and lasting change.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Best advice I have for those just starting out is to take care of yourself. I went from thinking about my career for an average 6-12 hours a day to thinking about and caring for it like a puppy, 24 hours a day.

Make sure to put in the time – on a daily basis – to know yourself, what you need and what you want. Do you and the business that is bound to become you as well will feel like the place you were meant to be.

In taking care of yourself, don’t forget to do other things. Get outside, move your body, spend time with loved ones and work on your relationship with the world. Incredibly important if you want your business to be successful and positively impact the community around you.

Other advice:

*Get a business coach and hire good professionals that can help you.

*Find others to bounce ideas off of.

*Find and ask for help in areas that you want and need it.

*Surround yourself with others who support and believe in you.

*Believe in yourself most of all.

*If you’re going to do it at all, do GREAT. Your input will show up in your output.

*Don’t let the small, personal things get you down. Save your energy for more important tasks.

*Be HONEST in your business.

*Remind yourself daily why you are doing this and choose to be here.

*Consider other peoples opinions, but you don’t  base the decisions that most personally affect you on them. You will be doing the work. 

*Realize you can be an inspiration. Do your part to be a light for others and inspire them to lead a good life too.

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Sharon Saddler
Lisa Copeland
Ariel Santa Maria

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