Best Paw Forward's dedicated group of knowledgeable and experienced trainers are ready and eager to help you and your dog build your relationship, learn to communicate effectively and become the best team you can be! To learn more about us, read our individual biographies below.
Best Paw Forward Dog Training was founded by Robyn Andexser (and Rudy) in 2006. Robyn has worked with animals since she was just fifteen years old, beginning her animal training career with Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins and African Black footed Penguins. After moving to Nanaimo in 2005, Robyn expanded into the dog training world and studied all levels of obedience, dog care, behaviour problems, dog aggression, protection training, police K9 and search and rescue. She achieved her certification as a Master Dog Trainer, is a graduate from the Animal Care Aide program at Vancouver Island University and is also a Certified Instructor for DOGSAFE Canine First Aid.
Robyn began her training career with her dog Rudy, a miniature Schnauzer who was a present one Christmas morning, and a very wise soul. He guided her to be calm, patient, and to also listen to what he wanted to teach her. Together, they wanted to share this connection with other dogs and their humans, and Best Paw Forward was created. Rudy left this dimension at age 13 in 2015, but his presence as the original demo dog for Best Paw Forward can still be felt. There is still a demo dog in Robyn’s life, and that is Ty, the 10 year old Border Collie mix. Together they lead the Outdoor Adventure and off leash hiking classes, as well as the DOGSAFE Canine First Aid course.
Quincey and her 2 dogs, Brody and Osa, make a great team and have demonstrated that together they are great teachers, leaders and examples. Quincey and Brody attended Best Paw Forward classes together when he was a puppy. It was Brody who brought out Quincey's passion for training dogs and taught her that building a positive relationship with your dog is the first step to a harmonious life together and helps make the training process easier. Together, Quincey and Brody have received their Novice, Intermediate, Advanced & Expert Trick Dog Titles and created the Trick Dog class to teach others to have FUN with their dogs. Osa, the Australian Shepherd, brings great energy and tons of personality to Quincey's classes. Together Quincey and Osa are learning and now competing in agility. Quincey thoroughly enjoys helping educate owners on how to build a strong lifelong relationship with their canine companions.
Karen’s lifelong fascination with and love for animals led her to start volunteering with the SPCA at age 9 and in 2011, she began a career working closely with them at the Nanaimo Veterinary Hospital, which she managed until 2018. Over the years, she has cared for a variety of pets, but it wasn’t until she got her first dog that she discovered her passion for dog training. Since then, Karen has dedicated herself to the study of dog behaviour and training, both practical and theoretical. Along with her Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Archer, she has been through the Best Paw Forward curriculum, as well as flyball, agility and scent detection courses. In Spring 2016, Karen’s family grew by one more when Cypress the spaniel mix rescue dog joined her pack. Adopting Cypress has provided Karen with more insight into working with rescue dogs and the unique challenges that adopting an adult dog brings. Karen is particularly interested in canine behaviour and communication, and how a knowledge of these can forge partnerships that are rewarding, fulfilling and fun for people and their dogs.
Sarah is our Scent Detection trainer and also teaches our Canine Good Neighbour and Fine Tune Fido classes. She shares her life with her husband and two wonderful Belgian Shepherds, Gabriel and Dillon. Sarah and her dogs have trained in a variety of sports, focusing mostly on obedience and rally. More recently, Sarah and the boys have taken up sport scent detection, a relatively new sport for pet dogs that is based on the same training for working detector dogs. Sarah is a strong advocate for the importance of giving our pet dogs rich, fulfilling lives through activities that provide not only physical exercise but mental exercise as well. Sarah has shared her passion for working with dogs by teaching Pet Manners classes and has now moved into teaching us all about scent detection. Sarah is certified by the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors. We are thrilled to have her teaching all of us and our amazing clients!
Tressia's experience in dog training and teaching classes grew and was a great benefit to Best Paw Forward clients and team over the 7 years she worked with us. She has since moved on to start her own dog training school, Que-it Dog Training, in Pemberton, BC.
However, Tressia still has strong ties on the island and visits frequently. You will still see her teaching agility workshops on the island and hosting seminars at Best Paw Forward.
Tressia’s passion is agility, and she has been playing, teaching, and competing in agility locally and on national and international stages for over 15 years. She achieved 6th place at Nationals in August of 2015, which earned her a spot on the Canadian World Agility Team. She competed in Amsterdam in Spring of 2016 at her first, but certainly not her last, World Agility Finals. Tressia is a Certified Dog Trainer through the Karen Pryor Dog Training Academy. She teaches all levels of our classes as well as private lessons. She is owned by her 3 wonderful dogs - Rift the Shepherd cross and Border Collies Jetta and Sparks.
Bonnie has had a strong passion for all animals since she was a small child. Growing up on an acreage in Alberta, she was surrounded by animals of all kinds, from dogs, cats and bunnies to horses, goats, sheep, cows, chickens and pigs. At the young age of eight, she started her own pet sitting and dog walking business caring for animals of all kinds while learning from them and studying their individual personalities.
In Alberta, she worked for breeders, trainers, dog daycares, and grooming and boarding facilities. In 2005, she moved to Vancouver Island and found a job at Dog n’ Suds Pet Services Ltd as a dog daycare supervisor and groomer. She moved on to work as a veterinary hospital receptionist, then joined the Best Paw Forward team. Bonnie is a proud mom to her furkids: dogs Harlem and Sheo, and cats Ravage, Deunan and Frenzy. Her soul dog Darko passed in early 2018 from cancer at the young age of six. Bonnie has always been fascinated by animal behaviour and the bonds formed between man and beast and is excited to continue her animal based career in positive reinforcement training.
Jessica fell in love with dog training as soon as she brought her Red Nose Pit Bull/American Bulldog, Pearl, home as a puppy. Pearl is a very gentle and sweet girl and has worked incredibly hard with Jessica to learn complex tricks and agility. Yes, even Pit Bulls can play agility! Jessica and Pearl have taken all of our classes throughout the years, which facilitated a deep relationship between the two of them and helped Pearl pass her Canine Good Neighbour test. Jessica wants to encourage dog owners to put in the time and effort with training, as she is proof that you can create a calm and well-behaved dog with any breed.
Micailyn and her awesome little dogs bring great energy to our training team! Micailyn began taking Best Paw Forward classes with her Chihuahua/terrier mix Roxie after she adopted her from the Victoria SPCA. Roxie was very shy and nervous but came out of her shell and gained confidence by working her way through the Best Paw Forward curriculum. Not long after Roxie’s accomplishments came Californian Chihuahua Tia. Now Roxie and Tia are best friends and are great examples of what little dogs can accomplish with training and encouragement. All three of these girls will lead our Tiny Tykes class and Small Dog Playgroup on Thursday nights.
Kat brings her passion for dog training and great energy with her everywhere she goes. Her dogs are a German Shorthaired Pointer mix, Harley, and Border Collie, Rubix. Harley was Kat’s first dog and together they fell in love with playing and training. They joined us for a 1-year training membership when Harley was a puppy and have completed all of our classes – many more than once! Some favorites were Really Reliable Recall and Confident Canine, but their favorite by far was FUN! Agility. Harley and Kat have achieved their, ADC SGDC AADC and MADC agility titles and even qualified for Nationals at their very first Regional Competition! Kat hopes to one day compete for Team Canada with Rubix. The trainers at Best Paw forward have taught Kat so much over the last few years and Kat continues to study and learn to be a better trainer every day.