The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Blaine County Beacon: Her Business Has Gone to the Dogs

 

April 7, 2021

Kailey Kleinjan sits astride her quarter horse, Abe, while Paisley relaxes on a hay bale, ready to bail off and go exploring.

After graduating in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthrozoology from Carroll College in Helena, Kailey Kleinjan decided to return to the Hi-Line to share her knowledge. In May 2020, she started her own business, Hi-Line Canine, hoping to operationalize her fascination with how animals and humans interact.

Originally from Chinook, this daughter of Laura and Dennis Kleinjan wanted to put her degree to work while providing a much needed service to the community: dog training. Kleinjan was convinced that with the knowledge and skills she had developed, she could improve the lives of both animals and people.

At Carroll, which has the only undergraduate anthrozoology program in the nation, Kleinjan studied the bonds that form when animal lives intersect with human cultures. The program was born after a group of scientists, including Carroll College's Dr. Anne Perkins, decided to study how humans and animals interact.

Kleinjan describes her four years at college as "super fascinating." She minored in sociology with a focus on criminology because she initially thought about a career working with police dogs. However, after completing her senior project with Paisley, a border collie/Australian shepherd cross that she acquired from Meagan Raty in August 2019, that plan changed.

"After completing my senior year project, I got to keep Paisley. Her drive and high energy fit my lifestyle," Kleinjan stated.

At its core, the field of anthrozoology is about understanding the incredibly complex relationships that humans share with other species. Through her various courses, Kleinjan examined how animals make our lives richer, healthier, and more meaningful. She explored these human/animal interactions through a variety of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, and geography. This coursework was blended with extensive hands-on training during which Kleinjan worked with horses, dogs, cats, and even wildlife.

According to Kleinjan, anthrozoology is much more than animal training. It blends that training with how animals think. "Actually, whenever I'm working with a dog, I'm not just dog training but human training. Both are adapting to one another's lifestyles and learning to communicate with each other."

With a focus on setting the animal up for success, Kleinjan's training style revolves around positive reinforcement and methods for making the training fun. "If an animal is losing focus, we will want to introduce toys, treats, or rewards. We always want to end a session with the animal wanting more. If it's not fun for both human and animal, such sessions will not be repeated." After all, from repetition, learning happens.

Growing up on a cattle ranch, Kleinjan spent countless hours around cow dogs. She recalls one key memory from childhood about a dog her father owned. "When I was really little, my dad used to have a dog named Rainey, and she would herd me around the yard to keep me from going towards the creek!"

Kleinjan is currently training Paisley to be a livestock herding dog. "I have also trained her to go find a lost or dead sheep if we happen to be missing one. Luckily, I don't have to use her for that scenario very often."

This passion for dogs no doubt plays a role in her choice of employment. Hi-Line Canine's mission is "to support owners and ranchers who want to have their canine companions by their side, at home, at work and at play."

In Kleinjan's view, there are numerous similarities between raising children and dogs. Both are about building relationships, setting boundaries, and communicating.

"When I teach a workshop for puppies, I will tell the clients to draw on their own experiences by asking questions like, what would you do with your child in this situation? Sometimes, we reduce an unwanted behavior by taking something away or by removing a stimulus. Just as we might give a child time out, a puppy may need kennel time," Kleinjan explained.

In addition to group workshops and classes, Kleinjan provides private consultations and lessons. She will typically begin a consult session with questions so that she can come to know the owner's objectives and where the animal and owner have encountered any barriers. She also hopes to gather information that will help her understand what tactics may or may not work.

"Whenever I meet with someone in a consult, we discuss training goals and then set up a plan to start working with the dog. The goal is always to make it fun."

Often, her clients will ask for assistance with basic manners and commands such as sit, down, or stay. Other common requests relate to barking cessation or to recall-coming when called.

When asked if one breed is easier to work with than another, Kleinjan responded: "Every dog has his/her own personality, and much of the animal's socialization will depend on lifestyle, whether the dog lives on a ranch or in town. However, cow dogs do have a tendency to be more stubborn."

This May, Hi-Line Canine, LLC will celebrate its one year anniversary, and Kleinjan is pleased to report that the business is doing well. "I'm happy not only to provide a service to the area but to help others learn training styles that they may not have thought of before. I have some of the BEST clients any business owner could ask for. Everyone and their dog are so much fun to work with, and I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing and supportive community!"

Kleinjan is also looking forward to the warmer weather when training can happen outdoors. "I am grateful for the relationship that I have with Bear Paw Veterinary Service in Havre. The staff there allows me to use their big meeting room to train indoors, but I especially like to train outside in parks or at downtown locations so that we can desensitize the dogs to new surroundings."

Dogs aren't Kleinjan's only passion; she also loves to ride horses. During the summer and fall, she assists local ranchers with branding and shipping. Furthermore, when she was younger, Kleinjan competed in barrel racing and pole bending. She hopes to get back into those activities this summer with her quarter horse, Abe. "Whether he will be a barrel horse is to be determined. Right now he's my ranch horse, and I hope to see how he does on barrels and maybe pole bending this summer."

Anyone interested in a training session can contact Kleinjan by phoning 399-3130 or by emailing hilinecanine@gmail.com.

The photo that Kleinjan supplied to accompany this story was taken by Gracie Warburton with Big Sky Photography Studios. "I love supporting up and coming small businesses, and Gracie was a lot of fun to work with," Kleinjan said. "Contact her if you'd like some pictures done!"

 
 

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