From Training Dogs to Teaching Students


Photo courtesy of Aislinn Reid

Aislinn Reid (middle) and her clients hike and practice leading while walking their dogs in Santiago Oaks Regional Park in January 2017. Reid walks her dog, Ayr, accompanied by dogs Ernie and Darby (left and right).

When Aislinn Reid received a job offer as a world geography teacher at UPA, she decided to leave behind her border collies — Skye and Ayr — at her home in Long Beach. She recently moved into a room in Campbell to begin her teaching career here.  

Reid had applied to 52 jobs located as far as the Oregon border to down south in San Diego, and she had been interviewed six times.

With a double major in history and art history from Cal State Long Beach, she initially intended to work in a museum, but had difficulties doing so.

“I really liked art history, but in order to work in a museum, [I had] to have a master’s or a Ph.D,” Reid said. “It was taking me very long to get through my degrees so I stopped that route of trying to get into working for a museum. Working for a museum was my dream job, but we have to adapt and make sure our dreams are realistic.”

She then turned to her second career choice: teaching.

Her mother, father and grandmother are all educators, so Reid grew up around the teaching profession.

“I actually really liked school,” she said. “I wished that I could be in school for a really long time, so I was like, ‘What’s the one thing I could do where I would be in school forever?’ Which is teaching.”

Her love of teaching branches out to not only helping her students, but also to training dogs.

Reid started training dogs in 2010 in her senior year of high school, and she continued her side business throughout college until she left Long Beach for San Jose.

After obtaining a number of certifications, which include “doggy” CPR and understanding dog behaviors, she began caring for and training the dogs in her neighborhood.

“Something I specialize in is keeping the dogs out of the streets,” Reid said. “That’s a life-saving skill to train your dog. I had a system that I would use to keep the dog off the street that I really tried to make sure the owners followed up on and that we worked together.”

To do this, Reid would tempt the dog with a ball or even with food, but ensured that the dog understood crossing the street to retrieve the item was not permitted. After repetitious cycles, the dog learned of the barrier and comprehended the street was dangerous.

Although Reid has paused her dog training business for now, she hopes to continue it in the future when she has more spare time.

“That’s always an option for me,” she said, “and I really do like having that business.”

With her experience of training dogs, Reid applies similar techniques when working with her students in the classroom.

“Setting goals and also learning the small things first [is important],” she said. “Like for dogs, if you’re teaching agility, they have to know how to stand still before they can go up on a platform and stand still. In teaching, we try to do that when you’re learning how to do the essay first and then you’re going to write the essay. It’s the baby steps.”

Reid recommends students interested in animals to try volunteering at the local animal shelter.

“There’s this sense of community,” she said. “And then if you want, you can venture into different areas like if you want to do dog training or go further up in that career.”