Lex Bryson - Trainer EXTRAORDINAIRE
Hey everyone, I'm Lex. I have a passion for learning, a passion for psychology/behavior, and an even bigger passion for all things dog. I was pretty set on becoming a dog trainer since I was in grade school. I'm a US Navy brat who spent Kindergarten through 2nd grade living in Japan and helping my mother with the rescued and stray dog population in the area (many of which had a multitude of behavior issues which needed to be corrected). In 6th grade, I was as able to work with and learn from world-famous stunt dog trainer Scott Houghton. I was amazed, and from there, I just wanted to learn more.
I joined my county's 4-H dog training club in 7th grade. Growing up, I wasn't blessed with easy dogs. My "starter dog" was a stubborn and independent Kishu Ken mix who was born on the streets of Japan. With the help of my amazing 4-H instructors, Gizzi and I were able to not only work through her dog reactivity issues together, but we also trained and competed in a variety of canine sports such as agility, rally-o, obedience, and more. To say I became hooked on sport training would be an understatement.
When I turned 14, I purchased my first dog on my own. She was a backyard bred Miniature American Shepherd puppy with an absolute heart of gold. When I picked Faith up at 10 weeks, I set a goal of her learning one new word each day. Soon life got in the way, and eventually I just ran out of words; however, she became the first MAS to earn a Trick Dog Championship title, knowing over 120 verbal commands. I continued working with as many trainers as I could, trying to learn everything about canine behavior, different styles of training, various training tools, and all the different activities/sports dogs could compete in. Faith and I competed in (or at least tried out) just about every sport out there, and by her second birthday, she was already decorated in various titles. This is about the time I was introduced to my first mentor, Rose Miller.
Rose introduced me to the world of conformation dog showing. More importantly, she taught me about responsible breeding and why it is so important. She also taught me the paramount importance of a mentor figure in the dog world over any book or digital course. Rose and I traveled around the east coast together showing Standard Schnauzers and Newfoundlands. From there, I went on to work for various AKC professional handlers (including Brittany Cipriotti), all of which taught me new skills to help grow knowledge of training and improve my skills as a handler. I've handled multiple dogs of various breeds to their AKC & UKC championships.
I first started getting involved with service dogs in 2014. People repeatedly told me it was not possible to train a dog to alert to chronic migraines if they have no natural alert or response. However, I've always been a firm believer that an "impossibility" only means we haven't figured out a solution yet. I developed a scent discrimination method for training migraine alert which ended up being very successful with not only my dog, but many other dogs as well. What started as a small rudimentary blog to document Faith's training blossomed into something much, much larger. Years later, we have a very large following and Faith has been featured on several news sites.
Taking all the things I learned growing up regarding canine behavior and using my experience with multiple styles of dog training, I began training dogs professionally when I turned 18. While my training is largely positive based, I do not consider myself an R+ trainer. Instead, I train using something called LIMA (Least Invasive, Minimally Aversive). Something I learned very early on is dog training is never black and white and no two dogs are ever the same. Unlike many trainers, I don't group training tools and methods into "aversive" and "not aversive" categories and then choose one side to use on all dogs. Instead, I take the dog's individual mindset and needs into account and formulate a training plan which will be most effective and least aversive for that particular dog.
I have an affinity for staying on top of recent veterinary and canine behavior studies. I am currently attending the University of Findlay to study Animal Science/Pre-veterinary medicine in hopes of one day becoming a veterinary behaviorist.
It has been my dream since I first started working with service dogs to one day work as a trainer for a service dog program. In October 2017, that dream became a reality when Michele welcomed me into the Pawsible Angels family. Training for Pawsible has allowed me to grow so much as both a trainer and as a person. I've met amazing people and had the chance to work with some incredible dogs. Being able to see the progress these dogs make each day, and later see them go on to change the lives of other people makes everything I do worth it. They say that if you love your job, you never work a day in your life. That has definitely been the case while working as a trainer for Pawsible.