by LINDA FRABL | photos by Samantha Gleaton Photography

Trainer of the Year

faces_christiansen115Laura Christiansen, who hails from Detroit, MI, moved to Carlsbad in 1992 after completing a five-year dog training apprenticeship program. Prior to that, Laura had been a humane educator, visiting schools and libraries to teach children about being kind to animals. She proclaimed, “I’ve always loved all animals, but I love dogs the most! Ever since I was a little girl, my favorite pastime was playing school with all my stuffed animals as students.”

That childhood pastime became a reality when Laura opened her own dog training school in Carlsbad, Canine Learning Centers. Just this last February Laura received the 2015 National Trainer of the Year Award by the Dogs in Review magazine. She was presented with her trophy at the 61st Annual Show Dogs of the Year Awards black-tie event at Gotham Hall in New York City. Laura exclaimed, “To have my dog training acknowledged on a national level was surreal and amazing! It is a dream come true, and I feel so blessed and happy.”

Eager to give back to her beloved Carlsbad community, Laura started up Caring Paws, a pet therapy program in which volunteers bring dogs to interact with the residents of Brookdale Assisted Living at the Carlsbad and the Carmel Valley locations. Laura explained, “For some of the residents, it may be the only intimate contact they have the entire week. They love when we come, and we all love it too!”

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Name: Laura Christiansen
Community: Carlsbad
Family: Husband – Russel Ames; Belgian Tervuren dogs – Grace and Cade
Hobbies: Dogs, dogs, dogs! Spending time with my friends and family


faces_christiansen3Happily ensconced in Carlsbad, Laura at first had a difficult time getting used to the year-round warm weather, but she laughed, “Once I adjusted there was no turning back, and now I can’t imagine living anywhere else!” Activities that Laura enjoys include hiking along the beautiful nature trails, going to the beach, trying out new restaurants, and attending her church. But Laura is most passionate about all things dog-related, and she insisted, “My main hobbies involve dogs: training them, continuing to learn about them, and spending fun time with them!”