Growing up on a ranch, Lori Carman realized from a very young age that she had a special gift: building relationships with animals. Her ability to communicate with all types of species sparked a 20+-year career working with wildlife, marine animals, dogs, and cats. After graduating from Moorpark College’s Exotic Animal Training and Management program, Lori went on to work with animals on film and television sets and develop educational programs for the Cincinnati Zoo, The Living Desert in Palm Desert, and others.
Several years into her career, Lori was preparing for a job with the military when the bill set to fund her new job was vetoed. In San Diego without a job, she distributed flyers and started training dogs while she considered her next steps. Then it hit her. “One morning, I woke up and said, ‘I’m going to open a dog training business, and it’s going to be called Dream Dogs!’” And that’s exactly what she did.
Today, Dream Dogs is easily one of the most recognized and respected dog training centers in the Coachella Valley. Using only positive reinforcement methods, Dream Dogs has grown into a dedicated community of well-trained, happy pets and their people. This summer, to meet growing demand, the center relocated to a larger space in Bermuda Dunes. The new space allows them to work with more clients and offer new programs, services, and community events.
The new Dream Dogs location is a serene and welcoming 2.6-acre space with indoor and outdoor training options. About twothirds of the outdoor space is dedicated to secure agility, play, and training areas. Indoors, the new training room is much larger than the previous location and is equipped with heating and air conditioning. A larger, ranch-like property also allows Lori to have her personal pet goats and a few rescue chickens nearby. Lori says she is forever grateful to her elite and premier members for helping secure the facility through private crowd funding and package sales.
Working with so many different species in multiple environments is one of the things that Lori credits for her successful training methods. “Every animal is different,” she says. “Having worked with several species using positive reinforcement, my toolbox is big. It has taught me to think outside the box and gain valuable insight into different types of motivation. For example, not all dogs respond to food rewards. Sometimes a dog is more motivated by play, attention or a favorite toy. But, that is just one side of the leash! We are equally dedicated to training the human; in fact, that is vital for a successful training program. And I try to make learning fun and engaging for everyone.”
Lori also trains service dogs for various organizations, donates her services to rescue animals and veterans programs in her spare time, and continues to work in wildlife when needed. As the founder, owner, and operator of Dream Dogs, Lori isn’t able to teach every single class these days but says her staff brings a wealth of knowledge, ensuring that every class at Dream Dogs is a transformative experience.
The current Dream Dogs staff includes Jennifer Wallace, Jamie Bozzi, and Robin Espinoza. The class roster includes basic obedience, agility, tricks, scent work, agility, and adventure courses and is always expanding. Dream Dogs also offers board and train services, and specialized training services when needed. In the works are Dream Dogs play passes, space rentals for private events like dog birthday parties and fundraisers, and community play days.
Learn more about the staff, classes and upcoming events at dreamdogs.com.