Michele Pouliot has been a professional Guide Dog instructor for more than 30 years. Before venturing into training guide dogs, she was a professional horse trainer, instructing horsemanship, Dressage and 3-Day-Eventing disciplines. Michele competed in obedience trials with her pet Labrador and became fascinated with the comparisons of how dogs and horses learn.
Michele began her instructor apprenticeship with Guide Dogs for the Blind in 1974, attaining her California State Guide Dog Instructor's license in 1977. Prior to her current position as Director of Research and Development, she was Apprentice Development Supervisor, Class Supervisor and Training Supervisor. She authored the school's first Guide Dog Training Manual in 1980. In 1994, Michele became the Director of Training for the school's then-new Oregon campus, where she staffed the Training Department and established the dog and student training programs. She was responsible for all training "Standards and Techniques" at both campuses, ensuring consistency in the school's overall training program.
Since 2000, Michele has served as an international guide dog School Assessor for the International Guide Dog Federation, an organization that reviews guide dog training organizations throughout the world for quality control and adherence to humane treatment of animals. She has completed assessments on guide dog schools in Norway, Austria, the Czech Republic, France and Great Britain.
In 2001, Michele was appointed to the newly-created position of Director of Research and Development. Her position focuses on developing and researching new techniques for all areas of student instruction, dog training and puppy development.
Michele enjoys international recognition in the guide dog field and regularly makes presentations to national and international audiences. In 2000, she developed the innovative BEST dog training program for our school; the program is rapidly becoming the training standard in the guide dog industry throughout the globe. Michele continues to enjoy her hobbies in horse training, as well as dog agility and obedience training.