Christie Branch is Living a Dog Lover’s Dream at Paw Commons
Written By: Matthew Black
Photographed By: Josie Gonzales
Expert: Christie Branch Paw Commons
Credentials: Dog Obedience Instructor at Paw Commons
San Diego is decidedly a dog town. From breweries to beaches and parks to hiking trails, dog owners live with their four-legged furry friends right by their side. Dog Obedience Instructor Christie Branch of Paw Commons wants your relationship with your dog to be as special as possible. She enjoys that with her own dogs and spreads the love by providing a progressive approach to dog training that we can all learn from.
Q: You obviously have a special relationship with dogs, can you describe your connection with them?
Christie Branch: I love how dogs live in the moment. They’re all about who you are right now. They don’t look into the past, and they don’t try to predict who you’re going to be. I think it’s like when you take away everything around you and pay attention to right now I think it gives a different perspective than what most of us get. I think dogs are the coolest animals on the planet. They co-evolve with us over time. It’s such a special connection people have with dogs.
Q: What inspired you to work at Paw Commons?
CB: I received my Animal Science degree from Virginia Tech. I’m actually from Virginia, but originally my family’s from Texas. San Diego is a city that loves dogs. Pet resorts and doggy day care are a growing thing. This is a great place to be. Everybody here at Paw Commons loves dogs as much as I do. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by people who love the exact same thing. We all benefit each other. When I work with a dog in training, they progress and get better at daycare and boarding and we all trade information on the dogs for their benefit.
Q: What can a dog expect in a visit to a Paw Commons luxury suite?
CB: They can expect a very spacious and very comfy room. They get a TV in the room and they can watch the same great movies they watch in daycare. They’re mostly Disney and animated movies, all day long. Staff stop by all throughout the day for walks, potty breaks and often you’ll catch staff just hanging out with the dogs in their room. It’s a small home away from home.
Q: Do you have dogs of your own?
CB: I do! I have two. I still have the family golden retriever Molly. We got Molly back in 2003 when she was a puppy from a neighborhood dog that had puppies. She chose us. It’s funny, when people go out to choose a puppy, I think the puppy chooses you. I use Molly to help with training lessons. She’s my dog ambassador. I also have a lab/great Pyrenees [mix] who basically looks like a polar bear. He came out of a shelter in Austin, TX.
Q: What advice do you have for first-time dog or puppy owners?
CB: Having a dog is more of a relationship than you think. You have the dog and the dog has you. Like any relationship, it’s built over time with trust.
Q: Do you hope that your work inspires others to take better care of their pets, or even follow a similar path as yours?
CB: Absolutely! I say every day, ‘What works for one will not work for all.’ It’s important to find something unique that suits you and your dog. When people come here, they find out how much it’s individually customized and catered for you and your dog. My work encourages people to find that unique relationship.
Q: What’s next for you and Paw Commons?
CB: “The LAB” is our next big thing. It’s something that I don’t think is offered anywhere else. It’s not a board and train program, and it’s not a group class. It’s taking what you’ve learned in class and continuing that education. A lot of service dogs are so great at what they do because they practice every day, and we’re building toward that. The LAB bridges the gap between the two programs and allows for a longer learning curve for you and your pet. Our owner created and masterminded it. It wouldn’t have been possible without the great team we have now. We work one on one, dog and trainer. It’s the thing I love about my job. We just keep getting better at it, and there’s no limit. I think one of the greatest things about dog training is that what works today won’t work later, which is great because as the dog gets better, we have to get better. We have to constantly be moving forward.
3915 9th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
Christie Branch Gets Paid to Play With Dogs. What’s Your Job?