Chantelle Atkinson is the owner, operator and trainer behind All Levels Canine Fitness & Training, a service which helps both dogs and people learn and communicate with one another, building a better relationship and a more obedient companion by using reward-based, positive reinforcement techniques.
Atkinson has always been an animal lover, but she credits her leap into being a full-time dog trainer and fitness expert to one special dog, named Toby.
“When I got Toby, I knew that day that he was going to turn my life around,” said Atkinson.
“I already had a huge passion for animals, but he made it even bigger. He was my rock, and my protector. Anyone who knows me and remembers him knows I went nowhere without him. Toby impacted a lot of lives, not just mine.”
Initially, Atkinson started doing dog sports with Toby because she thought they would both enjoy it. At that time, she hadn’t considered working with dogs professionally.
“Toby inspired me to start doing dog sports because he was so smart, I knew he’d excel in many areas,” said Atkinson.
“So we started in disc, rally obedience, nose work, scent detection, tracking, parkour, agility, etc. As time went on, he started losing interest in the things he loved to do when he was younger, so I ended up introducing more pups to our lives.”
Atkinson, who works with Angel’s Animal Rescue, ending up bringing her work home by adopting an available dog from the rescue. With her rescued female, Atkinson competed in agility and disc competitions, earning several titles.
But they say dogs are like potato chips, you can’t stop at just one. Or two. Something Atkinson soon discovered.
“I then got a golden retriever, we took many titles in dock diving and performed with the super dogs and even in a few pup star movies,” said Atkinson.
“We ended up getting many titles in trick training. Then I got my border collie, she excels in pretty much anything. Dock diving, she has all her titles and is earning more, disc, agility, nose work, tracking, scent detection, and tricks. And we’re starting flyball here soon which I’m excited about.”
Four years ago, while competing with her dogs for fun, Atkinson was also looking for something fulfilling to do in her career. She was hoping to launch her own business rather than continuing to work for others, but hadn’t decided what that business should be yet.
“One day I was lying in bed with Toby, he put his paw on my hand and his head down and stared at me,” explained Atkinson.
“I said, ‘you know Toby I’m sick and tired of working for other people it’s time I make a change,’ and so I did.”
It was at this time that All Levels Canine & Fitness was created. Atkinson, who had trained as a dog groomer in high school, began to branch out and expand her knowledge. When she had to say goodbye to her beloved Toby after 13 years, she also began to delve into the field of canine health and nutrition.
“I became certified in canine conditioning and massaging, as well as becoming certified in the field of aggression and reactivity,” said Atkinson.
“I’m currently undergoing a pet nutrition course. All of this because as Toby aged, he ended up getting GVD. It took him a while to recover, so I thought I’m going to get certified in conditioning, not only to help others but to help him regain muscle, balance, coordination and stamina. From there I knew massages also went hand in hand with conditioning and that he would so benefit well from having weekly massages, so I did that.”
Unfortunately, Toby’s health grew progressively worse, despite many vet visits and numerous tests. An ultrasound revealed that Toby’s liver function had been impacted by cancer, which had spread to his lungs.
It was after this diagnosis that Atkinson began to focus on whole dog health and wellness, as well as training.
“I decided I am not going to live with my animals and not understand more of the canine’s body and functions,” explained Atkinson.
“I found a perfect program that runs over the dog’s anatomy, most common diseases, bodily functions, etc. which then rolls over to nutrition and takes a great depth into that. I never want my animals to suffer like my poor man did. So, in the end he has made me become a successful businessperson, but I also couldn’t have done it without the wonderful students I have too.”
In addition to training and wellness, Atkinson offers canine products from her online store.
“I sell top-of-the-line dog coats, drying coats, name tags, frisbees or discs, puzzle toys for mental stimulation, CBD oil, training boards and much more,” said Atkinson, who has found fulfillment in helping people and their dogs.
“I really hope to bring a sense of understanding to people about their dogs and how they are, but also hope to bring out motivation so they can grow as a team and have their dog be so engaged with them that nothing else in the world matters,” explained Atkinson.
“It’s a beautiful feeling when your dog finds you of more value than anything else. including those difficult distractions.”