Why Should You Work With Ruff House?
Because We Are Tucson’s Dog & Puppy Obedience Training Experts!
Ruff House Dog Training & Behavior Modification is a veteran owned and operated business, founded by the Crystal and Michael Blaker in 2011. Initially Crystal ran the business by herself while her husband Michael continued to work in commercial real estate and banking. In 2014 Michael joined the Ruff House team full-time to handle company operations and marketing efforts. This allowed Crystal to focus her attention and efforts on the training side of the business. Their skill sets compliment each others and allow Ruff House to eliminate dog-behavioral issues and provide an unmatched customer-service experience.
As Director of Training, Crystal is primarily focused on developing and implementing training programs that create harmony between – dogs, their owners and others. She conducts basic through advanced dog obedience, trick, agility, Canine Good Citizen and Snake and Toad Avoidance training in private, one-on-one sessions or in group- class settings for puppies and adult dogs. She’s found great success helping dog owners to modify problem behaviors in their dogs like: pulling on leash, jumping up on people, toilet training issues, mouthing/biting, crying when left alone, not responding when called, and digging, just to name a few. Crystal’s training activities have been highly influenced by the training philosophy of Mark McCabe and his Training Between the Ears (TBTE) techniques. TBTE uses primarily reward and relaxation strategies to change the emotional state of the dog being trained. Ultimately TBTE methods teach dogs to moderate their own emotions. TBTE aims to build your relationship with your dog by removing conflict between you and your dog, develop your dog’s self-motivation though success seeking behaviors and changing your dog’s perception of the surrounding world. This results in a more relaxed and stable dog who is more resilient to external stressors.
As Director of Marketing & Operations, Michael manages all company activities other than training. This list includes but is not limited to: marketing, advertising, bookkeeping, I.T. and strategic relationships.
When not working, you can find the Ruff House Team competing in dog agility trials, performing Pet VIP Therapy visits, hiking, road biking, mountain biking, dirt biking, rollerblading or just hanging out with their daughter and their 4 dogs Wrigley, Calvin, Larry and Bindi.
Wrigley, a Goldendoodle, was adopted through Arizona Golden Rescue in 2010. She retired from competing in dog agility after winning the USDAA World Championships in 2018 but she still does monthly outings as Crystal’s therapy dog partner with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s Pet VIP Therapy program. Calvin, a Standard Poodle, was adopted through Arizona Poodle Rescue in 2011. He is also therapy certified through The Humane Society’s Pet VIP Therapy Program and does therapy work 1-4 times a month. Larry, a Miniature Poodle, was adopted from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) in 2012. His favorite activities include eating, chasing tennis balls and snuggling. And Bindi, an Australian Shephard/Standard Poodle mix, adopted from HSSA in 2018, is showing great promise for a strong future in canine agility competition.
Our Promise To You:
If you commit yourself to the training process and complete our assigned homework, the results will increase the enjoyment and peace that your dog brings into your home and life.
Head Trainer / Owner
Crystal Blaker, a Tucson native, has been passionate about animals since childhood and has worked at dog boarding, daycare and veterinary facilities since adolescence. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Arizona. Her post-college employment includes 4-years with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona most recently serving as their […]
Marketing & Operations / Owner
Michael Blaker was born in Bucks County, PA and moved to Arizona after high school. After 4 years in the United States Air Force and graduating from college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Manufacturing and Industrial Technology, he moved to Los Angeles to work in the commercial printing industry. 14 years later, he […]
Director of Dog Sports
Wrigley is a Goldendoodle and serves as the Director of Dog Sports. Her primary responsibility before her recent retirement from agility competition was working as Crystal’s dog agility competition partner. Crystal and Wrigley continue to perform certified therapy dog work through the Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s VIP Therapy Dog program, are 2018 World Champions […]
Hayley Davidson is a Tucson native and is active in her community 4H club in their dog and rabbit project. She and her 5yr old Australian Shepard have competed and been recognized with the title Grand Champion in Showmanship, Agility, Rally and Obedience at the Pima County Fair. Here at Ruff House she has served […]
Elizabeth Snyder serves on the operations team at Ruff House Dog Training as an Administrative Assistant. Her part-time/remote work at Ruff House allows her to balance work with her full-time job as a stay-at-home mom of three wonderful children. She is also the wife of husband who is a first responder. She has called Tucson […]
Ariel Berger is originally from Virginia and quickly fell in love with Tucson and the Sonoran Desert after moving here. She has been working with animals her whole life and can’t imagine anything better than helping people enjoy their dogs and dogs enjoy their lives. Her past experience includes years working with horses, at dog […]
Director of Retrieval
Calvin, a Standard Poodle, was adopted through Arizona Poodle Rescue in 2011. He is therapy certified through The Humane Society’s Pet VIP Therapy Program and does therapy work with Crystal 1-4 times a month, attending both memory care facilities and hospitals. He loves retrieving tennis balls and flies through the air like Superman to catch […]
Director of Treat Consumption
Larry, a Miniature Poodle, was adopted from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) in 2012. He is the oldest of our 4 pups at over 10 years old. His favorite activities include eating, chasing tennis balls, playing tug, snuggling and oh….. eating. He is very active old man and super fast!
Bindi, an Australian Shepherd/Standard Poodle mix was adopted from HSSA in 2018. She is showing great promise for a strong future in canine agility competition. There is no missing the Aussie in her as she leads with her back end when she is excited and approaches you. Stay tuned for news of her upcoming dog […]