A skilled dog trainer, Mikkel is an honors graduate of the rigorous and prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers at the San Francisco SPCA. Mikkel is also a graduate of the Purdue University DOGS! course and theKaren Pryor Academy.
Mikkel is the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation's canine evaluator for Washington State, where she tours shelters looking for homeless dogs to turn into lifesaving search dogs. She is involved with training shelter dogs and has served as the education coordinator for the Whitman County Humane Society and is also a trainer for Pawsitive Works, a nonprofit organization to help youths on probation train shelter dogs. Mikkel also provides private behavior consultations and group classes for dog owners.
A resident pet expert forScholastic Magazine, Mikkel has been a contributing author for Parade magazine, Knight Ridder newspapers, House and Home and Cat Fancy magazines. Her work has also appeared in Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover's Soul II, and she has co-authored the four books in the "Ultimate Pet Lover" series. She has also been active in the Quarter Horse show circuit, and she is a three-time Canadian national champion in Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle. Mikkel has a degree in intercultural communications from Washington State University.
Mikkel lives in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where she offers customized training for dogs and cats in order to provide results that will satisfy both ends of the leash. Her sessions include in-home behavior modification counseling and group classes such as Canine Good Citizen training and puppy socialization
She and her daughter, Reagan Avelle, have two dogs, Bruce and Willy, and a cat named Nemo. Willy is a Pet Partners-certified therapy dog.