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The Best Dog Trainers in California of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

November 11, 2023

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the California Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in California based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 55,000 votes were used in compiling this list. We have only included the top trainers with sufficient votes and the trainers are ordered in terms of the number of votes received. Trainers that tied are ranked in reverse alphabetical order based on first name. All dog trainers on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. To learn more about our dog trainer contest, feel free to view the dog trainer contest post.

Dog training is one of the most important activities someone can do with their dog. Many come to dog training through a specific issue they want addressed, anything from barking to separation anxiety. Some have adopted dogs from animal shelters with an abusive experience and some just have happy puppies looking for everyday life skills. Trainers can help with all kinds of specific skills and issues, from leash manners to territorial aggression to anxiety around skateboards to common puppy challenges. However, what many discover is that working with a trainer is actually a way for a pet owner to deepen their relationship with their dog. The enhanced communication skills that result can increase quality of life, be a rewarding experience, be a social experience and lead to more harmonious relationships. Knowing that one’s dog is having a happier life can dramatically improve peace of mind. As the saying goes: happy dog, happy life. And it extends further than just the dog, to the pet owners. Owner empowerment can actually improve the relationship between owners. And finding the right trainer can make all the difference in the experience.

This list is compiled by Sniffspot, which is the largest network of private dog parks for rent in the world. Each of the thousands of Sniffspot dog parks are hosted by locals on private land with 100% private bookings to maximize safety for guests and their dogs. Sniffspot offers various types of dog parks, including fenced, water parks, indoor dog parks, dog beaches and more. Sniffspot has worked closely with dog trainers to create safe spaces for dogs and our top trainer lists are a natural extension of that relationship. You can browse Sniffspot's local dog parks here.

The Best California Dog Trainers in 2023

Ali Sutch

Hi! I'm Ali (she/her) and I live in Oakland with my two dogs, two cats, one gecko, and one human partner. Before moving to California in 2016, I was a zookeeper. I love learning about behavior and how it's not just about dogs- the laws of behavior apply everywhere, in our interactions with everyone (human and animal alike). Making sure everyone's needs are met, and that they are set up for success, are important in every relationship we have. Being a good dog trainer is a lot like being a good friend.

Most of my spare time is spent hiking with my dogs (Minnow and Juice Box). I also enjoy powerlifting and playing Stardew Valley.

Certifications: KPA-CTP, CCUI

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I work mostly with dogs who have "big feelings" - fear or frustration based reactivity, high arousal, stranger danger, etc. I offer private coaching (you + your dog + me) and day training (mostly just me + your dog), depending on the case and individual needs. I also offer group classes (currently we are offering Control Unleashed classes).

Behavioral issue focus: Barking/lunging at triggers (other dogs, strangers, etc), jumpy mouthy arousal issues, guest protocols (what to do when you have people over), recall, dog-dog play interactions

Training methods: We'll start with a brief phone call (~15 min) to see if I'm the right fit for you. Then we'll have an in-person consultation (~60 min) to dive into your dog's life and the needs of your household. From there, I'll write an assessment (including overviews for management and enrichment) and suggest how we might move forward - how many sessions, day training vs coaching, generally setting expectations, etc. Generally I meet with coaching clients every 2-3 weeks, and day training has a minimum of 2 sessions per week.

Why I became a dog trainer: I've had many training-adjacent jobs, and always felt like becoming a trainer was the ultimate goal. I am so fascinated by behavior science, and I think the most beautiful thing is when we can intersect that knowledge with compassion for the learner. Dogs are perfect beings. They are never wrong. They are always on uncomplicated quests to have their needs met, and I find that so refreshing and humbling.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer:

I love helping clients realize that they can shed all of that icky socially-indoctrinated crap about dominance, being the alpha, etc, and instead they can embrace softness as a form of strength. It can take a lot of unlearning to fully accept positive reinforcement, especially when you are living with a "big feelings" dog. I love when people realize how wonderful it can be.

Of course I also love the part where I get to work with dogs! I love breaking behavior down into small pieces and getting creative with it. I love helping them learn new skills. I love that they are always honest.

My #1 dog training tip: Give your dog some slack! Literally - using a longer leash can be revolutionary. And figuratively - dogs are always doing the best they can.

Service areas: Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda

Website: https://www.uptosnuff.net


Gina Esoldi

In 2014 with my then companion dogs, Tebow, Scruffy and Richter, I ventured to the dog park and had a chance meeting with Sally Montruchio the founder of Next Step Service Dogs. This meeting changed my life, as Sally helped me take my passion for dogs and service to the next level. After attending just one class with NSSD I was committed to the program and excited for the opportunity to train a dog and change a veterans life! In 2015, I became the Assistant Training Director at NSSD and from their applied for and received my Certification for Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) in 2016. It was this same year that I met Dr. Ian Dunbar, world renowned veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and dog trainer who became my mentor with whom I continue to work with today at CDT. In 2018, I was promoted to Training Director at NSSD where I continue to work today renewing the lives of veterans by training and placing exceptional service dogs.

In 2019, seeing a need for education and training of private clients I founded Companion Dog Training (CDT). That same year, we moved both NSSD and CDT to our Rancho Cucciolo facility in Escondido. Sitting on 1.5 acres Rancho Cucciolo provides the perfect training grounds for both on and off leash training, with its privately owned fully fenced dog park, enclosed and air conditioned training room, and doggy dormitory.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, AKC-CGC Evaluator, Assistance Dogs International
Crisis Response Canine Trainer - San Diego, CPR - Canine, Paws to Share

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Puppy Training, Adult dog Training, Group classes, Private Sessions, Off-Leash Classes, Board and Train, Service Dog Training, Potty Training, Obedience Training, Loose Leash Walking, etc.

Training methods: Training your dog whether it be for a companion, therapy work, or service is about trust, communication and most of all relationship. Your companion dog should be trained to fit your lifestyle, your family and your needs. Working with service dogs and veterans I have spent many years training and transferring dogs to their new teammate. Dogs will always perform for the trainer but is it transferable? My goal is to give you those tools to not only help in the process, but allow you to maintain the training for years to come!

Why I became a dog trainer: For my love of dogs and working with people.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing both dogs and clients bond transform as each gains confidence, knowledge, and skills to work side by side.

Service areas: San Diego

Website: https://companiondogtrainingsd.com/


Ashley Valentine

Ashley Valentine is a Nationally Certified Canine Behavior Consultant (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). She has completed a Complete Canine Certification in Canine Aggression master course through world-renowned Michael Shikashio who is fully Certified through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She uses positive reinforcement, management, and safety techniques to help owners and dogs with all levels of aggression, reactivity and anxiety. As with any canine, her goals are happy, loved dogs with confident, knowledgeable owners.

In addition, she has also completed a master course on separation anxiety by Moira Hechenleitner DVM, CSAT, in which the training method is a positive and relaxing experience for the dog, which will allow them to desensitize and learn to be home alone comfortably. To go along with her canine CPR and first aid qualifications, Ashley has also completed her certification in Recognizing Pain in Dogs and is a supporter of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).
Ashley has completed her Certification (F.D.M.) and Licensing as a Family Dog Mediator in Behavior (LFDM-B) through Kim Brophey. This methodology gives understanding to the many aspects as to WHY dogs behave the way they do and how we can help them in a humane, enriching and enlightening way. This methodology helps bridge the gap between human and dog in order to have a better understanding, communication and trusting relationship from both ends of the leash.
She has a special affinity for helping fearful and aggressive dogs reach a state of happiness and is always the common face at every local rescue event and takes pride in giving back to the canine community through her training, fostering, volunteering and her specialization in behavioral rehab.

Ashley pursued her passion by obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from The University of Connecticut in 2007. Her passion for her animal training career began early, with riding horses at the age of 8 and by 19, she was managing a riding facility. She also built/owned/operated 2 riding facilities in which she trained horses to compete in Hunter Jumper competitions all over the East Coast. She then moved to San Diego in 2015 and put that education to work. Since then, she has become the go-to socializer for the most extreme fear cases found in a variety of rescues in San Diego and overseas.

Certifications: LFDM-B Licensed Family Dog Mediator in Behavior Division, CBCC-KA Certified Behaviorist, CPDT-KA - Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Complete Canines Certification in Canine Aggression and Master Course Certification in Separation Anxiety, CGC Evaluator

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Private lessons, Virtual lessons, Group classes.

Behavioral issue focus: Aggression, Leash reactivity, Anxiety, Fear, Separation Anxiety.

Training methods: Positive reinforcement, Management and Safety techniques.

Why I became a dog trainer: Love of animals

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping dogs be heard and understood by their owners.

My #1 dog training tip: Train the owner, treat the dog

Service areas: San Diego, Ca

Website: https://Zoesdogtraining.com


Sarah Surritt

Sarah was that kid growing up who was always bringing home strays and begging her mom to let her keep them. Ever do that? Thankfully, her folks typically said yes and she grew up surrounded by animals.

Until she began volunteering at the San Diego Humane Society and what was the onset of her training career in 2001, she didn’t realize there was a different way to train and build a great relationship with her pets. Enter positive, kind and humane training!

Sarah successfully uses positive reinforcement training not only with the thousands of rescue dogs she's helped but also trains many other species like her goats, chickens, cats, and indoor rescue pet pig, Toby. Also included in the benefits of a relationship built on trust and joy is her mini-herd of horses: Lily, Stormy, and even Whinnie and Mahoney, both rescues.

She strongly believes in the benefits and effectiveness of positive training, and allowing our pets to have an equal role in the training process. This was the inspiration for the business name: Get Pawsitive.

Get Pawsitive helps dog owners all over the world through the online Pawsitive Puppy Training Academy and the monthly Pawsitive Training Club.

Sarah has helped thousands of pet owners over the years learn how to bring out the best and have an amazing long-lasting relationship with their dogs through her pawsitive training approach.

Certifications: KPACTP, CPDT, CGC Evaluator

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I offer positive, Safe & Humane Dog Training Online & In Person. I help pet parents train using kind and positive methods so that they can bring out the best in their dog and have an amazing relationship built on trust and joy. In-person Training: group classes are offered for all ages, sizes & breeds (puppy preschool, kinder, adult manners) in small group settings (4-5 dogs max). Specialty group classes like Loose Leash Walking, Come When Called, Bark class (for reactive dogs) and more. Private training in-person consultation for puppies (all areas of care for new puppies), basic manners and behavior modification for nervous, fearful or reactive dogs. Day training options are available also. Board and Train options for traveling pet owners are available in a home environment for puppies under 6 months. Online Training Options: Low cost monthly support group- "The Pawsitive Training Club", Private one on one training, and "The Pawsitive Puppy Training Academy"- a 6 week self-study puppy program.

Behavioral issue focus: Often work with new, young puppies- mouthing, biting, jumping, potty training, basic manners. Other common issues heavily working with pet owners include: reactivity on leash, high level of fear of people, fear of dogs, fear of children, new child/baby in the home, working with human behaviorial issues, bite history, anxiety, generalized anxiety, socialization to all things, pulling on leash, counter surfing, chasing/barking at cats, inter-household aggression, resource guarding , multi-dog household, rescued feral street dogs, work with two rescues/shelters -hands on with their dogs

Training methods: I help new pet parents train their dogs using kind, positive methods so that they can feel confident they can bring out the best in their dog and have an amazing relationship build on trust and joy. An initial consultation is starting point for all privates. Includes lengthy online application to gain dog's /family history/behavioral focus areas. Consult is in the home or online. Followed by a thorough follow-up plan for continued training/recommendations/management plan and package options for addtil support. For private ongoing sessions follow ups to clients vary based on their learning style. May include all/some of the following: text message summaries, email recap, video tutorials, shared google doc for goal tracking/daily tasks, daily or weekly check-ins with student. Access to our online client resource page with videos/printables is also offered to both in person and online students. All training is shaped, captured or lured. There is no use of punitive, aversive training or tools. I train using a marker signal (mostly a clicker) and teach students the same. Instruction style is verbal as well as hands on- I often use video to record and share for feedback and guidance as well

Why I became a dog trainer: For my lifelong love of and experience training with my own animals as a young child- I knew there was a kinder way. To help make a difference in the lives of the dogs and to help educate and spread the power of safe, positive and humane training methods to as many people as possible. I strives to educate them, demonstrating that the safest, most effective, and humane way to train dogs, in the shelter or at home, is to reinforce the behavior you do want vs suppress/punish

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love teaching people that giving dogs more CHOICES through science-based training leads to success and some really wonderful light bulb moments with owners and their pups- all resulting in a wonderful bond.

My #1 dog training tip: Teach your dog to WANT to do what you want him to do.

Service areas: Carlsbad, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Vista, Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Clairemont, Sorrento Valley, Escondido, Poway, Oceanside, Leucadia, Cardiff, Rancho Bernardo, Mira Mesa, Pacific Beach, San Marcos

Website: https://www.getpawsitive.com


(Prestigious Pooch) Cora Wittekind-Williams

Before starting her own training business (Prestigious Pooch) in 2012, Cora (CPDT-KA, FDM) worked in dog boarding/daycare facilities (in Washington first, then Southern California ) for over 8 years developing training programs to best suit dogs in that environment as well as providing one on one training to clients and their dogs in their homes. She volunteered with Alliance of Therapy dogs for 11 years as a member with her beloved chow mix Alice, as well as a Tester /Observer. She is a member of APTD, PPG and is a Family Dog Mediator (through Kim Brophey's L.E.G.S. course). Cora lives an hour and a half north of Los Angeles in the Los Padres National Forest with her husband, Sim Williams (also a FDM trainer!) and their two dogs (Sadie and Rodney), a few snakes, a frog, and a tarantula.

Certifications: Certified trainer (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, FDM (Family Dog Mediator),Member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG)

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided:

Basic, Intermediate, & Advanced Training ‚ Dog Behavior Modification &
Problem Solving, Puppy Training‚ Therapy Dog Preparation Training ‚ Agility & Trick Training ‚ Dog/Owner Rescue ‚ Match Making, Stay and Train at our home in Los Padres National Forest

Behavioral issue focus: We work directly with the owners and their dogs to try to get to the root of any behavioral "issue" that they're experiencing. Once we have a better understanding of what is causing a behavior to occur, we will have a better chance of helping them with reaching their training goals. This includes reactivity (towards people, dogs, sounds etc.), anxiety, aggression, hyperactivity and any other behavior that the owner finds troublesome.

Training methods: We prefer to arrange a short phone consult prior to meeting in person to discuss what the client is hoping to achieve with their dog, then set up an in home consultation with the client. We will then discuss each family members experience/relationship with their dog while observing their dog's behavior and their personal interactions. We will then discuss theory of dog behavior in a relatable and understandable manner before developing a customized plan to help them reach their goals. R+, fun, reward based training for the whole family!

Why I became a dog trainer: Cora has over 20 years of professional dog training experience, but a LIFETIME of animal experience.Growing up in rural Washington State, her family was active in wildlife rehabilitation and took in many raccoons, squirrels, and deer. Having a mother that was a Vet Tech, they would take in stray and unwanted dogs as well and work to prepare them for their new forever homes. It was through this experience that Cora found her passion for dog rescue/behavior and learned the importance of educating owners on how to build lasting relationships with their dogs based on trust and mutual respect. Which can be achieved by helping owners gain a deeper understanding of who their dog is and fulfilling their individual needs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Sharing my experience and education with owners (and just about anyone else who will listen!) to better understand their dogs and the importance of fulfilling their individual needs in order to build a rewarding, lifelong relationship.

My #1 dog training tip: Ask yourself, "Why could my dog be displaying this behavior?" rather than, "How do we FIX this behavior?" This will help to gain a better understanding of what the dog is personally experiencing; the displayed behavior could just be a symptom of something much deeper. (Thanks Kim Brophey!)

Service areas: Los Angeles, Santa Clarita, Pasadena, SFV

Website: https://www.prestigiouspooch.com


Cindy Smith

Cindy has loved animals her entire life and at a very young age made training animals her lifelong goal. She always seemed to have a natural ability to understand and communicate with animals. Her Husband calls her the "Pied Piper of Animals" as "everywhere she goes they follow her". Animals seem naturally drawn to her personality, true love of animals, and her voice. Her Human Clients are also drawn to her easy going and fun, yet intense and straight forward approach to communication and training.

Certifications: CNWI

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: K9 Nose Work Classes, Small Private Group Puppy, Adolescent, and Adult Dog Classes. Advanced Classes, Agility Combo For Fun Classes, Pet Therapy Dog Training, Private Training both on and off site, Remote Training. Private Indoor Facility in Fair Oaks of 20+ years.

Behavioral issue focus: Fear

Training methods: R+, Positive Reinforcement Training Methods, Force Free, Clicker Training, Reward Based Training, and Behavior Modification. Training is based on science, not pain, force, dominance, or fear. Positive solutions are used in solving problem behavior issues. 

Why I became a dog trainer: My goal since childhood was to become an Animal Trainer to better the lives of Animals and their Humans, to make a difference for the better.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Making a difference in the lives of Dogs/Pets and their Humans.

My #1 dog training tip: Training is life changing, take the time and effort to do it right.

Service areas: Sacramento County, Placer County, El Dorado County, Surrounding Areas, and Remote

Website: https://www.therightsteps.com


Ashley Cipolletti

I am a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and I specialize in training former rescue and shelter dogs. I’m passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless and strive to make the world a better place for canines and their human companions.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, BA Psychology

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: 1:1 private coaching in home and on field trips, basic cues, potty training, distraction training, impulse control, leash walking, fearful/anxious dogs, high-arousal, stranger danger, leash reactivity, adolescent, puppy training

Behavioral issue focus: Recently adopted dogs with fear and anxiety, dogs with trauma, leash reactivity, stranger danger, basic training, polite manners, some aggression cases depending on severity

Training methods: Behavior consultations when appropriate, training plans centered around: addressing health, lifestyle, enrichment, stress, preventing unwanted behaviors, managing the environment, and teaching what skills we want our dogs to do. Training plans set the dog up for success and increase confidence in dog and owner.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help struggling dogs and owners live better lives and have improved relationships

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing dogs and their humans succeed. Watching dogs grow in confidence and have their voices be elevated.

My #1 dog training tip: Get to know your dog's body language

Service areas: Point Loma, ocean beach, pacific beach, hillcrest, north park, South Park, downtown, little Italy, Clairemont, La Jolla, Scripps Ranch, La Mesa, Chula Vista, National City, San Diego county

Website: https://www.coregulatedk9s.com


Kaia Wilson

I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)(FDM Family Dog Mediator) who has been working with dogs professionally since 2013. I have high hopes for changing the way people see and understand our (captive) canine comrades!
My mission as a dog trainer is to provide human dog guardians with a clear understanding of how dogs learn, techniques and protocols for affecting behavior using fun, compassion-centered methods, and to support the dog and the human side of the relationship while we go on this journey together. When I'm not training dogs, I'm playing music with my band of the last 30 years, cooking with lots of spices, playing ping pong, and co-dog-pendently making sure my own dogs lives are as fulfilling as can be.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, FDM

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I focus on finding ways to achieve household harmony between canines and humans that meet everyones needs; I prescribe a combination of training (aka humans teaching dogs cool skills) and various enrichment and management additions to help achieve that.

Behavioral issue focus: I love working with sensitive/fearful dogs and building confidence and a sense of security. I'm often working with leash reactivity, neophobia, separation distress and more.

Training methods: I utilize positive reinforcement, force and fear free training methods. I build out step by step processes for the guardian to work on with their dogs, supporting the human side of the equation with open lines of communication, progress reports, and various forms of supplemental learning aids.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer because I love dogs and I wanted to help improve the quality of their lives in our human households.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is improving quality of life for humans and their dogs, dogs and their humans!

My #1 dog training tip: ENRICHMENT, find out what enriches and nourishes your dog and provide them opportunities for those things, and your training/behavior modification goals will be so much easier to achieve.

Service areas: I primarily serve Portland, Oregon, with brief stints in Los Angeles and Eugene

Website: https://dogspeed.dog


Megha Patel

Megha immersed herself into the world of animal behavior after realizing the dog she adopted was reactive. Megha stepped into a career in animal welfare in 2020 to help animals, she decided to take the leap from pet food express to private training and discovered how rewarding it is to work so closely with owners and their dogs.

After working with a variety of dogs with a wide range of behavior issues (reactivity, defensive aggression, fear, anxiety, etc.), Megha received her KPA-CTP in 2022. She is constantly looking to expand her knowledge, while supporting and enriching the human-animal relationship. She believes that every team deserves time, patience, and understanding while embarking on their training journey.

Areas of Expertise:
Puppies, Reactivity, Adolescent Dogs, Enrichment, Newly Adopted Dogs, Basic Manners

Certifications: KPA-CTP , LLA, FFCP

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Clicker training, obedience training, training classes / sessions, day training, basic commands / cues, potty training, distraction training, Group training

Behavioral issue focus: Fearful, Reactivity, Anxiety, Aggression

Training methods: Behavior modification, Clicker training, Behavior consultation, training plans

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer so I could teach people how to deepen their connection and communication with their pet; improving both the owner and pet's quality of life. I love watching clients faces light up as they hit successful points and learn how fun training can be.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping people connect with their dogs using positive reinforcement and force-free training methods.

My #1 dog training tip: Don't compare your story to anyone else's. Don't downplay your successes, because someone seems better. Give your dog space to move at their own pace and then do the same for yourself.

Service areas: Tri Valley- Dublin,Livermore, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Danville, Castro Valley, Sunol

Website: https://outofthebark.com


Lindsey Lieberman

Lindsey has been working with dogs professionally for over 15 years. She got her start in shelter dog behavior and training, which provided her with the unique experience of working with dogs of all types, temperaments, and histories.
Lindsey is passionate about helping cultivate peace for dogs and their families by combining modern, fear-free dog training methods with Mindfulness practices. This unique synthesis of Applied Behavioral Analysis and philosophy makes for a safe, functional, grounded, and friendly training experience for both the dogs and their people.
Lindsey lives in a Hobbit Hole in Vista with her three dogs, Shine (15), Stormy (12), and Kit (8ish?), and AlfieCat who's somewhere between 16 and 100. When she's not hanging out with dogs, Lindsey enjoys spending time on her yoga mat, in her garden, looking at birds, or reading.

Certifications: CCPDT, CBCC, FFCP

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training

More info about service provided:

Lindsey & Birch Bark Dog Training specialize in private, in-home behavior modification programs for dogs with reactive, fearful, or aggressive behaviors.
We also offer group classes and workshops that cover basic manners & obedience, as well as specialty courses for building life skills like Zen Dog and our popular Butt Sniffing 101 series.

Behavioral issue focus: Helping dogs with dog reactivity or aggression is our specialty and our passion! We have designed a unique program to support reactive dogs and their humans that works for dogs of all sizes, breeds, and ages.

Why I became a dog trainer: It was a twist of fate!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping dogs and people feel calmer, safer, and more confident in the world.

My #1 dog training tip: Meet the dog where they are.

Service areas: Serving the dogs and people of Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, and San Marcos

Website: https://www.birchbarkdogtraining.com


Stacy Braslau-Schneck

I am dedicated to helping pet dog owners solve their behavior problems and “love their well-trained dogs” through my unique combination of experience, education, knowledge, and skills. I pursued a Master's degree in Human and Animal Cognition (Psychology) and then founded Stacy's Wag'N'Train in 1998. I have been continuing my education, refining my knowledge and my skills, since then, through mentorship programs, volunteering at the Humane Society, and working with my own dogs as well as with clients'. I teach Dogbiz' Dog Walking Academy, and I am currently working on Office Buddies, a book about having dogs in the workplace.

Certifications: MA, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, CAP2

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I help pet dogs and their owners! I specialize in reactivity training and helping shy or fearful dogs, as well as puppy training!

Behavioral issue focus: I help dogs who bark or lunge at strangers, other dogs, guests and family members; those who are fearful; and those who are wild and impulsive!

Training methods: I am a former dolphin trainer dedicated to using humane, positive training methods that take the dog's emotional needs into account - and the owner's as well! My training programs start with a consultation to find out the owner's goals and the dog's issues, and then we build some solid foundation of attention and focus. On this foundation we can build new skills for the dog to use in response to old triggers.

Why I became a dog trainer: I was asked to teach classes at the SF/SPCA when I was volunteering at the city shelter, and fell in love with helping pet owners find their dogs' greatest potential!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite is watching unruly and fearful puppies and dogs learn to navigate their worlds calmly and confidently, allowing their owners to enjoy their company even more!

My #1 dog training tip: Evaluate your timing, your rate of reinforcement, and your criteria. Make sure you are rewarding the moment/action you mean to; that you are rewarding those actions more than the environment is rewarding the old default actions; and that you are setting your expectations small enough to achieve success yet high enough to create progress!

Service areas: Santa Clara County/Silicon Valley

Website: https://www.wagntrain.com


Allison Daack

Founder of Daack Pack Dog Training, Allison Daack, has been working with and training dogs, along with other species since 2008. In the beginning of her career, Allison was a Kennel Technician working closely with a Veterinarian where she learned all about developmental periods of dogs, handling skills and how to prevent behavior issues.

From there she spent several years working with exotic animals at numerous wildlife facilities and reserves, first in North Carolina, then California. She did everything from educating the public, rehabilitation, and using training to help animals cope with life in captivity, usually due to injury or illness. Her passion for behavior modification began with teaching cooperative care cues to a Black Vulture in the raptor / avian exhibits.

Allison then had a long career with Petco, where she became a Dog Training Mentor. Not only did she train other dog trainers to be dog trainers, she taught group classes, and was an integral part of a corporate team that created continuing education materials for trainers, and updated Petco's dog training program.

However, Petco does not take behavior modification clients, so on June 1, 2016, Allison founded Daack Pack Dog Training as a way to better support the needs of her clients whose dogs might struggle with fear, anxiety, or display aggression. Through this company she has been able to provide the community with custom, in-home training to support their specific needs and the needs of their pets.

From the beginning of her career through today she has trained and applied behavior modification to a wide range of species and prognoses. Whether you are looking for help dealing with a high-energy dog, dog or people directed aggression, separation anxiety, inter-species conflicts, leash reactivity, a shy and hesitant dog, etc.; Allison would be happy to work with you to find a solution through a customized training plan.

Allison is also a great believer in continuing education for herself, yourself, and your dog. Each situation, pet, and household is entirely different, that's why each training plan is customized to you and you dog's specific needs. She is able to help with a wide variety of cases through her vast experience but specializes in dog aggression and prevention.

Through her dedication to continued learning, 13 years of experience, and passion - Allison can help empower you and your dog to live a less stressful, more enriching life together.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, Certified Fear Free Animal Trainer

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I focus on canine behavior consulting; working with fear, anxiety, aggressive and atypical behaviors for dogs through in person private training, virtual sessions, day training, custom intensive programs, group hikes and group reactivity classes. I also provide cat behavior related services as well.

Behavioral issue focus:

Dogs with various forms of reactivity, dogs with bite histories towards people, dogs or other animals, fear based aggressive behaviors towards people or dogs, separation anxiety, owner directed aggressive behaviors, resource guarding, generalized anxiety, family planning, prevention work with young dogs, noise phobia, etc.

Dogs that are displaying fear, anxiety or frustration based behavior or anxiety or atypical behaviors are right up my wheel house. I commonly work complicated cases with a lot of moving components or behavioral concerns present.

Training methods:

I utilize positive based training methods without fear, coercion or force. I run a small training company and we work cases collaboratively to a degree so our clients can utilize a vast knowledge set.

We offer a free initial screening for clients virtually, then our consultations are two 1hr appointments. The first is really a consultation, gathering information, making initial assessments, setting expectations and the training plan. The second, is an in person assessment where we begin to on board the training plan. After both appointments, we create consultation notes with a lot of great information for clients to reference summarizing those appointments.

From there, we create custom training plans for all of our clients taking into consideration any important elements of their case. We do a lot of private in home training but will meet clients at appropriate locations, take clients from across the country utilizing virtual programs, utilize intensive day training programs to help offer clients a lot of support and help expedite training, these intensive plans could be in person, virtual, or a hybrid with varying levels of owner participation based on their needs. We also create pet sitting guides for clients, can maintain live training plans for clients to have an itemized training plan, offer support for the case while the client is out of town, etc.

We also provide a lot of collaboration and support to our clients with their veterinarians, veterinarian behaviorists, or other places we can help! We also have a private Facebook group for clients with a lot of great information called The Daack Pack, webinars available on our website. Our website also includes a lot of great blogs and a recommendations page.

Why I became a dog trainer: I feel like it's a way that I can help improve people and animal's quality of lives. I feel really honored that I am able to bring hope, joy, love and adventure into people's lives and that I can help people understand animals more, better being able to meet their needs. We all have to face adversity in life, the last place we want to face it is with our dogs and I love that I can help bring things to a better place. I love watching not only the dogs but the humans grow while working together. Our industry is unfortunately unregulated and it does a great disservice to clients and trainers because of this, I love being able to help guide people and animals through a challenging part of their lives. Plus, there is nothing like watching a dog become comfortable after so much fear and anxiety or frustration. It's the best feeling in the world.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Being able to help build up people's and dog's relationship and empower them to find solutions.

My #1 dog training tip: I think it's really important to understand that animals live in the world we provide for them, if we want an animal's behavior to change, we need to expect that we will have to change as well. Maybe our routines, our perspective, how we interact with them, how we allow other people to interact with them, our investment of time and emotional labor, how we arrange the living room, how we hold the leash, how we give the dog treats, etc. We can't expect our dogs to change without us having to make some changes too.

Service areas: Greater Sacramento area; Sacramento, West Sacramento, East Sacramento, Arden, Carmichael, Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, Roseville, Lincoln, Rocklin, Folsom and more

Website: https://daackpack.com/


M Cecilia Sternzon

I'm a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), and Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and Pet Professional Guild (PPG). With over 20 years of professional experience in dog training, I stay on top of the latest scientific discoveries in learning and behavior, and work to remain knowledgeable and up-to-date with consistent continuing education.

Certifications: CPDT-KA; PPG Member; CGC Evaluator;

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: I offer group training classes at the Humane Society Silicon Valley at all levels, from basic obedience to advanced and competitive dog sports. I also offer dog behavior consulting for a variety of dog behavior problems including dog aggression, reactivity, destructiveness, and child/dog relationships.

Behavioral issue focus: I work with leash reactivity and aggression toward people and other dogs. I also work on behavioral issues related to dogs with other animals, such as household cats.

Training methods: In my behavior consultations, I take a full history and perform a functional assessment prior to giving any recommendations. I also work with the clients to establish clear and reasonable goals for the program.
The methods I use are dog-friendly and science-based, emphasizing positive reinforcement for desirable behaviors. In some cases, I may refer to a veterinarian to rule out medical issues for certain behavior problems.
Along the way, I give my clients clear training plans, with written follow-ups to our meetings.

Why I became a dog trainer: I started training my own dogs from the age of 12. It wasn't until a few years after college, however, that I became involved in the profession of dog training. In 1992, I joined a Flyball and Agility club, and began teaching pet dog training classes to earn money for competition fees. I worked part time in the dog training field, earning my CPDT certification in 2003. In 2004 I finally "took the plunge" and launched into the full-time career of dog training and dog behavior counseling.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is to see those owners, who struggle so much at first, finally get that breakthrough to success. Seeing a happy dog parent with a happy and well-adjusted dog is so fulfilling for me. This is also why I so enjoy teaching the sports classes - because this relationship is solidified in these classes, and it's such a joy to see.

My #1 dog training tip: Your dog is not stubborn! Replace the term "stubborn" with "insufficiently motivated", and your training will be transformed.

Service areas: South Santa Clara County, Milpitas, Remote

Website: https://www.caninehigherlearning.com


Jodi Cassell

I'm a self-professed science and animal nerd. I've been fascinated by animals from an early age and my first career focused on conservation and enhancement of animal habitat through work with environmental and other organizations.

When I sought training help for my first rescue vizsla dog, I was disappointed by the use of harsh training methods by the majority of trainers in my local area. This lead me to research and seek education about positive reinforcement training and to my career change to professional animal training.

I enjoy working with clients and helping them discover the power and fun of positive reinforcement/force free dog training.

Certifications: CBCC-KA (Certified Behavior Consultant Canine, Certification Counsel for Professional Dog Trainers, CCPDT); CTC (Certificate in Training & Counseling, Academy for Dog Trainers)

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I offer private training sessions and behavior consultations in the Greater Sacramento Region. I work with clients on a variety issues of issues ranging from new puppy training to more complex behavioral issues. I specialize in working with fear, reactivity, aggression, and separation anxiety. My training is force free (positive reinforcement) and I do not use tools that scare or cause pain in dogs.

Behavioral issue focus:

I am an honors graduate of the Academy for Dog Trainers (Certificate in Training and Counseling - CTC), the most rigorous professional dog training and behavior education program in the world. I was also the trainer for Front Street Animal shelter from 2019-2020. I work with a number of dog rescue organizations.

I have experience working with a variety of behavior issues ranging from common obedience/manners issues to cases with dog bites. I am recommended by and work with veterinarians throughout the region including Veterinary Behaviorists at University of California at Davis and other practices.

Training methods:

Training with is initiated through a behavior consultation where I review your dog's history and behavior, provide education and management strategies, discuss and set training goals, and initiate training. I provide follow-up handouts and custom training plans that serve as reminders and homework. Follow-up sessions are scheduled individually or as a package based on client needs and goals.

My training is force free (positive reinforcement), meaning I do not use methods that force a dog to perform a behavior. Rather, I teach dogs to perform a behavior using motivators like food. Research indicates that these methods work and do not risk the side effects of fear and aggression that can be caused my using compulsion-based training. I do not use tools that scare or cause pain in dogs.

Why I became a dog trainer: 2010

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: For my behavior clients, I love helping resolve behavior issues so that dogs remain with their families vs. being relinquished to shelters, rescues, or worse. I love seeing any client and dog learn via force free dog training because it is effective and fun for everyone.

My #1 dog training tip:

Use food to train! Would you go to work without the motivation of pay? Training is work for dogs, so they must be motivated to do this work. Food is an easy and potent motivator for incremental training that is the basis for a learned behavior.

In addition, positive motivators like food create happy associations with anything else in the dog's training environment including people, hands, other dogs, etc. This helps reduce the risk of fear or aggression.

Service areas: Sacramento, Elk Grove, Natomas, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Rancho Cordova, Folsom. Travel fee for anything beyond a 15 minute one-way drive of 95820.

Website: https://www.ccpdt.org/


Jessica Gore

As a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) with expertise in teaching, healing, and rescue, Jessica provides positively the best for pup and parent. When not training, traveling to a conference, or continuing education, Jessica enjoys spending time in Hollywood with her two rescue pups.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, FDM, Pet Nutrition

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Body language and relationship building through healthy communication and a holistic approach: Urban pup-itis! I commonly work with pups that would benefit from feeling better about their surroundings and teach pup parents how to allow their companion to decompress from city life and prevent costly stress that can negatively effect health and behavior.

Behavioral issue focus: Urban pup-itis! I commonly work with pups that would benefit from feeling better about their surroundings and teach pup parents how to allow their companion to decompress from city life and prevent costly stress that can negatively effect health and behavior.

Training methods: Private coaching, remote coaching, consultation for dog-centered enterprises, mentorship, evaluation, speaking engagements and group seminars

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer because I wanted to understand how to better connect with my own animals, and reduce homeless pet populations by preventing behavior issues through education.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love helping people and seeing dogs shine!

My #1 dog training tip: My #1 dog training tip is to never use corrections with your pup

Service areas: Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles

Website: https://www.competentpup.com/


Annalisa Berns

Annalisa is a real-life Pet Detective. She dreamed of working with animals from a young age. Annalisa found her life's work when she read Kat Albrecht's book, 'The Lost Pet Chronicles.' She works and trains Search Dogs specifically trained to find lost pets. She is passionate about educating people about how to bring their lost pets home and how to train dogs to sniff out lost pets. Annalisa is the owner of Pet Search and Rescue and Pet Search and Rescue Investigations. She is a licensed Private Investigator in California. She wants to inspire you to consider training your dog (or adopting a new dog) to sniff out lost pets. Scent training is the ultimate enrichment for your dog, can help other people and their lost pets, and provide a rewarding job for you.

Certifications:

Missing Animal Response Technician with retired policewoman Kat Albrecht and Missing Pet Partnership, 2005.
California Licensed Private Investigator, 2014.
National Search Dog Alliance Member, Member Education Board NSDA (2009), Education Program Manager (2019-2022), 2007- current.
Registered Trainer and Member of Rescues2theRescue, 2023.

Services include:

  • Board and train

More info about service provided: Most dogs benefit from having a job. I focus on scent training, which is enriching for them and their owners. This often improves behavioral issues, as it improves the dog's confidence, attention span and focus.

Behavioral issue focus: I use positive reinforcement training methods. Each dog is different, and I embrace that in scent training. I utilize treats, toys, clicker or markers, and follow Search and Rescue methods for scent training. I offer free initial phone calls to talk about your interests and your dog for scent training for finding lost pets. You learn about options to use the training for fun and enrichment for your pet, as a volunteer or as a business. Evaluating your dog is the next step, and can be done online or in-person.

Training methods: I use positive reinforcement training methods. Each dog is different, and I embrace that in scent training. I utilize treats, toys, clicker or markers, and follow Search and Rescue methods for scent training. I offer free initial phone calls to talk about your interests and your dog for scent training for finding lost pets. You learn about options to use the training for fun and enrichment for your pet, as a volunteer or as a business. Evaluating your dog is the next step, and can be done online or in-person.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love working with animals, and found my life's passion in working specially trained Search Dogs to help find lost pets. After training dogs and working over 18 years in the field, a natural next step is training people and their dogs to sniff out lost pets.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love helping people to listen, understand and work as a team with our amazing dog partners!

My #1 dog training tip: Train your dog to find lost pets. Pay your dog. In turn, your dog can pay your bills.Train your dog to find lost pets. Pay your dog. In turn, your dog can pay your bills.

Service areas: Train your dog to find lost pets. Pay your dog. In turn, your dog can pay your bills.


Nancy Frensley

Nancy Frensley,CPDT-KA, CAP2, AKC Evaluator, Scent Work Judge

Nancy is the Senior Behavior and Training Manager at Berkeley Humane. Besides developing a training program full of variety and fun for students, during her 30 years at Berkeley Humane, she is involved on many levels with shelter and adoption from intake to evaluation and training of shelter staff. She operates the organization’s Behavior Advice line, helping people to live well and fully with their dogs.

Besides her work at Berkeley Humane, she participates in all sorts of dog sports including Agility, Canine Freestyle, Competition Obedience, Rally, Tracking and Scent Work and brings sport training into the program. She has operated her own dog training business Finesse Dog Training, in which she taught dog sports.

Her goals have always been to provide solid, effective training along with a variety of options and games to all human and canine students.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CAP2, CGC Evaluator, FitDog 3, AKC Scent Work Judge

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced Skills training, Puppy training, Rally sport training, Scent Work, Specialized Walk training, Canine Good Citizen, Trick training classes. private behavior consults

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity and Separation issues, Owner education for start up dogs-excitability, mouthiness and other common issues

Training methods: Primarily class training that includes written behavior and training handbooks. Online and in person consultations with a follow up individual training plan.

Why I became a dog trainer: I have had a lifelong passion for interacting and communicating with non humane creatures. It was a natural progression to become a trainer and behavior counselor

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the results in my animal and human clients. There is a genuine joy and fascination in seeing their progress toward their objectives and teamwork.

My #1 dog training tip: Dogs want stuff. We show them how to get it.

Service areas: Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

Website: https://www.trainthebay.org


Penny Locke

I'm positive reinforcement, fear-free training. I have been teaching for 20 years. Starting out with family & friends, then moving to paying clients. I have a back ground in rescue work, where many different dogs benefitted from training. Now my practice is varied, one dog at a time, one puppy at a time to bring structure, boundaries & kind training. I do not use equipment that causes harm, pain, stress or force to the dog.

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: In-home training, Day Training, general good manners, potty training, troubleshooting unwanted behavior.

Behavioral issue focus: Barking, recall, listening skills, adolescence, fearful behavior, adjustment to new homes thru adoption, jumping up, jumping on furniture, walking skills.

Training methods: Dog guardians buy sessions with me. The first is via Zoom, the following are in-person, unless they are outside my in-person range, then we continue with virtual. Customized sessions based on dog's progress. Starting in-person sessions at guardian's home, then as appropriate generalize behaviors to new settings.

Why I became a dog trainer: My own dog needed help, I needed to find ways to help him. I caught the bug, and haven't looked back.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Meeting guardians who really care about the best life for their dogs.

My #1 dog training tip: Learn about dogs' body language.

Service areas: Sonoma, Mendocino & Lake County

Website: https://www.allabout-canines.com


Kaajal Tiwary

Kaajal (aka 'KT') loves puppies and is dedicated to getting new puppy guardians off on the right paw and guiding her students through the tough early days of owning a dog. Her goal? Transforming each bundle of raw puppy energy into the perfect adult companion.

She also loves helping people have a well-behaved adult dog that knows how to be part of the family. She's dedicated her training career to helping her clients achieve just that.

She feels a special connection with dogs that are fearful, anxious, nervous, believe that the world is 'unsafe' and then resort to aggression to communicate.

Kaajal is a big believer in continuing education and frequently attends workshops, conferences and seminars to hone her knowledge and skill set to bring the latest scientific understanding of dog behavior and training to her work. Committed to providing the most effective, convenient solutions to her clients - dog training needs, she uses gentle, effective and fast training methods that work to develop enjoyable relationships between people in their dogs. This sets them up for a lifetime of good behavior for their people

Certifications: ABCDT

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Group Puppy & Dog Training Classes, Private Puppy & Dog Training for Manners, Board and Train, Day School for Puppies & Adult Dogs, Behavior Modification for Fear & Aggression.

Behavioral issue focus: Human Aggression, Leash Reactivity, Resource Guarding

Why I became a dog trainer: Diesel, (my soul dog and the sole inspiration behind D For Dog) is a 7.5-year old Pit bull. He's the best teacher and mentor I could ask for. Diesel came to me when he was literally 6 days old. He has come a long way from his fear of the world in general, leash reactivity, sound sensitivity, was a classic 'Dog In Need Of Space'. Today he is a better adjusted dog and absolutely loves puppies. He's helped me raise many Board & Train and Day School puppies, teaching them appropriate dog-dog communication, the concept of sharing, confidence building in different situations, besides social skills. He is a fantastic puppy teacher. Diesel loves Nose Work, Free Style, Playing with me and lots of Snuggle time.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Changing behavior, Improving lives - one dog family at a time.

My #1 dog training tip: It's very important to understand 'what our dog is communicating' at any given point in time.

Service areas: California South Bay Area, including San Jose, Willow Glen, Santa Clara, Monte Sereno, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Campbell, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton.

Website: https://www.DForDogTraining.com


Becky Pesicka

Dogtastic Training was started in 2011. After 4 years of working in a high volume open door shelter, Becky started Dogtastic Training to work with private owners one on one. She has worked in all almost areas of dog training and for years mostly did puppy classes, basic obedience classes, and reactivity/aggression privates. Now she specializes in Nose Work and has been a Certified Nose Work Instructor through NACSW since 2015.

Certifications: CCPDT-KA, CNWI, NACSW PCO, AKC Scent Work Judge

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: I specialize in the sport of Nose Work, including group classes, private lessons, seminars and online classes.

Behavioral issue focus: I have been doing behavior work for over 12 years, starting with shelter work and working with quarantine dogs and bite cases.

Training methods: Our training plans are custom to every individual dog and owner.

Why I became a dog trainer: I always was that girl walking dogs or pet sitting. When I was 20 I adopted my first dog and a few months later, started volunteering at the shelter he was from. From there I worked with the behavior department and learned as much as I could, I quickly was hired as a trainer and started teaching 4-6 classes a week and have been teaching classes almost every week for the last 12 years. I'm a trainer because I love dogs AND people and I want to help everyone have the best relationship with their dog possible.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Every case is different, every dog is unique.

My #1 dog training tip: Your dog is learning all the time, it's just a matter of whether your dog is learning what you want them to or not.

Service areas: San Luis Obispo county, including San Luis Obispo, Atascadero, Arroyo Grande, and surrounding areas

Website: https://www.dogtastictraining.com


Kelli Staffieri

Cdt

Certifications: Cdt, ccc

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Group classes, private trainings, leash skills

Behavioral issue focus: Leash skills is my favorite to teach, dog commutation and body language education for owners

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Saving and changing lives

My #1 dog training tip: Your dog is your teammate not your opponent

Service areas: Lake county, Sonoma county, Mendocino county, Napa county


Quin Longino

Quin is both CPDT-KA, CCDT and SAPro certified and is a firm of proponent scientifically backed positive reinforcement and aversive-free training methods. She believes this training truly strengthens the bond between pet and owner.
Quin grew up with dogs, however it wasn't until she began volunteering at the San Francisco SPCA that she realized her true passion for dog training and behavior. It was also this experience that continues to drive her investment in helping shelter animals become successful in their homes.
When not working with your animals, Quin is hanging out with her own pups Airlie and Pilsner! They're quite the pair as a Golden Retriever mix and a Chihuahua mix! Quin also enjoys exploring all that the Bay Area has to offer.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, SAPro, CCDT

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I typically do private training specializing in puppies, reactivity, basic obedience, and behavioral issues. I also teach group classes at the Humane Society of Sonoma County.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, fear-based behaviors, handling

Training methods: I only practice positive reinforcement, force-free, science based training methods. I typically have an initial call with a client to discuss goals, etc and then meet with clients in-person for an hour each session.

Why I became a dog trainer: I fell in love with training while volunteering at the SFSPCA, and was very unfulfilled in my software sales job. So I left that industry to help shelter dogs succeed in their homes.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Working for myself. Seeing the impact on dog guardians.

My #1 dog training tip: Never leave home without treats.

Service areas: Sonoma & Marin Counties

Website: https://pupprofessor.com

Brandi Hutsell

Brandi Hutsell is a co-owner and certified dog trainer with Instinct San Diego. Brandi loves using modern, evidence-backed learning techniques to help humans and dogs learn to communicate clearly with one
another, and seeing the strong, positive relationships that grow from that mutual understanding. She is a kind, patient teacher who readily adapts her coaching and communication style to meet the needs of each dog and human with whom she works. When she isn't training dogs, you can find her snuggling with her senior King Charles Cavalier, boating, running around Mission Bay, or traveling back home to Georgia to visit her family.

Certifications: CCPDT-KA, Canine Good Citizen Evaluator

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Potty training, crate training, puppy socialization, puppy play sessions, impulse control, mental stimulation/enrichment sessions, basic manners, polite greetings, loose leash walking, distraction training, on leash reactivity, dog to dog reactivity, dog to human reactivity, fear/anxiety confidence training, Canine Good Citizen Test Prep Training, group classes, tricks, service dog training, day training, off leash training, leash frustration training, cooperative care, separation anxiety, noise desensitization, new baby preparation training, kid/dog safety, kid/dog relationship building, interspecies households, long line training, recall

Behavioral issue focus: The most prevalent behavioral issue I help people and dogs navigate is on-leash reactivity, in which dogs are struggling with going over threshold in public environments while on-leash, whether the reactivity is towards, people, dogs, cats, kids, wheeled objects, wild animals, etc. I also take fear/anxiety cases, aggression, and most bite cases.

Training methods: At Instinct Dog Training, I use positive reinforcement-based training methods, following LIMA standards, and our training programs start with the client filling out Behavioral Health Forms, which give me an overview of the dog's physical/mental health, history, along with the behavior they've been displaying. Then I set up an hour consultation which is an assessment of the environment, dog, and understanding of the dog owner's needs. At the end of the consultation, I recommend a program that I feel best suits their training needs. The training plans include coaching sessions with the dog owner(s) so that they feel confident with the training protocols moving forward. We offer the option to add one-on-one sessions (me and the dog) in between coaching sessions to expedite the training process. I collaborate with the dog owner on Trello in between sessions throughout their program. Once the training program is completed, the dog owner has the option to join our classes that provide them opportunities to apply what they've learned in more of a real world scenario. We also offer virtual training, online classes, and seminars.

Why I became a dog trainer: When I first moved to San Diego, I walked dogs professionally. I became fascinated by dog behavior, and I wanted so badly to help the dogs that were fearful and reactive on walks. This served as a catalyst in seeking out more education. After many, many hours of shadowing, and completed dog training school, I started taking on private clients, and have been continuing to learn and grow ever since.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: THE DOGS! It's a natural love affair. I see each one as an individual and want to do my best to help them navigate their unique journey in a compassionate and loving way.

My #1 dog training tip: Great question! It's hard to narrow down to one, but if I had to choose it would be to figure out what motivates your individual dog the most then use it during your sessions! Does your dog jump for joy for a ball? Does your dog drool for beef liver? How about a game of chase? Catch the treat? Maybe all of the above? Use it to your advantage. I have used all of these types of reinforcement strategies to drive behavior and build a strong reinforcement history.

Service areas: La Jolla, Point Loma, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Downtown San Diego, Mission Hills, Bankers Hill, Hillcrest, North Park, South Park, Golden Hill, Normal Heights, Kensington, Tierrasanta, Mission Valley, Kearny Mesa, Clairemont, Bay Park, Carmel Valley, Sorrento Valley

Website: https://www.instinctdogtraining.com


Dan Clark

Dan is a passionate and dedicated positive reinforcement dog trainer. Dan decided to pursue a career in dog training and became certified as a positive reinforcement trainer. Dan has since worked with countless dogs and their owners, helping them overcome behavior issues and build a strong foundation of trust and respect. With years of experience and a deep understanding of canine behavior, Dan has honed their skills in training dogs using positive reinforcement techniques.

Dan believes that training should be a positive and enjoyable experience for both the dog and their owner. Dan's approach to training is based on the idea that positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise, and play, is the most effective way to train a dog. Rather than using punishment or dominance, Dan focuses on rewarding good behavior and teaching dogs what they should do, rather than what they shouldn't.

Certifications: CTP-KPA,LLA,FFCP

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Obedience training, training classes / sessions, day training, basic commands / cues, potty training, distraction training, day training

Behavioral issue focus: Fear,Anxiety,Aggression, separation anxiety

Training methods: Behavior, consultations, private training, clicker training

Why I became a dog trainer: To ensuring that every dog has the best possible chance of success.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: To teach dog owners how to continue reinforcing positive behaviors and build a strong bond with their furry friends.

My #1 dog training tip: Reward good behavior and teach your dogs what they should do, rather than what they shouldn't.

Service areas: Tri Valley, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Danville, Castro Valley, Sunol

Website: https://outofthebark.com


Steph Haddad

Good Sit's owner, Steph Haddad, is a lifelong animal lover. Though she didn't grow up with pets of her own, she always found ways to be around cats and dogs as her neighbors had many. As she grew, she became interested in training and rescuing animals. After getting her degree (in fine art!) she spent time first volunteering then working at the Champaign County Humane Society, where she was exposed to a large variety of temperaments, breeds, and learning the networking needs of dogs and cats who need new homes.

As an Animal Care worker, she did basic training, cleaning, grooming, caring, and socializing dogs, working hard to make sure that dogs who were in 'holding' could get time outdoors and de-stressing despite their new, strange environment.

a young Steph Haddad in 2010, kneeling with a floppy-eared beagle german shepherd mix wagging his tail.
Steph with Scout, the first dog she saved (with the help of a great group of people!) back in 2010.
Having spent that time at the animal shelter from all those years ago, she uses her knowledge to help others while staying on top of the news for animal welfare. Steph helps network animals in need of adoption as well as place dogs with trainers and behaviorists who fit their needs. Now settled into the Bay Area, she's made a small business of walking dogs and petsitting. She is furthering her education through the help of The Academy for Dog Trainers, Dog*biz, and what workshops, seminars, and webinars she can attend.

While she loves all dogs, Steph has a particular soft spot for all guard dog breeds, from shepherds to bullies, and especially enjoys working with them. Her experience has taught her that all dogs are individuals, and they deserve a chance to grow and have a good life on their terms.

While everyone at Good Sit has their own experiences, Steph trains everyone to meet dogs where they are utilizing force free techniques, whether they need a little extra help feeling safe, learning how to play with other dogs, learning how to trust people, or just plain making sure they get their exercise while they are out and about (and coming back when called!)

Certifications: In school for CTC, in exams for DWA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I help dogs that are typically seen by the public as scary how to understand the world they live in while giving their family members tools to help them live their best life and feel confident in helping their dogs behavior needs. These tools involve pattern games, reading dog body language, and finding what rewards the dog most whether it is playing with the toy or getting a delicious treat, no correction needed.

Behavioral issue focus: I typically work with dogs who have barrier reactivity or frustration, handshy or shy about specific situations, and general over arousal. The situations can look like nipping, biting, running away, or being super jumpy.

Training methods: When someone's interested in training with me, we set up a backfinding consultation call to see if we are good fit together. After that, we proceed by setting up a training schedule. Each session has me teaching the dog how to do something and then passing over mini lessons with bite-sized homework assignments to the family members to practice until I see them again.

Why I became a dog trainer: That's a long story

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is when everything begins clicking. You can see the joy and the human's face and body language, and you can see the dog get to have their silly personality come out. Both the dog and the human get to enjoy each other more, which deepens their bond.

My #1 dog training tip: Reward your dog for the little things so the big things are less difficult.

Service areas: Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale

Website: https://www.good-sit.com


Linda Michaels

Linda Michaels, M.A., Psychology, author and speaker, is rated one of the top ten dog trainers in the United States, by Top Ten Magazine. Linda holds a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology (Hons), conducted laboratory research in behavioral neurobiology examining the interface between behavior and the brain, and is the creator of the internationally acclaimed  Hierarchy of Dog Needs®—Standards of Care and Best Force-free Practices, now in use internationally in 12 different languages.

Her NEW book, The Do No Harm Dog Training® and Behavior Handbook: Featuring the Hierarchy of Dog Needs is now available on Amazon, Dogwise, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books (online), and Ingram Spark (for booksellers), as both an illustrated trade-quality paperback and an eBook. The book is designed for both new and seasoned trainers, other animal related professionals, and pet parents too!

Linda applied her academic training to shelter and rescue, working with the most difficult cases at the San Diego Humane Society, laying the foundation of all that she does today in the area of animal welfare—speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves—the heartbeats at our feet.

Linda’s unique combination of academic excellence and hands-on skill with dogs, wolfdogs, and the famed Belyaev foxes, creates a bridge between the worlds of research, dog trainers and pet parents, establishing herself as an influencer in animal welfare advocacy. A sought after speaker, Linda illustrated empirical findings with case-study references in her presentation at the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) inaugural summit: Understanding Research: Making the case for force-free training.

Linda focuses on the psychological aspects of dog behavior that often mirror human conditions, such as: fear, separation/attachment disorders, and dog aggression toward humans and other dogs—without using dominance methods or shock collar devices that often worsen behavior problems.  She is a certified Fear, Aggression and Reactivity consultant and certified veterinary assistant.

Certifications: VSPDT, MA Psychology

More info about service provided: Basic and advanced obedience, as well as socialization skills and desensitization techniques.

Website: https://www.donoharmdogtraining.com/


Sara Scott

Sara Scott has been training dogs professionally in the Bay Area since 2000 and comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience that can only be gained through time and dedication to the art and science of dog behavior and training. She is deeply educated and brings her knowledge to application with great insight, grace and compassion for both species; human and dog.

Certifications: SAPro CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Join the online coaching program and systematically work toward reaching your dog's behavior and training goals. No need to commit to a strict schedule, train when it's convenient for you and get the dog behavior support you need for lifelong success.

Behavioral issue focus:

Dealing with aggressive behaviors can be stressful for both dog and owner alike. Learn the root cause of your dog’s aggressive or reactive behavior and implement a behavior plan that is both effective, evidence-based, safe and humane. Let me guide you on a path toward healing and behavioral wellness for both you and your dog.

Dogs who experience fear and anxiety can be reactive, destructive, non-responsive and more. Helping your dog feel more comfortable in their skin is the best way to improve behavior problems so you can enjoy a peaceful life together.

Separation anxiety and other separation related behavior problems can be disruptive to everyday life. When you’re unable to leave your dog home alone, it can take a toll on both of you. Learn how to use systematic desensitization and help your dog be comfortable staying home alone.

Training methods:

The dog training field is unregulated and so you'll find lots of conflicting information about training mythologies when you start to research your options. Force free, balanced, R+, Compulsion, Relationship-Based - there are many labels trainers will use to identify themselves with a certain method, technique or school of thought. However, there is no debate when it comes to behavior science and evidence-based best practices. We know exactly what works and why, don't be fooled when someone tells you anything differently. Looking at effective evidenced-based training techniques through an ethical lens, I will strive to make training a safe and fun space for both you and your dog to learn and grow.

Start with a consultation conducted over Zoom video conferencing. The goal of the consultation is to get to the bottom of what's happening, give you a clear assessment of your dog's behavior and address management strategies for immediate relief.

Join the dog behavior coaching program, get access to your training plan, learn the logistics of how we will work together and share video, get your training gear ready and prepare yourself to get rolling for your first week.

Here comes the fun part - start training your dog! I'll use evidence-based practices to help you set attainable behavior goals with a focus on making practice a consistent habit. Show up, put in the work and be on your way to a well mannered dog.

My #1 dog training tip: Train the dog in front of you.

Service areas: Worldwide

Website: https://dogtrainingwithsara.com/


Elisa Martinez

My name is Elisa and I fell in love with dog training when I was raising my cattle dog who is now 5 years old. My mission is to help people make sense of all of the conflicting information out there and learn how to train their dogs with kindness. Communication is a two way street and I'm here to help you understand your dog a little better.

Certifications: AKC CGC evaluator. Zoom Room certified trainer

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Puppy training, obedience training, CGC training, agility training, tricks training

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Making dog's lives better by helping their humans understand their needs

My #1 dog training tip: If your dog is not responding, look to the environment, use higher value treats and reward heavily for new behaviors or new environments

Service areas: Santa Clarita and Bakersfield


Jamie Hulan

Started training my first dog in the 70's, worked part time, then full time as a dog trainer. Obtained outside the company, independent certification, and certificates of completion, on my own. I attend seminars, & conferences to remain updated on the latest in science-based methods, and research, on my own. I became an accredited Area Trainer in 2007, and train new trainers for the company, (covering my district and 2 other districts at times) and I'm a mentor for them and others across the country who solicit my advice.
Located at the North Sacramento PetSmart at Truxel rd and I-80

Certifications:

CPDT-KA Certified professional dog trainer-Knowledge Assessed
Association of Professional Dog Trainers- Professional Premium member, & Volunteer Co-Chair for Conference Committee
Approved AKC CANINE GOOD CITIZEN EVALUATOR
Pet Tech First Aid and CPR certificate
Supporting member IAABC
Certificate for Knowing dogs program Dog guru's for instruction and evaluation of off leash play
Accredited Area Trainer for PetSmart

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • Deaf dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I do Group classes for Basic manners. 1st level of core classes learn cues like sit, down, an emergency recall, leave it, take it, drop it, hand targeting, auto focus, wait at doors, walk nice, trouble shoot behaviors, for example: jumping on people, mouthy, biting behavior etc.; 2nd level of core classes after the first level is completed (or equivalent), cues like, Heel, go to place, & adding distractions; 3rd level of core classes with first 2 levels completed, (or equivalent), learn wait in motion, back up in heel, emergency stop, and go thru all 10 items of the CGC exam, if you choose to do the exam, (it's not mandatory), and I can do the STAR puppy exam also in 1st level classes. Potty training classes, or StartSmart workshop for new Pet Parents. (1st level) Puppy (10 wks-5mo old), Beginner (5 mo. old and up), (2nd level) Intermediate, (3rd level) Advance, Brain Games (Intro to canine cognition), Trick class (fun and mentally exercise your dog), Private class: more flexible hours, (we do not work with aggressive dogs, they must be "ok" with dog and people; nor do we work on Severe separation anxiety), if dog is shy, we can always work one on one if a group class is too much. We can start Service dog training for manners, all the way up to the canine good citizen award for your dog. New PetsHotel will open late March 2023, we'll be able to do board and train, and Day camp. All positive reinforcement-based training, with over 50 years of experience and continuing education, with almost 20 years of that with PetSmart; I use no force or painful equipment. PetSmart did a 7-year background check to assure the parents purchasing my classes, that I have never been accused or had any convictions or judgments against me for animal cruelty per the new "California Dog Trainer Sufficiency Act" (1/1/23).

Behavioral issue focus: Basic puppy behaviors, and to start the critical socialization every dog need (from 3-4 weeks old to 16 weeks old), more dogs die due to a lack of socialization and training than they ever do from puppy disease. I also work on adolescent behaviors, dogs turning into juveniles, pushing boundaries and not listening; Training (& early socialization) can save lives.

Training methods: I can do free evaluations to see where the parent and dog is at. I use Positive reinforcement, no force, no punitive or painful equipment, (NO choke chain, prong collar or shock is used). I use treats in the beginning, but, eventually we use less treats, & use toys, praise, affection, anything the dog considers a reward. I use marker training, clicker or word, employing the lure, catch or shape methods to modify &/or teach desired behaviors and cues.

Why I became a dog trainer: Love of dogs, help keep them in their home, so they avoid the suffering of shelter life, and possible euthanasia, just because they needed some socialization and training. I get great Joy in watching the relationship between the human and dog develop, then having that bond appear. Changing the minds and behavior of the human to help the dog, so they can both live their best life, together. I consider myself a human trainer for the dog.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Saving lives, dog and human.

My #1 dog training tip: Start socialization & training as early as possible, (8-10 weeks old), mold them the way you want them to be. Set the up for success and look for the "yes" and reward it. Behaviors rewarded get repeated.

Website: https://PetSmart.com


Jennifer Joyce (Dynamite Doggies!)

I left the music industry in 1999 to begin working with dogs. After adopting a very special dog (Merlin) I got my training certification at the Academy for Dog Trainers. I have over 20 years experience working with shy, fearful and aggressive dogs. Our team has a combined 30 years experience.

Certifications: Certificate in Pet Dog Training & Counseling, Group Dog Walking Certificate, First Aid Training Certification

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: We work with all types of dogs, experiencing a wide range of complex behavior issues, as well as simple to complex obedience issues. Structure and compassion are our core tenets.

Behavioral issue focus: Shy, fearful, and aggressive dogs are always welcome!

Training methods: We use gentle, force-free methods in our one-on-one training sessions, and coach human clients on the same methods.

Why I became a dog trainer: I was inspired by my own dog, Merlin. He experienced a high level of anxiety and fear, and needed specialized help. It made sense for me to be the one to help him, so I enrolled in The Academy for Dog Trainers.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping dogs and their people who love them.

My #1 dog training tip: There is always a more clear, and gentler way.

Service areas: Portland, OR, Los Angeles, CA, Remote Online

Website: https://www.dynamitedoggies.com


Connie Price

I have been teaching dogs and their people since the 90's, became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) in 2002. Became a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) in 2007. In 2010 was accepted and completed an Internship at the UC Davis Behavior Center. I continue to learn through conferences and workshops, so I may continue to provide the best and current information, techniques, and methods to my clients and their furry family members

Certifications: Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Aggression/reactive behavior, fearful behavior, puppy training, Basic Obedience and Manners classes, Private In home lessons, special needs, have experience with service dogs, Behavior Modification

Behavioral issue focus: Fear, aggression, reactivity, destructive behavior (digging, chewing, etc.) potty training, handling issues, barking

Training methods: Consultations for behavior and family needs, Positive Reinforcement (+R), Counter Conditioning & Desensitization, NO Choke, Prong, or Shock collars used-no squirt bottles, sound aversion (shake cans), etc. used. Helping your dog to feel safer and with no need to bark, growl, or bite. Building a relationship based on communication and trust

Why I became a dog trainer: I took one of my dogs to a group class, and was invited to be an apprentice-it was more traditional type training-when one of my dogs became dog aggressive (because of those traditional methods I firmly believe) and everything I was told to do made it worse-after a traumatic event I was told to use a shock collar or to put him to sleep-neither which I was willing to do-found the book Don' Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor and my life and the life of my dog was changed for the better and I have not looked back, and continue to educate myself to provide the best for my clients and the dogs in their lives (and the occasional cat).

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The dogs! Seeing them change, grow confident, and more relaxed. The smiles from the clients as things get better. This can help save and improve the dogs lives

My #1 dog training tip: Be open to learning correct behavior, body language, and communication

Service areas: Stockton, Lodi, Manteca, Linden, Valley Springs, Tracy, Galt, Ripon, Lathrop, French Camp, Woodbridge


Betsy Payne

I originally got involved with Dog Sports growing up in the youth program 4-H, almost 20 years ago. In my early 20's, it turned from hobby to profession. In her 10+ years of group and individual instruction I've fallen in love with the process of teaching and building up those I works with, coworkers and clientele alike. From working with inmates in a prison dog training program to volunteering with her local K9 Search and Rescue team to helping create and eventually leading a National Virtual Dog Training program for Petco.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CCFT

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training

More info about service provided: Private Training, Day Training - Virtually

Behavioral issue focus: Fear, Anxiety, Stressed or Confliction based issues.
Dog that fall under the umbrella term of Reactive, Separation Anxiety, General Anxiety

Training methods:

We utilize +R methods and techniques, with an emphasis on Fear and Force free. Utilizing LIMA, the Humane Hierarchy, the 5 Freedoms type of frameworks in our plans.

We utilize B-mod techniques like:
Counter- Conditioning
Desensitization
Differential Reinforcement

Why I became a dog trainer: A love for interactions with people and the process of instruction evolved from a hobby turned profession when I was in my early 20's. I've continued to love the act of mentoring and seeing colleagues and clients reach their goals.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The process of seeing that lightbulb turn on for a client. When they realize that they can, in fact, reach the goals that they're working towards.

My #1 dog training tip: Have a clear goal.

What does the behavior look like? Does it look the same in a variety of contexts? Does the behavior serve the goal or specific function? If our learners are going to learn, we have to be clear on what the goal post looks like.

Service areas: Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Roseville, Rancho Cordova, Orangevale, Fair Oaks, Folsom, Carmichael, Rocklin, Lincoln, Elk Grovebets

Website: https://daackpack.com/


Cassie Pestana

Cassie's passion for dog training began at Brown University while studying biology and animal behavior. She had the privilege of researching the behavior of a variety of species including elephants, vervet monkeys, African wild dogs, and more. The more she learned, the more she realized animal training was at a turning point, especially with the domestic dog. She began reading the latest literature, volunteering at Providence Animal Rescue League, and shadowing local behavior experts. It wasn't long until she fell in love with dog training and decided to pursue it as a career.

Upon graduation, Cassie moved back home to California where she immediately found a mentor, her now business partner Liv, and began training dogs both in the home and in group classes. After obtaining the hundreds of hours of experience necessary, she became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Soon after receiving certification, she started her first company Cassie's Dog Training in April of 2017. While starting her business Cassie enrolled in the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Professional Dog Trainer Program, which she graduated from in 2018. She quickly outgrew Cassie's Dog Training and opened the bigger and better Clickstart with Liv in 2019. After collecting another 300+ hours of behavior modification experience, Cassie passed her Canine Behavior Consultant exam in November 2021.

Certifications: KPA-CTP, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Puppy Kindergarten, Group Classes, In-Home Private Coaching, Day Training, Canine Good Citizen evaluation, Reactivity, Aggression, Virtual Training

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, aggression, fear, anxiety

Training methods: Force-free training based on LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive) and humane hierarchy.

Service areas: Orange County, CA

Website: https://www.clickstartdogacademy.com


Brian Galindo

After a motorcycle accident left me with a spinal cord injury, I had to reinvent myself and my career. I learned about Bonnie Bergin's school (BerginU.edu) and enrolled in 2011. After graduating with an AS in Service Dog Ed, I began teaching clients and started No Limits Service Dog & Obedience. I've been working with clients ever since and love helping my community!

Certifications: AS - Assistance Dog Education, CPDT-KA, AKC Evaluator

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Service Dog mentoring/testing, group classes & clinics, private training, board & training.

Behavioral issue focus: Lots of cases of under socialization and separation anxiety lately, most likely due to COVID. But with over 10 year's experience, there isn't much I haven't seen

Training methods: Completely force-free, positive reinforcement techniques and exercises. I'm a bond-based trainer who believes a strong relationship with your dog builds trust & reliability.

Why I became a dog trainer: I've always had a lifelong love of helping animals and people.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The results!

My #1 dog training tip: Reward your dog for his attention!

Service areas: Greater San Francisco Bay Area

Website: https://www.NoLimitsServiceDog.com


Karen Ni

Karen is a dog trainer, occupational therapist, and animal assisted therapy practitioner who has specialized knowledge and experience to work with both humans and dogs of all abilities. She teaches desired skills and behaviors, adapts tasks, and modifies the environment so both the dog and human are successful. Karen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, a member of the Pet Professional Guild, and a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. She has experience placing service dogs and evaluating therapy animal teams.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Private dog training lessons for puppies, obedience/basic manners, behavior modification, tricks, therapy dog, and service dog work using positive reinforcement and force-free methods

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, pulling on leash, jumping, anxiety/fearfulness

Training methods: We use humane, science-based, and force-free training techniques. We use prevention, management, training, and enrichment to teach new behaviors and find solutions to problem behaviors. We start with an initial consultation, offer ongoing training training sessions as needed, and provide training plans after each session.

Why I became a dog trainer: While learning about animal assisted therapy as an occupational therapist, I also gained experience in training dogs for therapy and service dog work using positive reinforcement training methods. After completing my doctorate residency in occupational therapy, I continued to pursue further education in dog training. I saw there were a lot of people using punishment-based and aversive training methods. I became passionate about teaching others how to use positive reinforcement training to improve the bond between humans and dogs, and improve the welfare of dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love seeing when something new clicks in the dog's head and they understand the new behavior being taught. It is very rewarding hearing from dog parents how their lives have been improved through training their dog and how they feel more confident in their abilities to carry out the training.

My #1 dog training tip: Teach and reward the dog for what they are doing right, instead of punishing them for what they are doing wrong.

Service areas: East Los Angeles County, North Orange County

Website: https://www.sundogtherapy.com/


Marieka Schrader

Marieka Schrader, KPA-CTP, is the founder of Karuna K9 in West Sacramento, California. As a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, Marieka's focus is providing Sacramento area dog guardians with the tools they need to live fulfilling lives with their dogs through the use of positive & force-free dog training methods.

Marieka's journey in dog training and behavior began when she adopted two 6-month-old puppies, Koa and Maile, from a local shelter. After dreaming of taking her dogs everywhere, Marieka was struck with the reality that so many dog guardians experience ‚ living with two leash reactive dogs.

In an effort to seek professional help for her dogs, Marieka was fortunate to find a wonderful trainer to work with, and her passion for all things training was born. Immediately fascinated with the science of animal behavior and combined with a passion for helping her own dogs, Marieka began reading books, taking classes, attending professional dog training conferences, and seeking professional certification.

Fast forward several years, Marieka has devoted her professional life to helping dogs and their families learn to communicate and build positive relationships so that they can enjoy a peaceful and happy coexistence inside and outside of the home.

Certifications: KPA CTP - Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Puppy training, dog training, foundation skills, communication, relationship building, distraction training, private coaching, day training

Behavioral issue focus: Leash reactivity

Training methods: We use only positive training methods that are free from coercion, fear, and punishment. We start with an initial consultation, then follow a training plan tailored to each client's needs.

Why I became a dog trainer: My goal is to help people and their dogs live a safe, healthy, and happy life together.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love working with people and their dogs, and helping them build skills to enhance their communication and relationships. I love watching the learning happening, and seeing how much of a difference it makes.

My #1 dog training tip: Develop good communication with your dog and keep your interactions positive as you can!

Service areas: Sacramento, Davis, Woodland

Website: https://www.karunak9.com/


Leeyah Wiseman

Leeyah is a certified dog trainer and completed a rigorous 6-month apprenticeship studying animal behavior and applying science based, positive reinforcement training techniques. She's passionate about utilizing gentle training methods to help anxious dogs and their people. And is known to go above and beyond in order to give her clients the best chance possible.

Through completing hundreds of hours of continued education with a focus on separation and anxiety related behaviors and helping her own anxious dog, Leeyah is uniquely knowledgeable and able to truly help people and dogs struggling with these issues.

Certifications: School For The Dogs Certified Professional Trainer, Separation Anxiety Shadowing Program Certificate, Advanced Separation Anxiety Shadowing Program Certificate

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Private Training, Virtual Training, Online Resources and Books

Behavioral issue focus: Anxiety, Separation Anxiety, Reactivity, Fear, Arousal Issues, and/or Aggression.

Training methods: Training starts with a consultation and behavior assessment. We then work together to create training plans that work for the whole family. With training packages we work closely and communicate almost daily to make sure we are going at the dog's pace and efficiently meeting goals.

Why I became a dog trainer: I rescued my dog George when he was 9 weeks and after losing his sister, he developed separation anxiety and could not tolerate being home alone. I was lucky to find a certified trainer who showed me how to use an evidence-based, slow and gentle approach to help him be comfortable home alone. After helping him work through his anxiety and seeing our relationship strengthen with positive reinforcement based methods, I knew I wanted to help other people going through the same thing.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Being a part of helping a dog feel more confident and comfortable in the world they live in. And helping humans understand and communicate with their dogs better. My mission is to make the world a better place for dogs, especially the ones that have extra big feelings about it.

My #1 dog training tip: Behavior is information and listening to your dog's behavior and reading their body language is the first and most important step to communicating with them or changing behavior.

Service areas: San Diego

Website: https://galdogtraining.com


Terra Colson

I have been in the dog training industry since 2012. I have learned from many different trainers, many different styles, and I continue to learn more about Applied Ethology and how to use it in the dog training world.

I am from the Kentucky where the dogs ran free and they go junk food and left over scraps. As an adult I wanted better for my pets so I have spent my adult years making sure owners know how important diet, environment, communication and love is for our pets.

Certifications: Family Dog Meditator, Dog Trainer Foundation Certification, Certified Trick Dog Instructor, Pet Food Nutrition Specialist, AKC CGC Evaluator

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I teach humans to speak dog! Client learn how to be fluent in dog communication and learning how to read body language. I teach how to teach dogs in the most conflict free way by getting the dog to volunteer behaviors and reward them, but also teach them how to teach commands with luring and leash work.

Behavioral issue focus: I love working with reactive dogs, dogs with anxiety. It's a lot of work but the reward for the dog going from stressed to relaxed is worth it!

Training methods: I prefer to think of my methods as a canine relationship coach. So I'm teaching the human how to inspire the dog to make good choices. We start with an evaluation and then progress to session by session or a training package.

Why I became a dog trainer: Short story. I was giving a Belgian Shepherd that required me to work with multiple trainers and that turned into a career. I learned that there are so many kinds of trainers and the world need more kindness in training vs. compulsion. So here I am.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Relationship building!

I love helping family's flow and work together! Changing the craziness to calmness.

My #1 dog training tip: If you convince your dog, it came up with the idea, your dog is more apt to repeat that behavior.

Service areas: Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, West Sacramento, Arden Park, Natomas, Roseville, Elk Grove

Website: https://mywholisticcanine.com/


Sarah Stremming

I am a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) and I spend my time working complex cases with my clients, mentoring colleagues, and presenting worldwide.

I have been in the field of dog behavior for nearly two decades, and I've competed in dog sports for even longer.

My educational background includes a bachelors of science degree in psychology from Colorado State University, the Living and Learning with Animals course with Dr Susan Friedman, a decade of conference attendance, endless reading, online courses, and more. Of equal importance is my extensive hands-on experience with a variety of dogs and their people in training, sport, veterinary, daycare, shelter, and boarding settings.

When I am not working I am usually deep in the woods in the Pacific Northwest behind two border collies and an Icelandic sheepdog.

Certifications: Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC)

Services include:

  • Board and train

Website: https://thecognitivecanine.com/


Lea Orloski

Lea has always had love and a natural talent with dogs growing up. She began working with dogs in 2006 as a dog handler and began observing and assisting with training dogs & classes in 2009. In 2013 she attained a certificate in training and behavior from the Dog Training Internship Academy created by Janis Bradley. A 6-month course that focused on positive reinforcement dog training, dog behavior and professional client consultation. She also has her CPDT-KA Certification from the The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.

Lea is also AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator, a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and teaches classes through Sirius Puppy & Dog Training founded by Ian Dunbar. Lea's passion for dog training can be seen through her work. She loves teaching students 'how to speak dog' and how to better connect with their canine companions. When not hiking with dogs, doing training sessions with clients or with her personal dogs, she is continuing her dog education through continuous hands on experience, seminars, conferences, webinars and books. Lea shares her life with an awesome husband and her canine companion, Gambit the Belgian Malinois.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CTBC

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

Why I became a dog trainer: I had a difficult dog, while learning about how to be better for him, I discovered I really liked dog training and it came natural to me.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the success! Making owners feel like it's not the end of the world!

My #1 dog training tip: Consistency and clarity make all the difference in communication with your dog.

Service areas: Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley

Website: https://www.caninecentric.net/


Renee Cardoza

Renee's passion in dog training began after attending Petsmart training classes with her two pups Lily and Ragnar. After some research, she found Animal Behavior College. Through schooling, she met the amazing team at Your Pro Dog Trainer and she was hired on and has continued to work there as an Assistant Manager and expand her dog training knowledge over the past two years. Renee loved the idea of training service dogs and she received the opportunity to join the California Service Dog Academy. She is currently CPDT-KA, and CBCC-KA certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, and has her Service Dog Coach Certification through Cooperative Paws. Renee has always had a love for dogs and wants to share what she knows with others. Her goal is to help owners find that special bond with their dogs through training, love and understanding.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, and CBCC-KA certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, and has her Service Dog Coach Certification through Cooperative Paws

Services include:

  • Service dog training

Service areas: Visalia, CA

Website: https://www.californiaservicedogacademy.org/


Jean Donaldson

The Academy for Dog Trainers was founded in 1999 by Jean Donaldson.

She ran it for ten years as a residential program at The San Francisco SPCA before spending a year and a half re-inventing the curriculum in its current form as a two-year e-learning course. The new format broadens the scope and content of the original program, includes the latest research on behavior and training, and allows students a much longer enrollment time so that they may study, “marinate” and integrate concepts and skills, train and fit their course work around their life commitments.

Jean is one of the top dog trainers in the world and has lectured extensively in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. She is a four-time winner of The Dog Writers Association of America's Maxwell Award, and her seminal book The Culture Clash was named number one training and behavior book by The Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Her other titles are Mine! A Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs, Fight! A Guide to Dog-Dog Aggression, Dogs Are From Neptune, and Oh Behave! Dogs From Pavlov to Premack to Pinker.

Her most recent book, Train Like a Pro, was her first written training guide for a lay audience. In 2017, Jean authored and instructed Dog Training 101 for The Great Courses, another resource for dog guardians.

Before transitioning full-time to pet dog training, Jean competed in dog sports with dogs of various breeds, earning numerous titles and wins including OTCh, HIT, TDX, and FDCh, as well as a CGC. She ran a successful training school for fifteen years, and spent six years doing primarily referral aggression cases. She holds a degree in comparative psychology and is a keen student of evolutionary biology.

Certifications: Founder and Principal Instructor, The Academy for Dog Trainers

Website: https://www.academyfordogtrainers.com/


Trish King

I've been working with clients and dogs for over 35 years, and specialize in behavior problems like reactivity, resource guarding and separation anxiety. I am a speaker, and worked as Director of Behavior & Training at the Marin Humane Society for 23 years.

Certifications: CBCD, CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training

More info about service provided: Consultations

Behavioral issue focus: I work with any problem areas

Training methods: Behavior Consultations with written notes and follow ups

Why I became a dog trainer: I love dogs, and didn't like being a radio journalist much

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My clients and their dogs

My #1 dog training tip: Watch and listen to your dog

Service areas: Marin County, CA

Website: https://www.canine-behavior-associates.com


Analisa Six

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I have been working with dogs since 2015. I started working with reactive dogs in Oakland and moved to the high desert in 2020 and began working with dogs of most temperaments and various ages.

Certifications: DWA, DTIA

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Coaching, day training, puppy training, reactivity, fear, barking and lunging, trail manners, in home

Behavioral issue focus: Barking, lunging, stranger fear, predation end of life needs, anxiety, global fear, basic manners

Training methods: Consultations and written training plans as well as online coaching

Why I became a dog trainer: I love dogs

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping dogs find better ways to navigate a human world and advocating for them.

My #1 dog training tip: Behavior is never fixed. Don't let yourself get stuck in a plan that isn't working.

Service areas: Yucca Valley, Joshua tree, Pioneertown, Morongo Valley


Marie Turner-Bailie

I have 15 years of experience in the industry, both as a trainer, and as a trainer mentor, helping educate junior trainers, expanding their skill sets and knowledge base. I am passionate about helping people shape their dog's behavior, and helping people and their dogs communicate better together. She continues her education on a routine basis with a mix of conferences, workshops, and trusted online resources.

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://daackpack.com


Brygette Branco

I have been working with dogs professionally for over 8 years. I am CPDT-KA certified has her Service Dog Coach certificate through Cooperative Paws. I am also a member of several professional organizations including the IAABC, APDT, and CCPDT. In my spare time I enjoy training my own dogs, Stoli and Hex. I really enjoy trick training and scent training with my dogs and I have earned several titles through the AKC with them. I have been working with California Service Dog Academy and training Service Dogs since 2019.

Certifications: CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed), SDC (Service Dog Coach), AKC CGC Evaluator

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Socialization, Basic Obedience, House Manners, Public Manners, Psychiatric Service Dog Training, Mobility Service Dog Training, Trick Dog Training, CGC and CGCU Training

Behavioral issue focus: I specialize in working with reactive dogs and dogs needing confidence building.

Training methods: I am a positive reinforcement trainer. I provide training guides and training plans, public and in-home consultations.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love dogs, but who doesn't. I really wanted to help people do exciting things with their dogs. I think it's important to show people what their dogs are capable of, whether its helping their dogs have manners at home or teaching a dog to help someone with a disability and everything in between.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping people discover that their dog is capable of incredible things with the right training and effort!

My #1 dog training tip: Positive reinforcement is such an amazing way to build a bond with your dog. Positive reinforcement training works on building up trust and communication with your dog so that dogs willingly work for their handlers, without using force or pain to perform.

Service areas: Tulare, Kings, and Fresno Counties

Website: https://cooperativepaws.com/


Eden Halbert

Eden Halbert is a certified dog trainer and behavior expert with a Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) credential from the renowned Academy for Dog Trainers, and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, and regularly seeks out the best continuing education in her field. She started her own business working with dogs professionally in 2002 in San Francisco, and relocated to Placerville in 2007, renaming the business Sierra Dogs. Sierra Dogs currently serves Placerville and the greater Sacramento region (Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Fair Oaks, etc.) and select clients in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A former French language instructor and Human Resources Manager, Eden knows how to effectively communicate with people and make learning fun. Her teaching skills enable her to help people and dogs better understand one other. Eden is also a professional equine, western, & wildlife photographer who loves capturing animals natural personalities in pictures, you can see and purchase her work at the Sierra Luna Photography website, or in Gold Country Artists Gallery in historic downtown Placerville.

Eden shares her home with playful 6 year old siberian husky Frances, and siberian husky puppy Ivy, who joined the family in the summer of 2022. Her other beloved 12 year old husky Vesta passed away unexpectedly in the summer of 2021, and husky mix Luna passed away in 2019 after 16 years as Eden's constant companion.

Certifications: Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) credential from the renowned Academy for Dog Trainers, and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • Puppy training

Service areas: Placerville and the greater Sacramento region (Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Fair Oaks, etc.) and select clients in the San Francisco Bay Area


Christing Gang

Animal behavior and training have been a passion for Christine ever since childhood, when she eagerly studied every training book in the library and regularly volunteered to walk shelter dogs on the weekends. Since then, she has worked with a wide variety of animals, from a resource guarding Yorkie to a fearful Labrador, and even other species such as guinea pigs and rabbits! Christine's training philosophy focuses on bridging the gap between humans and pets through relationship building, clear communication, and using rewards to motivate and encourage learning. She also strongly believes that providing enriching activities for dogs to fulfill their natural instincts helps improve their confidence and promotes mental wellness.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Primary focus on day training & enrichment services, limited one on one sessions and group classes available.

Behavioral issue focus: Overarousal, reactivity, fear/anxiety, noise sensitivity, frustration/redirection

Training methods: +R (positive reinforcement) using food, play, environment, etc. with verbal marker cues.

Why I became a dog trainer: I have always felt a connection to animals, and learning how to "speak their language" is such an amazing feeling. Nothing makes me happier than helping build that bridge of communication between a pet and their family!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: That moment when it all "clicks" - the dog is having fun, the people are having fun, everyone's having a great time learning together.

My #1 dog training tip: Be patient. It's so easy to get frustrated when things don't go the way you imagined. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and try again.

Service areas: City of Pittsburgh / Allegheny County, select availability for South Bay, Los Angeles, CA


Heidi Hurdy

Heidi is the owner of Canefida, and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and Certified Behavior Consultant Canine (CBCC-KA) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Heidi is also a supporting member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She has been training dogs and their people professionally for over 14 years.

Heid's specialty is fostering the dog-human relationship. Through Canefida, she offers creative behavior solutions helping humans 'listen' to their dogs by observing and interpreting canine body language, and then 'talking'with them through effective and humane positive reinforcement-based methods so that they can live harmoniously together. She compassionately helps dog guardians to get desired behavior change without using pain, fear or intimidation.

Heidi started her career with the privilege of mentoring under Dr. Ian Dunbar in Berkeley CA in the late 80's, then started teaching puppy classes for him through Sirius Dog Training and then started her own business Canefida Canine in 2022.

Certifications: CCPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Offering puppy classes, adult dog basic manners classes and private consulting for behavior issues in-person and over Zoom.

Behavioral issue focus: Human-directed aggression, dog to dog aggression, resource guarding, fear, phobias.

Training methods: Gentle methods that do not use fear, pain or intimidation. Focusing on training desired behaviors that are incompatible with undesired ones, enrichment, and desensitization and classical conditioning, building trust though relationship building and play. We deep dive into reading body language accurately.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help people understand their dogs and to help them live peacefully with them.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing people laugh and play with their dogs and enjoy every moment with them.

My #1 dog training tip: Don't interrupt the sniff. Meaning: let your dogs slow down and explore the world. Let them sniff those bushes. Interrupting them creates frustration for the dog and eventually for the human. Don't rush their walks. Give them time to process their environment. and try to imagine what they are experiencing.

Service areas: Sacramento, West Sacramento, Elk Grove, Citrus Heights

Website: https://canefida.com/


Sherry Al-Mufti

There are waaaay too many rules about what dog owners should and shouldn't do. You shouldn't let your dogs sleep on the bed. You shouldn't let them on your furniture. You shouldn't let them walk in front of you. My philosophy about dog rules is that there are no hard and fast rules. Instead, I encourage dog owners to create their own rules according to how they want their pets to fit into their household. After all, it's their home, their dog, their life. They should feel free to set limits that work for them.For over three decades, I have put this philosophy into practice working personally and professionally with humans and dogs as a breeder, handler and trainer. Through The Polished Pup, I have been able to turn my lifelong passion into a profession. Today, I puts my skills, knowledge and compassion to work helping dogs and their people live better lives together.

Certifications: CCPDT, Fear Free Trainer

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training

Service areas: East Bay in San Francisco Bay Area

Website: https://www.polishedpupeastbay.com/


Alan Lara

Alan started off his animal career as an Animal Control Officer for the Inland Valley Humane Society where he got hands on experience out in the field with reading Dogs, understanding Body language and Behavior. He also trained as an Undercover Animal Cruelty Investigator for Hollywood-based Animal Rights group Mercy For Animals, which further solidified his choice to live a Healthy Vegan Lifestyle for himself and later on, his Wife and Kids as well. He was Head Trainer for multiple Petco's heading their Private, AKC Canine Good Citizen, Playgroup and Group Trainings using the Petco Positive Reinforcement model, where hundreds of Clients came through his courses at all stages of their dogs lives. It was there he realized he could be doing more for those dogs that weren't 'Nice' enough to be in Petco classes, so he started working with behavioral cases. After some time he aligned himself with Pasadena Humane Society as their Dog Behaviorist as well as Friends of Upland Animal Shelter and started working with the Shelter dogs. Working with Shelter dogs allowed him to fine tune his craft as every shelter animal presented a different issue and set of characteristics to handle. Alan soon started taking Dogs from Friends Of Upland Animal Shelter to take part in Cesar Millan's Fundamentals courses and Soon after, he was invited to take part in Cesar Millan's Dog Psychology Course. He has been able to observe other Dog Behaviorists such as Todd Langston and Linn Boyke during the assessment and dog selection process for the Fundamentals courses held at the Dog Psychology Center. He has also spent time furthering his knowledge with fellow Dog Behaviorists, Brian Agnew and Cheri Lucas as well as attending their Lucas Agnew Workshops.

Services include:

  • Board and train

Service areas: Southern California Region, Inland Empire and Beyond.

Website: https://dogworldorder.com/


Jennifer Davidson

I started training dogs as a child and fell in love with in. Dogs and animals in general have taught me so much and I learn something new from them every day. I started training professionally part-time about 6 years ago and when we moved to Citrus Heights, Ca last year it became my full time job and I couldn' be happier. Besides my husband I currently share my life with Kaep a 12.5 year old Shepherd/Gsp mix (my old man who keeps us on our toes),Cassie (my heart dog) a 9 year old yellow Lab, Doc a 5 year old German Shepherd/Great Pyrenees mix (my big baby) and the recent addition of Maggie a 12 week old Beagle (yes I'm living the puppy life again.)I am a graduate of Susan Friedmans' Living and Learning with Animal's course. I am a professional member of the Pet Professional Guild and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. I also volunteer my time with Golden Gate Lab Rescue in whatever capacity needed.

Certifications: LLA

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Private lessons, group classes, day training, obedience training, puppy training,puppy socialization- basic behaviors, akc CGC and trick titles

Training methods: I am a humane reward-based trainer who focuses on all aspects of a dog’s well-being (which includes exercise, enrichment, diet and the bond between dog & owner). I start with initial consultations so I can get to know a new client and their dog, watch their interactions, discuss their goals and come up with a plan that works for everyone.

Why I became a dog trainer: Initially my love of dogs, learning and bonding with them drew me to training but I would have to say now watching dogs and their owners bond and achieve their goals keeps me coming back

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching the bond created with dogs and their owners

Service areas: Citrus Heights, Roseville, Rocklin, Elk Grove, Lincoln, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Pleasant Grove, Natomas, Sacramento, Orangevale

Website: https://smpawsativedogtraining.wordpress.com/


Rebekah Piedad

Rebekah Piedad, KPA-CTP knew she wanted to train animals since she was a small child. As a toddler, she had her heart set on training lions and tigers in local zoos, but dogs stole her heart in adulthood.

Rebekah has owned and fostered countless dogs ranging from greyhounds to Cane Corsos. She has volunteered for greyhound rescue, pit bull rescue, and served on the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Stanislaus County. She eased into the dog profession as a pet sitter and dog walker.

In 2013, Rebekah became a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner. She worked at a high-volume boarding, training, and daycare facility in the Central Valley of California before starting her own business in the Bay Area. Rebekah has trained dogs for commercial advertising, and she revitalized both public and shelter animal training programs at the East Bay SPCA where she worked as the Manager of Behavior and Training before moving to Shasta County where she opened her own private training facility.

Specializing in fearful and aggressive behaviors, Rebekah has worked with private clients and collaborated with rescue groups, shelters, veterinarians, and veterinary behaviorists. She seeks to constantly expand her knowledge and skill set by continuing her education in the behavior sciences and the most progressive animal training techniques. She believes that all training should be fun for both humans and dogs and seeks to inspire a collaborative mindset so that eac h human and dog can enjoy their companion to the fullest.

Rebekah currently lives in Shingletown, CA with her two dogs and a cat. When she is not training, she is usually hiking or backpacking through the Cascades.

Certifications: KPA-CTP

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Offering board and train specializing in fear and aggression, intensive training programs, local in-person consultations and private lessons for all pet dog issues, and remote training via Zoom.

Behavioral issue focus: Fear and aggression toward people, dogs, moving objects, and novelty; separation anxiety; generalized anxiety; intra-household dog aggression; resource guarding; potty training; and general manners

Training methods: Board and trains are 4 or 8-week programs followed by 5 days of in-person training with a written training plan and Zoom followup. Consultations involve assessment with management and training plan and a followup email giving instructions and video example. Private lessons offer live demonstrations, step by step instructions, followup written training plan with videos, and opportunities for client video submissions for feedback.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer initially to help dogs with challenging behavior find and remain in good homes. My motivation quickly expanded to helping owners and dogs live their best lives together, increasing the human-dog bond, and enabling both dog and owner to become their best selves within their partnership.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I adore watching dog owners develop deep pride in all their dog's strengths, growth, and individuality as well as in their progress together as a team.

My #1 dog training tip: The dog does what is reinforced. Pay attention to what is reinforcing your dog's behavior so that you can understand your dog's motivations and change your behavior accordingly.

Service areas: Located in Shasta County and serving Southern Oregon, Western Nevada, and Northern California including the Bay Area and Sacramento

Website: https://yesdog.org


Kayla Block

Kayla Block, MA, CTC, provides dog training in Sacramento and El Dorado Counties as well as online training anywhere! She has an MA in Clinical Psychology and is a graduate of the Academy for Dog Trainers (2 year comprehensive program)Specialized knowledge of dog reactivity, dog aggression, and fearful dog problems.Passionate about dog bite prevention, offering programs for families with kids of all ages, and expectant parents.

Certifications: CTC from the Academy for Dog Trainers; Aggression in Dogs Masterclass

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.understandingdogtraining.com


Kristin Lucy

Kristin is a 2020 Honors graduate of Jean Donaldson's Academy for Dog Trainers.

When she was without a dog of her own at home for many years, Kristin got her 'doggie fix' by volunteering at Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation ('ARF') in Walnut Creek, beginning in 2013. She completed ARF's 'Shelter U' program which provided a basic background in positive reinforcement and force-free handling. She then assisted with ARF's Puppy Manners, Basic Manners and Reactive Rover classes. She also spent some time as a Behavior Volunteer at Berkeley Humane.

Her primary gig is still as a full-time practicing attorney, but she enjoys using her CTC to teach Puppy 1 classes in Walnut Creek. Kristin is endlessly intrigued with the application of known, scientific principles of animal learning to individual dogs. She recently welcomed her own dog into her family with the addition of Obed, a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Obed has provided Kristin with an education in the real-life challenges of both puppyhood and teenager-dom.

Certifications: CTC

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

Service areas: Alameda \| Oakland, Rockridge \| Piedmont \| Berkeley \| El Cerrito

Website: https://bravopup.com/


Ann King

We live in an era where much scientific effort is being made into understanding more about how dogs think, learn, and relate to us. Modern scientific thinking is that today's dogs and humans evolved together. Our unique relationship with them is unlike any other in the animal kingdom.

Although there's plenty we haven' figured out about our best friends, we do know that behavior problems often arise as a result of a combination of factors. We must look at the dog holistically, which means considering their physical, social, and environmental needs when building a behavior modification plan. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly – we must work to bridge the communications gap between our two species.

I created Get Dog S.M.A.R.T as a framework to help dog owners understand what their dogs need and how to give it to them. So dogs can get back to the business of being our best friends.

Certifications: CBCC, KPA-CTP

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Puppy training

Service areas: El Dorado Hills

Website: https://www.annkingdogbehavior.com/


Shane Stanis

I have been training professionally since 2002, and have a passion for supporting both humans and dogs as they navigate challenging behavioral needs.

I have an extra soft spot for shy & fearful dogs, and enjoy living with a pair of semi-feral dogs myself.

Certifications: IAABC CDBC, CPDT-KSA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided:

Behavior Consultant for fear, aggression, anxiety, Vet Behavior support plans.
Specializing in fear including semi-feral and rescues from trauma (hoarding, puppy mills, lab survivors, meat trade)
Private consultation & training in person and virtually
Online group program for shy & fearful dogs
Private manners & puppy training also available

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity towards all triggers, intra-household dog aggression, dog directed aggression, human directed aggression, resource guarding, separation anxiety, anxieties and phobias, fear, compulsive/stereotypic behaviors, support for Veterinary Behaviorist training plans

Training methods:

Evidence based positive reinforcement training (aka "clicker training") and behavior modification. I adhere to the ethical guidelines of both the IAABC & CPDT, and do not utilize aversive equipment or ethos in training. Certified Fear Free trainer for cooperative care (veterinary/husbandry).

Work together begins with an intake assessment, followed by coaching sessions in person or virtually depending on location, as well as dog's needs and ideal training plan.

Clients are given an outline of the training plan after intake, and support supplements including notes, logs and worksheets as needed between sessions.

Online program for shy & fearful dogs includes both individual training plans and group virtual coaching sessions live 3 times/month, as well as support lessons/assignments & video review

Why I became a dog trainer: I explored primatology in college, but started to believe I'd miss not being able to connect directly with the animals I was studying. I started volunteering at an animal shelter, and fell head first into dog training from there.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the gears turn in a dog's head, and helping stressed owners begin to be able to feel like they can breath again.

My #1 dog training tip: Take a step back. We are often fearful that if we don't push our dogs we won't accomplish our goals, but this can backfire and ultimately slow us down. If we take a moment to assess what we can do differently, our dogs will do better, and we'll see real, lasting improvement.

Service areas:

In Person: Central & East Contra Costa County
Hybrid: Greater Bay Area
Remote: Nationally

Website: https://www.mightymuttsdogtraining.com


Nathalie Mosbach Smith

Nathalie started her professional dog career in 2007 as a dog hiker by taking up to 10 dogs on-leash to local parks and preserves. She continued her education in dog training and dog behavior and specializes in fearful, anxious and aggressive dogs. Nathalie's approach to dogs is based on the dog's need using reward based training methods which are non-confrontational and non-violent methods.

In 2021 Nathalie and her good friend and colleague Kimberly McCarty opened a dog training center in Campbell.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, Fear Free Certified, Dog Aggression Certification

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: We provide manners classes, puppy socials and classes, day camp (day care plus training), scent work, reactive dog training and private 1-on-1 sessions.

Behavioral issue focus: Fear, anxiety and aggression issues are our specialty.

Training methods: Reward based dog training as recommended by the AVSAB (American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorist). Behavior consultations start with an evaluation, setting up a training plan (that gets adjusted as needed) and reaching the end goal.

Why I became a dog trainer: It just happened. I rolled right into the field.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Working with dogs every single day. I get paid for a job I love. What more could I ask for?

My #1 dog training tip: Reward every behavior you like especially when you have a puppy. The more a desired behavior gets rewarded the more likely the dog is going to offer that behavior again.

Service areas: San Jose, Campbell, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Cupertino

Website: https://www.southbaydog.training


Rebecca Lane

I am trainer with Tug Dogs. I began my "training" path with Tug Dogs in 2016 as a client, for my dog, Wyatt, that I adopted through a rescue. I have loved dogs my whole life. Wyatt had experienced trauma and was overwhelmingly anxious, including having separation anxiety. As I developed my understanding of canine behavior, and learned about who Wyatt was individually, an extreme passion emerged, and I have never left Tug Dogs - I am now a trainer with them! I wanted to help others acquire the understanding I did, so that they could see the beauty of who their dogs are - even through the behaviors they are working on with their dogs - and strengthen the bond and love and understanding between them.

Certifications: I (Tug Dogs - the organization I train with) specialize in dogs with fear, anxiety and aggression; we also specialize in puppies and obedience!

Services include: General anxiety, separation anxiety, fearfulness, aggression (including intra-household aggression), and more.

More info about service provided: I (Tug Dogs) develop and provide customized "training" (via several program options), that is founded in science and is dog guardian-sustainable, so that families can navigate canine behavior, build cooperation between dog and human, and facilitate mutual ability to live an enriched life together.

Behavioral issue focus: I have loved dogs my whole life; through "training", I was able to help a severely anxious dog live his best life with me. He taught me SO MUCH about dogs (and life), and I wanted to help others be able to understand, too, to improve the lives of our dogs.

Training methods: Both the dogs and their guardians, and the positive transformations in their relationship as they learn about each other.

Why I became a dog trainer: I have loved dogs my whole life; through "training", I was able to help a severely anxious dog live his best life with me. He taught me SO MUCH about dogs (and life), and I wanted to help others be able to understand, too, to improve the lives of our dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Both the dogs and their guardians, and the positive transformations in their relationship as they learn about each other.Listen to what your dog is telling you, as we will be building upon that.

My #1 dog training tip: Listen to what your dog is telling you, as we will be building upon that.

Service areas: NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Website: https://teachtraintug.com


Wendy Hilton

Just Rewards, LLC is owned by Wendy Hilton. She attended the renowned San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers where she received her Certificate in Training and Counseling and graduated with honors as the valedictorian of her class. The Academy, also known as the 'Harvard for Dog Trainers' provides a comprehensive and leading edge education in all aspects of animal learning, dog behavior, and positive reinforcement training methodologies to those interested in becoming dog training and behavior professionals. The program is led by Jean Donaldson, author of The Culture Clash and Dogs are from Neptune and widely sought after lecturer.

Wendy was in the internship program at the SF SPCA and received a certificate of specialization in dog aggression. She offers extensive behavior modification programs for dogs that are reactive toward other dogs. Using positive reinforcement methods, her clients have been able to achieve their goals and successfully maintain their dogs' behavior long term.

Wendy is an AKC Canine Good CitizenTM evaluator and a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). She is also a World Cynosport Rally (formerly APDT Rally) Judge. Wendy has designed numerous classes and organized seminars to create and build the World Cynosport Rally program in Northern California.

Just Rewards currently hosts several Rally competitions annually. Wendy competes in Obedience and Rally with her dogs and has received numerous placements and awards of recognition for their achievements.

Prior to making dogs her full-time profession, Wendy spent over 12 years in the high tech corporate world.

She has a BA and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She founded the Northern California German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue Organization in 1998 and served on the Board of Directors. Her specialty is rescued/rehomed dogs and high energy sporting breeds. She is dedicated to helping all families train their dogs to be wonderful canine companions.

Certifications: Certificate in Training and Counseling, AKC Canine Good CitizenTM evaluator and a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), World Cynosport Rally (formerly APDT Rally) Judge

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Service areas: Montara, CA

Website: https://www.justrewardsk9.com/


Kelly Lee

Kelly is an honors graduate of The Academy for Dog Trainers. She earned her Certificate there in Training and Counseling (CTC). She holds a BS in Zoology and a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Kelly is currently completing a masters degree in applied behavior analysis. Ms. Lee founded Dogkind to help loving dog families reach their goals with their dogs humanely and effectively.

Certifications: Honors graduate of The Academy for Dog Trainers, Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC)

Website: https://www.dogkindtraining.com/


Laurie C. Williams

Trainer and behavior consultant of 35 years

Certifications: CCUI CDTI

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: All breeds, all ages basic through competition level.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactive behavior, resource guarding. Separation anxiety

Training methods: Positive reinforcement

Why I became a dog trainer: Love teaching people how to communicate with their dogs

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing dogs and their guardians form lifelong bonds

My #1 dog training tip: Train the dog in front of you

Service areas: Stafford County

Website: https://www.pupniro.com


Lisa Wasielewski

I am a CPDT-KA, NASDA judge, and UKC Elite Shed Dog Series judge. I have 2 Standard Poodles. My older boy has over 40 performance titles and is one of only a handful of dogs with their NASDA Shed Dog Master Champion title. When I am not teaching, I spend most of my free time judging or trialing in various scent sports.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, NASDA Judge, UKC Elite Shed Dog Series Judge

More info about service provided: NASDA classes, UKC Shed Dog classes, Scentwork classes

Behavioral issue focus: High drive dogs that need help channeling their drive, reactive dogs that need an outlet, shy/nervous dogs that need confidence building

Training methods: Using scent based sports to channel drive, provide an outlet for reactive dogs, and build confidence in shy/nervous dogs

Why I became a dog trainer: I love enriching dogs' lives by teaching them how to use their nose.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing dogs be successful!

My #1 dog training tip: Provide your dog lots of enrichment!

Service areas: Loomis, Orangevale

Website: https://www.commonscents.dog


Peggy Mccarty

Hound Haven owner Peggy McCarty is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. She earned a Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers. Graduating from the Academy (considered the "Harvard for dog trainers") under the instruction of Jean Donaldson.

She also studied with Malena DeMartini, an expert in the field of Separation Anxiety. Peggy completed the intensive program to become a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT).

Peggy also attended the Karen Pryor Academy. Through KPA she furthered her skills working not only with dogs but other species. The emphasis on using clickers (marker trianing) is an intigral piece of KPA.

Peggy is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), a professional member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and a graduate of the DogTec Dog Walking Academy.

Certifications: CTC, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, CSAT

Services include:

  • Puppy training

Service areas: Santa Clara, CA, SF South Bay from Mountain View to San Jose

Website: https://www.thehoundhaven.com/


Jessica Wheatcraft

My love affair with dogs began as a child - I wanted nothing more than to be around them all day and tried to convince my parents for years that we needed more than two dogs‚ they said no, of course.
When I was in high school, I began volunteering for a local shelter, and it was there that I discovered my heart was drawn to helping dogs in any way I could. Shortly after high school, I volunteered for the Prison Pup Program at the California Institute for Women, an organization that helped inmates train service dogs. Volunteers like myself would take the dogs in our homes for the weekend to help generalize their training to the real world to prepare them for placement.

In addition to my love for dogs, I also had a fascination for behavior and was a Psychology major the first few years I attended college. Having left home and feeling lonely without a dog of my own for the first time, I adopted a pit bull mix I named Harley. Harley led me into the world of professional dog training – she had behaviors I didn't know how to modify on my own. In came Nan Arthur CDBC, CPDT-KSA, and KPA CTP, who I hired to help me in 2005. During one of our lessons, Nan asked me, 'have you ever considered becoming a dog trainer'?

Honestly, it had never occurred to me. The more I learned about the science behind training, the more it dawned on me that I could merge my love of behavior AND dogs into a career. I was hooked.

I started with simple cases, teaching basic manners classes, and doing private lessons. As I learned more, I began to take on more challenging issues under Nan's guidance and realized that I loved everything about behavior modification. I am so fortunate to have worked under Nan for seven years. I undoubtedly would not be where I am today had we not crossed paths.

Certifications: CDBC, CPDT-KA

Website: https://www.jessicawheatcraft.com/


Barbara Davis

Titles and Professional Associations
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
Founding Member
Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Shelter Behavior Affiliate and Accredited Dog Trainer
Co-Chair, Application Review Committee, 2009-2012
Winner, 2012 President's Award
Chair, Dog Division August 2012- 2019
* Board President, July 2019 -present
Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), 2004, renewed through November 2023
Association for Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)
Professional Member #65050
Past Member, APDT Communications Corps
Past Member, APDT Think Tank
Contributing columnist for professional journal 'The Chronicle of the Dog'
Behavior Assessment Protocol Training
SAFER, Penny Scott-Fox, 2006
Assess-A-Pet, Sue Sternberg, 2007
Animal Behavior College, Mentor Trainer, 2003-2011
Training professionally since 1985. Founded BADDogsInc LLC in 2004, specializing in the family companion dog practice, with a secondary concentration in rescue and shelter dog rehabilitation.
Animal Services Volunteer History:
Corona Animal Shelter, 2005 - 2009
Riverside City and County Animal Services, volunteer trainer, 2004-2006, 2010-present
Moreno Valley Animal Shelter, volunteer trainer, 2005-2006
Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles Rescue, 2002-present. Board member 2003-2011.
* Fetchin Retrievers Rescue, Los Angeles, volunteer behavior consultant, 2019-present

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CDBC, SBA, IAABC-ADT

Services include:

  • Puppy training

Service areas: Corona, CA

Website: https://baddogsinc.com/


Dieuwke van der Velde

Dieuwke (Dee-you-kuh) van der Velde, certified positive reinforcement trainer through Animal Behavior College, interned at Humane Society of Silicon Valley. With a background as a research technician at Stanford, I believe in continuous learning to learn evolving techniques and tools staying abreast to successfully train dogs.  I fully subscribe to positive reinforcement training and adopt this mode of behavioral training for puppies to adolescent and adult dogs.   I have more then 12 years experience training dogs of all breeds and sizes , which included a three year search & rescue training through CARDA.

I have been fostering through rescue groups since 2009 and have helped puppies and adolescent dogs with varied behavioral issues - from socialization, building confidence, reactivity and have helped the dogs through positive experiences in controlled environments, so they have a structured process to be successfully integrated into their family and community. 

I specialize in puppy training,  and helping both first time dog owners and families adding a new puppy learn the basics of obedience training so they enjoy the new addition to the family and have a strong bond develop.  My training is reward based, using positive reinforcement so humans understand their dog’s needs.  I offer both group lessons and private consulting, and have my own training center in West San Jose.

I am eager to get started with training your dog and welcome you to reach out to me today!

Certifications: Animal Behavior College

Services include:

  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: We offer, puppy training and AKC STAR puppy classes to adult canine good citizen, tricks, recall and loose leash walking and Nose Work classes. Specialty is in agility and prepping puppies and adult dogs for sports like agility. Private sessions available for reactive dogs and sensitive dogs that both will benefit with confidence boosting exercises.

Behavioral issue focus: We mostly are getting requests to work on dog to dog reactivity and lately dog to human reactivity.

Training methods: Our methods are solely force free, we work on making the dog feel better about our environment and about what we ask them to do. We train the humans to be able to read/ understand their dog. Training plans include weekly home work.

Why I became a dog trainer: Because as a dog hiker, I saw some of my clients using aversive dog trainers, and saw my dogs behaviour go down hill. I needed credentials behind me for people to take heart to what I already knew.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love seeing people 's relationship with their dog become stronger!

My #1 dog training tip: Train the dog you have in front of you

Service areas: We service: San Jose, CA, Morgan Hill, CA, Los Gatos, CA, Campbell, CA and Santa Clara, CA

Website: https://www.oriondogtraining.com


Ally Lantis

Ally Lantis' dog training journey began like many, with a very naughty dog! Working at Pet Food Express as a teenager, she got referred to an excellent positive trainer for assistance with her unruly Border Collie. Very quickly she became hooked and became his apprentice for a few years. Ally taught with him at ARF and then left for college to pursue vet school. While in Oregon studying hard, it became apparent her calling was animal behavior. She worked for various pet stores, mentored under another trainer, worked in an animal research lab, became a district trainer for a pet store chain and then started TDT in Oregon. Ally has her bachelor's degree in animal science with an emphasis on behavior. She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, American Kennel Club evaluator and has titled her dogs in many dog sports (Flyball, Agility, Herding, Barn Hunt). Ally continues her education by attending cutting edge positive training seminars and workshops year round, as well as reading constantly and staying in touch with many trainers around the world, learning about complex cases. Ally has been professionally training dogs for 14 years. She has two children and three dogs.

Certifications: BA

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Group classes and private lessons

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, resource guarding, anxiety

Training methods: Behavior consult, positive reinforcement

Why I became a dog trainer: Love of helping people bring out the best in their dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing lightbulb moments.

My #1 dog training tip: Consistency

Service areas: Concord, Clayton, Antioch, Martinez, Brentwood, Oakley, Danville, Lafayette, Pleasant Hill

Website: https://www.tailoreddogtraining.com


Jan Cizik

I have always loved animals, and this by far is where I was meant to be. I am passionate about teaching humans about force free methods, but even more to educate them about the dogs that they share their life with and the why's of behavior and how to read them.

Certifications: KPACTP, RVT, Licensed Family Dog Mediator-Training, Fear Free Certified Professional

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: My wheelhouse is puppies, and I specialize in providing safe puppy socials for all age puppies and adult dogs too. Day training as well as packages can be arranged. Training classes are being designed - to be determined.

Behavioral issue focus: I work with fear but not aggression, leash reactivity, leash walking skills, and common behavior issues.

Training methods: I start with a consult, and then determine a course of action to encompass the goals and needs of the client and the dog.

Why I became a dog trainer: Love of behavior science and love of animals.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the light go off in the human, the dogs are easy!

My #1 dog training tip: Learn to read dog body language - and make your relationship with your dog your #1 priority. If your dog trusts you, you are by far ahead of the curve!

Service areas: Zionsville, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, Indianapolis, Whitestown, Brownsburg

Website: https://wholedogtrainingsd.com


Connie Ko

Using science-based methods and fun, relationship-enhancing games, my goal is to help you and your dog develop your own unique communication style. Without the use of intimidation or force, you'll learn how to empower your dog to make the right choices, and teach them what you'd prefer them to do instead of engaging in a problem behavior. Using science-based methods and fun, relationship-enhancing games, my goal is to help you and your dog develop your own unique communication style. Without the use of intimidation or force, you'll learn how to empower your dog to make the right choices, and teach them what you'd prefer them to do instead of engaging in a problem behavior.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training

More info about service provided: Group puppy and pet dog classes through siriuspup.com; currently offering remote private sessions only

Behavioral issue focus: Puppy training and socialization, pet dog training, skills for reactive, anxious, and/or fearful dogs

Training methods: Behavior consultations

Why I became a dog trainer: I'm a dog trainer because I want to give people the tools to help their dog, and I love seeing people learn to understand and communicate with their dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: That lightbulb moment I see in my clients eyes when their dog responds to them.

My #1 dog training tip: Make everything a game. Dogs are good at games and they can be set up to help your dog live in a human world.

Service areas: Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale

Website: https://kumadogtraining.com


Sue Rusnak

Sue had always wanted a dog growing up but her mom always said ‚'I already have too many animals, we don't need a dog'. See there were 6 kids in her family. Only later did Sue find out that her mother was actually scared of dogs after being bit by one as a child. Though dog ownership came later in life, Sue didn't have her own first dog until in her late 20's, she always seemed to be around other people's dogs, taking care of them and noticing the special bonds created between people and their dogs. Something very different than the experience her mother had, something she knew she wanted to experience someday.

Sue went to college at Southern Connecticut State University and studied recreation. She worked with youth for many years until moving to California in 2000. In 2003 wanting a career change and at the time having cats with medical issues and a special needs dog, Sue realized their was a need for pet care for her special furry family members and this started her journey into the world of pet sitting and dog walking. At the same time she started working part time with a local trainer to gain more knowledge which she could pass on to her pet sitting and dog walking clients. This lit a spark in Sue and she attended the SFSPCA Academy for Dog Trainers and earned her Certificate in Training and Counseling. She hasn't looked back since. Sue loves seeing the connection people have with their dogs and thinks communication with them is key to living successful together.

Sue currently shares her home with a very sweet Catahoula named Missee, who is deaf and vision impaired along with 3 cats - one of which she has trained to sit and plays fetch with. Sue and Missee love heading out for hiking and beach excursions, puppy play dates and they recently started participating in Nose Work.

Certifications: CTC

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training

Website: https://www.siriuspup.com/


Kat Camplin

Kat Camplin, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, KPA-CTP, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), Certified Canine Behavior Consultant (CBCC-KA), a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP), and an AKC Certified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. She has served on the Board of Directors of a local obedience club, with 2 terms as President. Kat is an avid advocate for creating fun activities for dogs and their families to do together to shape positive relationships. She stays abreast of the latest research and training techniques and continuing education by attending workshops and seminars. She also hosts a dog training podcast, How Do You Train That?

Certifications: KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training

Service areas: Redding, California

Website: https://www.rompingdogs.com/


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Sara Du Bouchet

Sara's done it all: pet sitting, dog walking, dog training, you name it! She started her animal care and training career as a volunteer at The Glendale Humane Society where she was later hired as a full-time trainer. Sara not only provided in-home training to adopters but her experience and instincts proved an invaluable asset to the development of behavioral adjustment programs.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • In home training

Service areas: Southern California, the Bay Area, and Seattle

Website: https://tullystraining.com/


Nancy Skelly

Growing up my other brother was a Black Labrador. As an adult my career path has taken me from being a dog trainer assistant, veterinary hospital management and managing a dog walking/boarding business. These employment opportunities prompted me to open my own dog training business. In this rural community I offer both individual lessons/consultations and group training classes. Learning is for all life stages and I offer classes starting with STAR Puppy, to Core, Trick, Scent and Social Club.

Certifications: American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Approved Evaluator.

Services include:

  • Puppy training

Training methods: I believe in listening to and communicating with clients to determine the best path for training the human/dog team. There are many ways to achieve training goals through tailored private lessons, group class, workshops and special events. Training is lifelong with many fun opportunities to learn creatively.

Service areas: Ukiah, CA and Willits, CA

Website: https://skellydogs.com/


Nancy Le

Nancy Le is a certified professional dog trainer that's been serving the South Bay Area for over a decade. She is committed to effective training using force free and reward based training methods. Nancy is an honors graduate of the prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers, 2-year program (CTC). Also known as the "Harvard for Dog Trainers," she continues her education under the guidance of world renowned dog trainer Jean Donaldson.

Petunia, an English Staffy, she was the muse of In Tune Dog Training. Adopted from HSSV while Nancy was volunteering and not planning on adopting a dog! Nancy's struggles with Petunia's training, finding the right trainer/methods, inspired her to seek proper education to help others. Petunia crossed the rainbow bridge Sept 2022, her legacy lives on through Nancy's work.

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Petey, an American Staffy mix and a foster fail from SJ ACC. He was a great teacher due to his fear and aggression towards new people and dogs. He's was the goofiest guy who lived out his days stress and fear free. He crossed the rainbow bridge Nov 2022, his legacy lives on through all the fearful dogs that Nancy has the privilege to help everyday.

Certifications:

Honors graduate of the prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers, 2-year program (CTC)
Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT)
Separation Anxiety Professional (SAPRO)
Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT)
Animal Behavior College (ABCDT)
AKC CGC Evaluator

Services include:

  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Day Training

Service areas: South Bay area

Website: https://www.intunedogtraining.com/


Lindsey Shulz

INU offers balanced socials for dogs in a safe and structured environment. Whether you need help with aggression or are looking for a consistent program for your dog, our program is created to influence each dog hormonally, emotionally, and mentally rather than physically.

Instead of relying on obedience commands (Sit, Stay, Place), commercial tools (E-collar, Prong, etc), or force, we choose to change how a dog FEELS in their environment. We often overlook how our routine and relationship is affecting our dogs. While most trainers focus on correcting the dogs’ symptoms, dogs are only reacting honestly to the reality we create for them. How can we expect our dogs to change until we change for them?

While the pack helps each dog in their process, we also spend a great deal of time educating each owner to develop a new understanding of their dog and seeing the world from their perspective. This work will translate to a deeper bond between you and your dog. Whether you're looking for socialization or rehabilitation, INU is excited to welcome your dog to our pack.

We understand this is a lot of information, if you're interested and would like to talk further, we would love to hear from you!

INU is owned by the two pack leaders, Lindsey Schulz and George Peaslee. Currently servicing the Sebastopol and surrounding areas.

Services include:

  • Board and train

More info about service provided: Socialize, Daycare

Service areas: Sebastopol, CA

Website: https://www.inupacks.com/


Kelly Gordon

Kelly made her mark in the dog world as a dog walker when she was twelve years old. She then became a pet sitter for family friends, gaining experience in handling cats, reptiles, amphibians and various sizes of dogs. She knew this was her calling and her love for dog training blossomed from there. Her first Australian Shepherd, Matisse, came into her life when she was seven years old, sparking her interest and love for dog training. He was the most biddable, sweet dog and taught her so much. Her second Australian Shepherd, Lucy, arrived about a year later and she quickly realized that dogs could easily outsmart their people! Lucy would open doors if one was locked out, retrieve items and was fiercely loyal to her family. She knew Lucy had taught herself certain behaviors and Kelly couldn't wait to see what else dogs could learn.

When she was in her early twenties, Kelly began a job at PetSmart working with customers and their dogs as well as caring for boarding dogs and cats in the PetsHotel. It was during this time she acquired her third Australian Shepherd, Cody, with whom she enrolled in every class that was offered. Cody learned everything she taught him in such a quick manner that Kelly knew she had to get him into dog sports right away. At ten years old, he currently holds seven titles with various first and second place ribbons to go along with them. Cody is a wonderful ambassador of the breed and accompanies Kelly to her dog training job as a helping hand with dog aggression, socialization and he's just the cutest distraction for dogs learning basics with the challenge of another dog! Cody currently holds titles in Canine Good Citizen Program, AKC Trick Dog, Barn Hunt, Agility, Competition Obedience and Rally Obedience.

After leaving PetSmart after a few years, Kelly moved on to intern with My Best Friend Obedience owned by Karen Reardon-Taylor. She interned for 3+ years with Katherine McGuire as her mentor before signing on to be a professional dog trainer. She earned her CPDT-KA and maintains her certification by attending numerous seminars yearly on positive reinforcement training. Her training methods are science-based and humane, ensuring the comfort and happiness of every dog she works with.

Kelly currently owns her fourth (but surely not last!) Australian Shepherd, Rowan, a beautiful red tri-color male who is smart as a whip. Born November 20, 2018, he currently holds four titles to his name and along with his titles in Canine Good Citizen, AKC Urban, Rally Obedience, Competition Obedience and AKC Trick Dog, he will be competing in Agility and Barn Hunt.

Kelly specializes in training puppies and adult dogs dealing with basic obedience/manners to behavior modification and aggression. Her heart will always gravitate toward herding breeds but she has worked with a wide variety of dogs from each group.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Obedience training, Tricks

Service areas: Woodland Hills, CA

Website: https://www.clickersitter.com/


Joy Barnett

My family "pack": I have three children whom I homeschool, one lively male APBT (aka AmStaff) we rescued from Oakland Animal Shelter, a Napoleon kitten, and two beautiful corn snakes.
As a single, homeschooling mom with a business, I understand how complex people's lives can be and finding (oftentimes creative) ways in which to problem solve in order to make things work is, well, the difference between something working out or not working at all!
I have had a passion for animals and wildlife for as long as I can remember. And, I started dog training when I was just 16 years old. Transitioning from 'old school' methods to "new school" methods quite a few years ago, I only practice positive training (which includes non force), including positive discipline, as opposed to aversive training methods (those that use or promote the idea of dominance, choke chains, etc.). My goal is to help people have a relationship with their dog (s). When there is a relationship, the dog is choosing to obey his/her human leader out of love and loyalty and the dog respects his human leader. There is no fear or pain.

I feel a strong intuitive connection with and empathy for both people and animals and these help me to both relate to and also understand both. I also have what's referred to as, 'text book' knowledge (I've studied animal behavior out of both a fascination and also a desire to "read" canine behavior, body language). I have experience (through my own pets, clients' pets, schooling, and training). I have been a pet sitter, dog walker, dog groomer, and dog trainer for over 20 years. Lastly, I am a good listener. It is my belief that the combination of all of these allows me to not only relate to both humans and their pets but to also suggest training methods and solutions that will be both reasonable and effective.

Dog behavior and training is my passion. I find it amazing and fascinating, challenging and awesome. Many people view their pets as members of their families (I know I do) and I also know that when things aren’t going well with those pets (either between the dog and the humans or the dog and other pets in the home), it can result in a lot of stress and anxiety among the members of that family, human and non human alike. My goal is to facilitate those relationships, helping to create a functional and happy environment (ideally starting in puppyhood if possible), and maybe even being an integral part of keeping the family together (rather than placing an animal in another home or the shelter, though sometimes that is necessary).

I have experience with puppies (getting them off on the right paw!), adult dogs (yes, young or old, dogs can learn and should!), obedience training (so you have a well mannered dog with whom you can trust and communicate), tricks (just for fun!), leash walking issues (boy are these common!) and "aggression" (possession, guarding, territoriality, fear). I also have experience with dog-dog issues, with children and dogs, as well as dogs with other non canine members of the family.

I am an honest, talented, reliable person. I would love the opportunity to work with you and your canine (K9!) either through training or dog walking or both. So give me a call (or email) if you have a need and I am sure we can find a solution together.

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training

More info about service provided: Obedience training, puppy experience, problems/issues related to possession, territoriality, prey drive, anxiety, dogs and kids, dog-dog issues, dog and other pets or animals.

Service areas: Santa Cruzz

Website: https://santacruzk9.com/


Jennifer Gray

Jennifer has been teaching private lessons, doing board & train, and holding various training seminars at dog adoption events for many years prior to opening Sunny Day Acres to the public. She began her career as a Junior Handler in the show ring in 1990. From there she progressed to Obedience and Agility. After High School, Jennifer pursued working with wildlife, specializing with wolves, while also attaining her Business Management degree. She constantly continued to gain knowledge in various realms of the dog training industry. After college, she worked and trained dogs in the Search & Rescue field extensively and did an apprenticeship training bomb detection dogs. Jennifer returned to working with wolves in the film industry, known as a wrangler, and also continued training privately. Everyone who knows her wolf Coda should ask him to perform his old film set cues;)

Due to her in depth knowledge about canine behavior and various training techniques and methods, in 2012 Jennifer was personally asked by Cesar Millan and his organization to become the Director and Senior Head Trainer of his Dog Psychology Center. After 4 years there creating training programs and classes, and training more trainers, in early 2016 Jennifer resigned from the DPC to return to her own center full-time and open Sunny Day Acres to the public so that she could offer a wide array of help to individual dog owners and rescues alike.

From this spurred Jennifer seeing an even greater need to create her non-profit programs specific to helping rescues, fosters, shelter staff, and volunteers, as well as programs for NA/AA, Youth at Risk, and Abused Women. Recently attaining an additional property of 18.55 acres, Sunny Day Acres will soon be expanding to add more classes, more programs, and an animal sanctuary.

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Since building Sunny Day Acres facility in Agua Dulce, CA, Jennifer has added a wonderful team of trainers and assistants. Weekend classes have the help of Trainers Shayna Benno, Kaitlynn Kelley, Alex Sampson, Matthew Quinn, and Tiffany Brundy.

Certifications:

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

Service areas: Agua Dulce, CA

Website: https://www.sunnydayacres.org/


Britta Staub

My name is Britta Staub, I am from Berlin, Germany. I moved to Hawaii in 2000 when I got married. I Moved to Poway, CA in 2010 and Ramona in 2017. I worked as a Physical Therapist and Personal Trainer for more than 30 years. After experiencing overpriced, ineffective and sometimes overly physical dog training methods, I chose to start ASPIRE Dog Training. I started by becoming a Certified Dog Trainer. I chose the Animal Behavior College in California, because I, like them, choose to employ POSITIVE training methods, as there is never a reason to hit or hurt a dog during training.

I am constantly researching canine behavior. I am certified as a Canine Behavior Consultant through the International College of Canine Studies. I am certified as a Dog Trainer and in Canine Diet & Nutrition and Training Shelter Dogs through the Animal Behavior College. I am certified by the Red Cross in canine first aid. I have further education certificates in: Emergency Pet Shelter Manager through the Hawaiian Humane Society. I am an AKC "Star Puppy" & "Canine Good Citizen" & "Canine Community" Trainer and Evaluator.

I am also a member of the International Association of Canine Behavior Consultants. I was an education docent at Sea Life Park, in Hawaii for 3 years, I volunteered in the Hawaiian Humane Society as a dog trainer for 2 years. I also volunteered at the San Diego Humane Society in their Canine Behavior center as a trainer. We presently work with Second Chance Dog Rescue.

My husband Paul, a Certified Veterinarian Assistant, Groomer, and Dog Trainer, has been at my side for all of my educational training. We learn something from every dog we work with. We hope that you will consider us to help you with your dogs. We will use every tool we have to help your dog to behave the way you want. No dog is a lost cause, if you are willing to put in the time and be consistent than you will see the results of your labor!

Certifications: Certified Canine Behavior Consultant and a Certified Dog Trainer

Services include:

  • Service dog training

Service areas: San Diego, Ramona

Website: https://www.aspiredogtraining.com/


Alexandra Bassett

Alexandra Bassett is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and the lead dog trainer and behavior specialist at Dog Savvy Los Angeles. Originally from Martha's Vineyard, she has worked as a professional dog trainer and shelter volunteer for over 15 years.

Alexandra (also known as Lexi) has studied under World Champion Dog Trainer, Susan Garrett, and counts Andrea Arden and Dr. Sophia Yin as the other major influences on her positive training approach and philosophy.

She believes choice & reinforcement-based dog training methodology‚ "otherwise known as game-based dog training" is the most progressive form of positive reinforcement dog training available today and actively discourages the use of correction-based dog training methodology.

She has developed Dog Savvy Los Angeles's breakthrough behavior modification training programs for solving leash reactivity, aggression, and dog separation anxiety based on her studies of the teachings of Susan Garrett, Pat Miller, Patricia McConnell, Kevin Behan, and Grisha Stewart.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Dog Savvy Los Angeles specializes in game-based dog training and solving problem dog behaviors.

Behavioral issue focus: We are dog separation anxiety and leash reactivity specialists.

Training methods: We use game-based methods of training also known as "learning through games of choice" that build a dog's bond with its guardian while teaching them to be well-behaved. We offer online consultations, in-home and virtual training programs, and custom training plans to suit each individual dog's need.

Why I became a dog trainer: To raise awareness about how compassionate methods of training are not only effective but a much better way of building a loving and trusting bond between dogs and humans (mainly to counteract the prevalence of force-based methods which can erode the human/animal bond and very often do more harm than good).

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping dogs and people to live harmoniously together!

My #1 dog training tip: Training does not have to be harsh to be effective. Dogs learn faster and with greater clarity when training is enjoyable, so game-based methods that make learning fun and teach them to earn the things the want in life through good behavior are the best way to train a dog!

Service areas: Within 7 miles of Echo Park, Los Angeles or online.

Website: https://www.dogsavvylosangeles.com/


Karl Roberts

I got my first dog when I was six and I didn't train him, just in case you thought this was going to be a child prodigy story. He was a Jack Russell mix called Shep and I don't remember him ever having a leash, he definitely didn't sit on command, but he followed me everywhere and he listened in his own way to what I told him we were doing, or where we were going. It worked because I was with him all the time, really, he used to come to school with me until I was 11 and had to go to "big" school, because me and him grew up in the 80's in Wales where everything was a bit more chill.

Times have changed and so have I but not how I feel about that special relationship with our dogs. Using modern techniques that are completely and utterly force free I'll teach you how to make sure your dog has all the obedience they need to be safe and also guide you on the journey to cementing that bond which makes your dog trust and therefore listen to you.

Certifications: IMDT

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided:

Board and train
Adult obedience training (private)
Puppy obedience classes (basic and advanced)
In-home training (and at our training center)
Clicker training
Daycare

Behavioral issue focus:

Rescue dog rehab
Dog and human reactivity (on and off-leash)
Separation anxiety
Impulse control
Resource guarding
Leash pulling
Recall

Training methods: Positive reinforcement training, Offer a free 30 minute consultation to meet dog and owner resulting in a bespoke plan of action, Post session 'homework' is given to ensure progression between training sessions

Service areas: Los Angeles

Website: https://www.muttsandmunch.com


Kate Brown-Wing

As a Certified Trainer and Scientific Illustrator, I bring unique skills to my sessions. I am studying for my behavioral consultants certification and find that the combination of skills suit my clients both 2 and 4 legged. I work closely with owners to assist their dog to develop and grow. I specialize in puppy development, and offer group and private training that includes, socialization, early education of basic skills and practical home behaviors that lower frustrations for both dogs and owners. I LOVE my work and seeing the happy results.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, AKC/CGC Evaluator

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I provide private and group classes for Puppy Head Start, focusing on socialization, practical skills for home and community preparation, handling, foundational skills and Behaviors that make the most of the puppies early months of development. I offer AKC/CGC training and Evaluations, service dog training (for suitable teams), I work with dogs that are having behavioral challenges as a result of under or no early socialization, trauma, separation anxiety and reactivity issues. I aim to develop or assist dogs to be educated, mannered, at ease with themselves, cooperating family members.

Behavioral issue focus: I have been working with post COVID young dogs, finding many under- socialized needing reintroduction and education of life's typical occurrences - in the home and out in the community. I educate the owners to develop a trusting bond to rebuild positive associations, as well as enrichment exercises

Training methods: As a seasoned Scientific Illustrator as well as dog “Educator”, I observe the dog, owner and environs very closely. These skills are key to understanding the dogs behaviors and responsiveness to their experiences. The DOG sets the pace. I am a science -based trainer, using positive methods to introduce and encourage learning and skill acquisition. I do work dogs with behavioral needs, they have customized training plans that I design to address their specific issues, allowing be to track progress and changes of behaviors.

Why I became a dog trainer: I started with raising a Seeing -Eye puppy at 10, again at 16, I have some need for a service dog, so I trained him and my following dogs myself. Dogs are uniquely boned with us to 'partner' and cooperate with us. Training puppies and service dogs lead be to know that dogs are highly intelligent and motivated to learn. I know that with the proper, positive education, most dogs will over deliver and volunteer more and more behaviors that are helpful. Dogs have not yet had their 'Day in the Sun' as their intelligence and capacities are just now being explored.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching the dog have 'lightbulb' moments! I tell them 'Beautiful Jeeves! ( or what even their name is) GOOD THINKING!'

My #1 dog training tip: Observe closely.

Service areas: I service Northern Virginia, Washington, DC, and western MD, in a range of settings, homes, rural, suburbs and urban settings

Website: https://Look-n-ListenDogTraining.com


Debra Elliott

I'm 56 , came into training later than others but I am confident in my abilities. I have been around dogs my entire life, I showed dogs in Junior handling conformation classes as well as an adult. I have participated in obedience trials with my dog and have owned and trained dogs for over 35 years.

Certifications: Obedience, Socialization, CPR

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I offer in home private classes as well as group classes

Behavioral issue focus: The issue I see are counter surfing, barking, leash manners, basic and intermediate obedience issues

Training methods: I individualize training plans according to clients needs. I utilize clicker and or treats . I am a positive reinforcement trainer

Why I became a dog trainer: After training several of my own dogs my sister suggested getting my certification as a trainer

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Obviously working with the dogs but also seeing my clients faces when everything clicks and they and their dog successfully complete a behavior

My #1 dog training tip: Patience

Service areas: Escondido, San Marcos, , Vista, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Fallbrook, Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, Hemet

Website: https://brand.page/tattooladydogtraining.com


Beth Frumkin

Hi . My name is Beth and I am a dog trainer and behaviorist with 22 years experience. I have trained Guide Dogs for the Blind, Asistance Dogs for the Disabled, was the puppy group leader for Guide Dogs of America. I have trained thousands of dogs privately. I have recently published a kindle book chronicling obedience and behavioral training as well as many articles. I work on the train the trainer mentality, coming to your home and helping you and your family to work with you dog. I can help you with all issues from general obedience to behavioral issues including leash walking, off leash recall, self control and calm behavior. I never use shock collars or teach avoidance. I offer an obligation free phone consult to better discuss your needs. I charge $130 per 1hr session with a 2 session minimum.

Certifications: Former guide dog as assistance dog trainer. Over 20 yrs experience

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Private in home training. All breeds, all ages, all issues

Behavioral issue focus: I specialize in dogs who are fear aggressive with other dogs. In addition I work with everything from 8 week old pups to even senior dogs who need behavioral reshaping.

Training methods: I offer a free phone consult and then I do not lock clients into long contracts. After a 2 session minimum we work together to see how many sessions you need so you never have to pay for more than you actually need!

Why I became a dog trainer: I have always loved dogs and I love working with people. My goal is for everyone to have the most enjoyable life with their dogs!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping people get the best out of their dog

My #1 dog training tip: Use high value treats in situations that require a lot of focus

Service areas: San Diego County

Website: https://www.thetopdogtrainer.com


Erika Liljefelt

I am a dog trainer that is committed to using only humane, education-based training methods that are based on a positive reinforcement & force-free philosophy. I believe that kindness and a relationship built on a foundation of trust and joy are the most important parts of helping a dog and their caregivers work through whatever they are struggling with or need. I believe that we need to look at the WHY of any behavior before we ever look at the HOW of proceeding with behavior modification, skills training, or management.

I currently teach group classes for SIRIUS Puppy & Dog Training and the Humane Society Silicon Valley. I do private training for issues ranging from socializing and teaching puppies to working with adolescent and adult dogs on basic manners and various behavioral struggles, including separation anxiety/isolation distress.

I keep my skills sharp with continuing education to keep up with the latest canine & behavior science. I read and discuss the latest research with other professionals, attend virtual and live conferences and seminars, take live & virtual classes on my own and with my dogs, participate in mentorships to keep learning from top experts in my field, and attend webinars and workshops on a wide on a wide range of topics. You can be sure that I keep my knowledge and skills updated to provide the best training for your pup and you.

I live in the Bay Area with my daughter, partner, and our three dogs.

Certifications:

- CTBC-Certified Trainer & Behavior Consultant
- FDM-Certified Family Dog Mediator
- SAPT-Certified Separation Anxiety Pro Trainer
- CDW-Certified Dog Walker

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided:

- Puppy 1 and Dog 1 group classes at SIRIUS Puppy & Dog Training
- Beginning Puppy Training and Beginning Manners & Obedience group classes at Humane Society Silicon Valley
- Separation Anxiety/Isolation Distress Training (remote)
- Private in-home training for coaching the people, basic manners, jumping on people, game-based training, recall, loose leash walking, leash reactivity, anxiety, fear (on a case-by-case basis)

Behavioral issue focus:

- Separation Anxiety/Isolation Distress
- Leash Reactivity
- Fear (on a case-by-case basis)
- Anxiety
- Overarousal
- Frustration

Training methods: All training starts with a virtual behavior and training consultation so that I can get an overall picture of what is happening from the dog's caregivers. How we proceed depends on the behavioral issue or the skills both the person and the dog need to learn.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer & behavior consultant after my partner and I adopted a dog that ended up having profound behavioral struggles. I have a lot of empathy and compassion for dogs and their caregivers. I personally understand how difficult & stressful it can be to live with a dog who struggles and how it can really change your life in so many ways. He was my best teacher and he is the reason I am committed to a positive reinforcement/force-free philosophy in my interactions with dogs and their caregivers.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the relationship between people and their dogs change and get better. Watching the relief of both as they learn to understand each other and navigate life together.

My #1 dog training tip: Learn how dogs communicate with their body language and do your best to understand what they are saying. Keep in mind how good it feels for you when someone really understands you and apply that to understanding what your dog is trying to communicate to you.

Service areas: San Jose, CA, and surrounding areas

Website: https://www.relaxrover.com/


Christopher Moredock

Training for over 30 years

Certifications: Graduate of protrain

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Group classes

Behavioral issue focus: Any behavioral issues

Training methods: Customized to the client's needs

Why I became a dog trainer: Always had a interest in dog training,even as a child

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping clients enjoy their pets to their fullest potential

My #1 dog training tip: Patients and structure

Service areas: Lakeside

Website: https://www.americank9training.net


Rayel Friesen

I've lived with dogs all of my life, but didn't realize that there was a carrier working with dogs until my early 30s when I started working at a dog boarding facility. From there I was brought into training from a trainer that worked for Sirius Puppy Training. She taught me how to work fear and aggression outside of the classroom. After apprenticing for a couple of years I was given my own classes to teach. I've also had the opportunity to learn from a couple of the greatest minds in dog training like Dr. Ian Dunbar and Kelly Dunbar

Services include

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I do obedience training, puppy training, minor aggression, reactivity and in home training. I also do group classes through Sirius Puppy and Dog Training.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, fear, and minor aggression as well as basic behavior modification.

Training methods: For in home training we start with a consult and figure out what your dog needs and take it from there. Whether it’s basic obedience, house breaking, getting to calm. We work on getting the owner and dog relationship together. The group classes through Sirius build on a curriculum.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the relationship between dogs and their humans grow.

My #1 dog training tip: Be patient

Service areas: Marin, parts of San Francisco, parts of the East bay down to north Oakland

Website: https://www.barkknightdogtraining.com


Sarah Wykowski

Mother of Bailey the yellow Labrador, working with dogs for 15 years, in my second year of professional training. Continued education is very important to me. I also study raw feeding and dog nutrition.

Certifications: KPA CTP

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Day training, foundational behaviors, potty training, recall, puppy training.

Behavioral issue focus: Pulling in leash, reactivity, barking, fear and shyness

Training methods: Behavior consultation, training plan, clicker training, enrichment plan, lots of treats!

Why I became a dog trainer: Because I love Bailey and the dogs I work with so much and the methods I was using were working and didn't feel good. I also wanted more freedom and to make a better living.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Meeting all the dogs and people where they are at, learning together, and being creative.

My #1 dog training tip: I don't give tips.

Service areas: City Limits of San Francisco

Website: https://www.thanksfurnoticing.com


Lara Schindler

Lara Schindler is the founder of Happy Dog Happy Owner and has over 15 years experience training people and their dogs. Lara has always had a love for dogs and an interest in dog behavior and dog training. During a stressful time working as a corporate trainer, Lara realized that she wanted dogs to play a more prominent role in her life, as they always brought her joy and happiness. It was this realization that motivated her to combine her love for training and her passion for dogs and become a dog trainer. Soon after, Lara founded the San Diego based dog training company; Happy Dog Happy Owner.

Lara is an honors graduate of Animal Behavior College, where she received her certification as an ABC Certified Dog Trainer. She is also an authorized mentor trainer for Animal Behavior College students. She is pet first aid certified through the American Red Cross and a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. She is also an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator, a certified Dognition evaluator, and a Canine Water Sports judge. She is an avid reader of the latest dog training publications and attends seminars and training classes to keep her knowledge and skills up to date. She has been influenced by Dr. Ian Dunbar, Pat Miller, Jean Donaldson, and Karen Pryor. During her free time, Lara volunteers with her therapy dog Hops at Rady Children's Hospital and with the San Diego chapter of Love on a Leash. Lara specializes in training people how to train their dogs.

Certifications: ABCDT, CGC Evaluator

Services include:

  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Group agility, canine good citizen, obedience, puppy, and scent work classes.

Behavioral issue focus: Basic manners and leash reactivity

Training methods: Positive reinforcement trainer

Why I became a dog trainer: I enjoy making a positive impact in the lives of dogs and their people.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The "aha" moment

My #1 dog training tip: Don't underestimate the importance of daily physical activity and mental stimulation.

Service areas: Classes located in Ocean Beach and Point Loma

Website: https://www.happydoghappyowner.com


Jim Leske

Been training & rehabilitating pets in California for 20 years.

Certifications: AKC Training/ Testing: Canine good citizen

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • In home training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Obedience, behavior problems, Introductions/ socialization, We come to you.

Behavioral issue focus: Jumping, barking, house training, hyper, socialization

Training methods: Modern positive pet psychology

Why I became a dog trainer: Working with animals is a dream job, they always want to learn & please, Teaching the humans how to communicate with their pets is key !!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: When an animal is mislabeled: Can't, won't or will never and then proves them wrong & exceeds expectations, never gets old !!

My #1 dog training tip: Exercise is for the pets, training is for the humans !!

Service areas: LA county, Ventura county, Orange county

Website: https://www.GoodDogsAreTrained.com


Mariah Orozco

A Dalmatian dog mom, furever loving training and playing with puppers!

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Obedience training, training classes, doggy day care training, agility training, potty training, distraction training, basic commands & basic cues

Behavioral issue focus: Reactive dogs

Training methods: I train to distract the dogs with higher value treats and interest to avoid continuing reactive behavior

Why I became a dog trainer: My Pongo was so fun to train!! I have gotten so many compliments, I leaned into assisting the community when asked and created a small business from it!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Meeting new fur babies!

My #1 dog training tip: Bring treats. Bring twice as many as you originally planned for the most successful training sessions.

Service areas: Fallbrook, De Luz, Rainbow & Bonsall


Sniffspot California Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are California dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in California as selected by broad voting from the Sniffspot community and the general public. These trainers are expert dog trainers, who received votes from their delighted customers, due to their excellent dedication to customer service, excellent results and general care they exhibit for their clients. Many have worked with thousands of dogs and are highly experienced trainers.

How can I get in touch with dog trainers?

Each of the trainer profiles contains a link to their website. You can click through to their website where you can find more contact information.

Are these California dog trainers certified professionals?

Dog training is not regulated at the federal or state level, so there is no standard dog training certification and professional trainers are not required to be certified. However, certifications are important to show that a professional dog trainer has a standard of expertise to help train your dog. Each trainer’s certifications are listed on their profile.

What are the top certifications for Dog Trainers in California?

Some of the top certifications in the dog training industry are CPDT- KA, IAABC, Karen Pryor Academy - KPA certification, Jean Donaldson's Academy - CTC certification and Fear Free Certification. You can review the dog trainer certifications for each specific dog trainer on their profile on this page.

What methods are used in the dog training sessions?

There are many methods for teaching dogs and a lot of disagreement about the correct training approach. All of the California trainers included on this list use positive reinforcement training only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. This includes not using any specifically aversive approach to training or training aid, such as a prong or electronic dog training collar (also called remote dog training collar or shock collars). As for specific training programs and specialties, such as day training / doggie daycare or obedience training, you can see more information in each trainer’s profile.

Are dog training lessons in a training facility or are virtual options available?

Some dog trainers operate exclusively from a training facility, some do house calls and some offer video calls or other virtual options. There are pros and cons to each option and the most efficient behavioral training option depends on specific circumstances, for instance, what hours work best for you. A training center or training ranch can be a good option if your training plan requires facilities, training equipment or dedicated space. We recommend reaching out to the specific trainer you are interested in or browsing their website for more information.

Are dog training lessons private or in a group setting?

Every different circumstance of dog and owners may require a different setting, whether it’s housebreaking issues, anxiety issues, lack of proper socialization, food aggression or just bad habits. Each trainer has different offerings as far as whether they can offer clients a private training session or a group class. Trainers provide information about their private class and group class offerings in their profiles and you can browse their website for more information as well. It may make sense for your specific circumstance to reach out to the trainer to ask if they recommend group or private dog training classes. Some trainers also have a team of specialists that can provide even higher levels of service, or provide specialized sessions, such as pack walks.

How much does dog training in California cost?

California dog trainers have a wide range of costs for different services and phases of training. For instance behavioral modification that involves boarding is often more expensive than day training, and private lessons are generally more expensive than group lessons. Prices can also vary depending on specific behavioral issues. Lastly, some trainers have more overhead than others, We recommend first picking a trainer that provides the services that you are looking for, then reaching out to them to get up to date pricing.

Is training a dog good for the dog?

Yes! Training has many benefits for dogs. Whether with basic training skills or complex training techniques, going through behavior training with your dog can improve the bond that you share with them. Also, training can do a lot to improve the level of confidence enabling of a dog (and it can also help with building customer confidence!). Rather than being about exerting maximum control over them, it gives them more certainty that they understand how the world around them works. For instance, crate training can help a dog feel safe and at home in a crate vs fearful and uncertain. Dog training can teach important skills, such as leash control, potty training or a general level of obedience skills. And lastly, it’s just fun for the dog to learn life skills and for their family. Training can be very stimulating and enriching for a dog and serve them throughout their entire healthy life!

Can an aggressive dog be trained?

Yes! Any dog behavior can be worked on through training and coaching. Aggression in dogs is a serious issue, but it is also a term that is used very broadly. Many dogs that are thought to be aggressive are actually reactive, which is a different behavior altogether. A trainer can help you interpret signs of aggression, such as excessive barking, fear aggression and leash aggression, and type of aggression. If you believe you have a dog with aggressive behaviors, we recommend reaching out to one of your local top trainers to get their diagnosis and advice.

I am a California dog trainer. How can I get listed here?

As long as you have a training facility or do in person training in California you can be considered for this list. We update this list once per year, normally starting in January. Make sure to keep an eye on our social media and sign up for email updates with Sniffspot in order to be in the loop on the next round of nominations.

How much do dog trainers make in California?

Dog trainer earnings vary widely depending on many factors, such as whether a dog trainer is an employee or owns their own full-service professional dog training business. According to ZipRecruiter, the average dog trainer salary in California was $33,714 per year and $16.21 per hour. It is impossible to say how much a dog trainer can earn with a full-service professional dog training company, because the size and profitability of companies can vary widely.


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Merlin Noble

November 11, 2023

Dog Trainers

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The Best Dog Trainers in the United States of 2023 thumbnail

The Best Dog Trainers in the United States of 2023

Welcome to the United States Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in the United States based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 55,000 votes were used in compiling this list. We have only included the top trainers with sufficient votes and the trainers are ordered in terms of the number of votes received. Trainers that tied are ranked in reverse alphabetical order based on first name. All dog trainers on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used.

The Best Dog Trainers in New Jersey of 2023 thumbnail

The Best Dog Trainers in New Jersey of 2023

The Best Dog Trainers in Michigan of 2023 thumbnail

The Best Dog Trainers in Michigan of 2023

The Best Dog Trainers in Washington of 2023 thumbnail

The Best Dog Trainers in Washington of 2023

The Best Dog Trainers in Florida of 2023 thumbnail

The Best Dog Trainers in Florida of 2023

City dog parks guides

The Best Indoor Dog Parks in the United States thumbnail

The Best Indoor Dog Parks in the United States

Looking for a space to play with your dog no matter what the weather’s like outside? Look no further than our list of the best indoor dog parks in the United States! These climate-controlled spaces are growing in popularity as pet ownership increases throughout the country. As a bonus, many of them also offer dog training, boarding, grooming, or daycare services on the premises.

The Best Off-Leash Dog Parks in the United States thumbnail

The Best Off-Leash Dog Parks in the United States

Looking for the perfect place to play with your dog? We’ve got you covered! It’s hard to narrow down, but we’ve put together some of the best off-leash dog parks throughout the country so you can plan your next adventure — along with a checklist of what to bring, what to know beforehand, and some frequently asked questions.

The Best Las Vegas, Nevada Dog Parks thumbnail

The Best Las Vegas, Nevada Dog Parks

Looking for the perfect place to play with your dog in Las Vegas? We’ve got you covered! Take a look at the best local dog parks and plan for your next adventure in Sin City.

The Best United States Dog Parks thumbnail

The Best United States Dog Parks

Looking for the perfect place to play with your dog? We’ve got you covered! It’s hard to narrow down, but we’ve put together some of the best dog parks throughout the country so you can plan your next adventure. Here’s what the United States has to offer to its more than 90 million canine companions.

The Best Portland, Oregon Dog Parks thumbnail

The Best Portland, Oregon Dog Parks

Looking for the perfect place to play with your dog in Portland? We’ve got you covered! Take a look at the best local dog parks and plan for your next adventure in the City of Roses.