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The Best Dog Trainers in the United States of 2023

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David Adams

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

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.

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, 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 sponsored 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 Dog Trainers in the United States in 2023

Anthony Cietek

I have been for 12 years, starting off with no knowledge what's so ever when I started at Petco. I have always loved animals and knew they were a passion of mine ever since I was a little kid. In meantime at Petco I was a mentor to train other people like me who wanted it become a dog trainer . I also trained dogs but mostly people on how to train their dog.

I was fortunate to be sent to places like San Antonio and San Diego to train with some of the elites positive trainers in the country. My passion and love for dogs exploded, reading, traveling, watching everything and anything that dealt with dogs, training, behavior. I want to be the best so strived for that to get me where I am today.

Certifications: Certified AKC Evaluator

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Behavioral Modification training (fear and anxiety), in home training sessions (positive reinforcement training for dogs/puppies not ready for group yet), group obedience classes for both puppies and adult dogs, pack walk with training ( socializing and reinforcing proper behaviors around multiple dogs). Specific cues name, focus, sit, down, come, leave it, wait, stay, spin, roll over, place, heel, center, touch, and other various one. Potty training using bells or proper signaling along with other guidelines for starting the e puppy on the right path.

Behavioral issue focus: Fear, anxiety, leash reactivity

Training methods: Basic to advanced evaluations of the dog or puppy's behavior. We develop a training plan and meet weekly, bi weekly or monthly until the behavior has been corrected. Classes we meet once a week or 6 weeks. There are multiple classes ranging from basic to elite manners.

Why I became a dog trainer: My love and passion for animals, as well to help people

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Being around dogs, and making people proud of both themselves and their dog as they improve their relationship. Building a forever bond through training

My #1 dog training tip: that dogs only learn to reinforcement, so it is very important to reward your dog for every good action that they do. Have a structure, have fun, and most importantly love your dog.

Service areas: Capital Region, Saratoga County, Upstate NY


Elizabeth Ingalls

I've been involved in canine welfare in a variety of roles over the last 20 years. From rescue volunteer with multiple rescues, to Executive Director of Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, to behavior consultant, my desire has always been to improve the lives of dogs.

I have a BA in Biology from Bay Path University which enriches my understanding of the natural world. My training only utilizes humane, evidence-based methods, knowing they are the key to improving and maintaining the human-dog bond.

A vast majority of my experience has been with livestock guardian breeds, particularly Great Pyrenees. Over the last decade, they've become much more popular as pets, which has created a need for a trainer who understands their guardian personalities and motivations. Of course, I work with all breeds of dogs and the people who love them.

My goal is to help clients approach dog training and behavior modification holistically. By taking into account your dog's unique life experiences, breed, and mindset, each training plan is individualized. We will work together to use positive reinforcement to motivate changes in behavior that result in a fulfilling relationship between you and your dog

Certifications: CDBC- Certified Dog Behavior Consultant- IAABC
PPG Canine Training Professional

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I work with aggression and anxiety cases, as well as puppy and adult foundational training. I work with clients both in person and remotely. I love and work with all dogs, but also specialize in working with livestock guardian breeds (Great Pyrenees etc.) in pet homes.

Behavioral issue focus: Human directed aggression (owner directed and stranger directed), Reactivity, Resource Guarding, Intrahousehold aggression, Fearful and anxious behaviors, Successful transitions into new homes for rescue dogs, and setting puppies and their families up for a lifetime of success.

Training methods: I use humane based training methods for all dogs. I work with clients both locally and from around the world and we start with an intake behavior consultation. This allows me to learn about your dog's history, what they are doing and why, and what we need to do to change it. Initial sessions focus on safety and management (if needed), ensuring your dogs needs are met, and the 1st steps of a behavior modification plan. After that- training plans are customized to you and your dog's needs and goals.

Why I became a dog trainer: To enhance the lives of dogs and their people. My focus is on relationship building so that both the dog and the human can live a safe, peaceful, fulfilled life.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Celebrating my client's success. There's nothing that makes me happier than a video or message that shares a proud moment for my client and/or their dog.

My #1 dog training tip: Be kind and meet your dog's needs

Service areas: Enfield CT, North Central CT, Western MA, New Hampshire Seacoast, Suffield CT, Stafford CT, Somers CT, Longmeadow MA, East Longmeadow MA, Windsor CT, East Windsor CT


Jennen Herbst

I am a trainer in Columbia, MO. I do offer training for different types of things. I have started to expand more into reactive training which is the reason I originally wanted to go into training. I do like working with younger dogs as well to try to avoid these types of issues as they get older.

In college, I was actually pre-med. After I graduated with my bachelor's degree in "Medicinal Chemistry", I got a job in the healthcare field when I ended up working for about 8 years. However, around the time I started that job, I also adopted my first dog.

I had no intention of adopting her and actually said I would foster her, get her adopted, and then get a black lab like I had wanted. Instead, this completely white pit bull mix and I just celebrated her 10th Gotcha Day and she is my best friend and 4 legged assistant. She was a handful in her younger years so the basic manners and skills program is named after her. Training her and the dog I adopted a little less than a year later made me realize this is the path I actually wanted to take.

The second dog I adopted was not the happy go lucky dog like my first girl Margot. I quickly realized she had some behavior issues. I originally thought she was aggressive but soon learned a lot of her behaviors came out of reacting more in a situation due to her being anxious. I had no idea what to do so went to work with some trainers. They used different methods that I do not use now because they made me feel uncomfortable with the training process. I then started to research alternative methods which is when I found the information on positive based/force free training.

From there, using those methods, my Meia and I build a very strong bond and she became an amazing dogs. She never had a lot of friends but she could go out in public to a lot of places with me.

From there, I decided to dabble in training and got into it even more. Meia passed on Halloween of 2019. When this happened, I made the decision to go into training full time and let her legacy live on. The pet store I was working at part time was actually building a new location with a training room in which made it seems like the stars had aligned. She had a program named after her to help reactive dogs (Managing Exciting Interactions Appropriately).

I then adopted a dog almost 2 years ago who came to me nervous of life. This helped me work some of the training methods into a confidence building program which has made me learn even more and I am really enjoying it.
I also graduated with a Masters in Public Health (animal focused) last year. In that program, I designed multiple education program that I hope to find ways to incorporate in areas around me. The one I am most proud of is a program for kids to help them learn how to interact with dogs to avoid bites.

Certifications: CPDT - KA; Fear Free; AKC

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Manners and skills; group classes; one-on-one lessons, puppy "problems"; distraction training; confidence building

Behavioral issue focus: Mostly reactive (both dog and human) but also a lot of nervous dogs

Training methods: I am a fear free trainer. For behavior/reactive issue dogs, I like to start with an initial consultation in order to personalize a training plan that I feel will help the dog out in the most effective way. I try to work with the owner to best fit their lifestyle. I also avoid pushing the dogs past their threshold. To do this, I tend to do shorter lessons since sometimes dogs can only focus for so long or get too stressed with longer sessions.

Once they get to a place where both the owner and I are comfortable then we work into more group/real world situations. For general manners and skills, we set up a personalized training plan for them as well, working on the specific behaviors/skills they want to work on. For confidence building, we spend a lot of time on exposures, cooperative care, and helping them get comfortable in as many situations as possible. Each of the training programs for these is named after one of my dogs as each of them has been challenging in these areas.

Why I became a dog trainer: What I learned from my first two dogs on how to train dogs, made me want to share that knowledge with others. I concentrate a lot on building a bond and making sure there is mutual trust so that it is easier for both the dog and owner to navigate different situations. Having used multiple types of training methods, I wanted to expand the use of positive/fear free methods more.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching the dogs grow and developing relationships with both the dogs and owners that I work with. While I knew I would be helping dogs, I did not realize the strong relationships I would also build with the owners.

My #1 dog training tip: Keep training as positive as possible and avoid pushing a dog too far, too soon which can break the bond and trust they have in the owner.

Service areas: Boone County - Columbia, Ashland, Hallsville


Roman Gottfried

I'm a certified dog trainer and trauma-informed holistic behavior consultant. I guide dog guardians, fosters and dog professionals to solve even the most complex challenges. I use a mind body spirit approach, as well as holistic-, trauma-informed, secure attachment-based, and the Do-No-Harm approach to get results.

I am a firm believer in educating dog professionals, handlers, caregivers, and the public about positive training and the damaging effects that the use of aversion and outdated dominance theory can have on dogs, especially dogs with trauma.

What Is Holistic Dog Training
Holistic Dog Training is a trauma-informed, secure attachment-based, behavior consultant, i follow a Holistic, Do-No-Harm Training and Animal Care Philosophy.
I believe that dogs are sentient beings that deserve to be treated with respect, should be allowed to express their emotions, live in a healthy, stress free, species appropriete environment. They should be allowed to become full members of our family, that ensures that the dogs hierarchy of needs are met, and creating and maintaining a positive human/dog relationship naturally, for life.

Holistic parenting and training approach addresses all of these elements so they can exist in harmonyI'm a certified dog trainer and trauma-informed holistic behavior consultant. I guide dog guardians, fosters, and professionals to solve even the most complex challenges. I use a mind-body-spirit approach, as well as a holistic-, trauma-informed, secure attachment-based, and Do-No-Harm approach to get results. I am a firm believer in educating dog professionals, handlers, caregivers, and the public about positive training and the damaging effects that the use of aversion and outdated dominance theory can have on dogs, especially dogs with trauma.

Certifications: Certified dog trainer, Holistic behavior consultant, Reiki master teacher

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Trauma informed behavior assessment, separation anxiety, holistic training, attachment problems, siblings rivalry, do No harm

Behavioral issue focus: Commonly working with families with reactive and aggressive dogs, dogs with developmental problems, anxiety and phobias

Training methods: I'm working with Families to learn how to educate and help the dogs establish a secure attachment, identify trauma, and communication, challenges, and better understand the dogs breed traits and individual personality. After the assessment, I put together a behavior treatment plan based on the dogs needs and the family's abilities.

Why I became a dog trainer: It was always my passion to help dogs feel safe and cared for in homes. I also have a passion to help dogs with no family to find one, help them with their behavior problems and heal trauma

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Being able to manage my time, working with clients, working with people and dogs, living a healthy lifestyle and helping dogs

My #1 dog training tip: My number one training tip is not a training tip, before you train your dog, establish a secure attachment relationship

Service areas: USA, England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada


Rebecca Rossi

After starting my career and really cutting my teeth in a big box store 15 years ago, I learned how to help people of all different walks of life. I joined the crew at Manners Matter about 4 years ago where I am able to offer a wider array of classes and help people with more challenging issues.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CGC Evaluator

Services include:

  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Private lessons, group classes, seminars, and day training at Manners Matter

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity of all kinds, fearfulness, and anxiety cases

Training methods: I offer behavior consultations for people whose dogs have fear, anxiety, reactivity issues and more. I work closely with local veterinarians to help establish an appropriate behavior modification and management plan to help achieve realistic goals for each individual case.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer after having a near incident with my own dog at my very first ever obedience class that was compulsion based. That moment stuck with me for years and made me question our approach with dogs. I truly wanted to learn better, do better, then use that knowledge to help others avoid the pitfall I experienced.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is when I run into my clients having great moments with their dogs around our community.

My #1 dog training tip: Stay humble.

Service areas: Lexington/Fayette County, Jessamine County, Bourbon Co and beyond


Erika Proctor

Green Dogs Unleashed is a special needs animal rescue and therapy dog program. A non profit organization Founded in 2012, Erika Proctor has been the director and animal behavior specialist focusing on therapy work, basic through advanced classes, tricks, fitness and sport work, rescuing dogs on our community, and helping Pet parents build a bond with their furry friends ensuring happy well adjusted animals, who successfully stay in their adopted homes forever.

Certifications: GDU TDT -AKC CGC and Trick dog Evaluator

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Green Dogs Unleashed is a special needs animal rescue and therapy dog program. A non profit organization Founded in 2012, Erika Proctor has been the director and animal behavior specialist focusing on therapy work, basic through advanced classes, tricks, fitness and sport work, rescuing dogs on our community, and helping Pet parents build a bond with their furry friends ensuring happy well adjusted animals, who successfully stay in their adopted homes forever.

Behavioral issue focus: As a Behavior Specialist I work with all concerns from basic training needs to OCD and Anxiety, as well as reactivity and aggression evaluations and mitigation

Training methods: As a student of science I subscribe to methods that are based in kindness, mutual respect and build relationships between owner and pet.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help pets with their people problems

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping families stay together and work towards reasonable goals

My #1 dog training tip: Every dog is an individual and family makeup is different. It is important we respect that individuality and work towards realistic expectations that work for all involved

Service areas: Charlottesville and Central Virginia


Josh Beckler

Hi, my name is Josh Beckler...
...and I am a professional dog trainer passionate about helping dogs be well-behaved and happy.
I used to use punishment and force to train dogs, but now use force-free training with positive reinforcement and rewards.
Dogs trained using force-free methods are more confident, happy, and willing to learn, and trainers are able to build stronger relationships and trust with their dogs.

I've seen the benefits of force-free training for both dogs and trainers and am dedicated to staying current on the latest research and techniques. I believe every dog deserves kindness and respect and am committed to helping dog owners build positive relationships with their dogs.

Certifications: Pending Canine Science Behaviorist Certification

Services include:

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

More info about service provided:

We specialize in reactivity and aggression, focus on communicating and motivating animals without the use of corrections or tools. At our training center, we understand that dogs have their own personalities and quirks. That's why we tailor our training programs to suit each dog's individual needs to thrive.

Over the last 14 months, we have had the pleasure of working with close to 1200 dogs, and we're proud of the positive results we've achieved. Our commitment to the well-being of our furry clients has earned us a reputation as a trusted resource for dog training in the Bay Area.

We're also passionate about supporting rescue organizations in our community. We believe that every dog deserves a loving home, and we're dedicated to doing our part to help rescues and their furry residents.

So, if you're looking for a dog trainer who will work with you and your furry companion to achieve positive results without the use of harsh corrections or tools, look no further than our dog training services. We can't wait to help you and your furry friend on your journey toward a happier, healthier, and more harmonious relationship.

Behavioral issue focus: Resource guarding, reactivity, aggression, fear, anxiety, in home behavior issues, etc

Training methods: Utilizing all elements of motivation and rewards and staying in the vein of communication. Avoiding pain and fear as a mechanism for teaching or rehabilitation.

Why I became a dog trainer: Growing up, I had a difficult childhood. I lived in a neglectful and abusive home, and there were few sources of comfort and support for me. Dogs were my only escape from the pain and trauma of my daily life. One of my fondest memories from this time was roaming the Tennessee hills with my cocker spaniel, Lela May. She was my constant companion, and the love and loyalty she showed me were a source of solace in a dark and difficult time.

Despite the challenges I faced at home, I always had a deep love and connection with dogs. They provided me with a sense of security and belonging that I couldn't find anywhere else. Eventually, the state intervened and removed me from my home. I was placed with my aunt, who became my legal guardian and provided me with the love and support I had been missing for so long. Although I left my childhood behind, I never forgot the role that dogs played in helping me to survive and thrive. I made a commitment to myself to use my experiences to help others, and I became a dog trainer as a way to give back to the animals that had given me so much.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The relief and confidence that clients obtain seeing that their can dog make better choices and thoroughly enjoy the process.

My #1 dog training tip: Dogs never know what the hell is going on. Maybe help them out a little. Spend the time

Service areas: Northern California/Bay Area


Helen St. Pierre

Helen is the owner and operator of No Monkey Business Dog Training. Based in Concord New Hampshire, she is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA) and a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) and a Operation Socialization Certified Trainer (OSCT) She is also a licensed and certified Family Dog Mediator.

Helen has been training dogs for over 20 years. She is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, a member of the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals and is a certified member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and a member of the Pet Professional Guild. Helen is also a licensed Dogs and Storks educator, a licensed Dogs and Toddlers educator, and a certified AKC evaluator.

Helen's skills range from basic obedience to behavior modification of serious problems including aggression as well as service dog training. Helen is always doing one on one behavior consultations, and Helen teaches classes locally in the Concord, New Hampshire area and offers workshops and seminars on a variety of subjects all around New England and internationally.

Helen is constantly going to continuing education seminars to learn more about the fascinating world of dog behavior, and she has been featured on the radio, in print, and on T.V. for her work! She volunteers countless hours at the local SPCA and works with homeless dogs to help them learn skills to find a home faster. She teaches class on dog behavior and ethology at the local college too! She has worked as a trainer for the humane society rehabilitating aggressive dogs, and helping homeless dogs find the right home. She also was the volunteer 4-H dog club leader, and taught basic obedience at a prestigious training academy in Durango, Colorado. She is educated in canine behavior and has a strong foundation of knowledge on the psychological principles and applications of dog training. Helen has both the academic and hands-on skills that make for a great trainer and behavior consultant.

Helen has eleven dogs of her own, two Collies named Corduroy and Rupert, and Mallory a Papillon! Messner is a rescue papillon and Legend, a Scottish Deerhound. She adopted a rescue cattle dog, named Joker. She also has Chess, a Japanese Chin and Pixel and Persephone rescued Chinese crested. Aslan is her Belgian shepherd that she works regularly in protection work.

Helen also has a horse Noah, four cats, 2 parrots, a tortoise, a hedgehog, and two daughters Grace and Evelyn. She takes great pride in her work and treats every animal she trains as if it were her own, making your training experience motivating and enjoyable! When not training dogs she is running her senior and hospice dog rescue out of her home.

Certifications: CPDT-KSA, CDBC, FDM-L, OSCT

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Day training, basic classes through advanced, reactive dog classes, one on one consultations, new dog selection assistance, end of life preparation and so much more

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, aggression, fear, anxiety, hyper arousal, low frustration, body handling issues, potty training, puppy behaviors

Training methods: Reward based and progressive training using up to date information, tools and techniques. We set the dog, and the Human up for success

Why I became a dog trainer: I started helping people with their dogs through shelter work in 2004 and never looked back!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: watching dogs and humans become a better team together

My #1 dog training tip: work with the dog you have in front of you!

Service areas: Concord, NH


Margaret Fraser

I am a Chicago-based trainer that believes training should be fun, sustainable, and kind. I want to help you and your pup better understand each other and use training and management solutions that work with your individual needs and lifestyle. I rely on positive reinforcement training with a focus on science-based methods.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CGC Evaluator

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: In home private sessions, day training, virtual sessions, field trips

Behavioral issue focus: Leash reactivity and frustration, therapy dog preparation, puppy socialization, cooperative care, fear and stranger danger, multi-pet households

Training methods: Every client gets a free 30-minute phone consultation/ intake. Private sessions last about 60 minutes and take place in the home and at locations around the city. Every session comes with follow-up notes and homework. Clients who purchase packages or day training also receive a training plan and support between sessions.

Why I became a dog trainer: I first became interested in training when I adopted my dog Bea (Arthur) in 2013 while living in New York City. I had to quickly learn how to manage a behaviorally challenging dog in an urban environment. This led to a passion for rescuing, fostering, and training dogs. I have fostered over 20 dogs for local animal rescues and continue to volunteer my time helping animals in need.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing people live their best lives with their best friends.

My #1 dog training tip: Management is just as important (if not more!) as training.

Service areas: Chicago neighborhoods and some nearby suburbs


Jenny Black

Hi! I'm Jenny and I'm currently the Behavior Program Senior Manager at Homeward Pet Adoption Center in Woodinville, Washington. I've worked in shelters in Washington State coming up on a decade now, and truly found my passion for shelter behavior here.

I'm originally from Texas, graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in Biomedical Science. I'm a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), a Certified Behavior Consultant (CBCC-KA), and a Fear Free Certified Professional.

While my passion at work lies with the dogs and cats that need us most behaviorally, at home I spend my time caring for super senior dogs in need of end-of-life care. My husband and I foster and adopt hospice dogs who need intensive care to ensure their comfort for whatever time they have left. Our pets at home (who are the best foster helpers) include Kale (an old, reactive, fearful poodle mix with severe IBD), Posey (a very chill, old westie), Ruth (an old, blind chihuahua), and Lola (a toothless, sassy calico cat).



More info about service provided: While my main job is overseeing the behavior care provided to the animals at Homeward Pet Adoption Center (including enrichment, socialization, and behavior modification), my team and I also provide free behavior consultations to anyone who needs behavioral support. Our main goal is to help prevent or solve behavior issues that would have normally resulted in surrendering the pet to a shelter, but we are also here to have honest conversations about the shelter system and how we may be able to help someone through rehoming or other outcomes.

Behavioral issue focus: At Homeward Pet, we work with a wide variety of behaviors including fear, anxiety, shelter stress, reactivity, handling sensitivities, aggression, jumpy/mouthy behavior, and more.

Training methods: We evaluate our animals throughout their stay, creating unique training plans to meet their needs along the way. We also provide post-adoption behavior support to ensure our animals are as successful as possible after they leave our care. We use positive reinforcement-based training, following Fear Free methods whenever possible.

Why I became a dog trainer: I always saw myself working with animals, even as a very young child. I didn't know there were other paths to an animal-focused career besides veterinary medicine, so that was my intention going into my university coursework. As I worked in more and more vet clinics in a variety of roles, I felt that I didn't enjoy working with animals in that type of setting as much as I thought I would. After graduating, I moved to Washington State from Texas and starting pursuing other job opportunities. I found myself accepting a job at Seattle Humane and quickly found my way into shelter behavior. A few years later, I decided to become certified and make it official!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer:

I could never hold a job that felt the same every single day. This job involves a lot of problem solving, improvisation, quick thinking, and there's always something new happening to keep things exciting!

But I really found my passion helping animals through the shelter system. Being a source of comfort for them in such a difficult time can be really hard, but it's truly rewarding in every way. I love knowing that I can play a small part in so many animals' lives, doing whatever I can to ensure that these tough days lead to something better for them.

My #1 dog training tip: Focus on consent. Ensure that the animal you're working with is 100% on board with what you're doing. Let them have the freedom to make choices and opt out if needed.


Jaime Caponetta

I'm Jaime Caponetta, IAABC Certified Canine Behavior Consultant and the proud owner of Pawsome University. My most important title, however, is 'Mom.' I have 2 small boys and 3 amazing rescue dogs, who I consider to be my actual children.

I started out in 2016, working as an animal care attendant at my local SPCA. In 2017, I started Pawsome Walks - my first company that focuses on pet care with a high standard of care - and got ABCDT certified. I continued to gain experience and knowledge, eventually earning the certification of Canine Behavior Consultant from the IAABC. that's when we started Pawsome University, a positive reinforcement behavior modification training company!

I am most known for my one-on-one work with my virtual clients (Ranked #1 Remote Dog Trainer in the USA - 2022 by Sniffspot), my interviews on The Pregnancy Podcast discussing dogs and babies, and for my (in person) Reactive Class where reactive dogs come to my farm to learn how to make positive connections with others! I'm quick and efficient at getting to the bottom of what's going on at home without even needing to see your dog and come up with a behavior modification plan that is fun, fear-free, and works for EVERYONE involved. I absolutely love what I do, not a day goes by where I feel as I'm going to 'work!'

Certifications: ABCDT, ACBC-IAABC

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I specialize in all behaviors - reactivity, aggression, guarding, separation anxiety and dog/baby relationships. I have puppy & teenager group classes, one time socialization classes with other dogs, one on one sessions, virtual sessions and virtual workshops. We also have a rehab boarding program for rescue and shelter dogs!

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, Aggression, Resource Guarding, Overstimulation/Low Impulse Control, Safe Relationships with babies & kids, Anxiety and Separation Anxiety, Dog Socialization and Puppy Behavioral

Training methods: All Positive Reinforcement Behavioral Training - I focus on getting your dog to a happy and healthy state and less on cues and distractions. No bandaids or management training! I offer free consultations, questionnaire prior to first session, assessment, behavior modification plan, homework, and written resources.

Why I became a dog trainer: Big rescue advocate and I was tired of seeing many dogs euthanized because on staff trainers couldn't handle the issues. I wanted to give people hope that big behavioral issues are fixable and that rehoming isn't necessary!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping families find peace with their dogs and have the amazing relationship they both want. Explaining what the dog needs to the pet parent, watching it all click and then see the dog succeed when the changes are made is probably one of my most favorite aspects

My #1 dog training tip: No dog needs a heavy hand and every behavioral issue can be fixed with positive reinforcement!

Service areas: Monmouth County, NJ


Jen Reynolds

I have been training since 2007, first working at a retail pet store before obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Animal Science with a focus on Animal Behavior. My main passion is working with rescue dogs, and I was the behavior department head for the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for 7 years. I currently work with many local rescues and shelters to help their dogs be ready for adoption. In addition to rescue experience, I was the RI state representative for NEADs and also worked with the RI state police search and rescue and cadaver team. I have been training people and their dogs inside their homes since 2014.

Certifications: B.S., CPDT-KA, AKC CGC Evaluator

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: We offer group classes for obedience through AKC CGC certification, as well as outdoor adventure classes. We also offer a wide variety of in-home services for basic needs, behavior modification, separation anxiety, etc. Day training services are also available and conducted at an owner's home.

Behavioral issue focus: Leash reactivity, household aggression between dogs, resource guarding, separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, arousal and impulse control issues.

Training methods: We train using positive reinforcement training methods, we do not utlize pinch, prong or shock collars. We offer behavior consultations if needed and typically start in-home training programs with a package of 4 lessons. Additional sessions needed are purchased one at a time.

Why I became a dog trainer: I had a dog and person reactive dog and I needed to find a way to help her, it grew into my passion, and I wanted to help other people.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the improvements with dogs and helping owners live the lives they want to with their pups.

My #1 dog training tip: Be patient! Changing behaviors takes time, but it is worth it in the end!

Service areas: All of Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts


Keiko Swanberg

Keiko Swanberg, the owner of Zen Dog Seattle, LLC is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), a Certified Control Unleashed Instructor (CCUI), a licensed AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator, and a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). Keiko moved to the U.S. from Japan in 2000 and has been a long-time shelter/rescue volunteer and foster parent ever since. Her love of training blossomed through volunteering for shelter dogs and when she adopted a very fearful and reactive husky/shepherd mix named Akira, who became her business logo. Fearful and reactive dogs hold a special place in her heart. She shares her house with her husband, adopted dogs, cats, and often with foster animals from shelters.

After working with many top professional trainers and being an assistant trainer for 7 years, Keiko left the corporate world and started her own business, Zen Dog Seattle, LLC in 2021. Keiko teaches group classes and private lessons for all ages of dogs, including reactive rover, control unleashed, basic to advanced manners, canine good citizen, and agility. Her approach uses science-based positive reinforcement methods and does not use aversive techniques like prong collars, shock collars, force, or fear as part of training.


Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
Certified Control Unleashed Instructor (CCUI)
AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I offer group classes and private lessons for all ages of dogs, including reactive rover, control unleashed, basic to advanced manners, canine good citizen, and agility.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, fear, basic to advanced manners.

Training methods: I offer fear-free, force-free, positive dog training and behavior modification based on behavioral science.

Why I became a dog trainer: I saw too many dogs who were abandoned or surrendered due to behavior issues at a high-kill shelter I used to volunteer/foster for 12 years. I hope to help more owners to prevent their dogs from ending up at shelters.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing so many smiles through working with about 90 dogs (and 90+ humans) with different personalities every week!


Jennifer Caves

I have my M.Psy, CGC, FPPE and am always soaking up continued education experiences. I have a passion for rescue and partner with many rescues locally and throughout the state to create educational programs and support their fosters and adopters. I have been working professionally with dogs for 15 years. I also run a small non-profit Sanctuary for feral dogs and cats and a few behavioral animals. Our motto is, "Where Passion Meets Purpose." We live that code in our work with our clients and with the animals we have the privilege of helping.

Certifications: Masters in Psychology, M. Psy., CGC, FPPE

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: We provide holistic, positive reinforcement relationship building to reach any behavior or training goals. We specialize in all behavior modification and training.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactive dogs, fearful dogs, obedience issues, puppies, resource guarding, prey drive, separation anxiety and deaf and blind dogs.

Training methods: We offer Zoom and phone consultations that create an initial customized behavior plan and then we proceed with in persons as needed. Our work is comprehensive, relationship-centric and just as much about teaching the pet parent as it is the dog.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help give back to the community and create more ethical education on how animals learn and deserve to be treated in their life along side us.

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

My #1 dog training tip: Learn canine-body language and the science of how dogs learn.

Service areas: In person, DFW Area and Surrounding areas. Virtually, world-wide.


Jamie Flanagan

Jamie Flanagan KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA
Senior Trainer
Our company owner and founder, Jamie began her career training dogs in 2008 and is now one of the most respected dog behavior experts in Colorado.

She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner.

Jamie handles our more significant behavior cases and court-ordered training but her favorite students are tiny dachshunds with huge attitude!

Jamie is passionate about helping people who think their dog is a lost cause or have seen other trainers that have made their dog's behavior worse! A little science goes a long way.

Ongoing education is incredibly important for all our staff, but Jamie says the dogs are her best teachers. Ask her what she has learned from them lately.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP

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:
Offering on-site private lessons
and boarding at our facility in Broomfield, Colorado
in-home lessons in Boulder & Broomfield counties,
and remote lessons anywhere!

Behavioral issue focus: We specialize in modifying the behavior of
fearful and reactive dogs without the use of force.

Training methods: At Training Wheels, our objective is to streamline the training process, eliminate frustration, and empower both human and dog to work as a connected team. We do this by utilizing humane, reward-based training techniques to achieve our goals rooted in the science of how dogs learn. There's no need to punish your best friend in order to get results - in fact, you can teach your dog that he has a choice to offer those wonderful behaviors you want to see more of!

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer because I had very difficult dogs of my own. None of the trainers I met with knew how to help me so I started doing a lot of research on my own. I found a new passion for understanding why dogs behave the way they do and never looked back.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I am privileged to get to know some wonderful dogs that most people are scared of!

My #1 dog training tip: Pair the scary stuff with treats!!!! It works like magic but it's SCIENCE!

Service areas: Boulder County, Broomfield County


Kelly Coleman

I worked in the criminal justice field for years. As the pendulum swung to where perpetrators had more rights than victims, I had to leave the field. The only reprieve from the negativity of the world came from my dogs. Not wanting to waste my master's degree, I obtained certifications in the National Animal Care and Control. Unfortunately, I learned I needed more. Although I like animals, I truly love dogs. Upon finding Pat Miller of Peaceable Paws, I found my calling and completed her academies to equipped me to properly learn how to train both dogs and owners using force free techniques.

Certifications: PMCT 3; ABCDT

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: All training focus on increasing the handler's ability to understand their dog and their dog's needs. The pet parent learns how read canine body language, understand learning theory, and psychology. All trainings are completely force free. Owners learn to understand that dogs do not give us a hard time, the reactive ones are having a hard time.

Behavioral issue focus: Fear based aggression is the most common behavioral concern. These are often dogs who lack in socialization and respond by offering distance increasing cues like barking, growling, and lunging.

Training methods: Using counter conditioning and desensitization, we help dogs learn by helping change their opinions about stimulus that otherwise triggers reactions. We work within the dog's behavior threshold and close the gap as the dog is able.

Why I became a dog trainer: To enhance my understanding and love of dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing owners gain a better understanding of their dogs.

My #1 dog training tip: Understand that we often get frustrated with dogs for behaviors that are completely natural and normal dog behaviors. If we want to achieve new behaviors, we have to teach them. And learning should never hurt.

Service areas: Western Pennsylvania: Indiana, Homer City, Blairsville, Shelocta, Kittanning, Armagh, Ebensburg, Johnstown, Clymer, Commodore, Penn Run, New Florence, Marion Center, Ernest, Creekside, Punxstawney

Beth McGonigal

Hi there, I'm Aunt Beth! At NPAB we focus on nothing but positive reinforcement-based, fun & effective training the whole family can do. As a certified professional trainer, I offer a variety of services, including in-home dog manners training, behavior consultations and behavior modification, and group classes at our training & education facility, as well as at local veterinary offices and county parks.

I'm highly experienced in various areas of training and thoroughly enjoy working with:

First Time Dog Owners

Anxiety & Fear-Based Reactivity & Aggression

Rescued Dogs

Finicky Felines

Certifications: Certified Behavior Consultant Canine, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Fear Free Professional

Services include:

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

Behavioral issue focus: Aggression, Reactivity, Fears / Phobias

Why I became a dog trainer: Save dogs from going to shelters

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The lightbulb moments from dogs and their owners

My #1 dog training tip: Build a healthy relationship with your dog

Service areas: Pittsburgh


Tanzi Leary

I have been teaching other people to help dogs for 10 years, and hold several credentials. I am a "Certified Dog Behavior Consultant" (CDBC), "Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed Level 1" (CPDT-KA), and "Pat Miller Certified Trainer" (PMCT1). That means I am certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, and by a famous trainer, Pat Miller, both via examination and demonstration of training methods in three intense academies. I am also an "SA Pro Trainer" (SAPT), meaning she has taken a course with Julie Naismith, certified behavior consultant and author of Be Right Back!, to learn how to work with dogs that experience separation anxiety. I earned a "Fear Free Certified Professional" (FFCP) certification from the Fear Free Pets organization to be able to assist clients and veterinarians with handling techniques to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in dogs during visits.

In 2022, I won the #1 spot in Sniffspot's Top Trainer contest for Baltimore and Maryland and ranked #3 in the US.

Certifications: CDBC, CPDT-KA, PMCT1, SAPT, FFCP

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 work one on one in private sessions with clients and their puppies and dogs to address behavior issues like puppy basics, manners, and big emotions like anxiety, fear, phobias, and aggressive behavior

Behavioral issue focus: Anxiety, fear, phobia, predation, aggression, and any manners work or puppy foundation work

Training methods: I teach my clients the basics of canine cognition, motivation, body language, and learning processes, to make small changes with a big impact on their dog's behavior. We look at how to set up their home and routines to be more successful with less effort. The first step is an hour-long intro call to gather info and set goals. then we follow up with private lessons. In lessons, we follow the Humane Hierarchy to train without trauma- no pain, threat, shame, or intimidation of dogs, or their people.

Why I became a dog trainer: I started fostering dogs for an organization, and each dog seemed to have more problems than the last dog. I had always been good with dogs and decided I should learn more about how to really work with them if I was going to continue fostering. I started taking classes from Pat Miller and then worked at MDSPCA for two years to really get my hands on a lot of dogs that needed help. Along the way, MDSPCA group class clients and volunteers started to ask if I could come to their homes to help, and my career began.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love helping people communicate better with their dogs. The "language" barrier gets in the way more than anything, and it can be life-altering for the dog and the people to understand each other.

My #1 dog training tip: Pay for anything you like with an entire bowl of food, piece by piece, daily for a couple of weeks, and you will have a different dog. Sitting, standing, lying down, eye contact - anything the dog offers on his own is fair game.

Service areas: Reisterstown, Glyndon, Owings Mills, Pikesville, Stevenson, Timonium, Lutherville, Towson, Mt. Washington, Hampden, Roland Park, Ruxton, Guilford, Homeland, Stoneleigh, Rodgers Forge, Sparks, Hunt Valley, Cockeysville, Parkville


Ali Evanson

Ali is a graduate of The Karen Pryor Academy, earning her Karen Pryor Certified Training Partner title (KPA CTP). She is a certified dog behavior consultant (CDBC) and a certified family dog mediator (FDM). Ali continues her education and professional growth by attending several seminars each year. She makes every effort to provide her clients the individual training solutions their dog needs.

When not helping clients, Ali enjoys time with her own companions - especially being in the water with her Pitties! She grew up riding horses and working with the family dogs when her parents would let her. She also had cats, rabbits, bearded dragons, mice, hamsters, and a ferret growing up - whatever her parents told her she couldn't bring in the house, she did! Now her menagerie is a bit smaller with three dogs, two ferrets, and a horse.

Certifications: CDBC, FDM, KPA CTP, CTDI

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: We offer board and train primarily but also have behavioral boarding and some classes. We currently run reactive dog class but will be launching cooperative care classes soon. We work with all types of behavior from puppies and adult dogs needing to learn obedience to more specific behavior modification like reactivity. The only thing we specifically avoid is dogs with Separation Anxiety because a boarding place is not the place to work on that.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity is the most common we see but we do work with dogs with aggression as well. Handling sensitivities is something we see a lot of too. Most dogs who we see have a level of anxiety and we team with veterinary behaviorists to help with the more severe cases.

Training methods: We first begin with an info sheet which has a lot of specific questions on it related to what the owners are seeing from their dogs which helps tell us which program would fit best for them as well as if they're right for our board and train program. We then get them on the books for their stay and set up an initial consult which is done at my training center. This lets me meet the dog and determine if they will likely be successful in our program. They would then begin their program which is usually 2-3 weeks long.

We use all positive reinforcement methods and believe in treating dogs kindly. When they check in we let them decompress and work on basic behaviors and anything we think they should learn to be successful at their bigger goals. If they're working on reactivity we will systematically work with one of my neutral dogs to counter condition and desensitize before we begin working out in the real world. A follow up consult is included when you pick up your dog from their stay. We offer continuing education that can be added on to each package which can be done in home, virtually or at my training center.

Why I became a dog trainer: When I was growing up I had always wanted a dog of my very own to teach lots of tricks to but was never allowed. The second I bought my first house I adopted my first dog, Sasha. I got heavily involved in the rescue world and began fostering only a couple months after Sasha came home. I fostered some easy cases and then more difficult dogs. I learned all I could to try and help these dogs as best as I possibly could.

I didn't become a trainer until I adopted my second dog, Chunk. Chunk was an easy puppy but developed some severe behavior issues as an adolescent. I started learned how to help her and that is how I became interested in becoming a dog trainer to help more dogs like her. I realized how much I had helped my own dog and wanted to share that with other people and dogs who were struggling. I became certified through the Karen Pryor Academy and have been doing this professionally ever since.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love being able to help owners understand their pets more thoroughly and to give them the skills and knowledge to help their struggling companions.

My #1 dog training tip: Don't underestimate the value of reinforcing what seems like nothing in the early days. Your dog is laying on the ground calmly, treat that! Your dog checks in with you(especially without jumping), treat that! Find opportunities to reinforce your dog so they WANT to repeat those behaviors over and over.

Service areas: Huntley, IL


Erin Marion

I have over twelve years of experience working with dogs. I am a certified professional dog trainer, (CPDT-KA), a Karen Pryor clicker training partner, and am certified in pet first aid.

I love all dogs and all aspects of working with dogs. I have worked in a wide range of dog-related areas - large vet hospitals, day care facilities, feed stores, dog training academies and rescues. Throughout the last 12 years I have gained a wide range of knowledge about dog behavior, health, emotional care, training, and nutrition. This broad experience has helped me immensely in understanding dogs and made me a better trainer.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP

Services include:

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

More info about service provided:

Even though I train all types of dogs I specialize in working with dogs who are deaf, blind or both. I offer in-person one on one sessions and virtual sessions as well. I also offer a in-home teenage day school where I work with clients dogs on my property by providing socialization and training by a professional dog trainer.
I am here to provide assistance to dog guardians in the first few months of bringing their dog home and continuing their training into the first few years. I teach all of my clients how to work through puppy-hood and then adolescence using positive reinforcement and reward based training methods.

Behavioral issue focus:

Behavioral issues that I most commonly work with are dog guardians looking to be able to affectively communicate with their dogs who are deaf, blind or both. I coach guardians on how to provide safe socialization opportunities, basic obedience, resource guard prevention, auto check-in's and startle prevention.

With dogs that can see and hear I most commonly work through pet dog issues such as under-socialization, age related behaviors during adolescence, recall and over all basic manners.

Training methods:

I train all dogs (including my own) using science based methods. I am a LIMA positive reinforcement based trainer. When first meeting a client I always provide a free consultation call to give us both a chance to get to know one another. If we both find each other to be a good fit I start with an hour long virtual zoom meeting where we can go over all the basics without the distraction of me in the room with your dog. We go over example videos, PDF's and anything that I find will be helpful in that particular dogs case. To me, each case is different, not every dog has the same training plan. I create training plans according to that specific client and client's dogs needs. I typically like to meet once a week or bi-weekly. In between lessons I like to keep a communication line open so I can review video homework and am able to answer questions.

None of my clients are taught, nor do I train using shock collars, prong collars or choke chains.

Why I became a dog trainer:

I have been a 'Dog Lady' for as long as I can remember, but it all came together for me after adopting my first dog, Otis. When he and I first became our own little pack, he had some major anxiety and aggression issues. I knew I needed to learn more about dog training in order to really help him.

We began the Karen Pryor clicker training program together, where I was able to help Otis overcome his anxiety and aggression issues. It was with Otis that I realized being a dog trainer and training with positive reinforcement was my true calling. I then raised my Australian Shepherd, Dahlia and multiple foster puppies with those same methods. I have continued to hone my craft throughout the last decade. In 2018, my training expanded to incorporate special needs dogs when I fostered my first deaf and blind puppy. In 2020 I adopted Darla, who was born with limited hearing and almost no ability to see. In 2022 I adopted Clark a completely blind rough coat collie. After multiple disabled foster dogs and now currently having my own blind and deaf dogs I am extremely passionate about helping special needs pets and their guardians connect by using force-free training methods.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer:

My favorite part of being a dog trainer is getting a chance to coach dog guardians how to communicate to their dogs. Many dog guardians who adopt a dog who is deaf, blind or both feel extremely over whelmed on how to truly "talk" to their dog. Watching someone be able to work with a dog who is deaf and blind and have the dog fully participating and enjoying the training is what makes my job so special.

I of course love dogs and wanted to be a dog trainer because I had such a passion for them. However it is the people that I have gotten to meet along the way that makes being a dog trainer the job of a lifetime.

My #1 dog training tip: When bringing home a dog that is disabled it's important to assist and guide them through a humans world however it is detrimental to feel bad for them. These dogs are truly capable of so much that you will hinder their ability to grow by always holding them back.

Service areas: Chester County, Montgomery County, West Brandywine, East Brandywine, West Chester, Parkesburg


Sarah Weber

Sarah Weber
Animal Trainer
Sarah's background is pretty diverse in the animal field. She has worked in all aspects of canine behavior as a Sales Specialist for local pet stores as well as dog grooming. She has worked as a Boarding and Daycare Operations Manager, Canine Handler, and Shift Lead at Penn Vet Working Dog Center through the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Sarah works by accessing genetics, breed, lifestyle, physical and mental health in dogs to fully understand why they behave the way they do. Sarah puts a heavy focus on emotional well-being, calmness and engagement to help foster positive experiences with her canine and human clients.

When Sarah is not working, she enjoys camping, hiking, yoga and rock-climbing, all while spending time with her two dogs.

Sarah holds numerous certifications, degrees, and accreditations, nationally and internationally, which includes:

Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, (CPDT-KA)
International Association of Animal Behavioral Consultants - Accredited Dog Trainer
Association of Professional Dog Trainers Accredited Dog Trainer, AKC Evaluator
Certified Canine Athletic Advisor
Certified Canine Conditioning Specialist
Professional Dog Trainer & Kennel Manager - Starmark Academy of Animal Behavior
Absolute Dogs - Pro Dog Trainer Academy
School of Canine Science - Canine Science Specialist

Certifications: Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed, International Association of Animal Behavioral Consultants-Accredited Dog Trainer, Association of Pet Dog Trainers- Member, AKC Evaluator, Certified Canine Athletic Advisor, Certified Canine Conditioning Specialist, Professional Dog Trainer- Absolute Dogs, Pet First Aid Certified, The Dog Gurus- Member, Master in Aggression

Services include:

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

More info about service provided:

Group Classes- 2 to 6 dogs 1-hour classes held weekly. Price Varies based on class type. Class will begin with a 10-minute warm up session, during which the trainer will greet and briefly check over each puppy. The main body of the class will focus on training goals appropriate to the dogs, and then finish with a cool down session, just like a gym class! All of our classes are "Drop In" which means you pay per class and can come to as many classes as you would like.

What to bring to group class:
Your Dog
A leash, Harness or Collar
200 dog treats
A treat pouch, we love this brand, Petsafe Treat Pouch
Your dog's favorite toy
Basic & Advanced Obedience Saturdays 10 am to 11 am
Perfect for dogs and owners who want to work on distance, duration and distraction skills. We have a new concept and skill list each week. A consultation session is required
Cost: $65 per class, per dog

Baby Prep 101 Class Expecting a tiny human? live with tiny humans? Just want your pup exposed to all things, tiny kiddos? This is the class for you! We will focus on positive interactions with cribs, strollers, bikes, toys, loud sounds, feeding time, handling skills, leash manners, management techniques and more. We do NOT require a consultation session for this class, but we do expect your dog to be able to work in the presence of other dogs
Cost: $45 per class, per dog

Puppy Prep 101 ClassLearn the basics in a fun twist! Work on engagement with your pet while around other puppies! Discussion and hands on skills for things like potty training, teething, nipping, play management and more!
Cost: $65 per class per dog
$20 for puppies enrolled in our weekly puppy prep program

Nose Work Class
Have a dog that loves to sniff? A pup that can’t keep their nose off the ground? Imprinting and teaching them to find odor is a fantastic way to work their brains by meeting biological needs! We imprint on Clove, Birch, Anise, Cypress.
Cost: $35 per class, per dog

Day Training
30-minute training sessions without the owner present while your dog is boarding or in daycare at VCA Wellington. Focusing on agility, nose work and or training sessions!
30 minutes - $45

Puppy Prep Program-
For all puppies 9 weeks or older! This is a 12-week program including daycare and training three times a week, held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at VCA Wellington. This includes three training sessions, lunch break and three group play sessions. We also offer the program 1-3 days a week. However, pups get the biggest benefit coming all three days a week. School starts at 9 am and ends at 4 pm. Pups are welcome here 7 am to 6:45 pm

Puppy Daycare

Age Requirements: 10 weeks old to 6 months old

Vaccine Requirements to start: Require a minimum of 2 rounds of DHPP & 1 Round of Bordetella to START the program. We also require a clear fecal test.

Full Vaccine Requirements:
DHPP Combination- Distemper, Adenovirus, Hepatitis, Parvo, Para-influenza
Bivalent Influenza (H3N2/H3N8)
Flea and Tick Preventative

We highly recommend:

Puppy Daycare is held Monday- Friday at VCA Wellington & Family Pet Resort from 8 am until 4pm. This is separate from our group play daycare program. All Puppies play, rest and interact in a separate space from adult dogs for health and safety reasons.

Our Puppy Daycare is a more intimate, slower paced program to help the developing puppy brain. We have a heavy focus on puppy developmental stages:socialization period, fear impact period, juvenile period, adolescent period. We place our puppies with adolescent and adult dog’s who have graduated from our training programs. These are select dogs who are able to teach puppies how to safely and appropriately play.

Once your dog graduates from Puppy daycare, they are welcome to attend our adult group play! They will need to schedule an evaluation prior to joining our Adult group.

This program does NOT include teaching training skills like sit, down, leash manners, leave it, drop etc. Our Puppy Prep Training Program runs alongside our Puppy Daycare. If you prefer our Trainers work with your pup on training skills, you will be charged accordingly along with given homework.

Enrichment Daycare

Our Enrichment Daycare builds on genetically predisposed behaviors in a positive way. We challenge natural drives such as: chasing, sniffing, carrying objects, chewing, herding, climbing, etc. By challenging these natural behaviors, we help curb destructive or maladaptive behaviors such as chewing furniture, destroying objects, jumping, and more.
Each enrichment activity is designed to provide an engaging, natural outlet while working on your dog’s physical and mental needs.
This program is appropriate for dogs who prefer the presence of humans only, smaller groups of dogs, or who get overstimulated in larger group settings.

This includes (3) enrichment sessions and a lunch break during the day. Enrichment sessions can include small group play, fitness & agility, massage, nose work, chase games, herding games, and more. We also use FitPAWS® and Blue-9™ equipment designed to tone up your dog’s body, increase core strength, stabilize weak areas, improve body awareness, coordination, range of motion, confidence, our bond with your dog, etc. Our Certified Canine Conditioning Specialist also offers canine massage. This helps promote softer, more glossy coats. Canine massage can also help relax pets and calm hyperactivity.

Vaccine Requirements: Rabies DHPP Combination- Distemper, Adenovirus, Hepatitis, Parvo, Parainfluenza Bordetella Bivalent Influenza (H3N2/H3N8) Flea and Tick Preventative

Behavioral issue focus: Aggression to dogs, strangers, humans in the home, dogs in the home, puppy training, separation anxiety, obsessive compulsive behavior, reactivity to: familiar/unfamiliar dogs/people, objects,novelty, dog to dog behavior, group play evaluations, dog to baby relationship, herding, nipping, biting, attention seeking barking

Training methods:

The first step to scheduling would be a Consultation Session. This would be held at our facility in Newtown Square 3921 Miller Road, Newtown Square, PA, 19073. It is an hour-long session with the dog and owners, designed to better understand your dog, family and overall training goals. During this session, we will teach you about canine behavior, why your dog does what it does, and how to prevent & manage behavioral concerns. Afterwards, we will prepare a full training plan tailored to your dog and send it to you via email.
We offer day school, private lessons, group classes, board and trains based on what we feel is best for the dog. we offer 24/7 365 day support for our clientele

Why I became a dog trainer: amazing question! I became a dog trainer for a lot of reasons. The first, I actually really wanted to go to vet school. however, being dyslexic, I did not have the support at 17 that I have at 25. I transitioned into law enforcement studies to be a canine handler when I feel in love with dog training at penn vet working dog center as a volunteer and then kennel lead. Growing up, I always wanted to work with animals, I was a pet sitter, dog walker, kennel attendant, vet assistant etc. My first family dog was really was set the story for becoming a dog trainer. One of my clients tells me that I have the best "Why you should hire me" story. I was raised one of 7 kids. We were all under the age of 14 when my parents got us our first family dog. A 10 week old "native American Indian dog" if you know anything about the breed- not a good match for young kids and first time as adult dog owners. He was a loving dog to me.... he hated everyone else. I was in 2nd & 3rd grade when we had him. Looking back... he resources guarded spaces, food, objects, people (me), he had stranger directed aggression, conflict aggression and handling concerns. He absolutely hated my father. Long story, short. One night he ended up biting my youngest brother in the eye and he was medvaced to CHOP in philadelphia for emergency surgery. He thankfully retained his eyesight and healed! As for our dog, Lucas, He went on a 10 day bite hold. He relastically should have been euthanized then. At 9 days, they found a single guy, unmarried, no kids to take him... life happens and he ended up getting married and having a baby. He surreneded Lucas to a local sheltered where he was deemed unadoptable and behaviorally euthanized. I became a dog trainer to make sure history doesnt repeat itself. That we have dogs in the correct homes, that we keep dogs and humans safe. I became a dog trainer to support the best quality of life dog all dogs, and humans.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: There are so many things. It is very difficult to pick a favorite. I think the joy I can help bring to dogs lives. Whether it is a foster/shelter dog or a dog already placed in a home. There are so many wonderful people I have met through dog training!

My #1 dog training tip: The rules of engagement! Eye contact, clear communication, and passion for your partner (dog or human) are key

Service areas: Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Newtown Square, Wayne, Radnor, Upper Merion, Eagleville, Havertown, Lower Merion


Renee Rhoades

Renee is the head of behavior and founder of R+Dogs, a virtual dog behavior consultancy that offers private and group services to dog guardians in over 25 countries. She is an award winning, multi-certified Applied Animal Behaviorist with a Masters in Animal Welfare Science and Ethics. Renee co-hosts DogLogical, a podcast that breaks down dog behavior for all dog lovers. In addition to her work with dog guardians Renee also offers mentoring services to dog professionals who want to level up their skills, businesses, and practices.

Certifications:  MSc, BSc, ISCP.Adv.Dip.Prac, FDM, FFCP

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training

More info about service provided: Group Classes, Private Coaching, Webinars

Behavioral issue focus: Aggression, Reactivity, Fears/Phobias, Generalized Anxiety, Resource Guarding

Training methods: Behavior Consultations, Group Courses, Webinars, Behavior Modifications, Holistic Health Evaluations, Mental Health Support

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog professional because I have been captivated by dogs from a young age. Through my career I have extended that passion to dog lovers and guardians who want the best for their dogs. I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life, but being dedicated to helping dogs and their humans live the best life possible!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a virtual dog professional is working with dog guardians all around the world. No matter the location we all love dogs and have the same concerns. It is such a unifying feeling!

My #1 dog training tip: Work with a qualified, ethical professional as soon as you see behavior concerns - don't wait or start trying things on your own unless you are 100% certain you know what you are doing. Hiring a dog pro ASAP will generally make things cheaper, quicker and less stressful for you and your dog!

Service areas: Available world-wide via remote services


Lynsie Bernier

Lynsie Bernier is the owner of Ideal DOG and brings 30 years in the animal care field to the business. Lynsie has worked in nearly every capacity of professional animal care since 1993.

Over the last 18 years Lynsie has focused her career on dog training and behavior. Her credentials and memberships include:

Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
Approved AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
Approved Member of The Pet Professional Guild
Approved Member of Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin
Approved Tester/Observer Alliance of Therapy Dogs
Lynsie has developed several unique training services for Ideal DOG, each designed to achieve specific results. Her approach is not one size fits all. Lynsie is passionate about helping dogs and their families. She competes at a National level with her own dogs and can help you reach your goals as well. Let her or one of our other talented Certified trainers show you how to train your Ideal DOG!

Certifications:  Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed, CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: We offer modern DOG Training using advanced methods. Our professional dog training services include group classes from puppy to competition sports such as agility, scent work and rally obedience, private lessons, full service day school training, and behavior counseling. Our programs focus on creating well rounded, highly educated dogs and teaching owners to work with their dogs in a positive, productive way.

Behavioral issue focus:

Private Behavior Modification / Custom Training Specialties
Personalized plans to work on specific behavior problems
We handle the following behavior issues and more:

House training (including crate/confinement training and marking)
Jumping up, mouthing, and pushy attention seeking behavior
Leash reactivity (lunging/barking)
Destructive chewing
Excessive barking
Running away and boundary training
Counter surfing, food stealing and garbage raiding
Handling problems (vet exam, nail trim issues, grooming difficulties etc.)
Possession guarding
Acclimation to a new home (for rescued/adopted dogs)
Dog/Dog reactivity- socialization with unfamiliar and multi dog household management
Growling/Snapping/Nipping- cases that involve injury are referred to a CDBC
Threatening behavior towards strangers
Sound sensitivity
Behavior Evaluation for pet or working dog selection( from a breeder or shelter)
Litter Evaluation for best placement

Training methods: We are Certified Professional Dog Trainers who use positive reinforcement and follow LIMA. We offer behavior consultations and lessons at our training facilities, in your home, over phone or ZOOM.

Why I became a dog trainer: A lifetime of working in the animal care field including sheltering, I realized the best way to help animals and people was from the ground up. Teaching animals and people effective communication leads to happier pets and people in everything we do together. From sharing our home, getting the health care and grooming they need, to sharing the outside world, training makes life with dogs the best it can be!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Teaching humans about dog behavior, body language and learning/communication turns on a lightbulb so everything is clearer.

My #1 dog training tip: Be keen observers of your dog's communication and voice, listen closely and respond compassionately always.

Service areas: Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Northeastern WI


Chelsea Murray

Every day the dogs around me bring joy to my life and I want to share that with my clients. By living a life of adventure with my dogs I have experienced how clear communication and shared passions can strengthen your relationship with your dog. I love watching my clients find that same lifestyle success as they learn to work with their dogs as teammates.

I graduated from the University of Georgia Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture in Biological Sciences. After graduation I completed the Karen Pryor Academy Professional Dog Trainers Program to become a Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP) and since have committed myself to being a lifetime student. I am knowledge assessed through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA), a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI), an evaluator for the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen, Trick Dog, and STAR Puppy Programs, and am a Certificate Trainer for From Shy to Showy with Show Dog Prep School. I continue to pursue more education, ensuring that I can provide my clients with the most humane and effective training methods that are backed by science.

When I am not training other people's dogs, I can usually be found spending time with my Alaskan Malamutes. We train and compete in Rally Obedience, Trick Dog Titles, Fast Cat, Conformation, Backpacking, Nose Work, and Sleddog Sports. I am a member of the Alaskan Malamute Club of America, an Admin/Co-Founder of Georgia Urban Mushing, and a board member for the United States Federation of Sleddog Sports (USFSS). In the winter months we train in canicross, bikejoring, scootering, skijoring, and sledding and during the spring and summer months we all enjoy paddleboarding, canoeing, hiking, and camping.

I enjoy an adventurous life with my dogs and love helping my clients learn to do the same.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, CTDI
AKC CGC, STAR, and Trick Dog Evaluator

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: I provide in-home private lessons, in-person group classes, day training, board and trains, behavior modification, virtual private lessons, virtual group classes, and webinars for a variety of topics including puppy raising, pet-dog manners, adventure dog training (paddleboarding, hiking, backpacking), dog-powered sports, and conformation.

Behavioral issue focus: I work with clients on a wide variety of behavioral concerns including leash reactivity, resource guarding, aggression, fear, and anxieties.

Training methods: I am a positive reinforcement trainer who utilizes marker-based training methods. I believe that all learners, both human and canine, deserve to feel safe while training and enjoy the process. During the initial client intake conversation, the client and I discuss some of the challenges they are experiencing and what their training goals are. This allows me to make a recommendation for services to help them with their needs.

In our individualized training programs each client and dog dynamic is unique and therefore we work together to create a custom training plan. In our sessions together, we work towards modifying the behaviors they dislike and creating new behavior patterns while working towards their training goals. After one on one time clients receive recap emails with handouts, video tutorials, and written notes to help them implement their homework and to provide them with resources that they can refer back to for reminders. Success in a training program relies on clear communication from a trainer to the client, and a client to their dogs.

My goal is to help my client gain the tools they need to train their dog, communicate clearly, and live a better life together.

Why I became a dog trainer: Like many involved in the professional training community, I spent my childhood surrounded by animals. When I was with them I felt a special kind of peace and connection. As I grew up that love turned into a commitment to seek out knowledge and learn how to be a better caregiver. Studying more about dogs, I grew a greater appreciation for all of the lessons that animals can teach us and how fulfilled our lives can be with them as our teachers. Learning about how dogs communicate, their species-specific needs, and how to help them learn to navigate our busy-world is a passion I now get to share with my community. Becoming a dog trainer was not a choice, but a calling.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Walking into a client's home their love for their dog is always obvious. But being able to make a change in a client's life and add more tools to their toolbox to help them live a better life with their dog by their side is incredible. I love being able to eliminate stress and frustration from both the dog and the human and then sit back and watch all of the adventures that they enjoy together as a result.

My #1 dog training tip: Reinforce what you like! Its an easy but powerful tool we have. So often in our society it is easy for us to see what is going wrong, but we often forget to identify those moments of success. If we observe our dog and begin to reinforce those desired behaviors we can increase the frequency in which they happen and can decrease undesired behaviors. Put simply- we can teach our dog to make good choices by rewarding them!

Service areas: I service Atlanta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody, and
Sandy Springs with in-person services. I also offer remote coaching programs for clients all over the world.


Sara Sokol

Hello! My name is Sara Sokol. I got into the business of dogs when I was a teenager, pet sitting and dog walking for family friends and neighbors. In 2004, I started Follow My Lead, a full service dog walking/running and pet sitting business in Pasadena, California. Follow My Lead. serviced seven different cities throughout the Pasadena area, employed 6 part time employees and held a client base of 80+ rotating customers.

To facilitate the addition of dog training and behavior modification to Follow My Lead, I began an internship with the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA which was an open admission shelter. As a behavior and training tech, my job was to preform full behavior assessments including touch sensitivity, food and toy possession, along with dog-to-dog testing on all dogs entering the shelter. Many of the dogs at the shelter had issues with aggression, anxiety, shy/fearful behavior. We also performed evaluations on dogs quarantined for biting.

As lead trainer, I taught obedience classes ranging from Puppy Kindergarten to Advanced Obedience, as well as activity classes including Agility, Tricks, and a class created using my background as a yoga instructor: Doga - yoga with your dog!

Working in a shelter that takes in dogs of all breeds, ages, sizes, and temperaments was an invaluable opportunity for me to fine tune my dog training and behavior modification skills, as well as my understanding of dog body language. My time working at the Pasedena Humane Society was a gift. The knowledge that I gained there from my amazing coworkers and the dogs in the shelter, was priceless. The obedience classes I taught helped owners learn how to effectively communicate with their dogs, helping them build strong and permanent relationships.

In 2011, my husband & I relocated to Connecticut, where I continued my work with animals as District Manager of the Connecticut Humane Society. I implemented a new color coding program for the dog volunteers, new enrichment programs that included obedience classes for the shelter dogs, as well as programs helping staff with compassion fatigue and morale.

In 2012 we moved to Maine and Mr. Dog Training was born, named for my partner in crime, Milo, my little white shih tzu who is my heartbeat by my side.

Helping people and dogs learn to communicate and trust each other is my favorite part of my job. There is nothing better than watching a person and their dog learn and work together with smiles, laughter, and a glint in their eyes.

I'm grateful for the trust and support that my students, and the Maine community of dog guardians that I am so proud to be a part of, show me every day. I could not have landed in a more perfect place.

I believe working with animals is the best job in the world and am grateful for the opportunity to have such beautiful creatures in my life. I learn from my dogs daily. They teach me patience, acceptance, unconditional love, and how to live in the present moment. Most importantly, they make me smile and laugh every day!

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: My focus when working with clients is prioritizing an understanding of how our dogs, and ourselves, learn, what drives behavior, building clear and consistent communication, an understanding of canine body language so that we can 'listen' to our dogs, and prioritizing, above all else, the relationship that we have with our dogs.
I offer group classes, both virtual and in person, that range from young puppies through Advanced Obedience as well as Agility, Nose Work, Tricks, Fun and Games classes, and Dog Parkour.

Behavioral issue focus: I specialize in helping clients with dogs who struggle with fear/leash reactivity.

Training methods: I primarily work with clients in group classes or through virtual one on one consults.

Why I became a dog trainer: I wanted to provide people with a safe and fun way to make their lives and relationships with their dogs the most amazing that they can be.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching my clients listen to their dogs and focus more on meeting their dog's needs than blind obedience.

My #1 dog training tip: Listen to your dog

Service areas: Midcoast Maine for in person and global for virtual


Stacey Hawk

I have been teaching Agility full-time and competing with my GSDs for over 25 years, and teaching and competing in Scentwork for the past 10 plus years. My dogs and I also enjoy DockDiving and we dabble in herding.

I am the founder (and still chair) of Chicago's first dog park, Wiggly Field, spending years working to change local city, county and State ordinances and laws to allow the designation of legal off-leash areas. I am also a Founding Director of the non-profit Safe Humane Chicago.

Services include:

  • Deaf dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Specializing in Agility and Scentwork classes and private lessons, and obedience/manners training.

Training methods: Positive, motivational, reward based training- striving for a fun learning environment for both students and dogs.

Why I became a dog trainer: Dogs are the BEST! I wanted to help others learn how to have fun and have the best relationship ever with their dogs!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the joy in the dogs! Watching teams learn, progress, succeed and having the best time! My clients become family. I love them, and all of their dogs!

My #1 dog training tip: Be patient, and set your dog up for success.

Service areas: Training at Numerous Chicago area training facilities, and Evanston, IL


Katie Morgan

I am certified through Animal Behavior College (ABCDT) and have a wealth of continued education since my certification. I specialize in Reactive/aggressive dogs. And love the Canine sports as I hope to be adding more sporting options to clients.

My training outside of Canine sports is focused more on everyday application of obedience cues and applying them to everyday manners.

I focus on meeting the dog as an individual and meeting the needs of the individual dog.

Certifications: ABCDT

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Obedience and Manners, reactive dog, dock diving, lure coursing, treibball, puppy training. In home sessions, 1 on 1 facility sessions and group classes.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactive or aggressive dogs (fear/anxiety/genetic aggression).

Training methods: Positive reinforcement, force free with focus on the relationship centered training approach.

Why I became a dog trainer: Dogs have been an important part of my life, and I wanted to help others provide for their dogs in the use of positive training methods.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Being a support person to those who need it.

My #1 dog training tip: Training starts the moment your dog comes into your house, and ends the day they pass away.

Service areas: Chicago suburbs, Rockford, roscoe, rockton, south Beloit, Beloit.

Peet Johnson

Ive grown up with dogs, they've always been there for me and I've always been there for them. I started my training journey in my 20's but didn't actively pursue it full time until 2 years ago when I joined the Philly Unleashed team! I'm CPDT-KA certified and am passionate about helping our dogs live their best lives with us!

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Reactive dog classes, private lessons, boarding, impulse control

Behavioral issue focus: On leash aggression, dog and people reactivity, inter household aggression

Training methods: I offer training plans including behavior modification, basic training, and behavior consultations using only positive reinforcement and science based approaches.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love dogs! I also adopted a special needs dog and needed to do more than basic obedience with him, then I rescued a reactive dog and I wanted her to enjoy her life with as little stress and anxiety as possible.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping create a language between the people and their dogs! Training creates such a strong bond and helps both parties understand each other!

My #1 dog training tip: Reward what you want, ignore everything else!

Service areas: The greater Philadelphia area


Service areas: Chicago suburbs, Rockford, roscoe, rockton, south Beloit, Beloit.

Mary Thompson

Hi! My name is Mary Thompson, I have been working with dogs for almost my entire life and have owned by own training business, Happy Hound University LLC since 2017. I got into training the way most of us get into training: because of my problem dog Regis. Regis had dog reactivity, stranger directed aggression, barrier frustration, handling issues, resource guarding... pretty much everything would be an issue when he was young.

When I decided I needed help and went to look at local trainers I found that almost all of them used old fashioned, inhumane training methods that I simply would not subject my dog to. So, I taught myself. Regis and I learned A LOT together during those first years (trial by fire!), and I saw what positive reinforcement could do for dogs who were struggling. After completing a mentorship as well as some certification programs, I decided I'd go all in and Happy Hound University was formed!

Certifications: CTC with Honors from Jean Donaldson's Academy for Dog Trainers, PMCT1 from Pat Miller's Certification academies, CPDT-KA, Fear Free Certified Professional

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I offer in home private training throughout the Northwest Suburbs, and group classes in Des Plaines, Illinois. In home training is for anything from basic manners to behavior consulting including reactivity and other serious behavior issues. I offer over 10 group classes a week as well with a special focus on puppy and puppy socialization.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, Resource Guarding, Extreme Fear, Stranger Danger

Training methods: All of my services, private training and group classes, utilize the most up to date training sessions supported by science, which means we focus on positive reinforcement and do not use anything to intimidate, scare, or coerce dogs into doing what we like. Because we specialize in pet dog training we mostly use food to train, but if a dog has something else they find more rewarding that we can easily harness and use we'll use that as well!

Why I became a dog trainer: Regis, my 10.5 year old beagle mix, was the inspiration for me to become a dog trainer; when he was 1 year old he had every issue under the sun, dog reactivity, body handling issues, stranger directed aggression, resource guarding, the list goes on. I needed help, but the only trainers in our area used old school, inhumane methods, so I ended up having to teach myself so that I could help him!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Feeling like I'm really making a difference for people and their dogs. When someone tells me about a success they had, and how they're so pleased with how their dog's training is going, nothing can compete with that!

My #1 dog training tip: Notice the good! It's so easy to get hung up on when our dog is being "bad", but if you start to notice when your dog is doing things you like, and reinforcing them with real, tangible rewards like food treats and play in those moments, your dog will start to offer those more desirable behaviors more often! Notice the good!

Service areas: Northwest Suburbs of Chicago including but not limited to Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Roselle, Itasca, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg, Park Ridge, Edison Park, and more.


Erin Bessey

I own and operate Bessey's Positive Paws in Maine. I have been training for nearly 20 years. I became a CPDT-ka in 2011. I have a BS in Zoology. I worked a veterinary clinic for the last 15 years and still work there part time. I have raised dogs for Guiding Eyes for the Blind as well as did a 6 week internship with them.

I live with my husband, two daughters and two labradors, Henry (11) and Tripp (6). Each dog was born with a cleft palate and I raised them from 1-2 days old. Dogs and animals have always been an interest and passion of mine since I was little. Training dogs is what I do.

Certifications: CCPDT-ka

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Basic training, private sessions

Behavioral issue focus: Shy dog, overexcited, unsure/fear reactivity

Training methods: Clicker training, reward based training (food, toys)

Why I became a dog trainer: I always loved learning about animals and how they behaved and communicated. I knew when I was young I wanted to train animals. When I was in college I started working at a doggie daycare/boarding/training facility and began learning about the fascinating world of dogs and decided, dogs would be what I train.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the connection between owner and dog become stronger. I love when I see the owner's appreciation for their dog grow because of the knowledge they gain when working with me. You see the lightbulbs go off and the joy it brings to them.

My #1 dog training tip: Let go of stereotypes or comparisons to other dogs and train the dog in front of you.

Service areas: Lincoln and Kennebec counties primarily


Sniffspot Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get in touch with these 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 dog trainers certified professionals?

Each dog trainers certifications are listed in their profile. Dog training is not regulated at the federal or state level, so there is no standard dog training certification. However, many private institutions offer certifications. 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.

What methods do these dog trainers teach?

There are many methods for teaching dogs. All of the trainers included on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. You can see more information in each trainer’s profile regarding their training specialties.

How much do these dog trainers cost?

Dog trainers have a wide range of costs for different services. 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. Going through a training process with your dog can improve the bond that you share with them. Also, training can do a lot to improve the confidence of a dog; it gives them more certainty that they understand how the world around them works. And lastly, it’s just fun for the dog and for you. Training can be very stimulating and enriching for a dog.

Can an aggressive dog be trained?

Yes! Any dog behavior can be worked on through training. Aggression 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. If you believe you have an aggressive dog, we recommend reaching out to one of your local top trainers to get their diagnosis and advice.

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

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.

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Amarillo, TX

Anchorage, AK

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Asheville, NC

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Chicago, IL

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Columbus, OH

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Cumming, GA

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Des Moines, IA

Detroit, MI

Durham, NC

Eugene, OR

Fayetteville, AR

Flint, MI

Fort Collins, CO

Fort Wayne, IN

Frederick, MD

Fresno, CA

Gilbert, AZ

Grand Rapids, MI

Greeneville, SC

Greensboro, NC

Greenville, SC

Gulfport, MS

Harrisburg, PA

Hartford, CT

Hickory, NC

High Point, NC

Honolulu, HI

Houston, TX

Huntington Beach, CA

Indianapolis, IN

Jackson, MS

Jacksonville, FL

Kansas City, MO

Katy, TX

Killeen, TX

Knoxville, TN

Lafayette, LA

Lakeland, FL

Lancaster, PA

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Lansing, MI

Las Vegas, NV

Lexington, KY

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Long Island, NY

Los Angeles, CA

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Madison, WI

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Memphis, TN

Mesa, AZ

Miami, FL

Milwaukee, WI

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Modesto, CA

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Oakland, CA

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Philadelphia, PA

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Pittsburgh, PA

Portland, ME

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Poughkeepsie, NY

Providence, RI

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Reading, PA


Richmond, VA

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Tampa, FL

Toledo, OH

Traverse City, MI

Trenton, NJ

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Tulsa, OK

Vallejo, CA

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Visalia, CA

Washington, DC

Winston, NC

Worcester, MA

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