Unfortunately, dog training remains an unregulated industry.

That means anyone can be a dog trainer, with no requirement for formal education or scientific understanding of canine behavior and the mechanisms for changing it. Imagine choosing a medical doctor in the age before medical licenses and boards—it could be quite a crap shoot. That’s basically dog training today.

The good news is we’ve come far enough to have excellent, science-based dog training schools and credentialing exams. The bad news is they’re entirely voluntary.

In short, choosing a dog trainer can be complicated—and a bit risky, too. So I’m glad you’ve landed on this page, because I want you to know how serious I am about what I do. I care deeply about dogs and the people who give them loving homes, and that means striving to be the best, most effective professional dog trainer possible.

Chocolate Lab

Here’s what you should know about my education, credentials and associations

Certified Professional Dog Trainer

Widely considered the minimum standard for dog trainers, I have been a certified trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) for over ten years. This certification requires passing a comprehensive exam and continuing education.

Certified Behavior Consultant Canine

An advanced credential for professionals who focus on behavioral issues with dogs. Passing a rigorous exam and continuing education sets this certification apart from the others.

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner

I’m proud to have graduated with distinction from this world-renowned program known among serious dog trainers to be one of the most prestigious—and rigorous—of dog training schools. The program is also a leader in positive, science-based training.

CSAT

Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer

Separation Anxiety is one of the most challenging issues to work with. Working with Malena DeMartini, one of the foremost experts on separation anxiety, has uniquely prepared me to help clients and their dogs find relief.

Family Paws Parent Educator

Working with new parents integrating dog and baby takes an understanding approach. As a licensed Parent Educator with Family Paws, I can help your family grow and expand with care and safety for all.

Association of Professional Dog Trainers

I have been a long-standing professional member of the APDT, the first and largest organization for the professionalization of dog training. I’m proud to have served as a peer-elected board member and the youngest chair of this fine organization.

Pet Professional Guild Charter Member

An organization dedicated to the promotion of science-based training practices for all animals. I have been a charter member since the organization’s inception.

Here’s what you should know about my training methods and philosophy

My philosophy is easy: Do lots of good without doing any harm. That means a commitment to staying up on the latest scientific understanding of dog behavior (and thus all the continuing education).

It also means using the most humane and effective dog training methods. I employ only positive-based operant and classical conditioning techniques. That means no leash or other physical corrections or punishments, no choke/prong/shock collars, and no yelling or intimidation. It’s not that these methods don’t or can’t work. It’s that they’re outmoded, unnecessary, and have the potential for unwanted behavioral side effects.

Don’t just take my word for this. The leading dog training and advocacy organizations have all come out clearly in favor of positive training, urging dog owners to choose educated trainers who use this modern, science-based approach:

  • American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists (AVSAB)
  • Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians (SVBT)
  • Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)
  • Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
  • International Association of Animal Behavior Counselors (IAABC)
  • Pet Professional Guild (PPG)

Here’s what you should know about the Paws Look Listen way

We humans spend much of our present remembering the past or planning the future. Dogs, by contrast, live in the moment, requiring us to “be here now” to understand and communicate effectively with them. Good dog training isn’t about making dogs do what we want. It’s about pausing to understand what motivates each dog, then showing them the way to get what they want is by making good behavioral choices. The end result? Everyone wins—You get a well-mannered dog, and that well-mannered dog is a happy dog, too.

Fezzik

Here’s what you should know about my dogs

I share my home with a giant and lovable Saint Bernard named Fezzik. His sweet personality and boundless enthusiasm helps to always put a smile on my face and start a conversation with everyone who meets him. 

Each of my previous dogs, Bruce, Lanie, Sadie, and Bennie, took a piece of my heart but taught me so much in return. Learning to deal with adolescent angst, concerning aggression, and the effect of health and aging on dogs and their behavior helps my clients each and every day.

Recommended by Veterinarians

“When owners ask me what to look for in a trainer there are a few things that I consider to be most important. The first is a genuine compassion for the animals; next is a solid understanding of learning theory and clicker training; and finally an engaging and friendly personality. All of these characteristics can be found with Nick Hof at Paws Look Listen.”
– Dr. Lisa White DVM, Owner & Veterinarian at Veterinary Behavior Management Solutions
Ready to try some Paws Look Listen training?
I’d  LOVE to work with you!