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