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After many years volunteering with shelter dogs to improve their adoptability I had decided to ‘go pro’.
I told my family I wanted to be a dog trainer. “Good idea!” they said, “You’ve worked with our dogs and horses. They are great.” Everyone thought I would make a sign and begin to take in clients.
Unfortunately, owning dogs does not make you a dog trainer any more than owning teeth makes you a dentist.
My plan was to get my education at St. Hubert’s Behavior and Training Center in Madison, NJ, one of the foremost animal welfare and education centers in the nation. The director of the center, Pia Silvani, is a former board member of both the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers. She had done ground breaking work with reactive dogs and writes and speaks internationally.
Pia accepted me into a year-long apprentice program. After the apprenticeship I was invited to teach classes part time. When I had 300 hours of training to my credit I was able to sit for the CCPDT exam. With my CCPDT certification St. Hubert’s offered me a position as full time trainer and behavior counselor and manager of the apprentice trainer program.
I am lucky enough to have had hands on experience with hundreds of shelter dogs of various breeds, ages and temperaments, and taught up to three leash reactive dog classes per week. I worked with puppies, aggressive dogs, frightened dogs, future therapy dogs, and wonderful, sweet family dogs that just needed a little more structure in their lives.
I train according to the guidelines set out by the APDT, the CCPDT, the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behaviorists. These organizations advocate certification for training professionals, positive training methods, avoidance of shock collars and other punishment equipment, and the right of the dog owner to know how their dog will be trained and why these methods have been selected by the trainer. If you have any questions regarding my training methods and philosophy, please contact me, I will be more than happy to tell you about positive training and humane behavior modification techniques.
My Savannah home is shared with my husband, and our two certified therapy dogs. The cat in the top picture and the black dog have gone ahead and we miss them very much. The horse moved with me from New Jersey and lives on a farm in Richmond Hill. I am a professional member of the APDT, certified by the CCPDT, and volunteer for One Love and Coastal Pet Rescue here in Savannah.