Head Trainer and Founder
For as long as I can remember, I have loved all animals. I have been training my own dogs since the age of ten, and have been committed to using force free methods since 1998. When I discovered the thrill of teaching dogs and other creatures with the clicker, I became involved in dog rescue and then in teaching others how to develop harmonious relationships with their dogs through positive reinforcement training.
I began teaching dog training in 1999 as an apprentice, and started an independent training business in 2005. I have participated with my dogs in service and community education projects and group activities with Dog Scouts of America, and enjoyed making nursing home visits with a certified therapy dog. I have honed my training skills through workshops with Bob and Marian Bailey, Sue Ailsby, Steve White, Kathy Sdao, Turid Rugaas, and Dawn Jecs. I became a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) in 2013. As part of this experience, I added cat training to my repertoire. I obtained my CPDT-KA certification in 2019. With a Ph.D. in biology, I am employed in biomedical research in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. I enjoy the synergy between my training in biological science and the science-based approach to pet training that I learned through my studies in Karen Pryor Academy.
I live in Lexington with Mystery, a Golden Retriever-Australian Shepherd mix, Juni, a (perhaps) hound-Blue Heeler mix, and three cats, all rescued from local shelters.
Learn more about why I train the way I do on the Training Style page.
What do the letters mean?
KPA CTP means I am a Certified Training Partner with Karen Pryor Academy. Anyone certified by KPA graduated with an "A" (90% or higher) score in each of three examinations: general knowledge of training and behavior, a practical exam in teaching ability and group class management, and a practical demonstration of training ability with our own dog.
CCPDT-KA means Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge-Assessed. It requires passing an examination administered by the Council for Certification of Professional Dog Trainers to assess knowledge of dog behavior, training principles and class management. The CCPDT is an independent accrediting organization not linked to any school or training business.
These certifications require the adherence to a unified code of conduct and code of ethics, and a commitment to continuing education. You can learn more about the Joint Standards of Practice here:
2014: Puppy Start Right for Instructors - Kenneth Martin and Debbie Martin
Webinars: Improving behavior in the veterinary clinic - Melissa Spooner
Kitty Kindergarten: Creating the New Improved Cat with Early Socialization - Sophia Yin
2015: Clicker Expo - 3-day conference
IAABC 2-day National Conference
Webinars: Consulting and Teaching Skills - Ken Ramirez
Managing Dogs in a Group Setting - Kathy Sdao
The Biology of Socialization - Jessica Hekman
2016: Clicker Expo - 3-day Conference
Online course: How to Work Aggression Cases A-Z - Mike Shikasio
Webinars: Feline Destructive Scratching - Francine Miller
Quality of Life for Cats and Dogs - Patricia McConnell, Amy Marder and Stephen Zawitowski
Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive Approaches - Jean Donaldson
Training for Health Care - Laura Monaco Torelli
Complex Tools and Behavior Chains - Ken Ramirez
The Cat Behavior Continuum - Dr. Margaret Slater
2017: IAABC online course in Cat Behavior Consulting - Katenna Jones
Webinars: The Power of Choice - Irith Bloom
How to Organize a Kittengarten - Paula Garber
Trauma in animals - Patricia McConnell
Psychological Trauma and PTSD in Dogs - Dr. Franklin D McMillan
Cat Behavior & Cognition: Using science to increase cat welfare and strengthen the human-cat bond
- Kristyn Vitale Shreve
2018: Workshops: Shaping with PORTL - Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz and Mary Hunter
Your PORTL to Stimulus Control - Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz and Mary Hunter
Online course: Concept Training - Ken Ramirez
Webinars: Exploring Canine Attachment Behavior - Lauren Thielke MS
Advances in TAGTeach - Theresa McKeon
2019: Certification: Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed
Fear Free Certified Professional
Conference: Clicker Expo - 3-day Conference
Online course: Aggression in Dogs Master Course - Michael Shikasio
Webinars: "But my Dog is Not Food Motivated" - Kathy Sdao
Conversation on Sound-sensitivity - Jessica Hekman DVM Ph.D., Deb Jones, Ph.D., Amy Cook
Ph.D., Jennifer Summerfield DVM