Hi, my name is Mary, and welcome to my website! My goal is to promote peaceful, respectful relationships between humans and dogs using gentle, reward-based training, holistic behavior consulting, and reiki (which is also available to humans and all other species).

Services I Offer:

  • Reiki for all species (remote sessions)
  • Training for dogs (in-home)
  • Behavioral consulting for dogs (in-home)
  • Day Training (I train your dog during your work day)
  • Long distance phone and email behavior consultations
  • Dog Walking & Pit Sitting

I’m a different kind of dog trainer. In fact, I think of myself as a ”canine coach” rather than a “dog trainer”, per se. If you are looking for someone who can tell you what to do “to” your dog to “make” him behave, teach him mundane tricks and behaviors, or if you are looking to learn how to “be the pack leader”, I’m probably not the trainer for you. If, on the other hand, you want to know why your dog behaves in a certain way, tap into your dog’s mind, learn positive, science-based training, and have a deeper, more harmonious relationship with your dog – I’m your gal!

My qualifications: I started training dogs circa 1985. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) through the CCPDT, as well as a Canine Good Citizen evaluator for the AKC. In addition, I am a certified Level 3 Reiki, Karuna Ki and Dolphin Trilogy Reiki practitioner. I am the founder and director of The Real Pit Bull, Inc, an education and advocacy organization dedicated to the American Pit Bull Terrier, and the trainer for their Pit Bull School program.

What can I help you with?

•Basic manners training for dogs (sit, stay, down, come, etc)
•Puppy training, socialization and housetraining
•Proper management and care
•Behavioral issues like chewing, jumping, digging, fear, barking, pulling/lunging, aggression.
•Gain insight into your dog’s likes/dislikes, personality, and behavior
•Through Reiki, improve you or your animal’s overall well-being
•Care for your animal while you are away or during work days: walks & feeding/cleaning/administration of medicine.

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My Resume – Know Your Trainer!

Professional Animal Experience:

  • 1996 – Sunrise Acres Dog Training  Assistant Trainer
  • 1997- current – The Real Pit Bull, Inc   Founder & CEO, Education, Behavior Consulting, Training Classes
  • 1999-current – Professional Dog Trainer First through K9 Counseling Services and up through the current time with Pawsitive Energy, LLC
  • 2001-2004 – We Care Pet Care Dog Walking & Pet Sitting
  • 2008  Liberty Humane Society  Class instructor & Behavior Evaluator
  • 2015-current Pawsitive Energy, LLC Owner/Operator

My animal training and handling path has been long and varied. I was born into a household with dogs and cats and started training dogs at a very young age, having taken my first official dog training class with my personal dog – a shelter rescued terrier mix – at around age 8 or 9. The trainer who ran the class had a no-kids policy but made an exception for me. By the time my dog Cherry and I had graduated class (and proceeded to take more classes with this trainer, eventually moving onto working with the trainer’s sister who took over said classes, and then assisting this trainer), the trainer had changed her kid policy and began allowing kids into her classes because she was able to see that when properly motivated, children and dogs can work wonderfully together.

I’ve worked and lived with, handled and trained, a variety of animals: dogs, cats, horses, birds, small animals, and even marine animals (as a volunteer with an aquarium). Dogs have always remained my number one passion, however, and have always been my primary focus.

When I began training dogs around 1985, most trainers were “aversive” or punishment-based. This means that the primary method used to get dogs to behave and perform obedience behaviors involved the use of collar corrections (leash-jerks) and other physical forms of intimidation (alpha rolling, scruff shaking, knees-to-the-chest for jumping, etc). The more I worked with dogs, the more I saw the limitations of such methods – even when the very seasoned trainers I was working under would use these methods. When I hit a brick wall with one of my own dogs and these harsh methods just stopped working, I began seeking another way. This lead me to positive reinforcement training and specifically clicker training which today is my method of choice.

Because I am what is considered a “cross over” trainer – I’ve used “traditional” correction-based methods but now use force-free, dog-friendly positive training methods – I have a full view of the training method spectrum. I know what works, why it works, and potential fallout from a variety of methods. I’ve more than sampled a variety of methods – and have settled on what I consider the best method, clicker training. This was a trial and error experience at first, but as time has gone on, the educational opportunities for animal behavior professionals has exploded and my gut feelings about what is the “right” method became grounded in the scientific literature and hands-on learning offered by other, very experienced animal professionals. I have been able to learn from a lot of really talented, super knowledgeable trainers who don’t rely merely on feelings, superstitions, or old wives tales about dogs – they rely on empirical as well as scientific evidence. This makes me super confident in the method I employ. The most current, cutting-edge information in animal behavior and psychology is what backs up my method.

Seminars & Courses

In order to ensure my clients are getting the most current, sound information when I work with their dogs, I regularly attend seminars as well as take continuing education courses. The following list is updated constantly as I expand my knowledge base in order to then share that information with you.

*It’s Your Choice Webinar – Susan Garrett, Say Yes! Dog Training

*Aggression: Training & Rehab; Medical problems that look like aggression – Nancy Williams

*Aggression in Dogs – Brenda Aloff

*Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog – Emma Parsons

*Clicker Expo – 3 day conference on positive training and behavior modification

*Constructional Aggression Treatment – Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, PhD & Kellie Snider

*Understanding Canine Behavior, comprehensive course – Barbara Handleman

*When Good Dogs Go Bad – Canine Aggression – Dr. Pamela Reid, PhD

*Housetraining 123 – Webinar, Helen Verte

My Certifications:

AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator * Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the CCPDT * Certified Reiki 3 Practitioner through Reiki Blessings Academy

Professional Affiliations:

*Pet Professional Guild – force-free only trainers; your guarantee that I will not use force, fear or pain to train your dog!

*Association of Professional Dog Trainers

*Doggone Safe – teaching dog safety and bite prevention.