MISSION: to promote harmonious relationships between humans and dogs by teaching new behaviors and modifying existing behaviors using the scientific principles of APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS, as well as reducing stress through a holistic approach to care and management.
- Pit Bulls
- Child Safety
Services I Offer:
- Training for all dogs (in-your-home)
- Behavioral consulting for dogs (in-your-home)
- Day Training (I train your dog in your home during your work day/away time)
- Long distance phone and email consultations
- Dog Walking & Pit Sitting
- Puppy, Basic Adult & CGC Classes
- Reiki & Energy Healing
- “CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL DOG TRAINER – CPDT-KA” in 2007 (currently working towards new certification as a “CERTIFIED BEHAVIOR CONSULTANT CANINE”) through the ONLY independent certifying body of canine professionals, CCPDT
- AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
- Certified “SPEAK DOG” Canine Body Language Educator through Doggone Safe
- Doggone Safe Dog Bite Safety Educator
- Undergraduate studies in Psychology & Behavior
- Currently an Undergraduate in an Applied Psychology program, in preparation for Graduate Studies in Applied Behavior Analysis
- Registered Healer – INHA
- Reiki Master – certifications from Reiki Blessings Academy & North Jersey Massage Training Center
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 through Pawsitive Energy, LLC
- 1999 – 2000 (circa) – Trainer & behavior consultant for Best Friends Dog & Cat Adoption
- 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
- 2018-current Training Instructor at Our Gang Pet Services
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!
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
•Common behavior issues like chewing, jumping, digging, barking, pulling/lunging on leash
•Behavior problems like fear & aggression
•Canine Good Citizen (CGC) prep and testing
•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.
Seminars & Courses
In order to ensure my clients are getting the most current, factual information when I work with them and their dogs, I regularly take seminars as well as continuing education courses. The following list is updated constantly as I expand my knowledge base in order to then share that information with you:
*Mary 2018 – Canine Physiology (Kathryn Lord, PhD)
*March 2018 – current – B.S. in Applied Psychology
*Jan 2018 Clear Communication Tools (Sara Brueske)
*Oct 2017 Raising Puppies Right: Early Training (Sara Brueske)
*July, 2017 It’s Your Choice Webinar (Susan Garrett)
*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)
*2008 – Constructional Aggression Treatment (Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, PhD & Kellie Snider)
*Understanding Canine Behavior, comprehensive course (Barbara Handleman)
*2006 Clicker Expo – 3 day conference on positive training and behavior modification
*When Good Dogs Go Bad – Canine Aggression (Dr. Pamela Reid, PhD)
*Housetraining 123 Webinar (Helen Verte)
*Association of Professional Dog Trainers
*Doggone Safe – teaching dog safety and bite prevention.
MORE ABOUT ME:
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.