Virtual and In-home behavior modification programs are available!
Virtual and In-home behavior modification programs are available!
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Over my 25+ years as a dog training professional, my mission is training for a dog’s lifelong well-being and to enrich the lives dogs through owner education; to make a difference in the lives of dogs, their families and to mentor the trainers who help them. My goal is to teach people that behaviors are interactive, attention and relaxation are key, and training begins by recognizing the way each person interacts with their dog.
I began training shelter dogs in 1995 and owned and operated My Best Friend Training and Behavior Programs for 15 years. I've taught over a thousand group classes and worked with hundreds of private clients with dogs of all breeds and mixes, using force-free behavior modification, lure & reward training and following the principles of classical and operant conditioning. I’ve worked extensively with puppies, adolescent & rescue dogs and reactive/rowdy dogs. Developing a healthy canine mind is integral in my training.
I’ve frequently attended Educational Conferences as well as numerous behavior seminars which include: Dr. Ian Dunbar Sex & Aggression, Dr. Nicholas Dodman Canine Behavior, Dr. Karen Overall Aggression in Training, Dr. Ray Coppinger Canine Behavior, Jean Donaldson Fear & Aggression, Dr. Katherine Haupt Cornell University Solving Canine Behavior Problems, Tufts University Animal Behavior Expo, Karen Pryor Advanced Clicker Training Workshop, Instructor Training Course/Rondout Valley Kennels and Sue Sternberg Shelter Dog Assessment Seminar.
After owning a successful training business (during which time I worked closely with veterinarians), I was hired by Petsmart in 2003 to start up their training program and train new trainers for their upstate New York expansion. I conducted an unprecedented, extensive training session for 10 trainers using dogs from our local shelter to gauge their training ability. This was a pass/fail program. Because of my high success rate, my classes were recorded for the corporate office to review and incorporate my training style on a national level.
I served as president of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers from 2004 – 2006 as well as on the Board of Directors of the Mohawk Valley Business Women’s Network and the Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind. I have written articles for various publications. In 2003, I conducted a “How to Control Your Uncontrollable Dog” seminar for Mohawk Valley Community College summer adult education series. I was an instructor at the Brevard County Dog Training Club for 2 years and I completed my term as President in February 2017. In 2017 I established Canine Brains and Games, LLC to continue my mission to educate owners and teach them how to train their dogs.
I am a long-standing member of the Samoyed Club of America and during the 10 years we lived in NY, I assisted the Minuteman Samoyed Club Rescue. I've owned 3 rescue Samoyeds, 1 shelter "pound puppy", and 2 "farm" puppies (one a border collie & one a Samoyed) before being introduced to the world of conformation; after which I've whelped and raised a litter of puppies. My husband and I now have a family of 4 Samoyeds. I’m a Canine Good Citizen & Trick Dog Evaluator; my therapy dogs are registered with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and I’m a therapy dog tester for the organization. I’m also an evaluator for the Foundation for Service Dog Support. As a Community Educator and with my Therapy Dogs, I conduct bite prevention programs for local elementary schools, libraries and other organizations.
I have worked my own dogs in agility, obedience and conformation and lure coursing. My dogs are Canine Good Citizens and Therapy Dogs and have AKC Tricks and Rally titles. While I enjoy competing in AKC sports, the study of canine behavior continues to be my passion.
When I'm not working with dogs, I love to cook, I'm a master crocheter, I love sci-fi, British crime dramas and British comedy, and K-dramas!
Canine Brains & Games, LLC, Owner and Program Developer
Contributor for Merritt Island Now Magazine
Behavior Specialist/Dog Training Instructor
AKC ATT Evaluator
AKC Canine Good Citizen/Tricks Evaluator
Animal Behavior College Mentor
Alliance of Therapy Dogs Tester/Observer
Cognitive Behavior Therapy Certified Life Coach Practitioner
Certified Color Therapist
Gabbie was introduced to dog training 8 years ago when she got her first puppy. Together they excelled through multiple levels of obedience and agility. At that point, she knew dog training would always be a part of her daily life. She's enjoyed time volunteering at the Humane Society helping to train and care for the shelter dogs. She has also volunteered at a local dog club, helping out with events and doggy fun days.
At the start of COVID and the beginning of a pandemic, she was hindered by health conditions. Dog clubs shut down, sports and events cancelled. Instead of waiting for things to open back up she decided to build her own agility course in her backyard to continue with daily training.
At the time she had four dogs and the daily training and learning with them helped her create a strong bond. Gabbie began to realize that there is so much more to dog training than just training: It’s about understanding your dog's language and how to communicate with your dog.
Her goal with dog training is to not only train dogs but to train the owners to help create a happier environment between dog and human. Working at Canine Brains & Games has helped her better understand dog behavior and training. It joys her to make a difference in the lives of dogs and their owners. She has trained various dogs breeds from large to small, all while using aversive free/force free methods and helping dog and owners to create harmony and peace.
Gabbie currently owns a Goldendoodle mix (she knows she’s a pampered princess), a Doberman Pinscher and a Dalmatian puppy. Outside of work, she and her dogs typically take day trips to various parts of Florida and walk parts of the ‘Florida Scenic Trail’, or they take a beach day. Whatever she's doing, her dogs are doing it with her. Animals have always held a special place in her heart, from snakes to birds, fins, feathers, fur or scales, she's a friend to all!
Gabbie has attended various seminars including Dr. Ian Dunbar's 2 day Reliability & Games, Simple Solutions for Common Behavior Problems, and Treatment & Prevention of Dog Aggression: Biting & Fighting seminars. She's currently enrolled in the STSK9 trainer certification program.
Karis Rause grew up on Long Island, NY and moved to Florida in 2017. Always having a love for animals, Karis started volunteering at Animal Hospitals and Wildlife Sanctuaries. She started working specifically with dogs at Petco Animal Supplies where she became a dog trainer and training mentor to other associates.
Karis furthered her education by becoming a Licensed Veterinary Technician and working with Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorists. She is certified in Low Stress Handling Techniques from Sophia Yin and is an AKC CGC Evaluator. Karis has trained a wide variety of breeds of dogs in private homes for the past 8 years.
A highlight of her career was getting to travel to South Africa to study orphaned/abandoned baboons.
Karis recently joined Canine Bains and Games and is excited to further her education and meet new friends!
After taking classes from Canine Brains and Games with her dog Cocoa, Nikki has enjoyed working part-time at the Enrichment Day School.
Her patience and good listening skills make her a popular dog walker and dog sitter for family and friends. Nikki has always loved animals and hopes to become a certified dog trainer.
Nikki is currently working with Cocoa in the hopes that he will be able to do therapy work. She very much appreciates her bond with Cocoa and believes training him is truly therapeutic. Nikki understands that changing a dog’s behavior takes time, energy, hard work and consistency in applying positive reinforcement training techniques.
Tonya is an assistant dog trainer at. Canine Brains and Games. She was born with a love for animals and coming from a family of dog lovers, she has always been surrounded by dogs in her life for as long as she can remember.
Tonya discovered her love of working with dogs when her and her husband relocated from Connecticut to
CT to Washington state where she changed careers and had the opportunity to work as a dog handler for a busy downtown doggie day care. While there, Tonya was able to observe and work with
many types of dog personalities and behaviors.
Since that time she has continued to work with dogs as a dog walker and pet sitter where her love of working with and learning about dogs and their behavior led her to begin studying to
become a dog trainer through Catch Canine Academy which focuses on force free, R+ training, a dog training philosophy Tonya aligns with deeply. Through these areas of study, and experience gained at Canine Brains and Games, Tonya’s goal is to become a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT) and a certified behavior consultant - Canine (CBCC) to help dogs and their owners have great relationships together.
Tami Tomlinson is a Meditation & Yoga instructor, Certified Ayurveda Educator, Health & Well-Being Coach and Owner of Living Life Now, Inc. Tami is a life-long learner always searching ways to grow and learn, specifically in regards to healthier ways to live. Whether it be for herself, family or her love for animals, seeking knowledge is a passion for her. Tami began her journey into dog training in 2016 after she adopted Riley, a dachshund/lab mix. She began with a Puppy Kindergarten class where she met Diane Whitney and the three have been a team ever since!
As a result, some of the training classes Tami & Riley have taken include: Puppy Kindergarten, Basic Obedience, Seek & Find, Basic Agility and Rally. Additionally, they have completed & earned the AKC Canine Good Citizen, Advanced and Urban titles as well as Novice & Intermediate Tricks titles. Working with Riley has become a passion for Tami to develop their bond and promote their overall health & wellbeing. Tami has enjoyed working with Riley so much, she & Diane developed the Doga class she teaches. With Tami’s knowledge of Yoga, they created a class in which the canine students complete modified yoga poses (asanas) with their humans assisting.
Similar to a human yoga class, the dogs finish in Savasana (relaxation) while Tami shares the Chakra Balancing Technique she created specifically for her canine students. With Tami’s holistic approach to well-being for her own life; she has used the healing methods of Ayurveda, Meditation, and Yoga as a way to manage living with her chronic health matters. She is passionate about helping others live their best lives by teaching them holistic measures of overall health & well-being. Her students have learned the importance of “Living Life Now” through her radiant example.
Tami loves spending her free time kayaking or relaxing reading a book with a nice cup of Tea and Riley by her side. As a Native Floridian, summer time is her favorite time of the year!!
Living Life Now, Inc., Owner & Co-Founder Yoga Instructor
Chopra Center Certified Perfect Health: Ayurveda Educator Health & Well-being Coach; AKC CGC/Tricks Evaluator; Doga Paws© & Canine Chakra researcher, creator, and developer; Canine Fitness Instructor.
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