DUE TO COVID-19 WE'RE UNABLE TO CONDUCT IN-HOME SESSIONS AT THIS TIME.
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.
I offer the following Certificate Programs for dog trainers:
Recognizing Canine Behavior in a Group Class: All Stressed Out & No Where to Go ©, Curriculum Development: A Method to the Madness from Blah to Rah ©, and How to Manage Group Classes.
Canine Brains & Games, LLC, Owner and Program Developer
CATCH Academy Mentor
Behavior Specialist/Dog Training Instructor
AKC ATT Evaluator
AKC Canine Good Citizen/Tricks Evaluator
Alliance of Therapy Dogs Tester/Observer
Foundation for Service Dog Support Evaluator
Cognitive Behavior Therapy Certified Life Coach Practitioner
Certified Color Therapist
As an individual that lives with multiple chronic illnesses, I have always maintained an “I can do” mindset regardless of the obstacles and opportunities life presents to me. It is with this belief that I have persevered and overcome many of challenges and have continued to defy the odds of nature. Over the years I have continued pursuing the idea of living a healthier lifestyle and believing that I can make a positive impact in my life as well as others.
To continue increasing my healthy mindset, I choose to study at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California. I attended many programs and became a Certified Wellness Educator in Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle Program in August 2015. Having traveled to the Chopra Center multiple times I have attended courses such as: Journey into Healing, Seduction of Spirit (meditation & yoga retreat), Perfect Health 6-Day Program, Healing the Heart, Living in Balance, and participated in an on-site, week-long teacher certification training. Since learning about Ayurveda, a mind-body healing science, I have become passionate about living the principles I learned in addition to educating others.
In November 2018 I expanded my Ayurvedic awareness by completing a six-week online course entitled “Total Wellbeing for Dogs: The 6 Pillars of a Truly Balanced Canine.” I had the honor of working with Amanda Ree of Sama Dog, LLC (who developed this one of a kind course) whereby we applied the Ayurvedic principles not only to humans but dogs as well. It was an excellent learning opportunity to bridge the Ayurveda link between humans and their canine companions. While prior knowledge of Ayurveda was not required, as a dog owner & lover with an understanding of Ayurveda, it was a natural fit for me! Being able to learn Riley’s Dosha was beneficial for me to provide him the best environment for our livelihood and training.
I adopted Riley, dachshund/lab mix, in August 2016 and have since trained with him non-stop. In addition to working with him during the Sama Dog course, we have taken the following training classes: Puppy Kindergarten, Basic Obedience, Seek & Find, Basic Agility, and Canine Good Citizen & Canine Good Citizen Advanced (acquiring certification for both CGC & CGCA). With Riley, training became a passion for me to promote discipline and balance (for both of us) while spending time together and most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Animals have always been near and dear to my heart. I am very passionate about them and even don’t mind the squirrels eating the bird food! I look forward to future training with Riley in addition to meeting new canine companions and their wonderful owners! My mission is to ensure each person (and dog) is able to live their best life while creating peace, harmony, and balance.
Additional courses: Sue Sternberg’s Sociability vs. Aggression in Dogs seminar, April 2018.
Living Life Now, Inc., Owner & Co-Founder
Chopra Center Certified Perfect Health: Ayurveda Educator
Graduate of the Sama Dog Certificate Program