I split my time between my two passions: educating professionals about service dogs, and working with owners and their dogs. I have trained service dogs for a wide range of needs including mobility, hearing, neurological problems and a dual guide-mobility dog.
My interest in the fields of service work is both personal and professional. I have a progressive neurological movement disorder called dystonia and trained my own dogs as service dogs. I live with my husband and our collies in Northern Virginia. I am a native of the Washington DC area and previously worked as a public school teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools.
- Masters Education – George Mason University
- Bachelors Psychology – George Mason University
- Certificate Brain Research in Education – University of Washington
Some of My Professional Achievements
I often speak and write on service dogs for professional associations and provide continuing education for professional pet dog trainers through the APDT, the Chronicle of the Dog, and the PPG.
Vice President – International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
2006, founded of the division on Working Animals. I was a member of the team that wrote the definition of professional animal behavior consultant published in the March 2007 issue of the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
Invited Speaker – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Sept. 29, 2010, presentation on fearful dog behavior for trainers, handlers, and law enforcement professionals involved with explosive detection dogs at the Front Royal Canine Training Center.
I was published in two books by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Top Tips by Top Trainers and The Dog Trainer’s Resource.
Managing Editor for A Pawsitive Canine Experience, a newsletter on service and therapy dogs that had international distribution and won the 2006 Dog Writers of America Award.
Hands-On Dog Training Accomplishments
I have lived with a variety of breeds from different breed groups including nordic breeds well known for being “challenging to train” for over 30 years. All of my adult dogs have been trained to a high level and have passed AKC Canine Good Citizen at a minimum.
Service and Therapy Dogs
I started doing therapy work with my dogs when I was in college, visiting local nursing homes. I have trained several of my dogs to work as therapy dogs. I have experience training dogs for mobility assistance and hearing alert from puppy-hood to full task training and public access.
Competition Obedience and Dog Sports
I have titled several of my dogs in competition obedience (CD) and rally, earning multiple placements. I also have experience training and competing in disc dog events (“frisbee” competitions). I competed in Rally Obedience in my wheelchair and achieved top scores with my current service dog, Sulu.
Random Facts about Me
Before I started training in the 1990’s, I completed a 7 month apprenticeship under the gifted trainer, Dawn Sylvia-Staciewicz, she was best known for her role training President Obama’s Bo.
I love gardening. I’m passionate about growing butterfly friendly gardens with native plants.
In high school I roamed Tysons as a “mall rat” with packs of other high schoolers when it was just one floor and one mall. Ah the 80’s!