Professional Dog Trainer
Veronica Sanchez M.Ed. CABC, CPDT-KA
I am a native of the Washington DC area. I grew up surrounded by dogs and cats in my suburban Falls Church home. I started training my first dog, an independent husky mix, while I was still in high school. When I successfully trained him to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen and work as a therapy dog, I was invited to complete an apprenticeship in dog training. I soon began teaching group and private lessons after my day job as a public school teacher in the 1990’s.
After 7 years teaching children in Fairfax County, I developed a rare neurological condition called generalized dystonia and had to discontinue my work with children. We opened Cooperative Paws in 2006 and it has given me another venue to pursue my passion to educate.
Degrees and Certifications
- Masters in Education-George Mason University
- Bachelors in Psychology – George Mason University
- Certificate Brain Research in Education – University of Washington
- Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
- Certified Dog and Cat Behavior Consultant
- Animal Assisted Intervention International – Full Member
- Pet Professional Guild
- Operation Socialization Certified
- AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
- Association of Pet Dog Trainers
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. I have owned dogs (and cats) from reputable breeders as well as rescues and shelters.
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.
- Set standards for the training and assessment of service dog teams for a non-profit training program.
- 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.
- Full member of Animal-Assisted Intervention International
- Founding member of the Working Animal Division for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
- Personal experience living with a progressive neurological movement disorder, using and training a dog to assist including challenging multiple step tasks
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.
Some of My Professional Achievements
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.
Vice President – International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
2006, I was a founder 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.
I was published in two books by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Top Tips by Top Trainers and The Dog Trainer’s Resource.
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!