MEET DEBBIE
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Hi! I’m Debbie. Lifelong animal lover, college psych major, mother of two, and human treat dispenser to rescue dog Cooper. He is a two-year-old American Bully who loves to chase bunnies (he never catches them), play with dog friends, and learn fun tricks. He is my hiking buddy and fitness pal. You might sometimes see Cooper in my group classes!

 

Years ago, when I had my pit bull mix Rocky, he gave me that a-ha moment that led me to dog training. When he joined the family, I knew it was important to train him well because of the stigma surrounding pit bulls. In college, I had done my senior internship at an animal shelter, working hands on with dogs and cats and answering questions for the pet-behavior help line. As I was training Rocky, it clicked—I wanted to fuse my degree in psychology with my love of working with animals to become a dog trainer. In 2010, I graduated from Animal Behavior College with honors, and I’ve been helping dogs and their families enjoy happier lives ever since. I love my job!

My techniques are all positive and based on the most current behavioral and animal psychology. Dogs love to think, so I find out what motivates them—treats, toys, attention—and use those motivators as a training tool. As your dog learns what you expect of her, she can think about how to take action rather than reacting to a situation. Every dog learns differently, so we try different approaches to fit your dog's learning style. I make training fun, simple and stress-free for you and your dog.

 

From my years of working with shelters, I know that working through behavior issues is the most effective way to keep pets in happy, healthy homes. As a mom, I’m passionate about making sure families with kids and dogs have safe, fun interactions. Dogs are part of the family, and it’s great to watch kids playing with their dogs. Teaching a kid how to teach their dog tricks? So fun! Knowing that everyone can play safe? So rewarding!

 

When I see happy guardians and happy dogs after a session, that’s how I know I’m where I should be.

EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE

  • CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed), CCPDT

  • ABCDT (Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer), Animal Behavior College

  • B.A. Psychology, La Sierra University

  • Guest speaker at La Sierra University: Dog Training and Psychology

  • Speaks Swedish, Portuguese and French

CERTIFICATIONS & AFFILIATIONS

CONTINUING EDUCATION

Learning from experts is a top priority for me. I regularly attend workshops and seminars to continue my education with the most respected leaders in the animal-behavior and dog-training fields.

 

2020

  • FDSA & IAABC, The Lemonade Conference

  • Sue Sternberg, Managing Dog-Dog Interactions & Avoiding Dog-Play Dangers

2019

  • John McGuigan, On Dog Behavior & Training

  • Michael Shikashio & Trish McMillan, Aggression in dogs

2018

  • 25th Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference

2017

  • Ken Ramirez, Advanced training topics

  • Turid Rugaas, Canine body language, health & stress

2016

  • 23rd Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference

2014

  • John Rogerson, Advanced dog behavior counseling 

  • John Rogerson, Angels & demons

  • Ian Dunbar, Common sense & cutting edge concepts in dog training

 

2013

  • Nicole Wilde, Alternative approaches to healing canine health & behavior

  • Nicole Wilde, Talk to the paw: What dogs are really sayingand what we're saying to them

 

2012

  • Pat Miller, Real solutions to canine behavior problems (from aggression to common everyday issues)

  • Nicole Wilde, Helping fearful dogs

  • Nicole Wilde, Two timely topics: Separation anxiety and dynamics of dog-dog play

 

2011

  • Dr. Sophia Yin & Sarah Kalnajs, Deconstructing the growl: Perspectives on canine aggression