Pawsitively Mannered

Hi! I’m Debbie. Lifelong animal lover, college psych major, mother of two, and human treat dispenser to rescue dogs Gizmo and Rocky. Gizmo is a no-nonsense Chihuahua mix who helped me assess dogs for years thanks to his awesome body language. He’s nearing 20 with the utmost grace. Rocky is my 15-year-old pit bull. He is such a happy goof who just wants people to love him. My husband, kids and I do, of course, and he is great with the kids!


Rocky 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.


  • 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



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.



  • FDSA & IAABC, The Lemonade Conference

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


  • John McGuigan, On Dog Behavior & Training

  • Michael Shikashio & Trish McMillan, Aggression in dogs


  • 25th Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference


  • Ken Ramirez, Advanced training topics

  • Turid Rugaas, Canine body language, health & stress


  • 23rd Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference


  • John Rogerson, Advanced dog behavior counseling 

  • John Rogerson, Angels & demons

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



  • 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



  • 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



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