I came to training as just another dog owner in 2005, when my husband and I adopted Pigeon, a timid seven-month-old shepherd mix whose fear and anxiety would soon blossom into aggression. She was my first teacher, and remains my best.
Soon after finding PIgeon (left), I was lucky enough to find Laura Monaco Torelli at Animal Behavior Training Concepts—where by 2009 I was apprenticing as a trainer. In addition to running my own business, I now also serve as a senior trainer for hers, and my group classes are all held through Animal Behavior Training Concepts.
I graduated from the Karen Pryor Academy in February 2011, becoming a Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), and in all subsequent years have earned the "client endorsed" distinction through KPA's Assurance, Commitment, and Education program, a system for ensuring that members continue to meet the organization's high standards for force-free training. (You can read what clients have said about their training experience, on the survey and otherwise, on the Testimonials page.)
I am also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), and am on the recommended trainers' list for both local veterinary behavior practices: Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants and Veterinary Behavior at Illinois.
Dog training has opened a back door into the broader world of behavior science, and since 2014 I have worked under applied behavior analysis professor Dr. Susan Friedman, becoming a teaching assistant for her Living and Learning With Animals course for animal behavior professionals and her functional analysis module of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants' flagship Principles & Practice course.
I volunteered at PAWS Chicago and Chicago Animal Care and Control weekly for more than three years as an adoption counselor, dog walker, Meet Your Match evaluator, and trainer. I currently partner with foster-based rescues One Tail at a Time and Peace for Pits, making behavioral help available to foster families and new adopters.
Finally, I'm also a former journalist and editor who has worked for Outside, Chicago, and the Chicago Reader, among other publications, and am available for select writing and editing projects related to dog training and behavior.
I am happy to provide proof of licensing and insurance on request.