IT’S A WRAP!!! 7


Yesterday afternoon saw the conclusion of yet another Peaceable Paws Level 1 Dog Trainer Academy. These are always exhausting yet fulfilling weeks for our students as well as for Peaceable Paws staff, and always end with lots of tears as the humans say good-bye to their canine co-students.

Here’s the graduation photo:

A hearty congratulations to all our successful Interns, and a loud shout out to High Scoring Graduate Kelly Spring, from Washington DC, whose very creative business name is “Spring Training (for Positively Good Dogs)” at . Kelly worked with Lance, a wonderful Siberian Husky who was so stressed about all the recent changes to his world that he didn’t really start working well for her until Friday. Kelly’s attitude throughout was upbeat and positive. They rocked their practical final:

And another well-deserved shout out to Intern Christy Crone of Williamsport, MD, an Animal Care Technician at the Humane Society of Washington County, for earning the highest score on the practical final with her Academy dog Taz, a slightly undersocialized and very sweet Shepherd/Hound mix:

Our other wonderful canine and humane students this week were:

Leah Jordan, of Philadelphia, PA and the exceptionally laid-back St. Bernard, Charlie. Charlie was a star at “Leave-it” and had a great time playing with Blizzard (see the next Academy team):

Check out this video of Charlie and Blizzard romping in our indoor arena:

Here’s Blizzard, a Great Pyrenees mix, also very laid back except when she’s playing with Charlie, with her Academy human, Laurie Scible of Shady Side, MD:

Sue Romano, of Fairfield, PA – a long-time Peaceable Paws client, with her high-energy Academy Lab mix, 4-month-old O’Malley. This pup started the Academy as a very out-of-control, mouthy youngster with a very low tolerance for frustration. Sue worked wonders with him this week – he was a star on his practical final, and now has great prospects for succeeding in his soon-to-be new home:

Sarah Matisak, from (somewhere in) West Virginia (Animal Care Supervisor at the Humane Society of Washington County) also did admirably during the week with this lovely little Pit Bull Terrier. Sweet Pea is aptly-named. She started the week a little serious and shut-down, but blossomed in Sarah’s capable hands:

Petra Manis of Tarrytown, PA, owner of “Sweet Trick! Positive Dog Training” ( ) had a great week with little Bean, who overcame all the stereotypes about tiny dogs and learned to down on verbal cue (at least some of the time), walk politely on leash, do a lovely recall, and more. He even sniffed noses with my Scorgidoodle, Bonnie, who outweighs him at least three times, without doing the little dog defensive-aggression response. Petra was aching to adopt Bean, but she rents and her landlord doesn’t allow dogs.

And last but not least, is Vicky Hellerick of Plumsteadville, PA, and the adorable Cockapoo, Curly. Curly was first in the class to reliably offer a verbal down, and had extracurricular fun with Vicky, “creeking,” and jumping over jumps in the outdoor arena. Vicky also wanted to adopt, but she still lives at home and her parents said “no.” Dang!

These Academy dogs are now available for adoption! You can read more about them at the website for the Humane Society of Washington County:

I also owe a huge thanks to our Academy Assistant, Shannon McAuliffe, PMCT (Pat Miller Certified Trainer) from Phenix, MD, for all her help this week – transporting dogs, taking photos, coaching students, helping Shirley with cleaning and all the other Academy odds ‘n ends:

And of course a huge thanks to Shirley Greenlief, PMCT, CPDT-KA, our full-time Office Manager and PPaws trainer, who holds it all together for me so I don’t lose my sanity.


A personal footnote: When I left the Marin Humane Society in Novato, California in 1997 after 20 years there to launch Peaceable Paws in Monterey, California, I was concerned that I would have a smaller impact on the lives of animals and the people who love them. As Director of Operations and a sworn California Humane Officer of this acclaimed animal protection organization I had the honor and privilege of attending and speaking at national humane conferences, assisting other agencies throughout the state with disaster assistance and cruelty investigations, and editing and publishing for 13 years a quarterly magazine for animal control and humane officers called the C.H.A.I.N. Letter – publication of the Collective Humane Action and Information Network, a group that my husband Paul and I started, along with several other animal protection professionals. How could I ever have that kind of reach, I wondered, as a simple dog trainer?

Thanks in large part to the dedicated dog training and behavior professionals who have come through the many Academies, workshops and seminars offered by Peaceable Paws here and around the world, It’s gratifying to know I continue to reach dogs, and the people who love them, far beyond my own backyard.

Speaking of beyond my own backyard, next weekend I’ll be in Wisconsin (Milwaukee area) to give a seminar on Saturday, 4/24 – just a few miles from my childhood stomping grounds. I’m taking Sunday to do nostalgia tours.

And also speaking of backyards, here’s Lucy, Bonnie and Dubhy, hanging out under our favorite backyard tree in full spring bloom:

Warm woofs and happy training!


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