About Me

Greetings and welcome to Sirius Positive Dog Training, based at Rainbows End Farm in Newtown, CT.  My daughter Lara and I moved to our small farm in Newtown, Connecticut in 2004, with our horses and our Shih Tzu Cindy; our family expanded rapidly to include a donkey, indoor and outdoor cats, and a remarkable German Shepherd Dog, Sirius.

Sirius joined our family at the age of 18 months after he was released from Guiding Eyes for the Blind.  On paper he arrived as a “finished” dog with the advantages of careful breeding, early socialization, a loving puppy raiser family and skilled Guiding Eyes trainers.  But Sirius was a dilemma.  He was sweet but remote; his unpredictability on leash resulted in human injuries (including rotator cuff surgery) and anxious moments when he either tore the leash from our hands, or in one case ripped a 3/4” wide nylon tracking line in half, and disappeared in the woods for hours.  I was quite disappointed and frustrated; all my life I had wanted a German Shepherd Dog and had visualized the close relationship we would have; and this beautiful dog just didn’t seem to connect.  We sought help from well established trainers including German Shepherd “specialists”, who variously recommended choke, prong and shock collars, which I was unwilling to use.   I went with him to multiple classes and worked on drills and cues; and although my handling skills improved, still something was missing.

 
It took a few years for me to work out that I (like many people) was putting the cart

before the horse.  Rather than working on “mechanical” training (sit/down/stay, etc.)  separately from the moments of fun and connection I had with Sirius,  I realized that Sirius' and my relationship should create the training partnership.  Like all sentient beings, Sirius was asking me “Why?  Why should I do this that you are asking me to do when I really feel like doing that?"  Sirius was not a robot and he had opinions and feelings also.  The traditional training answer to Sirius' “Why?” would have been:  "because I said so."   The solution I found, was extending the respectful and trusting relationship Sirius and I had outside of training, to include our training time.  And Sirius' response became:  "Yes, I will do what you are asking (even if I don’t really feel like doing it), not because I am forced, but because we have developed a relationship based on mutual respect and trust." 

 

When I developed that deep connection with Sirius, everything fell into place; I had a companion who was well behaved everywhere, who happily walked at my side on and off leash, and whom I could trust in any situation.  Sirius peacefully crossed the Rainbow Bridge in July 2016, but not before teaching me about relationships with our animal companions, and those lessons from Sirius are incorporated into my training methods:  respect, trust, forgiveness for mistakes, and a willingness to let things go and remain in the present.

Sirius inspired me to study canine training extensively, to shadow trainer mentors, and eventually in 2015 to leave the medical profession to become a full time dog trainer. I have multiple certifications and regularly attend workshops presented by nationally and internationally recognized dog trainers and animal behaviorists. 
 

 In addition to working with private clients, I train rescue dogs who have behavioral problems and volunteer with several rescue organizations, including Best Friends Animal Society, Companion Pet Rescue, and Furry Friends Foster and Rescue.  
 

I look forward to hearing from you, and to working with you and your animal companions!

Certifications and Memberships:

  • Certified Behavior Dog Trainer, International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

  • Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed, CPDT-KA

  • Certified Behavior Adjustment Trainer, BAT2

  • Certified Fear Free Professional Trainer

  • Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator and Trainer, American Professional Dog Trainers

  • Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and Trainer, American Kennel Club

  • Graduate, James French Animal Communication Training

  • Graduate with Distinction, Victoria Stilwell Dog Training Academy

  • Graduate, Jan Fennell Amichien Training 

  • Professional Premium Member, Association of Professional Dog Trainers 

  • Member, Pet Professional Guild

  • Canine and Feline CPR certified

Sirius Positive Dog Training is a fully insured business.

(203) 788-7647

 Newtown CT United States 06482

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