Dog Trainer on a Mission to Help Vets with PTSD


Dennis Fehling & Pam Bigoni

Stay turned for our upcoming Podcast Interview with dog trainer Dennis Fehling, CPDT-KA, CBATI, of Friends for Life Dog Training in Redmond, Oregon, who is passionate about giving back and helping veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  He and his wife Pam Bigoni worked with a program called “Battle Buddies” in Oregon, training veterans and their service dogs.

Dennis invited two veterans whom he worked with in the program, Tom Imholt and Dax McMillan, as well as retired Navy Seal John Surmont, to talk about the effects the dogs had on their lives. Dennis also discusses what kind of training he did with the veterans and their service dogs.

As Dennis points out, “we need to have more programs like this one because the dogs actually change people’s lives as they connect vets with a non-judgmental being to help with their new “mission.””

Dax McMillan & Shatten

John Surmont

Tom Imholt & Zoey

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The Modern Dog Trainer



Ines Gaschot, CPDT-KA

There’s a blog called The MODERN DOG TRAINER that’s well worth checking out – Wow… does it have some great information for dog trainers!

Founded in 2014 by Ines Gaschot, CPDT-KA and assisted by 9 contributing editors who are also dog trainers, The Modern Dog Trainer’s mission is to bring the dog training industry into the 21st century by as Ines puts it, “providing the most up to date industry tips to our readers.”

All the articles and information on the blog are specifically targeted to dog trainers including start-up tips for newbie dog trainers, tips on simplifying the operations of an existing business for established trainers, and there’s a tab GROW YOUR BUSINESS – AN INTRODUCTION TO MARKETING FOR DOG TRAINERS that takes you to an article Ines wrote where she discusses 5 strategies to get more clients.

For those of you who give REACTIVE DOG CLASSES or are looking into the possibility of starting them, Ines recently wrote a thought provoking article based on her own experiences where she had to overcome the challenges of teaching a reactive dog class.

She covers topics such as:

Management Solutions for Teaching a Reactive Dog Class in Imperfect Locations
Entering and Leaving Reactive Dog Class
Set Strict Rules for Your Clients
What Your Reactive Dog Clients Do Outside of Class Matters More Than What They Do During It

You can also subscribe to a program Ines created called THE LEASH AGGRESSION CLASSROOM. It’s a Video and Written Curriculum for you and your clients who own reactive dogs.

There are many great articles in the TRAINING METHODS tab as well as How-To videos. I liked the video history on Page 2 of how trainer Liz Wynant, CPDT-KA introduced her new cat to her resident dog, especially since we’re thinking of getting a cat!

Once you start looking around Ines’ site and clicking the various tabs it’s honestly hard to leave – so much great information! THE MODERN DOG TRAINER BLOG is certainly making an impact so sign up to their mailing list and stay up to date!

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Outdoor Training Games in Oregon


I’m excited about my next podcast interview with dog trainer Dina Pavlis of Surf City Dog Training!


Dina Pavlis, ABCDT

Dina trains in Florence, Oregon which from Googling it, it looks like a beautiful part of our country! Pacific Coast, sand dunes, pine trees, rivers… wow! Above is a picture of Dina and one of her dogs. https://www.surfcitydogtraining.com/index.html

She’s developed some some truly exciting outdoor activities for her classes that she’s going to talk about and why she decided to focus on this kind of training. “Wilderness Parkour” anyone?!!

group_small (2)

Graduates of Dina’s 6-week “Whistle Recall” class!

In talking to her recently, I realized that she has a deep understanding of what trainers can go through when they adopt a rescue dog that doesn’t fit the mold they were looking for.  I’ve experienced that and it can be painful. She’ll talk about ways to overcome it and how to turn it into a positive experience for you and your dog.

Stay tuned for our upcoming podcast!


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Certifications for Dog Trainers – One of the First



The Society of North American Dog Trainers (SNADT).  Have you heard of it? Probably not. Steve Diller, the wonderful trainer whom I studied with, told me about it as he had been its President in 1991. Many of the members were pet dog trainers but they also competed in competition obedience, agility and Schutzhund.

I don’t think much has been written about the history of SNADT and I think it’s important for dog trainers to know about our past professional organizations, the history of them and the dog trainers that came before us.

I found out from speaking with several past members and trainer Babette Haggerty that the organization’s goal was to “elevate and set ethical standards for dog trainers, and act as a voice in dog related legislative issues.” Most of the members were from the New York City Tri-state area.

And fight legislative issues they did!! NYC dog trainer and author Carol Lea Benjamin told me that in her recollection, the group was originally started as a reaction to New York City legislation that would have banned pit bulls. Trainers went down to City Hall to testify and the bill was defeated!

Babette told me that she thinks SNADT was founded before 1990 but it was no longer in existence when APDT held its first conference in Orlando, FL in ‘94.

To get a SNADT Certification there was a rigorous system of testing.

The testing was done At the ASPCA on 92nd Street in Manhattan.

Here’s what I learned from dog trainer Brenda “Sue” Clauss of Paw Paw’s Canine College & Kennel, LLC in West Virginia who received a Level 2 Certification from SNADT.

  1. There were three levels of Certification. At the time Sue was certified at Level 2 only 8 people had that certification – 7 from the US and 1 from England

  2. There was a written test which included breed temperament and history

  3. There was an oral defense in front of the testing panel

  4. For the hands-on portion the trainer had to work 3 different shelter dogs on the spot never having seen or met any of the dogs. Sue said in 5 minutes she had to teach each dog something. She remembers being handed an “extremely vicious” bull dog and was told to “work the dog”

  5. As Carol told me, the testing was done with no special training equipment because the ASPCA wouldn’t allow it

Here’s a list of some of the members of SNADT – if anyone knows of any others – please let me know!

Google them – and please don’t get hung up on methods and techniques when you read about them. I indicated that SNADT founder Robin Kovary was also a Charter Member of APDT for a reason. This is about our history and it’s good for us to know who came before us.

Capt. Arthur Haggerty

Carol Lea Benjamin

Steve Diller

Barbara Nagy

Marion Lane

Brenda “Sue” Clauss

Sue Sternberg

Larry Berg

Job Michael Evans

Robin Kovary (Charter member of APDT)

Sidney Mihls

Karen Reardon Taylor, CPDT-KA

Carole Fiel

Kathy Marr

Bash Dibra


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The People End of Dog Training



Colleen Demling, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA


Have you ever had trouble with the people end of dog training?  Difficult or uncomfortable situations with clients – when you feel that you’re just not getting your message across to the owners?

You’ve got to listen to THE DOG TRAINERS CONNECTION PODCAST interview that we’re posting on Friday, 11/6!

I interviewed Colleen Demling, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, Founder and CEO of www.pawtopia.com which has been voted the #1 Dog Training Company in San Diego, CA. Colleen has been training dogs for 15 years and also has a degree in social work. She talked to me about the 3 different learning styles of adults, how to figure out what your clients learning style is right on the spot during your first home visit – and after you do – use that information to get your clients motivated to do the work necessary to help their dog.

Colleen also talked about what you can do when there’s a disagreement between family members on training – giving examples from her own cases. And she shares more crucial information that will help with the people end of dog training, which will help you to be more successful and help your business grow!

DTC You Later!

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