I've worked either as an employee or volunteer in shelters for several years.   Currently, I devote most of my shelter hours to The Humane Society of Washington County in Maryland completing behavior assessments on dogs.   We have a very thorough process that is spear headed by internationally recognized trainer Pat Miller.  All of the assessments I complete are led by Pat herself.  I encourage anyone who is remotely interested in becoming a professional dog trainer (or just becoming better at reading dogs) to start by taking classes with your own dog, followed closely by volunteering your time at your local animal shelter.  There is no better education on animals in my mind than helping those in need.

   The dogs listed below will always be dogs from HSWC and will almost always be dogs that I've assessed personally.  If you're in the area, I hope that you'll give them a look.



Brandy is a beautiful Husky mix who was returned to the shelter when her person became gravely ill.  He wisely knew that he would no longer be able to keep up with her energy needs.  During our assessment with Brandy we found that she had lovely control of herself (though she pulled quite hard on leash) and seemed to love all people and dogs, someone had clearly spent time in training this lovely girl.   She passed her assessment with flying colors and then spent the next week as a demo dog for one of the trainer academies we offer at Peaceable Paws.  She worked for an entire week with an amazing trainer named Sean Howard (of Up With Pup and Canada's first and only PMCT).  By the end of the week she was demonstrating verbal sits and downs and lots of cute tricks.   She proved to have wonderful focus, watching her person intently for the next cue.  Once we put a front-clip harness on her and allowed her to hike a couple of days on the farm the pulling had pretty much disappeared and wonderful loose leash walking remained!  The only caveats with Brandy are her energy needs.  She would do well with someone active who would get her out and moving a lot.  However, farm life might not be the most appropriate home for Brandy, due to her tendency to flush wildlife quite enthusiastically (ground hogs, deer, etc).  Until she was a nice long distance recall, it would probably be good to keep Brandy on leash or long line outside of well-fenced areas.