We come from working in the rescue world as Animal Care and Adoptions Specialists at the Humane Society in Vermont, working at boarding facilities, volunteering at high kill shelters as behavioral specialists, studying and apprenticing under Kevin Behan, Founder of Natural Dog Training and Immediate Moment Theory, and wanting to help you and your dog. Our clients range from dogs with severe aggression who are biting people on the streets, to puppies brand new to the world with zero behavioral kinks (and we’d like to keep them that way). Our goal is to strengthen the bond with your dog and give you a new perspective of how your dog views the world. It is truly a holistic approach. From experience after adopting 3 tough rescue dogs who came with a ton of behavioral problems, we fully believe in this approach and have seen the transformation that can happen.
Like many folks who work with dogs for a living, I grew up surrounded by animals and wanted to work specifically with dogs since the 2nd grade. By age 12, I was dog sitting for neighborhood families, and successfully ran my own dog walking company throughout college in the city streets of Chicago working with your happy-go-lucky chihuahua to your full grown bull mastiff. I discovered Natural Dog Training when two of our dogs were viciously fighting each other. The method worked for me when no other method could, and I've since made it my mission to help as many dogs and their owners as I can regardless of their location.
Throughout my apprenticeship and career, I have been fortunate to work with some of the most aggressive dogs I have ever met to assist them along their healing journey back to "emotional neutral".
I love practicing and teaching yoga, as well, so the method worked for me because of its holistic approach; rehabilitating the dog's preyful and predatory sides to achieve emotional balance. I work with dogs under the philosophy that expression is more efficient than suppression when it comes to energy, emotions, and connection… much like humans, dogs need an outlet to shed past trauma and step towards a road of healing.
I did not grow up a dog person, but I became one. I got my first rescue dog, Cisco, in Chicago. Soon, after moving to New Jersey, Sunshine, a senior rescue came into my life -- then Bullet, in Vermont. The behavioral issues, and fighting, soon followed and I was completely clueless after trying multiple different methods of training to help my dogs.
I was lucky enough to have found Natural Dog Training and apprenticed with Kevin Behan at his farm in Newfane, VT working with extreme cases of aggression and trauma. After going there, apprenticing, and continually working with my dogs and client dogs, I can say I am now a true dog person.
I am also happy to report that our dogs no longer fight, they play.
Through working with our own dogs and diving into the world of dog rescue and rehabilitation, I've met all different types of dogs with specific needs. I believe in our approach because I myself need an outlet to stay grounded in today's demanding world and have seen the changes in our dogs & client dogs.
The Dog In Neutral OGs
Cisco is a Southern rescue who was transported up to Chicago where we met. He's a high energy Bulldog/Pitbull/Pug who is on the road to recovery for his dog-aggression and fear of humans. A former abuse case, he has made great strides in transforming his patterns of reactivity and fear into confidence and flow. You can find him walking the NJ streets with a stick in his mouth and most recently playing with new dogs he meets. Cisco is a great demo dog for NDT’s Core Exercises and we often use him as an example for how much energy your dog should be able to give to you in any given moment.
Sunshine is a local rescue from Newark, NJ. She's a 13 year old Shepherd/Husky mix. Upon adoption at 10 years old, she was very sick, would bite humans, and wasn't able to move well. She was a severe resource guarder and not great with dogs! Through rehabilitation, she now enjoys running around town, has the ability to now turn her guarding into play or a deep body massage, plays with people, dogs, and will enjoy a sweet belly-rub from anyone she meets. Sunshine sometimes joins training lessons when we are working to get reactive dogs to open up and play… and she does an awesome job in doing so. Sunshine went from an old shepherd to now a 13 year old puppy with a new zest in life.
Bullet is a Southern rescue who we adopted while working at the Humane Society in Vermont. He's an energetic Boston Terrier/Italian Greyhound/Chihuahua. In fact, he is named after his traumatic past: getting shot with a gun in his hind leg (the bullet is still there according to the shelter vet). He was on his road to recovery for his dog & human aggression, and now plays with both dogs and people. You can find him walking the streets with us, joining some training sessions as a helper, and as a demo-dog for displaying NDT’s Core Exercises… Specifically bite work. He channels all his squirrel-obsessed prey drive into his new tools for coping with domesticated life.
Apprenticeships & Continued Education
We both completed an Apprenticeship with Kevin Behan, Founder of Natural Dog Training (Vermont)
Sammie completed an addition Natural Dog Training Apprenticeship with Ben Draper, Founder of Wild Heart Dog Training (Alabama)
Sam completed a Fearful Shelter Dog Seminar (Vermont)
We both completed a Decoy Workshop with Dave Pappalardo of K9 Unlimited (New Jersey)
Continued Education and Working Retreats with Kevin Behan, Founder of Natural Dog Training (Vermont)