Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner: KPA-CTP

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed: CPDT-KA

Certified Humane Education Specialist: CHES


Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed: CBCC-KA (In Progress)

Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant: Associate CDBC (In Progress)

Professional Memberships

Ames Chamber of Commerce: Gold Member

Ames Community Arts Council: Silver Member

IAABC: Shelter Behavior Affiliate Member

APDT: Professional Premium Member

PPG: Full Member

APHE: Member


Best Friends Animal Sanctuary: Dogtown Intern

Emerson College: MA Theatre Education

University of Utah: Honors BFA Acting, Minor Anthropology

I hold an Honors BFA in Acting from the University of Utah and an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College.  As an actor and as a trainer, I must carefully observe and thoughtfully interpret behavior.  Both fields encourage me to solve problems creatively and to view a given situation from multiple perspectives.  Training is a highly physical skill requiring spatial awareness and precision, and my abilities as a dancer prove very useful. 

I have fifteen years of experience working with children, including private nannying, parent-and-child classes for infants and toddlers, performing arts classes for ages 3-12, workshops and story times at libraries, theatre summer camps, arts integration in elementary classrooms, and directing, choreographing, and performing in children's productions.  In Massachusetts I held a state teaching license as a theatre instructor.  My work with children prepared me to apply my knowledge of development and learning theory to the enrichment and education of our canine friends.

In the field of education, a teacher earns a license in a given subject area and then embarks on a career as a classroom teacher.  A dog trainer typically becomes a trainer first, and then earns credentials through certifying organizations while working directly with clients.  I am a member of several professional organizations, am involved in ongoing continuing education, and am currently completing two certifications in canine behavior.  During 2018 I'm engaging in continuing education with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Pet Professional Guild, Denver Zoo, the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, and Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo.

I am passionate about companion animal welfare, and I regularly provide training for adoptable shelter dogs as a volunteer at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.  I spent four months as a Dogtown intern at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in my home state of Utah, where I adopted my sweet cockapoo Butterscotch.  Butterscotch and his sister Marmalade are official mascots as the Plucky Paws Therapy Dogs.  Marmalade holds CGC and CGCA titles with the AKC, and Butterscotch surpassed the odds to earn his CGC title as a blind-deaf senior dog.  I owe a lot to Miss Marm--our therapy visitation initially inspired me to pursue a career at the intersection of dogs and kids.  Marmalade and Butterscotch are frequently involved in promotional events and Plucky Kids educational programs, so check the Event Calendar for their upcoming appearances.