Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner: KPA-CTP

Certified Humane Education Specialist: CHES

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed: CPDT-KA (Spring 2018)

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

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 a BFA in Acting from the University of Utah and an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College in Boston.  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 in a variety of contexts, 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 three certifications in dog training and behavior.  During 2017 I engaged in continuing education at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and Utah's Hogle Zoo.

I am passionate about companion animal welfare, and I provide behavior modification 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.  I owe a lot to Miss Marm--our therapy visitation inspired me to pursue a career involving dogs and kids.  Marmalade and Butterscotch are involved in promotional events and Plucky Kids educational programs whenever possible.  Check the Event Calendar for their upcoming appearances.