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About Us

Meet The Team


Connie studied learning theory, behavior, instructional skills, animal husbandry, training equipment, and ethology through Raising Canine School. She then began her professional dog training career by opening Strategic Paws Training in 2012 where she worked in behavior, taught private lessons, taught both in-person and online classes in pet manners, reactive rover, toy reinforcement for high-drive dogs, agility, obedience, rally, and scent work for dog enrichment.  Connie is currently an International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants - Accredited Dog Trainer and a Licensed Family Dog Mediator in the Working Division.

Four years later Connie and her husband additionally opened Strategic Paws Boarding, a local award-winning* boarding kennel designed and operated with a focus on reducing stress in boarding dogs.


Connie continues her education by attending both in-person, live presentations, and on-line programs. Her past education includes learning from internationally respected leaders in the dog training and behavior industry including Ken Ramirez, Kim Brophey, Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. Susan Friedman, Dr. Lore Haug, Bob Bailey Sc.D, Suzanne Clothier, and Mike Shikashio.

She has studied dog sport foundation training extensively with many R+ competitors including such notables as Chad Byerly & Sarah Keegans (bite work and multiple marker system), Shade Whitesel (bite work, tracking, multiple marker system, and play), Denise Fenzi (play and obedience), Stacy Barnett (scent work), Lucy Newton (scent work theory), Sara Brueske (sport puppies and effective communication), Petra Ford (obedience).

Connie plays in various dog sports with her Chihuahua, working line German Shepherd, and working line Dobermann Pinscher. She has titled her dogs in agility, obedience, rally, and earned a mondioring obedience (OB1) certificate.  ​

*Winchester Star Awards, Best Dog Day Care/Kennel  2021, 2022

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Anna's love for dogs started the moment she was able to speak and could express herself. Growing up she had a Rottweiler, Beagle, Lab mix, then two bench line Labrador Retrievers who all taught her a lot about training, and canine behavior. She worked under the mentorship of Dr. Topál, Assistance Dogs Hungary, from the Eotvos Lorant Science University(ELTE), a world class canine research institution, to write her high school senior paper about the training of service dogs in Hungary for different disabilities. She also conducted interviews with assistance dog users about their experiences. She presented a TEDx youth talk about the benefits of canines being present in more public spaces to support humans and help break down barriers. 

While studying biology at Kalamazoo College she found herself getting back to animal behavior again. While in college she also worked as an accredited PetSmart dog trainer for over a year in Michigan. During this time she also enrolled in a program learning to train service dogs with positive reinforcement based training methods through the Center for the Study of Medical Assistance Canines and has completed their yearlong training program. She continues her work with service dogs through Medical Mutts and is also now offering help for people with disabilities in need of service dogs through R+K9. In addition, she trains pet dogs in R+K9's Day Camp, teaches classes and offers private lessons.


She is a service dog user for her disabilities and is dedicated to helping others experience the freedom and support assistance canines can offer. As a member of a service dog team, she has a unique understanding of the inner workings within a service dog and handler team.


She is dedicated to continuing her education by attending workshops and seminars with Academy for Dog Trainers, Fenzi Dog Sports Academy and Connie Moss. Anna is currently working toward her IAABC certification as an Accredited Dog Trainer.



Jennifer was born in Washington, DC where she grew up with a faithful German Shepherd named Emily. She learned early on how much freedom and fun you can have in a big city with a well-mannered dog by your side.


She graduated from James Madison University in 1998 and worked in the public policy world until she married in 2005 and moved to Shepherdstown, WV. She now lives with her husband, two daughters and three dogs, two Labradors and a Pyraneese mix. Her family also has five cats and a horse named Teddy. 


In college, Jennifer volunteered at the local animal shelter to facilitate the nursing home visitation program. Making people happy through canine companionship was a special experience which helped foster her passion for dog training.


Her training philosophy encourages her clients to relax and have fun with their dogs. She specializes in leash training and helping dogs feel confident in public places. She loves puppies and has studied the importance of proper early socialization through a variety of courses and texts. She raised three puppies of her own starting in July 2021. 


Jennifer completed internships with Pat Miller at Peaceable Paws in the summers of 2021 & 22. She also assisted Pat in training and behavior modification. She has taught classes such as Basic Good Manners and Puppy Kindergarten. Jennifer is also experienced as an in-home trainer. She graduated from numerous training classes including: scent detection, canine fitness, Fidos on the Farm, CGC title requirements, dock diving and puppy socialization.  Jennifer will take the Certified Professional Dog Trainer exam in October 2024.


Sara is an R+K9 Training Assistant. She's a Karen Pryor Academy Certified 

Training Partner (KPA CTP) and is currently working toward earning her CPDT-KA credential. After graduating from West Chester University in Pennsylvania, she started her own successful pet care business in Philadelphia. Sara has over four years of kennel management experience with working canines at Canine Partners for Life in West Chester, Pennsylvania and Canine Validation Center in Winchester, Virginia.

Sara currently lives in Front Royal, Virginia with her Australian Cattle Dog and Belgian Tervuren. 


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