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 and live 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
*INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ANIMAL BEHAVIOR CONSULTANTS - ACCREDITED DOG TRAINER
LICENSED FAMILY DOG MEDIATOR - WORKING DIVISION
CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, ABCDT*
Jill's love for dogs was obvious since she was a child. From her first job as a kennel attendant, she's enjoyed working hands-on with dogs. She narrowed her interest to becoming a trainer after adopting a highly reactive puppy named Bart. Bart didn't respond well to traditional training techniques, which forced Jill to look for alternatives. She discovered positive reinforcement training and never looked back.
Jill's professional highlights include starting a successful dog walking company, serving as a lead instructor and the Director of Service Dog Training for world-renowned author and dog trainer Pat Miller, opening and managing a force-free dog daycare, and running the America’s Vetdogs service dog training prison puppy program at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, MD.
Although Jill enjoys teaching classes, her passion is behavior modification with an emphasis on reactivity and aggressive behavior. Although these cases are difficult, she loves helping owners overcome their dogs' behavior challenges.
Jill demonstrates her commitment to modern, science-based training theories and techniques by becoming one of only a few Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed as well as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed. She maintains memberships in the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), the Mid-Atlantic Association of Professional, Positive Pet Trainers (MAAPPPT), and the Pet Professional Guild (PPG).
She constantly works to increase her knowledge of various training-related issues including learning theory, behavior, cognition, and body language. Jill regularly attends workshops and seminars to stay abreast of the most up-to-date dog training methodologies and theories. Her continuing education has included work with dog training luminaries Sue Sternberg, Suzanne Clothier, Shade Whitesel, Dr. Ian Dunbar, Linda Tellington-Jones, Ken McCort, Dr. Susan Friedman, Ken Ramirez, and Pat Miller.