Our Methods

We strive to help families develop trusting relationships with their dog based on kindness, cooperation, and effective communication. We are committed to training methods that are dog-approved and backed by science.

We teach dogs to be well-behaved without ever using force, fear, or intimidation. Instead, we prioritize reward-based techniques that keep learning fun for dogs and people.

About the Trainer

Mara Clare Van Valzah, CTC, PNWI

Mara Clare Van Valzah is a graduate of The Academy for Dog Trainers where she earned her Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) title and graduated from the certification program with honors. 

Mara also holds her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Illinois where she studied animal behavior and human-animal interactions. 

She has worked and volunteered at various animal shelters in departments of canine care, training, and enrichment. Mara continues to expand her knowledge by attending educational seminars and through membership in professional dog training organizations such as the Pet Professionals Guild (PPG).

She especially enjoys working with dogs showing signs of fear, reactivity, or aggression to help build their confidence and to make life more peaceful for both dogs and humans alike. 

Pet Professionals Guild Proud Member badge
The Academy for Dog Trainers graduate logo
K9 Nose Work Official Logo in Color
NACSW PNWI or Prospective Nose Work Instructor logo