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Meet the Trainer


With over 25 years of animal training experience, Jackie brings personal experience, research-based theory and educated training methods from the best minds in animal behavior. 


Growing up Jackie started taking horseback riding lessons when she was 5 years old and quickly developed a passion for horses amongst other animals. Starting out with a foundation in hunter-jumper she learned about proper seat and cues for her horses’ performance. At home, Jackie was known to complete extensive research on animal pets before presenting to her parents to convince them that a new pet-family member was compulsory. She spent her childhood caring for pet dogs of many breeds including terriers, boxers and shepherds; as well as other pet animals like a ferret, birds, cats, and eventually her own pony, then horse. Jackie volunteered with the local animal shelter in her free time walking and loving shelter pups. 


As a teenager, Jackie was introduced to dressage - the groundwork between the jumps; as it was described to her.  During this time she rescued a sweet mare from the equine auction after failed thoroughbred racetrack training. This horse gave Jackie an unexpected opportunity when she struggled to progress with training and became dangerous. Jackie discovered a training approach called Natural Horsemanship. This had little to do with anyone riding discipline and everything to do with a horseman’s approach to training. Jackie spent the summer apprenticing with a trainer who worked directly under Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman, and Tom Dorrance who have been part of the horse training revolution of Natural Horsemanship. The approach of Natural Horsemanship is that of creating an opportunity for the horse to find success in the willful choosing of the behavior desired by the trainer free of force. Starting over with foundational training in Natural Horsemanship Jackie and Ellie found great success and before Jackie went to college Ellie partnered with a young 4-H rider beautifully. 


Jackie began sharing this experience by training local horse owners in Maine before moving to Colorado to pursue professional training and a degree in Equine Science at Colorado State University. She helped horses and riders gain confidence and overcome challenges with the use of Natural Horsemanship techniques. After a few years, she found love 1,700 miles away and left Colorado for Washington, DC. Jackie worked with horses in Maryland and Virginia and became a volunteer rider with the US Park Police here in Washington, DC. 


Jackie has always applied Natural Horsemanship to her work with her pet-dogs, known as Force-free training or Positive Reinforcement training in the canine world.  She rescued an amazing hound mix before moving to Colorado with severe separation anxiety and he was her sidekick for 14 years. She trained him many tricks and he was loved by everyone he met. In 2013 Jackie and her husband added a labradoodle to the family and she was trained in basic obedience and agility. In 2020 Finnigan passed away surrounded by love and the remembrance of so, so many amazing memories - skateboarding in SW, chasing wild rabbits in Colorado, sailing in Maryland, hiking in Shenandoah, the Adirondacks, the Rockies, etc, running after crabs on the beaches of the OBX and so many more. 


After his passing, Jackie turned sorrow into motivation and started to foster rescue dogs as a tribute to her sweet boy. That soon turned into volunteering with rescue groups. She found that her animal experience was valuable in helping rescue pups adjust and find success in their forever homes and that many people in her sphere needed guidance for helping their adopted pups continue with success with their new families. Jackie has an innate skill for reading behavior and fantastic timing when working with animals, which allows them to progress quickly in training under her direction. Jackie is now working with fosters, adopters, and friends to help guide them to a successful relationship with their dogs. 


If there is one thing that has been consistent in her learning experience throughout her life it is that everyone has something to offer to accumulate depth and a more dynamic understanding of an idea, method, or philosophy. Each animal she has worked with has taught her a great deal about what works and what doesn’t. I feel that no education is ever complete and so I have also built relationships with local trainers to advance my skill set. I am also working toward multiple certifications training with positive reinforcement, force-free, science-based, and LIMA methods with FSDA, Canine Trade Group, and Fear Free Pets. 

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Education and Certifications

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The IAABC requires applicants to:

  • Conduct and submit two case studies.

  • Have a letter of recommendation from a client.

  • Have a letter of recommendation from a collegue.

  • Have a letter of recommendation from a veterinarian.

  • Take exam including questions on the principals of dog training and learning theory.

  • Require 36 hours of continuing education every 3 years.

  1. Major Credits - 40 credit total from the Obedience and/or Rally & Freestyle Course Catalogues.   Note that all OB or RA numbered courses should count for this certificate.  Handler Choice classes may only be counted as one class.

  2. Additional Credits - 10 credits from any additional classes excluding photography.

  3. Minimum of two gold level Obedience or Rally & Freestyle courses. 

  4. Minimum of two different instructors for Gold courses.

  5. Minimum TEAM3 title

  6. Minimum five different instructors overall.

  7. The program must take a minimum of one year to complete, from first class to final one. 
    There is no maximum time.

  8. Classes may NOT be repeated for additional credit.


The CCPDT requires certificants to:

  • Have a minimum of 300 hours of dog training experience.

  • Have a letter of recommendation from a veterinarian.

  • Pass a 250 question examination on instruction, learning skills, ethology, equipment, and animal husbandy. Test is produced by top trainers in the industry.

  • Require 36 hours of continuing education every 3 years.

  • Signed code of ethics.

Training Memberships

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