Meet our trainer!
Dana has spent the past the past decade working with homeless animals. When she wasn't employed full-time in the animal welfare community, she was usually volunteering with animals full-time. She has held leadership positions in small and mid-size nonprofits focusing on human homelessness. Over the years she has provided hundreds of hours consulting on behavior and helping adopters get started on the right paw with their new dog or cat. Dana has also worked with a variety of exotics, including fascinating characters such as chimps, tigers, coyotes, bison, a kangaroo, and various farm animals. She is particularly fond of horses, a former member of the University of Virginia riding team, handler at several PATH Accredited equine therapy organizations, and operations lead at the Doris Day Equine Center in Texas.
Dana earned her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management, and has been mentored by animal trainers in Texas, New York, and DC. She continues her education in animal behavior through seminars across the country, and is currently enrolled in the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior. Dana is also working towards her Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed certification (CPDT-KA). She has fostered countless dogs, including many with special needs, and until recently, she and husband Ryan shared their home with two very special dogs, Beamer the blind dog wonder & Lucy "the best dog that ever lived."
Dana first came to CMACC in early 2016 as a Dogs on the Run volunteer, and she participated in the Kanine Karma and Train2Adopt programs before being recruited as an Assistant Animal Trainer. The rest, as they say, is history! Her training methods focus on positive reinforcement and force-free guidance. She believes that in teaching dogs to live in our strange human world, we must always have the dog's wellbeing at heart. She says, "Anybody can force behaviors out of an animal, but it takes skill and deference to build a relationship with an animal and then inspire them to work with you." In all of her efforts, Dana hopes to help people understand animals better. To quote animal behavior expert Temple Grandin, "We owe [animals] a decent life and a decent death, and their lives should be as low-stress as possible… I wish animals could have a good life, with something useful to do."