Trainer Tips

​​​Meet our trainer!

Dana Lynn VanSickle

  • Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
  • Certified Professional Dog Trainer
  • IAABC Shelter Behavior Affiliate
  • Graduate with Distinction VS Academy


Dana is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and a Graduate with Distinction of the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior. She also holds a B.S. in Organizational Leadership & Management. Additionally, she is a Shelter Behavior Affiliate (SBA) of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Pet Professional Guild member, a PPG Pet Dog Ambassador Instructor/Assessor, and a VS Academy mentor for new trainers. Dana continues her education in animal behavior through seminars across the country, and has had the fortune of learning from internationally recognized animal behavior experts and the nation's leading animal shelter professionals.


Dana has been working with homeless animals and the humans that love them since 2004. She has provided thousands of hours consulting on behavior and helping adopters get started on the right paw with their new dog or cat. Her greatest passion is working with shelter animals and preparing them for adoption. Dana has also worked with a variety of exotics, including chimps, tigers, coyotes, bison, a kangaroo, and various farm animals. She is a former member of the University of Virginia riding team, handler at several PATH Accredited equine therapy organizations, and operations lead at one of the Humane Society of the United States' animal sanctuaries. She has fostered countless dogs, many with special needs. Currently, she and husband Ryan share their home with former shelter dog, "Hope Rising."


Dana first came to CMPD ACC in early 2016 as a Dogs on the Run volunteer. She was quickly recruited and the rest, as they say, is history! Her training methods focus on positive reinforcement and force-free guidance. Dana believes, "anybody can force or intimidate 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." She hopes to help people understand animals better. As the famous Temple Grandin wrote, "We owe them a decent life and a decent death, and their lives should be as low-stress as possible." Dana, too, wishes all animals could have a good life, with something useful to do.

ac&c trainer with a dog