Susan with her Shar Pei "Bruschi."

Susan with “Bruschi” at Shar Pei Rescue of Virginia. A smiling Bruschi seems to know he’s found a new, loving home. Little did Susan know the challenges and opportunities that this wayward adoptee would present.

The training method I use is an outgrowth of my 20-plus year adventure as a dog owner and my 10-year involvement with shelter and rescue dogs.

During that time, I engaged many professional trainers whose techniques were almost always effective — as long as they were giving the commands. But once left on my own, much of their “magic” disappeared. As a result, I became a student of canine behavior and set out on a quest to find answers and figure out why I couldn’t duplicate at home the trainers’ results.

My journey finally led to a professional trainer who was able to put it all together. By the time I began my own training under her, I was armed with years of research, had dealt with varying degrees of dysfunction with my adopted dogs, and had developed a deep and abiding interest in maximizing my relationship with my dogs and in helping others who couldn’t quite “put it together.”  I was then certified in the ForceFree Method™ of dog training.

I came to understand that simply training a dog was not enough. For a human-canine relationship to succeed and flourish, the human must understand the needs of the dog and the dog must learn to respect the needs and routines of the humans with which it lives.

Shelter and rescue dogs often pose unique challenges. However, it is my firm belief that all dogs can be rehabilitated given the right expertise. I approach every new challenge from that optimistic premise. My goal with each dog is to find the key that gains access to a troubled psyche or past and draw out the potential that lives within.

I believe these goals can be accomplished in a positive, humane manner that respects both dog and owner. My Balanced Training method produces tangible results and lays a solid foundation that can be built upon by owners once their dog returns home. I am always available to former students and owners for the lifetime of their dog.


For dogs who have forgotten how to be social with other dogs, my program offers a safe and structured way for them to become relaxed, confident and enjoy the company of other dogs.

Let’s take that first step together to transition from what appears to be unresolvable dysfunction towards a well-balanced, well-trained and happy companion.

I can help you.
Call Susan at 520-886-6357 to discuss your dog training needs.