Photo by Neil Simmons

First Friends offerings

  • Small Group Classes

    Skills classes

    These classes focus on real life foundation skills such as loose leash walking and coming when called: Walk this Way, Settle & Chill, and Nice to Meet you. 

    Family Together

    These are semi-private classes (only two to three dogs per class) with focus on the family working together to learn and enjoy each other’s company.

    Children and their dogs

    Kids can be great dog trainers too! Youth 12 years old and up are invited to take their very own dogs through training classes together.

  • Pet safety presentations for children

    These short, engaging and age-appropriate educational group presentation introducing pet safety skills including meeting a dog and understanding cat and dog body language can be offered at childcare facilities, Scout meetings, schools, for home-school groups, 4H meetings, even birthday parties.

  • Behavior and Training Consultations

    Consultations are used to assess the best ways either to address current concerns about pets’ behavior or to create a proactive training plan for a family and their pets.

  • Private, in-home training

    Often, private training is the best way to achieve a family’s goals for their pets. These are generally three to five, hour-long sessions sessions with fun, games, and some homework assignments.

  • New Pet Search and Guidance

    With over 20 years in animal welfare, I can be of great help to a family seeking to add a new pet to their household by exploring which pet might be best for the family, seeking that new pet, actively interviewing pets with the family, and supporting all through the transition stages of settling in together.

  • Re-homing Assistance

    Not every pet is the right fit for every family and sadly sometimes re-homing a pet is the best option for everyone involved. I can make working through this process as smooth as it can be.

Fee Structure

Private training is generally $100 per session. A discount is offered for three or more sessions bundled. For Behavior Consultations, the first session is $125 and includes an email overview of the session and behavior plan. Additional fees may be required for out-of-area work.


Family Paws

  • Dogs & Storks

    These group presentations begin to ready new families for living with babies and dogs. Many topics are covered such as: preparation, household management, homecoming, understanding dog body language, and more!

  • Dogs & Toddlers

    Growing on the foundations of Dogs & Storks, we learn together about the changes in dynamics when baby starts to cruise and crawl, and dogs become more aware of the children in their family.

  • Basic Pet (dog and cat) 1st Aid & CPR

    This three-hour-long, workshop teaches hands on skills to pet owners so they will be better prepared to help their dogs in cases of emergency and/or injury (including basic disaster preparedness).

    Successful completion of this course gives the graduate a two-year certification in Pet 1stAid/CPR as well as access to extensive online resources.

  • Wilderness Dog 1st Aid & CPR

    Building on the foundations of the basic course, this workshop teaches specific skills for dog owners who adventure in the wilds with their canine companions.

  • Youth Basic Pet (dog and cat) 1st Aid

    This is a youth focused version of the course perfect for young pet owners, youth who dog walk or pet sit, or Scouts working on animal related badges.

  • Public Education Presentation

    Join us, and raise a pint, learning the basics of how to be the human half of brewery dog team!

  • Staff Education

    Having a staff that is well versed in dog body language, basic safety skills around dogs, and what should be expected of dogs (and their owners) in public places such as breweries and taproom helps to create a more comfortable and welcoming environment for dog people, their dogs, and other non-dog owning patrons too!

  • Brewery Manners

    Four-week group class for dog owners.

    Group dog training classes taught in breweries and taprooms, focusing on all the essential skills for being a great brewery buddy.

    Graduating dogs have the option to take the evaluation to receive their Certified Brewery-Friendly Dog (CBFD) Title.

    Level one - at one location

    Level two - out on the Town at multiple locations


Training Philosophy

We are learning to live better together, by celebrating the unique bond between dogs and their people, and deepening our understanding and compassion.

For me training needs to be engaging and fun with shared successes, for both pets and their people. Finding what motivates your learner (offering many ways for them to get more of those rewards) and being an active advocate to help them feel safe, is the path I choose; I heartily invite those who work with First Friends to join me!

In my teaching toolbox you’ll find techniques such as luring, capturing, and shaping, along with counter conditioning and desensitization. Learning to better understand dog body language and the other ways they communicate, their mental and emotional processes, and likely motivations, all help people become better friends to their dogs.

First Friends is more than a dog training business. It supports families with dogs, learning how to live better together – through many life changes!

Specialties: Expecting Families – Families with Children – Elders with Pets – Newly Adopted Pets

The foundations of that support are Understanding, Training, and Management.

  • Understanding how dogs and people communicate, understanding what dogs’ needs are and how to meet those needs, and understanding how to best work as a team.
  • Training based on strengthening relationships with fun, science-based, positive reinforcement techniques (such as Clicker Training, games, and life rewards), which encourage learners to be truly engaged and motivated.
  • Management adds structure and employs useful tools such as food puzzles, toys, crates, and scheduling.
Scroll to Top