Photo by Neil Simmons

  • Private Lessons

    Private lessons are often the best way to most effectively assess a situation and get a quick start on training. Having these lessons in your own house gives the security of home to all the learners and lets First Friends assess the day-to-day environment for ways to help manage any challenges to best support a training plan. All family members are welcome to these lessons and children as young as five can take an active role. One adult per child in attendance is requested. Package rates are available.

    If you are a new client, please complete and submit this intake form. I will be in touch within 48 hours.

  • Group Classes

    First Friends’ small, semi-private classes are created to include the whole family in the learning fun. Classes meet for 45 minute sessions, six weeks in a row. Puppy, Family Dog, Continuing Family Dog Classes, and Out and About are offered on a regular basis.

    Summer classes will begin in July.

  • Seminars

    Seminars and workshops are a great way to cover a broad range of information in a group setting. Topics include: planning for your new baby, talent scouting for your new dog, pet first aid and emergency preparedness, toddlers and dogs, elders and pet care, and understanding your dog and being understood in return. Animal Welfare and Humane Education presentations are available as well for a wide range of age groups and different sorts of organizations.

    Click on the event to register. Summer seminars will be posted in June and will be offered in both south Kitsap County (Ollala) and mid-county (new Poulsbo). 

  • Consultations

    These begin with an hour in-home session where we meet to discuss a broad range of issues and work together to develop a plan, including training, management, goals and timelines. Typically these are followed by at least two to three in-home sessions with email support.

    Consultations are available for each of the following situations:

    • Expecting Families
    • Families with Babies, Toddlers and Children
    • Elders with Dogs
    • Newly Adopted Dogs
    • Families with Cats

    If you are a new client, please complete and submit this intake form. I will be in touch within 48 hours.


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.

Fee Structure

Private training is generally $75 per session. A discount is offered for three or more sessions bundled. For Behavior Consults, the first session is $100 and includes email overview of session and behavior plan. Additional fees may be required for out-of-area work, which is available depending on schedule.

Group classes (up to four families per group) are $200 for a six-week session.