Founder, Behavior Consultant & Instructor

   Leslie & Jasper                                                       Leslie & Samson

Raised in the farmland of New Jersey, I shared my childhood with cows, chickens, peacock, cats, ducks, geese, quail and of course, dogs.  When I discovered dogs would work for food, I spent many evenings entertaining family (and anyone else who would watch) with dog-training acts.  When I entered the workforce in high school, my first job was as a caretaker and field handler for a professional guard dog training organization.  After college, I ultimately went on to pursue a legal career, but maintained my roots in dog training through volunteer service at animal shelters.  In the 1990’s I discovered reward-based training and applied these principals toward the development of a formal canine training and enrichment program for a local shelter.  I eventually came to sit on the Board of Directors and was later appointed Director of Training.  This experience was the life-changing catalyst that ignited my desire to teach professionally and ultimately led to my departure from the legal field.  In 2004, IT’S YOUR DOG School for Dogs was founded and full-time dog training became my life. 

Dog training is an unregulated industry, with no licensing requirements or regulatory oversight.  Dog training is also a science.  For these reasons, ongoing education is at the forefront of IT’S YOUR DOG’S commitment to humane, science-based training practices.  In 2005, I earned the designations of Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Associate Certified Animal Behavior Consultant.  The certifying organizations (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), validate professional knowledge and skills and demonstrate a level of distinction in the field.  See attached listing of continued education achievements. 


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Group Class & Private Instructor

Kelly with (L-R) Shea & Rebel

Kelly is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)She earned her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Caldwell University and specializes in learning theory. Since 2009, she has specialized in the education and treatment of adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum in educational, employment, and home settings.  Her love of animals, especially dogs, led her to pursue a career in reward-based dog training so she could apply her knowledge and teaching skills toward improving the lives of dogs and their families.  Kelly completed an extensive, 1-year internship through It’s Your Dog in 2018, is an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator and a supporting member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.  She is passionate about animal rescue and lives with her husband Matt, two rescue dogs (Shea & Rebel) and three rescue cats.


Group Class Instructor

Nicole & Jewel

Nicole is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Psychology. Since 2013 she has specialized in the education of adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum in educational, employment, and home settings. Nicole is passionate about learning theory and reinforcement-based therapy.  This passion combined with her teaching experience and love of dogs made becoming a dog training instructor a perfect fit. She completed an extensive 1-year internship through It’s Your Dog in 2020 and plans to sit for the Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) exam in 2021.  Nicole has grown up with dogs her whole life (seen above with Jewel) and currently lives with her husband Devon and a rescue cat named Nico.  Nicole and Devon are looking forward to bringing a dog into their home, but meanwhile, Nico reaps the benefits of living with a trainer – he knows tricks such as Touch, High-Five, Dance, Sit, and Leave-It. 

Classroom Assistant

Jessica and Waffles

Jessica is a Certified Professional Dog Walker and graduate of the prestigious Dog*biz Dog Walking Academy. Jessica came to our School as a volunteer in our Leash Walking Clinic and her canine prowess and commitment to force-free handling techniques made her an obvious fit. She now plays an integral role assisting our training instructors and customers before, during and after classes.  Jessica is the founder of Fox’s Walking Dogs, which specializes in “group dog adventures” in Vernon NJ, Warwick NY and the surrounding areas. She is also certified in Canine First Aid and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, with over 10 years of experience in family services.  She lives with her partner Dave and Waffles, their beloved golden-doodle. 

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