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2017 Conference Speakers Lineup

Sarah Babcock, CTC | Richmond SPCA Director of Education and Training

Sarah Babcock, CTC

Richmond SPCA Director of Education and Training

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Sarah Babcock, CTC | Richmond SPCA Director of Education and Training

Sarah grew up in southern California and started training the family dogs at a very young age. She turned her attention to horses and rode and competed hunters throughout high school and college. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Sweet Briar College with a B.A. in Math/Economics and almost immediately went to work for IBM. During her 14 years at IBM, Sarah worked as a systems engineer, as one of the first PC sales “fighter pilots,” as a local area network and software specialist, and in database/data warehousing marketing.

In March 1996, she found a dog on the street in front of her house. “Crosby” was adopted and marched off to traditional obedience classes immediately. During the year that ensued, Sarah attended a number of more reward-based clicker training and agility seminars as well and was hooked. Crosby and Sarah began competing in agility the following year, and Sarah began teaching agility classes the next year. Fascinated with the “new” application of learning theory to real-life dog training and behavior modification, Sarah left IBM in 1998 to pursue additional education in animal behavior. She completed three years of graduate work in psychology/neuroscience with Dr. Craig Kinsley at the University of Richmond. She graduated valedictorian and with honors from Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers at the San Francisco SPCA in 2001, and joined the Richmond SPCA shortly thereafter as their director of education and training.

Sue Bell | Founder of Homeward Trails

Sue Bell

Founder of Homeward Trails

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Sue Bell | Founder of Homeward Trails

Sue Bell is the Founder and Executive Director of Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, Inc. (Homeward Trails), a private shelter and rescue in Northern Virginia that has placed over 20,000 dogs and cats, both from the U.S and overseas, since its inception in 2001. Sue serves on the VFHS Board, and has worked with many Virginia lawmakers, localities and advocates to help implement animal friendly laws.

Lisa Blanchard, B.A., LVT, CMT, CCRP |

Lisa Blanchard, B.A., LVT, CMT, CCRP

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Lisa Blanchard, B.A., LVT, CMT, CCRP |

Lisa began formally training dogs in 1991. Since that time, she has been actively competing in multiple venues. With her dogs, she has achieved titles in conformation, agility, rally, obedience, lure coursing and scent work. Her competition background has been a complement to working with athletes.
Lisa started her formal journey into the world of canine physical rehabilitation because she felt that her own competition dogs were in need of bodywork. She became certified in canine massage therapy in 2004 which sparked a desire to learn more, so she changed careers, became a Licensed Veterinary Technician and a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) through the University of Tennessee's Canine Rehabilitation Program. For eight years Lisa worked exclusively in the field of rehabilitation.
In her years of veterinary practice Lisa has had the pleasure of working to aid with the rehabilitation of family pets, rescue animals, service dogs, show dogs, and canine athletes. As a fellow competitor, she understands canine sports and their rigorous requirements. Through her own business, K9 Fitness Coach, LLC she develops customized fitness plans, seminars and classes focusing on the importance of fitness, balance, and core strength for the canine athlete. Her classes and seminars aim to teach the significance of injury prevention and stress the importance of foundation exercises and behavioral cues.
In a quest to expand her knowledge-base, Lisa discovered the Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT) program. She was intrigued by how the program blended physical and mental fitness together to offer a “total” challenge to the dog. Lisa completed the CCFT program in 2016. She has since been added to the team of FitPAWS® CCFT Instructors and has joined FitPAWS ® full time as their Education Program Consultant. Lisa lives in Michigan with her two Dobermans (Rylan and Dante) and her husband of 27 years, Tom.

Suzanne Clothier | Owner of Carpe Canem Inc.

Suzanne Clothier

Owner of Carpe Canem Inc.

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Suzanne Clothier | Owner of Carpe Canem Inc.

Suzanne Clothier has been working with animals professionally since 1977, with a deep background of experience that includes obedience, agility, puppy testing, breeding, Search and Rescue, conformation, instructing, kennel management and canine midwifery.

She has taught across the US and internationally for groups as varied as Wolf Park, FEMA-Northeast Region Disaster Dog Teams, Alaskan Dog Musher Association, and Assistance Dogs International. She has taught for training groups, rescues & shelters, veterinarians, breeders, national conferences, and Search & Rescue organizations.

Suzanne’s seminars reflect the breadth and depth of her experience, and cover a broad range of topics from early puppy development to aggression, fearful/anxious dogs, behavior, athletic performance, the animal/human bond and more. Whatever the topic, the focus is always on humane, effective and practical application of her Relationship Centered Training™, her holistic approach to dogs and the people who love them.

Her book, Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships With Dogs (2002, Warner Books) has received wide spread praise from every corner of the dog world. Ahead of its time, Bones spoke specifically to the important of relationship as the foundation of all, and has been twice appeared on the Wall Street Journal's list of Top 5 Dog Books. She is the author of numerous videos, books, booklets and numerous articles on a broad range of topics.

An innovative trainer, she has developed multiple programs and tools:

• CARAT™ (Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool) – temperament assessment
• RAT™ (Relationship Assessment Tool) – assessment of the dog/handler relationship
• FAT™(Functional Assessment Tracking) – tracking functioning on cognitive, social & physiological dimensions
• The Enriched Puppy Protocol™ (EPP) – early developmental enrichment from birth to 16 weeks
• Clothier Puppy Test, Clothier Adult Test, including a formal In-For-Training (IFT) test for use in guide/service dog schools.
• Connection, Cooperation & Control (CCC) - With trainer Cindy Knowlton – program for handler/dog foundation

She served as a committee member for AKC Agility Advisory Board, American Humane Association Task Force for the Development of Humane Standards in Dog Training. She has served as a consultant to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, Assistance Dogs of the West, and Guide Dogs of America.

A German Shepherd breeder, eight generations of her Hawks Hunt German Shepherds have been successful in obedience, agility, SAR, tracking, nosework, herding, therapy work and as guide dog breeding stock. She lives on a working farm in upstate New York with husband John Rice, and their considerable animal family of dogs, cats, parrots, tortoises, Scottish Highland cattle, horses, donkeys, pigs & chickens.

Kristin Collins, M.S., ACAAB | Senior Director Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation

Kristin Collins, M.S., ACAAB

Senior Director Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation

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Kristin Collins, M.S., ACAAB | Senior Director Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation

Kristen Collins, Senior Director of Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation, oversees the operation of the ASPCA’s Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, a facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and study of fearful, under-socialized dogs. Her previous work includes conducting behavior evaluations to determine the best outcome for animals rescued from dog-fighting, puppy mill and hoarding situations, designing and implementing shelter behavior modification and enrichment programs, conducting animal behavior research, writing and editing articles on animal behavior, and speaking on animal behavior topics at professional and academic conferences.
Kristen is an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and holds a master’s degree in applied animal behavior from the University of Illinois.

Steve Dale, CABC | National Pet Radio Show host

Steve Dale, CABC

National Pet Radio Show host

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Steve Dale, CABC | National Pet Radio Show host

Steve Dale, CABC, is host of two national radio shows (Black Dog Radio Productions), Steve Dale’s Pet World, The Pet Minute) and Steve Dale’s Pet World on WGN Radio, Chicago. For 21 years, he authored a Tribune syndicated national newspaper column. His blog is at www.stevedale.tv. His many TV appearances range from Oprah to National Geographic Explorer to a wide variety of Animal Planet programs, and as a former contributor to superstation WGN. He’s currently a regular on nationally syndicated “HouseSmarts TV.” Steve’s earned multiple awards for his work including the AVMA Humane Award, and is the youngest person inducted into the Dog Writer’s Hall of Fame. Steve serves on the boards of the Winn Feline Foundation American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians. He’s a past board member of the American Humane Association, and he’s a founder and past board member of the CATalyst Council. He’s also the scientific advisor at Pet Partners.

Bill Dotson | Technology consultant

Bill Dotson

Technology consultant

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Bill Dotson | Technology consultant

Bill Dotson is a speaker, technology consultant and entrepreneur who has over 20 years of experience helping others understand and use the Internet to reach their goals. Bill speaks to thousands of people each year about the best technology to use to solve problems and achieve their goals. He is a father of three, a Lexington, Ky., native and believes in lifelong learning for everyone.

Erica Feurbacher, M.S., Ph.D., BCBA-D, CPDT-KA | Assistant Professor of Anthrozoology. Carroll College

Erica Feurbacher, M.S., Ph.D., BCBA-D, CPDT-KA

Assistant Professor of Anthrozoology. Carroll College

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Erica Feurbacher, M.S., Ph.D., BCBA-D, CPDT-KA | Assistant Professor of Anthrozoology. Carroll College

Erica Feuerbacher, M.S., Ph.D., BCBA-D, CPDT-KA, is an Assistant Professor of Anthrozoology at Carroll College in Helena, Mont. There she is the canine specialist, leading the program in which students train and foster dogs during the academic year. She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Florida under the advisorship of Dr. Clive Wynne in the UF Canine Cognition and Behavior Lab and her Masters in Behavior Analysis under the advisorship of Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz. She is a board-certified Behavior Analyst and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, has attended the San Francisco SPCA Dog Trainer Academy, and has worked as a shelter behaviorist. She has published a variety of scientific articles on her research on learning theory and the dog-human relationship. She has taught Principles of Behavior Analysis, Learning and Cognition, Basic and Advanced Canine Training and Research Methods. She has earned awards for her behavior analytic research on dog behavior. Her research interests center on dog-human social interactions, improving shelter dog welfare, and assessing training techniques.

Matthew Gray | Virginia State Director for The Humane Society of the United States

Matthew Gray

Virginia State Director for The Humane Society of the United States

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Matthew Gray | Virginia State Director for The Humane Society of the United States

Matthew Gray is the Virginia State Director for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Matt is a Richmond who brings extensive grassroots organizing, fundraising and political experience to his role, having served previously as the executive director of the Virginia Public Safety Foundation.

Debra Griggs | President of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies

Debra Griggs

President of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies

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Debra Griggs | President of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies

Debra Griggs is the president of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. She founded Animal Resources of Tidewater and was the founding chair of the Animal Welfare Coalition of Hampton Roads. Previously she was president of the Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach, chair of the Ryan White Care Consortium, chair of the Women’s Multicultural Coalition and served on the board of the Hampton Roads Realtors Association. Her volunteerism was recognized when she received the 2010 Converse College Alumni Community Service Award. Debra is a committed advocate for the underserved and has a personal passion for ending discrimination – whether it is based upon gender, race, ethnicity, or those marginalized by circumstance as in the case of homelessness and AIDS. In her current role as an animal welfare advocate, she is a leader in the effort to end dog breed discrimination. Debra is the managing broker of RE/MAX Ambassadors in Norfolk and shares her home in Norfolk with husband Steve, a retired engineer, and their beloved dogs, Cotton, Marley, Chewie and Ralph.

Meg Harrison |

Meg Harrison

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Meg Harrison |

Meg Harrison, flower essence expert specializing in animal behavior, has successfully helped thousands of behaviorally-challenged animals using unique blends of essences, essential oils, and/or homeopathic remedies. Working with trainers, health care practitioners, rescuers, fosters, clinics, and shelters nationwide, she facilitates positive change in the vast majority of cases, no matter how difficult or emotionally damaged. Her bio includes experience with 14 California wildfires, hands-on work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and during Hurricane Rita, 2 F-5 Texas tornadoes, rehabilitating rescues from puppy mills, hoarding cases, court ordered seizures, research labs, captured Mustangs, dogs, feral and community cats, plus farm animals rescued from slaughter and re-homed quickly adjusting to their new environments thus the outstanding success in shelter settings. For 40 years, she has advocated for gentler, more effective ways to improve overall well-being and behavioral health of 24 species including humans sharing her experiences and hard-won knowledge with anyone who would listen whether in a lecture hall, walking shelter dogs, or during a natural disaster.

Ericka Harney, CFRE, GPC, CAE, CVA | Executive Director of Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance

Ericka Harney, CFRE, GPC, CAE, CVA

Executive Director of Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance

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Ericka Harney, CFRE, GPC, CAE, CVA | Executive Director of Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance

Ericka Harney is the Executive Director of Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance (AFWA) and The Foundation of AFWA. Born with an entreprenurial drive and passion for service, Ericka has over 15 years of professional experience in the nonprofit and business sectors.
A business owner since sixth grade, she quickly grew her career in fundraising, grants, and nonprofit management. Ericka is responsible for raising $14 million in funds, service as a federal grant review chair, providing consulting services to nonprofits, co-founding a social enterprise catering company, and teaching communication and fundraising at the university level.
To gain a broad foundation to build on, she pursued higher education in marketing and communication, earning a masters and bachelors in Communication, a bachelor's in marketing and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Organizational Leadership concentrating on Nonprofit Leadership from Eastern University in St. David's, Penn. She currently serves on the board of directors for Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road Council, Professional Women's Forum and God's Closet, Inc.

Tim Lewis, Ph.D. | Professor of Biology at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.

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Tim Lewis, Ph.D. | Professor of Biology at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.

Tim Lewis, Ph.D., is an eco-biologist, Professor of Biology at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Minn., and a widely-published research scientist. In addition, he is a popular lecturer on Canine Cognition at Camp Gone to the Dogs, VT and other venues nationwide. Tim has a longtime connection to the fields of human physiology and health, as well as the very different pedagogies involved in teaching activities courses such as NAUI scuba. He worked closely with Health and Human Performance (HHP) in the development of Biology’s link to Public Health and provided stewardship to the HHP Department during its 2015 decennial review.

Ellen Lindell, VMD |

Ellen Lindell, VMD

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Ellen Lindell, VMD |

Dr. Lindell attended and graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn. She then received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. After practicing general medicine and surgery for several years, Dr. Lindell began a residency program in veterinary behavior at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She successfully fulfilled the requirements for board-certification and is now a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.
Dr. Lindell is an active member and president-elect of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. She is also an active board member of the Westchester Rockland Veterinary Medical Association.
Though most of her time is spent practicing behavioral medicine, Dr. Lindell loves to teach. She serves as a behavior consultant on VIN (Veterinary Information Network) and frequently lectures to veterinarians at both regional and national conferences. Dr. Lindell has been an invited speaker at meetings of paraprofessionals, breeders, and pet owners.
In between practicing and lecturing, Dr. Lindell enjoys writing about behavior. For many years, she wrote a popular Q & A column in the Cornell University publication, Catwatch. She has written chapters for several veterinary textbooks as well as public interest books.
When there is time to spare, Dr. Lindell and her dogs participate in dog related sports including agility and obedience. Her non-pet passion: classical piano.

Toni Mark, M.A., KPA, CTP |

Toni Mark, M.A., KPA, CTP

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Toni Mark, M.A., KPA, CTP |

Michelle Mullins and Toni Mark make up the Training & Behavior Education Department for Radio Systems Corporation PetSafe® brand. Toni is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and has a Masters degree in Communication. She has also completed the Karen Pryor Academy Shelter Training and Enrichment Program. One of their responsibilities is to handle animals at the photo and video shoots for the PetSafe brand. This duty requires they have the dog or cat in the correct position for the right shot, but more importantly, ensure that the dog or cat remain comfortable, relaxed and happy during the entire shoot. This process also includes creating a cooperative and comfortable environment between the pet owner, photographer and trainer to ensure the animal is in a non-stressful environment and is handled with the upmost care. After several years and many photo shoots for a large corporation, they have learned the tricks to the trade to take an average pet and make him a superstar!

Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., CAAB | Ethologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist

Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., CAAB

Ethologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist

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Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., CAAB | Ethologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist

Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., CAAB, is an ethologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who has consulted with pet owners for over twenty years about serious behavioral problems, specializing in canine aggression. She taught, "The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships," in the Department of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for twenty five-years and speaks around the world about canine behavior and training. Dr. McConnell is the author of eleven books on training and behavioral problems, as well as the critically acclaimed books The Other End of the Leash (translated into 14 languages), For the Love of a Dog, and Tales of Two Species. Her newest book, The Education of Will, is a memoir focusing on healing from trauma in both people and dogs. Patricia and her husband live with their working Border Collies, Willie and Maggie, her King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Tootsie, outside of Madison, Wisc., along with a very spoiled flock of sheep. For more information, go to www.patriciamcconnell.com or visit her blog, at www.theotherendoftheleash.com

Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KA, CNWI |

Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KA, CNWI

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Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KA, CNWI |

Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KA, CNWI, is an attorney with substantial experience in both litigation and business matters, making her equally comfortable in the courtroom or in the office handling your business needs. In 2013, Heidi set up the law office of Heidi Meinzer, PLLC, in Alexandria, Va., so that she could focus her practice on animal law and the pet care industry. Heidi's clients include successful dog trainer, dog walking, pet sitting and dog daycare companies, and individuals faced with dangerous dog allegations or other animal law issues. Heidi is licensed to practice law in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Washington state.

Pat Miller |

Pat Miller

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Pat Miller |

Pat Miller, a past President of APDT, has been training dogs for more than 35 years. She was a humane officer at the Marin Humane Society in California for 20 years and most recently trains as a CPDT and behavior consultant at her Peaceable Paws Dog and Puppy Training Center in Maryland, home to her acclaimed Intern Academies.

Pat writes for, and is training editor of The Whole Dog Journal and contributes to Your Dog (published by Tufts University Veterinary School). Her first dog training book, The Power of Positive Dog Training has been on Amazon.com's. "Top 10 Dog Training Books" list since January of 2002. Her other books are: Positive Perspectives, Positive Perspectives 2, Play with Your Dog, and this fall's, "Do Over Dogs-Give Your Dog a Second Chance for a First Class Life." Her latest book from Dogwise Publishing is, “Beware of the Dog” an analysis of aggression which explains in concise and highly readable terms the causes of aggression and, more importantly, synthesizes and demystifies the various positive reinforcement treatment modes that are available.

Michelle Mullins, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP |

Michelle Mullins, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP

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Michelle Mullins, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP |

Michelle Mullins and Toni Mark make up the Training & Behavior Education Department for Radio Systems Corporation PetSafe® brand. Michelle is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and TAG Teach Primary Level Certified. One of her responsibilities is to handle animals at the photo and video shoots for the PetSafe brand. This duty requires they have the dog or cat in the correct position for the right shot, but more importantly, ensure that the dog or cat remain comfortable, relaxed and happy during the entire shoot. This process also includes creating a cooperative and comfortable environment between the pet owner, photographer and trainer to ensure the animal is in a non-stressful environment and is handled with the upmost care. After several years and many photo shoots for a large corporation, they have learned the tricks to the trade to take an average pet and make him a superstar!

Jill Marie O'Brien, CPDT-KA | K9 Nose Work co-founder

Jill Marie O'Brien, CPDT-KA

K9 Nose Work co-founder

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Jill Marie O'Brien, CPDT-KA | K9 Nose Work co-founder

Jill Marie has been working with, training and advocating for dogs since 1986; fourteen of those years were spent as Director of Behavior and Training Services for the SPCA-LA. During her tenure with SPCA-LA, she supervised the creation and ongoing development of that agency's first Animal Behavior and Training Department since its inception in 1877. She has worked on a number of projects including the Kal-Kan Bite Prevention and Feral Dog Safety program; Teaching Love and Compassion (TLC), a program that matches at-risk youth with shelter dogs to help build conflict resolution, develop appropriate anger management control skills for youth participants and enhance the dog's adoptability and many additional programs. Jill Marie is also the co-founder of the National Association of K9 Scent Work program.

Marc Peralta | Executive Director for Best Friends Animal Society - Los Angeles

Marc Peralta

Executive Director for Best Friends Animal Society - Los Angeles

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Marc Peralta | Executive Director for Best Friends Animal Society - Los Angeles

Marc Peralta is the executive director for Best Friend Animal Society - Los Angeles. In 2011, Los Angeles was struggling to save just over half of the cats and dogs entering our city shelters, and under Marc's leadership, LA is on target to meet a 90% save rate by the end of 2017. Marc’s duties as executive director specifically include the operations for the Best Friend’s Pet Adoption Center in Mission Hills, CA, the NKLA Pet Adoption Center in West Los Angles as well as leading the 119 group and growing NKLA coalition.

Marc also served as vice president and chief operating officer as well as interim CEO at the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA) located in Philadelphia, Penn. In addition to his duties at the Pennsylvania SPCA, Marc also served as a member of the board of directors for the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia. Prior to the PSPCA, Marc worked in animal care managerial roles at the Nevada Humane Society in Reno, Nev., and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Trevor Smith, CPDT-KA |

Trevor Smith, CPDT-KA

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Trevor Smith, CPDT-KA |

Trevor started training dogs at the age of six. At the age of sixteen, he began instructing his own private lessons and classes. With over twenty years of experience in training dogs, his passion is to use his experiences over the years to help people grow closer to their canine companions. In 2015, he launched a dog training educational platform called Doggie Dojo to help people discover the path to life with their dog. Through the use of both produced and live video marketing he has expanded his reach through social media. In May of last year he was asked to join a team of Broadcasters on The Pet Scope TV to do a show called Tricked Out with Doggie Dojo. In being a regular broadcaster for this online network, he was asked this last fall to be a live broadcaster from one of the largest, 36,000 members, dog training Facebook groups. On Modern Dog Training and Behavior Advice, he gives training tips on his show called The Doggie Dojo show.

Kristina Spaulding, Ph.D., CAAB | Owner of Smart Dog Training and Behavior, LLC.

Kristina Spaulding, Ph.D., CAAB

Owner of Smart Dog Training and Behavior, LLC.

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Kristina Spaulding, Ph.D., CAAB | Owner of Smart Dog Training and Behavior, LLC.

Kristina Spaulding, Ph.D., owns Smart Dog Training and Behavior, LLC. She specializes in the prevention and treatment of behavior problems in dogs. Kristina has a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience/Biopsychology. She studies the social cognition, evolution and behavior of dogs. Since 2010, Kristina has taught 14 undergraduate courses including Learning, Evolutionary Psychology, Statistics and Introduction to Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience. In 2012, she earned the Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student Award. She has also served as an invited presenter at several teaching workshops and presentations hosted by the University and was an invited speaker at the Evolutionary Studies Summit at SUNY New Paltz in 2012. She is also on the APDT’s education committee. Prior to opening Smart Dog in 2001, Kristina obtained her B.S. in Wildlife Ecology at the University at Wisconsin and served as an assistant trainer at Dog’s Best Friend, then owned by Dr. Patricia McConnell.

Sue Sternberg |

Sue Sternberg

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Sue Sternberg |

Sue has over 35 years of dog behavior experience, including as a dog control officer, kennel and animal care technician at various shelters, dog trainer, behavior counselor, instructor, temperament evaluator, boarding kennel owner, veterinary assistant, is a successful competitor in a variety of dog sports, and a teacher of dog trainers. For over a decade she ran her own shelter in upstate New York and has created national shelter programs to improve the lives of shelter dogs. Sue has two main goals in life: to make the shelter dog world a better place; and to make public dog parks safer and more fun for dogs who must use them. To do this, Sue travels and educates people on canine communication, body language and behavior. Sue is the author of many books and DVDs, her most recent publication is Assessing Aggression Thresholds published by Dogwise.com. Sue is also an accomplished fiddle player, a rock and fossil hunter, loves a good cup of Earl Grey tea, and is a major Star Trek fan.

Risë VanFleet, Ph.D., RPT-S, CDBC |

Risë VanFleet, Ph.D., RPT-S, CDBC

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Risë VanFleet, Ph.D., RPT-S, CDBC |

Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, is a licensed psychologist, registered play therapist-supervisor, and certified dog behavior consultant who directs both the Playful Pooch Program and the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center in Boiling Springs, Penn. She is also the founder of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy™. She has over 40 years of experience working with children, parents, families, and groups in a variety of mental health and educational settings. Her work developing the field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ brought her more fully into the dog training/consultation world over 15 years ago, and she teaches mental health professionals about canine ethology, development, communication, and behavior/training for their AAPT work. She volunteers her training/behavior services at a local rescue, and provides in-home dog behavior consultations. She has a special interest in highly fearful, unsocialized, and traumatized dogs, and has pioneered the systematic use of play as part of their rehabilitation. She is the author of dozens of professional books, chapters, and articles about child/family therapy, play therapy, and dog training, the award-winning book Play Therapy with Kids & Canines, and the acclaimed Human Half of Dog Training: Collaborating with Clients to Get Results. She has received 12 national awards for her contributions to the field of psychology and her writing. Her latest book, Animal Assisted Play Therapy, will be published in 2017. Known for her warm, down-to-earth, lighthearted, and practical style, her past presentations at APDT and other conferences have been extremely well received. She is kept humble by her four dogs and three cats.

Chris Zink, DVM, Ph.D., DACVP, DACVSMR. CCRT, CVSMT, CVA |

Chris Zink, DVM, Ph.D., DACVP, DACVSMR. CCRT, CVSMT, CVA

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Chris Zink, DVM, Ph.D., DACVP, DACVSMR. CCRT, CVSMT, CVA |

Dr. Chris Zink is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, which she helped to establish. She consults with clients on canine sports medicine, designing individual rehabilitation and conditioning programs for canine athletes. She teaches canine sports medicine to veterinarians and physical therapists worldwide. Additionally, she is a certified therapist in canine rehabilitation, veterinary spinal manipulation, and veterinary acupuncture.

Dr. Zink was named the 2009 Woman Veterinarian of the Year by the Association for Women Veterinarians Foundation. She is author and co-editor of the award-winning text Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, the first veterinary textbook on this topic and of numerous other books on canine sports medicine. As a competitor, she has put over 100 titles on her dogs in agility, obedience, conformation, tracking, hunt tests, barn hunts, nosework and rally. Dr. Zink currently competes with her Golden Retriever, Hobby, and her Norwich Terrier, Helix.

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