Oh, Behave

Our Instructors

Aaron grew up an animal enthusiast, caring for fish, hamsters, gerbils, lizards, birds, amphibians and cats. He’d have to wait quite a few years into adulthood, before he had the resources to get his first dog. Bartholomew (Bart) the rambunctious German Shepherd crashed (in to) his life a few years ago, launching Aaron’s journey into dog behavior and training.

His mission is to enhance the lives of animals and their humans through education. Understanding our animals better leads to their happiness and health, which in turn, improves our own lives.

Aaron lives in Oakland with his human partner Gretchen, along with Bart, and Bart’s brother, Revok (REV-ock), an old Maine Coon rescue. When Aaron’s not absorbed in learning animal behavior and training, he’s working as a Director of Finance & Operations or gaming.

Carrie 2024Carrie Alongi, CNWI, began at Marin Humane first as a student, then as a volunteer, and in 2020 joined as an instructor. She believes that positive, choice-based training is the best method to produce good behavior and a confident, happy dog. Carrie teaches nose work, and originally discovered it when looking for a way to build her young dog’s confidence and manage his reactivity. She continues to attend workshops, seminars, and online courses to expand her knowledge and skills. Carrie has an interest in a variety of dog sports, and currently trains in flyball, agility, and nose work with her Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Oliver and Poppet. 

Jane Aten, KPA CTP, is the Shelter Dog Behavior Coordinator at Marin Humane. She started teaching dog training classes at Marin Humane following the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Jane’s primary role at Marin Humane is working with shelter dogs, assessing their behavior, creating training plans, supporting their adopters, and supervising the volunteers who work with them. She also provides behavior consultations and occasionally teaches specialty classes, such as Rattlesnake Avoidance and Tricks.

Jane’s interest in animal behavior started when she adopted Albie, an 8lb terrier-poodle-mix with a range of issues including leash reactivity and separation anxiety. Her love and dedication to Albie led her to discover positive dog training methods. Jane’s goal in life is to help animals and the humans that love them live happier lives together. She currently lives with a trio of cats, a violently affectionate Boston terrier/Cairn terrier named Rugby, and a formidably intelligent Border Collie mix named Cricket.

Jane’s interest in animal behavior started when she adopted Albie, an 8lb terrier-poodle-mix with a slew of issues including leash reactivity and separation anxiety. Her love and dedication to Albie lead her to discover positive dog training methods. Jane’s goal in life is to help animals, and the humans that love them, live happier lives together. She currently lives with a quartet of cats and a violently affectionate Boston Terrier/Cairn Terrier named Rugby.

Darlene Blackman has worked in animal welfare for nearly 40 years. She is a dog training instructor as a part of her role as the director of community engagement, where she manages the Pet Care Assistance, Pet Safety Net, Animal-Assisted Programs, and Share a Book programs as well as Humane Education. Darlene is well known in the industry for having created the Your Dog to Share and the Share a Book animal assisted therapy dog programs. She presents workshops at many local and national conferences featuring the work of Marin Humane community engagement programs and the human-companion animal bond. During her tenure at Marin Humane she has also held positions in education, adoptions and the behavior and training departments.

Before joining the team at Marin Humane, Darlene worked for 10 years at the Massachusetts SPCA in animal care, humane education and volunteer coordination. She also worked at the Massachusetts Audubon Society, a farm education center, and at a livestock auction where she worked to create a safer, more humane place for the animals.

Darlene graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst where she studied animal science/veterinary medicine.

Kathleen Call

Kathleen Call, CPDT-KA, CNWI, CBA I & II, AKC CGC Evaluator, has been a professional trainer since 2009. A lifelong animal lover, she began her in-depth education into behavior modification and training when she adopted a beloved dog with aggression issues. Her journey led her to discover the power of K9 Nose Work and its ability to transform reactive dogs. Kathleen completed specialized training through the National Association of Canine Scent Work and earned her CNWI in 2018. Kathleen has also taught Marin Humane’s rewarding Train-to-Adopt and Shelter Scents classes for the shelter dogs, in which volunteers bring adoption dogs to class to learn basic obedience, scent work and some cute tricks.

Kathleen’s specialty is teaching people how to “read their dog.” She believes that with a better awareness of dog body language and behavior, all human/canine relationships can improve in amazing ways. She enjoys seeing dogs and their people become more confident and comfortable through training. Kathleen lives with her husband and multiple Marin Humane canine alumni in Muir Beach, CA. She actively trains and competes in K9 Nose Work with her Elite level dog, Mighty Casey.

ChristinaAs a positive reinforcement trainer, Christina believes that training should be fun for both the dog and the handler. She loves to celebrate success and can’t wait to meet you and your dog!

A passionate student of behavioral science and animal learning, Christina is an honors graduate of the prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers with a Certificate in Training and Counseling.

​Whether you need help dealing with difficult canine behaviors, or just want to have fun teaching your dog tricks, Christina will treat you and your dog with kindness and respect.  She is dedicated to helping you and your dog build a strong bond and become the best team you can be.

Chad is the Behavior Coordinator at Marin Humane. His responsibilities include evaluating strays, surrendered, and transferred dogs. Chad manages the San Quentin Pen Pals Program which is a rehabilitation program with the inmates at San Quentin State Prison. The Pen Pals Program is all about second chances. A second chance for the handlers (inmates) to gain responsibility, accountability, compassion and often times love for the dogs in their care. The dogs get a second chance by being rehabilitated giving them the help they need to get adopted.

Chad’s love for dogs began as a kid but this love became a passion when he managed, trained and raced sled dogs (called Dog Drivers not mushers). He worked with a 39-dog kennel training them to pull a 350 pound “rig” on dirt at a winery in Sonoma. These races were held all over the Sierras, like Lake Davis Forest Hill and Diamond Lake Oregon and Chad’s fastest time was 28 minutes over 8 miles earning first place.

Chad has a marketing degree from the University of Minnesota and played football and ice hockey through college and still plays in hockey around the bay area. Chad currently has two dogs, Rhea and Chance with an active, loud Bengal cat who runs the house. His favorite trick he taught his Kelpie mix is to recycle. This is where Chance takes paper, bottles, empty paper towel rolls to the recycling can. He also taught her to find money, which was disallowed by his wife after Chance started to go in her purse to take money out. Chad teaches Puppies in the Park, Beginning Puppy and the Family dog series.

Christine moved to Marin during the Covid-19 pandemic and quickly began volunteering as a Dog Training Assistant at Marin Humane prior to becoming a Dog Training Instructor. She comes with a background in private dog training and boarding. Christine has been teaching classes and coaching and mentoring people for much of her life (swimming, science camp, flute, career advising — you name it). However, her interest in dog training started when she adopted her first dog and found how much the right training both saved and transformed their lives. Today, she strives to help humans and dogs to better understand and communicate with each other and to build resilient relationships by meeting both human and dog where they are.

Christine received her MBA/MPH from UC Berkeley and works as a healthcare management consultant. Christine is Dog Mama to Luke, an 8 year old cattle dog mix from SF SPCA, and Hunter, a 3 year old Goldendoodle who currently works as her service dog. In her “spare time,” she enjoys backpacking, hiking, camping, pottery, food, and triathlon.

Sally Connell is an agility instructor who has been a lifelong animal lover. Born and raised in Wisconsin, as a child Sally trained and competed with horses in hunters/jumpers and dressage. A close friend inspired her to try agility, so she started with her first agility dog, an Australian Shepherd in 2000. Discovering positive reward training and the exhilaration of running a course with her dog, agility became her focus. In 2009 her first Border Collie pup arrived, and serious training began.

Since then she has focused on International handling and competition, traveling to Europe for two European Open Teams in 2018 and 2019. She has also traveled to the Hungarian Open and trained with the famous Tamas Traj as well as USA World Team Coach Nancy Gyes. Recently Sally won a spot representing Team USA at the World Agility Open (WAO) in the Netherlands in 2020.

Sharing a home with her husband and three Border Collies, and spending time with her three grown children, Sally also loves to hike with her dogs in the mountains and run at the beach. She looks forward to giving back and helping people of all walks of life to play and have fun with their dogs on the agility field.

Terri Dente

Terri Dente entered the world of agility training in early 2022 and has not looked back. Originally self-taught, she discovered Marin Humane classes and has been avidly studying ever since. Recently retired from a 25-year career in healthcare, Terri finds agility to be fun and healthy for her and her dog and looks forward to sharing her passion with others.

Terri lives with her husband Jim and their two dogs, an Aussie named Marvin, and a border collie named Lincoln. She also has two human children, a grandbaby, and a granddog.

Yuching Desch-sq

Yuching Desch, CDBC, CPDT-KA, CTDI, CNWI, FDM, teaches Family Dog 1-7, Tricks, Nosework, CGC Prep and other workshops. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant from The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer from Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers® (CCPDT).

Because of her own fear-aggressive dog, Yuching strives to learn everything about canine behaviors as much as possible. Her canine learning journey started with the completion of Marin Humane’s Canine Behavior Academy in 2012. She continues to learn and attend webinars and conferences and is a graduate of Michael Shikashio’s Aggressive Dog Master Course. In 2023, Yuching completed Kim Brophey’s L.E.G.S.® Applied Ethology Family Dog Mediation® Professional Course and is now a certified Family Dog Mediator. Yuching specializes in working with fearful and fear-aggressive dogs using fun and confidence building activities via tricks, games and nosework.

Yuching enjoys sharing her knowledge on canine behavior and helping dog owners to problem-solve behavior related issues. When not working with client dogs, Yuching enjoys baking (dog treats), knitting (dog sweaters), reading (about dogs) and hiking (with her fearful but very cute dog).

Angela Gardner, CTC, CSAT, is a Dog Training Instructor and Behavior Consultant for Marin Humane. She has 16 years of experience training dog parents and their animals, as well as consulting, teaching, boarding and extraordinary dog walking adventures. She’s a graduate of The Academy for Dog Trainers, a Separation Anxiety Pro Trainer, and holds certificates in both Teaching Separation Anxiety in Dogs, and Animal Behavior from Marin Humane.

In her off-time, Angela is an avid hiker and paddle boarder. She and her Beagle and Mini Aussie mix, Rookie, enjoy watching sunsets from the 40-foot Delta boat they call home. Angela is also a die-hard fan of the San Francisco 49ers, the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors, and can be found on the sidelines or watching at home most weekends during the teams’ seasons.

Ann Glascock, CBA 1 & 2, has been passionate about dogs since she was a child and her first job, as a 10-year-old, was training her neighbor’s new puppy Spot at a Marin Humane class. An avid dog enthusiast, she spent time participating in obedience trials and then gravitated towards working with service dogs. She was a puppy raising leader for Guide Dogs for the Blind for 10 years, helping families during the 18-month commitment to socialize, train, and love these dogs before they move into service.

Ann has managed dog boarding and day care facilities in the past 10 years and understands families’ passion to create happy lives for their pets. Ann’s goals in dog training is to find what will work best for both dogs and their families to increase the enjoyment for all.

Ann enjoys spending time with extended family at the beach, hiking, live music, and relaxing at home. Her family shares its home and time with Guava, Echo and her first little dog, Whimsy, who is expanding her knowledge of training and stretching her skills, and a Marin Humane alum, a kitty named Panda.

Rachel began volunteering as a Dog Training Assistant with Marin Humane after taking Family Dog 1 with her Australian Shepherd, Junior. She has been a dog training and behavior enthusiast her entire life, but she became a serious student of dog/ human interaction after adopting her first dog from the shelter in 2014.

Rachel aims to help dogs and their handlers improve their relationships by developing increased empathy and compassion for our pets. She is inspired by watching handlers develop a better understanding of their dogs, allowing them to connect more deeply as they discover how fun and exciting learning together can be.

Rachel works in mental healthcare and enjoys mountain biking and skiing. She has two resident dogs, Junior and an Australian Cattle Dog rescue named Rusty.

Rachel, who will be mostly teaching at our offsite training location in Belvedere, is pictured with Junior and Rusty.

Virginia Grainger found her way to positive reinforcement dog training like many people, because she had a challenging dog. A consultation with Dawn Kovell quickly led to Virginia becoming a volunteer with Marin Humane in 2001. Shortly thereafter she was training all the volunteers in the Behavior Department. As time went on Virginia joined the staff and became an Instructor, Volunteer Coordinator, Evaluator, Consultant and a few more positions.

Some of the many initials Virginia can put after her name include, B.A, J.D., CPDT-KA, CBA I & II. Virginia is the Marin Humane Shelter Behavior Manager and oversees canine evaluations, adoption dog consultations and is also teaching classes and doing private consultations.

Virginia currently shares her home with her husband Jason and her 100% Marin Humane dog pack, which currently is made up of one Old English Sheepdog/German Shepherd mix, two Australian Shepherds and one 7 pound Chihuahua, who really runs the show.

Christine's photo
Christine Hsu has been training and competing in canine dog sports for more than 20 years, in venues such as obedience, rally, agility, retriever fieldwork, scent sports, and conformation. Before joining Marin Humane, she assisted and taught foundation skills classes in San Jose.

She believes in developing a strong relationship with dogs by training with kindness; building trust and understanding through clear communication. She loves puppies and helping them get a great start in life.

Christine has a computer science degree from UC Berkeley, is an AKC Canine Good Citizen and Tricks Evaluator, and is continually growing her dog training knowledge and skills by attending classes and seminars with renowned science-based trainers, and conferences such as ClickerExpo.

She shares her home with her husband and 3 beloved Golden Retrievers. She also enjoys hiking and gardening.

Annie Humphries-sq

Annie Humphrey, MSW, CPDT-KA, CBA I & II, is professional trainer with more than 20 years’ experience working with companion animals in veterinary, shelter and private settings. She brings her background in psychology and social work, including many years serving at-risk children and their families, to her current focus on animal assisted interventions training. She co-teaches the Your Dog to Share and Share a Book classes as well as Agility classes.

Annie has loved and lived with animals her entire life. As a kid growing up in Novato, she rode her pony to do her paper route and a few years later earned ribbons showing her horse, a Thoroughbred/Arab cross. Annie lives with Dillon, a beautiful Border Collie and Harper, a sassy Border Terrier mix.  She has trained her dogs (past and present) in Rally Obedience, Agility, Flyball, Dock Jumping, Disc and Lure Racing.

Heather Johnson has been playing flyball since 1999 and teaching it since 2005. Teams coached by Heather have won multiple North American Flyball Association Regional Championships in both the Regular and Multibreed divisions. While flyball is her first passion, over the years Heather and her dogs have trained, competed, and titled in multiple other sports, including agility, regular and rally obedience, dock jumping, and lure racing.

Heather’s primary focus when training is to create confident flyball dogs and handlers who understand and love the game. She uses positive reinforcement and lots of different games to build enjoyment and teach the skills needed for successful flyball racing.

Heather currently loves, spoils, and plays flyball, agility, lure racing and coursing with Xena (Parson Russell Terrier), Talent (Sport Mix), and Dare (Sport Mix).

Dawn Kovell, KPA-CTP, CBA I & II, is the director of the Behavior & Training Department at Marin Humane. A member of the Behavior & Training staff since 2000, she has developed in-depth training and behavior modification skills through hands on experience with thousands of dogs and people over the past two decades. Dawn grew up on a dairy farm in Ohio and currently lives at FDSA Ranch where she manages the animal population including  cattle, guinea fowl, chickens and a fluctuating number of ever pregnant sheep. In addition to her animal-related skills, she utilizes her extensive education, including a BA from UC Santa Barbara and an MBA from UC Berkeley , and her early career in business and finance to keep the Behavior & Training Department of more than 100 staff and volunteers running smoothly. Dawn is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Professional Dog Training Academy.

Dawn’s responsibilities, in addition to designing and teaching classes, include rehabilitation work with shelter dogs. She has created various internal behavior modification programs to meet changing shelter animal populations and performed behavior triage in the case of natural disasters and emergencies.

Dawn lives with a working Belgian Tervuren, two Border Collie/Whippet mixes and two cats. She is particularly adept at addressing multi-species co-habitation issues and finding techniques to address problematic behaviors. Dawn’s training specialty and passion lie in sport dog training including building motivation and advanced obedience. She has titled dogs in flyball and obedience, scent work,  MondioRing, and dock diving and dabbled in lure racing, schutzhund and tracking. All three of her current dogs are trained through the Masters level in agility, but to her dismay there aren’t enough hours in the day to compete in everything!

Dawn’s responsibilities, in addition to designing and teaching classes, include extensive rehabilitative work with shelter dogs. She created the B Team, an internal behavior modification team, in response to the many behavioral needs seen in the shelter population, devised specialized kennel enrichment protocols for shelter dogs and personally performs behavior triage when needed in the case of natural disasters and emergencies.

Dawn’s training specialty and passion is in sport dog training including building motivation and advanced obedience. She has titled numerous dogs in flyball and obedience, done agility at the master’s level and dabbled in schutzhund, dock diving and tracking. Dawn enjoys the particular challenge of finding techniques to address unusual problematic behaviors. Having grown up on a dairy farm in Ohio, she is also adept at addressing multi-species co-habitation issues. Dawn lives with her daughter and houseful of dogs and cats and actively trains and competes in flyball.

Amy McPherson began her professional dog training career as an assistance dog trainer for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). During her 12 year tenure with CCI she was immersed in all aspects of assistance dog training and found the detailed work of training dogs to become high functioning partners for members of the disabled community to be thrilling on many levels. After she become a mother, Amy joined the teaching staff at Marin Humane, bringing with her the precision and techniques used to train service dogs to the highest levels to the Marin Humane Family Dog classes.

Amy teaches every class using modern dog training techniques where she emphasizes putting each skill into every day, practical use. Amy’s focus is on helping people develop a relationship with the family dog based on trust, understanding, kindness and common sense application. She strives to make the experience of living with a dog better for both human and canine alike.

Nancy Mimms
Nancy Mimms, APDT, CBA I & II, is a dog training instructor. She has been a volunteer Dog Training Assistant at Marin Humane for nearly a decade. For the past twenty years, Nancy has also served as a Puppy Socializer and Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind which gave her exposure to the critical importance of early training and socialization on creating a stable companion dog.

Nancy has 35 years of experience coaching people as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. Passionate and inspiring, Nancy brings the skills she developed guiding people to reach their goals to the process of training dogs. Her focus is on developing and enriching the relationship people have with their dogs as the foundation for all training. Currently, Nancy teaches Beginning Puppy and Family Dog 1 through Family Dog 4.

Alissa Porter CPDT-KA is an agility instructor and has competed in dog and horse sports since she was young. Her dog sport career started with a large enthusiastic golden retriever who needed a job to do. Since then, she has competed in both obedience and agility with her dogs. Alissa thought she was done with competitive dog sports, until she and her husband adopted a very energetic labradoodle named Oliver, and she knew he needed an outlet for all that extra energy, so off to the Marin Humane agility classes they went.

Alissa began teaching obedience and family dog classes for her local dog training club in Salt Lake City. She also worked as a Humane Educator for an Animal Control agency teaching dog safety and bite prevention to children and adults. She is excited to be teaching at an organization that also focuses on animal welfare with the ultimate goal of making all lives happy. Alissa specializes in teaching beginning agility teams the complex “art “of agility and breaking it down so every team is successful and has fun.

Rachel has only been training dogs for a few years but has quickly become obsessed! She has been through Marin Humane’s Family Dog program as well as dabbling in obedience and nose work with her Border Collie named Indiana “Indy”. She has also been training Indy in agility and recently began competing locally in AKC, UKI, and USDAA trials.

Rachel loves learning all there is to know about modern dog training and behavior techniques. She is currently working on a certification course to learn how to best communicate with our furry companions. She has seen how the development of mutual trust and communication with dogs can create incredible bonds and relationships.

When not training dogs, Rachel is a VR gameplay engineer and emerging technology software developer, and a huge Star Wars fan. She teaches Beginning Puppy, Family Dog 1, and agility classes at Marin Humane.

Angela Remedios

Angela has been a part of the Marin Humane community for almost ten years, originally as a student, then as a volunteer, and now an instructor.  Prior to joining Marin Humane, she taught foundation skills classes in San Francisco. She is an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Trick Dog evaluator, a certified Pro Dog Trainer with Absolute Dogs and a current student in the L.E.G.S. Applied Ethology Family Dog Mediation Professional course.

As a recently retired elementary school teacher, she is excited to be a part of Marin Humane’s team and devote her time to all things Dogs!

Angela has been actively training and competing in a variety of dog sports with her two papillons for the past 10 years. The dogs decided they love nose work best! That’s no surprise given the numerous benefits of the sport: increased confidence and independence, enhanced enjoyment of learning, and a strengthened bond between dog and handler. Angela LOVES competing in nose work!

Angela teaches Small Dog and Nosework classes. She enjoys helping families develop a deeper bond with their dog through games based training.

Angela holds a degree in Psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University. She lives in Novato with her husband, Eevee & Ziggy the papillons, and Pono the cat. She is an accomplished artist and her favorite subject is, of course, dogs!

Paula Skelton, CBA I & II, is a dog class instructor with an expertise in both dogs and cats. She has a background in veterinary medicine, dog grooming and dog training. She has worked as a registered veterinary technician for more than 35 years and attended the SFSPCA’s well respected dog grooming school before pursuing her passion for rescue and rehabilitation in animal shelters. She has been teaching pet dog classes and making people and pets happy together for 15 years.

She has rescued and fostered many dogs and puppies over the years and for the past decade has taken a particular interest in feline behavior. In 10 years, Paula has rescued, tamed, and placed hundreds of rehabilitated feral kittens in new homes. Today, she shares her home with three small rescue dogs who are excellent canine ambassadors and share their home with many feline friends.

Annette Thomason

Annette Thomason has been training dogs since she was 15, when she dabbled in obedience and herding with her first Australian Shepherd. Annette and her second Aussie, Sydney, discovered agility in 2001 and she was quickly bitten by the bug and has enjoyed being a student of the sport ever since. She currently competes both locally and nationally in UKI, AKC, and USDAA with her border collies, Savvy and Moxxy.

One of the things she loves most about agility is the incredible bond and partnership you create with your canine teammate. Annette loves training, attending seminars, and learning all she can about the best methods to train the behaviors needed to create the most efficient teams possible. Her focus is on the use of verbal cues in conjunction with motion and positional cues, which helps teams find the fastest lines for the dog. When she is not obsessing about dog agility, Annette enjoys nosework, man trailing, hiking and gardening. 

Maggie Thompson

Maggie received a BS and BA from the University of Oregon in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters in School Counseling at Sonoma State University. She grew up in Marin with Golden Retrievers, an Australian Shepherd, and three cats. When she isn’t training, teaching, or playing with dogs, she works for her family’s commercial painting business.

Maggie Thompson is a local gal through and through. She started her dog training career with her Australian Shepherd/Golden Retriever, Blue, as first a Marin Humane student, then a volunteer dog training assistant and finally as one of the Sports Program agility and flyball instructors! Blue simply wouldn’t allow for anything less with his eager spirit and enthusiasm to try anything. Sarge, an Australian Shepherd, joined her pack where she learned how to channel problematic reactivity into sharp, precise competitive sports performance.

Maggie’s instructor experience includes Puppies in the Park, family dog classes, flyball and agility. As a competitor she has titled her dogs in flyball, agility, scent work and dock diving. She dabbles in Rally and FAST CAT and just for fun both dogs have AKC Advanced Trick Titles and are shooting for their Performer titles.

Ali Vorhies, CPDT-KA, CBA I & II, professional member of APDT dog trainer and behavior consultant. Ali teaches family dog obedience, Rally Obedience and Nose Work classes and workshops with an emphasis on keeping training fun and practical for all involved. She was fortunate to have learned from some wonderful mentors and teachers early on in her career and today continues to improve and expand her dog training and behavior knowledge through certification testing, seminars, online education courses and reading respected authors in the field.

Ali’s strength is in helping students and dogs develop a stronger relationship through respectful training and in finding positive new approaches to any behavior issue. A lifelong dog lover, Ali has trained and competed with her own dogs in Rally Obedience, scent work, agility and water performance sports, earning Rally Obedience Novice, NACSW NW3-Elite and Apprentice Water Dog titles with her beloved Portuguese Water Dog, Magic. Magic serves as Ali’s demo dog, and comic relief, in many of her classes.

Marisa Walker, CPDT-KA, is a Family Dog and reactive dog group class instructor, behavior consultant, and shelter dog evaluator. Marisa takes great pride in coaching handlers through behavior modification training with their barking, lunging, growling dogs, improving quality of life for these “dogs with big feelings” and their families. Marisa incorporates Behavior Adjustment Training, Control Unleashed, and other positive training methods to teach the reactive dog to make better choices when faced with something scary or exciting.

Besides working with reactive dogs, Marisa enjoys helping people forge better relationships and lines of communication with their dogs, building canine confidence, inspiring handlers to find the fun and joy in training their dogs, and developing safe and positive relationships between children and pets. Marisa shares her home with her two children, partner, two reactive Great Pyrenees, an English Shepherd, five cats, a goat, a sheep, and chickens. Dog training is her career of choice after 20 years in nonprofit marketing and communications. She holds a BA in English and Psychology from Northwestern University.

Beth Weil is the Feline Behavior Coordinator. She developed and teaches many of the classes and workshops Marin Humane offers for cat lovers. She draws on her background in Zoology and Biology from UC Davis in her role as shelter cat evaluator and private feline behavior consultant. Beth grew up with cats, dogs and horses but found her passion in cat rescue and behavior after her 20-year-old kitty passed away. She spent 10 years improving the lives of rescue cats before starting to volunteer at Marin Humane. In 2012, Beth retired from her role as an academic biology librarian at a University and joined the Marin Humane Behavior & Training team as the resident feline expert.

Beth specializes in improving people’s relationship with their cats. She firmly believes that training cats is a great way to improve the relationship between people and cats by helping them speak the same language. Her expertise runs the gamut but includes strategies and techniques for the most common feline problems including litter box issues, aggression and helping guardians understand a cat’s perspective when integrating a new dog into the house. She lives with a well-trained kitty, who reminds her to give him his pills and doesn’t wake her up in the morning.

Lorriane 2024Lorraine Wilson, MSW and graduate of the Victoria Stillwell Dog Training Academy, believes that living harmoniously with dogs and puppies is one of life’s greatest joys, and that training should be fun. Our approach to, and expectations of, our best friends have a massive impact on our success in building a strong bond. As a trainer her goal is to help dog parents:

  • find ways to bring joy and light heartedness to training.
  • have a strong relationship and bond through games and consistent and clear communication.
  • approach the human/canine partnership with curiosity and empathy– Why do dogs exhibit these behaviors? What is the need and how can we support meeting the need in a way that works for all?

Teaching at Marin Humane provides an opportunity for Lorraine to integrate all her greatest passions—continuous learning, coaching others, teaching effective use of body language and bonding with dogs. Lorraine is continuously studying the best modern, science-based approaches to collaborating with canines and humans. She looks forward to joining you in your training adventures.