Our training staff is very professional and well versed in dog training and behavior. We are all clicker trainers and regularly attend seminars and workshops locally and across the country.
Mary Ann Callahan, CPDT-KA, Director of Behavior and Training
Mary Ann has been clicker training since 1995 and as part of her early instruction had the benefit of training in an 8 month long 'experimental' class conducted by Karen Pryor. She has enjoyed continuing her training education through many classes, seminars and workshops as well as participation on various training lists. Among her favorite workshop experiences were the 'Chicken Clicker Camps' she participated in with Bob and Marian Bailey.
Mary Ann actively pursues her desire to provide a more enjoyable and efficient learning experience for both the animals and people she teaches and has received extensive coaching over the last four years while teaching Chris Nielsen's 'Manners' program now in place at the MSPCA. Her training and coaching skills have also been advanced through her interactions with "Three Left Feet", a canine freestyle drill and performance team which performs demonstrations for community service.
In addition to the dog training classes Mary Ann teaches at the MSPCA, she also supports the training goals of her private clients and their variety of dogs, horses, sheep, pigs and one very amorous (albeit confused) rooster.
She shares her home with Possum (Australian Shepherd), Billy (Bernese Mountain Dog), and Cricket (Maine-Coon mix cat). She has participated (and occassionally competes) in activities such as canine musical freestyle, animal assisted therapy, rally, carting, agility, obedience, herding, tracking, and water rescue. Mary Ann teaches Puppy Play n' Learn, Basic Manners, Manners & More!, Private Lessons and CGC Prep.
Carolyn Barney, CPDT-KA, Senior Instructor and Behavior Consultant
Carolyn has been working in the dog training and behavior field for over 25 years. She is currently focusing on dog behavior consulting and clicker training for dogs and other animals. In addition, Carolyn also offers learning opportunities for new and advanced trainers and teachers; via lectures, workshops, dog training courses and college courses at Harvard University Extension School.
Carolyn founded and managed, a full service dog training and daycare facility, for 16 years before selling the business in 2006. She currently owns Dogs! Learning Center in Hudson, MA. She has developed many programs for dog training including authoring a book "Clicker Basics for Dogs and Puppies", and two DVD's of media lectures "Scaredy Dogs" a program for fearful dogs and ”Starting off Right Beginner Agility Classes", both from programs for educating dog trainers.
Carolyn has enjoyed an ongoing education while training, competing and titling many of her own and client’s dogs. Her training and competing spans a wide array of events including tracking, conformation, obedience, agility, earth dog, herding and training dogs to be good canine citizens. Her current competitive agility dog, Parson Russell Terrier, "Steiff", has completed his USDAA ADCH title, AKC MACH, NADAC NA, NAJ, NAG JE. She is also training her up and coming Border Collie, Kodi. Carolyn teaches our Ruff Diamonds classes as well as Agility Foundations and other advanced classes. Carolyn also does behavior consultations on site.
Nini Bloch, Instructor
Nini’s interest in dog training blossomed when she got her first Australian Shepherd in 1991, tasted obedience competition, and soon found a passion for dog agility. She became a founding member of the ARFF agility club in 1993. She not only has instructed basic obedience and agility but also became fascinated in the mid-’90s by the power of clicker training.
As a writer and editor, she started focusing on dog training and behavior and has edited such award-winning books as Control Unleashed, Shaping Success, and The Agility Advantage. That work has steeped her in clicker philosophy and sharpened her clicker skills. Nini feels fortunate to have arrived on the dog-training scene during a revolution in dog training methods and a vast increase in the popularity of dog sports. She is invested in helping owners succeed and strengthen their bonds with their dogs while having fun along the way. Currently Nini competes in agility with her third and fourth Aussies and designs and directs many of ARFF’s weekly practices. She teaches Basic Manners, Control Unleashed, Wag It Games, Agility Foundations, and Agility Intermediate classes as well as Agility Private Lessons.
Paul Emerson, CPDT-KA, Senior Instructor
Paul's introduction to dogs came in 1977 when he purchased his first Bernese Mountain Dog, Mon Plaisir's Sundowner a/k/a Buck. Since that time Paul, along with his wife Mary, has bred, raised, shown, trained and loved several generations of Bernese under the kennel name Ursli.
Paul began training professionally in 1991 when he joined the instructing staff at Gemini Dog Training. Until founding Family Dog Training in 2008, he was a Senior Instructor and Director of the Pet Dog Training Program. He was one of the first trainers to achieve the status of Certified Pet Dog Trainer when the exam was first offered in September 2001. This certification requires that he actively participate in continuing education to constantly update his knowledge and skills. Paul has spoken both at national dog shows and locally on canine behavior and successful companion dog ownership.
He is a Professional Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, former President of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Nashoba Valley (covering the New England states), past Rescue Chair of the BMDCNV, and former (and very first) Draft Work Chairman for the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America. Paul is currently the Training Resource Chair for the BMDCNV and a long-time Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America Draft Judge. Paul is an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen evaluator and a member of Truly Dog Friendly, a national organization promoting non-violent, dog friendly training methods. Paul teaches our Basic Manners On Your Time classes.
Sue Goley, Instructor
A graduate of Animal Behavior College, Sue has been teaching classes through the MSPCA dog training program since 2008. She describes her work as extremely fun and rewarding, helping people learn how to effectively communicate with their dogs using positive reinforcement. Sue has grown up around dogs all her life and owns a Labrador retriever named River. Sue teaches Basic Manners and Better Manners classes.
Emma Parsons, BA, Senior Instructor
Emma is the Training Director for Karen Pryor Clickertraining and the Canine Behavior Training Consultant for the VCA Rotherwood Animal Hospital. She is also the author of the popular book, Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog. The book was inspired by her work with her golden retriever Ben, who became aggressive to other dogs after being severely punished by an “aggression expert.” Emma turned to clicker training and successfully eliminated Ben's dog-on-dog aggression.
Emma has been featured on numerous television shows, is on the faculty of ClickerExpo and gives seminars around the US on training and managing the reactive dog. She has also taught clicker training classes to graduate students at Tufts Veterinary School of Medicine and at Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue. Emma is teaching our "Control Unleashed" and "Control Unleashed Advanced" classes.
Melissa Zilembo, CPDT-KA, Senior Instructor
Melissa has been part of the MSPCA dog training program since 2004. Being part of the Dog Training program at Nevins Farm has provided her with the ability to work with dogs of many, varied breeds and personalities, including dogs who suffer from physical handicaps. In addition to dog training, Melissa spends as much time as she can with the shelter birds, and has also been known to help catch the occasional runaway goat.
Melissa is a 2004 graduate of the Animal Behavior College. In 2007 she completed both Dogs of Course Instructor Training Courses: Teaching & Training and Consulting & Problem Solving. She has assisted and trained under some of the top Clicker Trainers in the industry. She credits these experiences with improving her training and coaching skills, as well as her ability to plan, coordinate and manage group classes. Melissa is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed, a certification which requires her to continue her education by attending seminars and workshops regularly. Melissa is a Mentor Trainer for Catch Canine Trainers Academy. Her other experiences include: working as Head Trainer at a local dog daycare, coordinating dog playgroups, dog grooming and owning and operating her own pet sitting business. Melissa has been a certified American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator since 2006. In 2012, she became an America Federation of Aviculture Certified Avicuturalist, and is a founding member of SOAR Birds, an organization which supports and assists adopters of shelter and rescue birds.
Melissa raises and trains Australian Shepherds. She has also been involved in the foster program for the MSPCA at Nevins farm. She currently owns three dogs, three birds and a cat, several of whom have been adopted from the MSPCA at Nevins Farm. She and her dogs have participated in agility, conformation, rally obedience, canine musical freestyle, drill team, nose work and obedience. Melissa teaches Basic Manners, Beyond Manners, Canine Good Citizen Prep and Control Unleashed classes, as well as Private Lessons.