Pack of Paws’ trainers have over 100 years of professional dog training experience, combined. Many of our instructors actively compete in performance dog sports and understand not only the importance of training the skills needed to participate in these intense activities, but also how to manage the stress, arousal and distraction issues that may develop in these highly stimulating environments.
Not only are our trainers experienced, each is proficient in many different areas of canine behavior. Our trainers offer a wealth of knowledge and are always available to brainstorm ideas and recommend solutions, no matter what class you’re currently taking.
Donna has an unmatchable passion for reliable family dog manners and the understanding that a dog and the family’s life can be rich, enriched, and fulfilling with just a few amazingly reliable skills. Leash walks, hikes, visits to dog-friendly restaurants, parks, and breweries, and more make the dog a participating family member, and a well-behaved dog is an enjoyable companion! Donna is skilled at developing and implementing doable training programs that are easily incorporated into every dog owner’s life.
Donna truly enjoys working with both ends of the leash and approaches each lesson as a collaboration with the dog owner, the dog, and herself. She’s a talented coach for both ends of the leash.
Donna has a fantastic talent for rehabilitating fearful and aggressive dogs and helping families through the training process with compassion and empathy for both ends of the leash. Having owned her own fearful and aggressive dogs, her personal experiences make her the perfect trainer, coach, and behavior consultant to understand and empathize compassionately and construct an achievable and effective treatment plan for problems stemming from the simply over-exuberant menacing adolescent, to the most vehement resource guarder, to the most fearful or most aggressive dog.
In 2005 Donna and her husband adopted Gretchen, a six month old German Shepherd who presented only days after adoption with fearful behaviors. As time passed, Donna knew she needed help with her; however, in seeking help from local trainers, the training plans were not enjoyable to implement or even ethical, in her opinion. So she started her quest for knowledge in helping dogs and their families with fearful and aggressive dogs.
Donna attended many seminars, traveled thousands of miles, and found plans and protocols that she could shape to help her own dog. Gretchen became an enjoyable member of the family, enjoyed group walks, and even grew to enjoy company in the home. It was Gretchen, who started Donna’s passion and career into the Working with Aggressive Dogs aspect of training. Gretchen has helped thousands of dogs exponentially over the past 18 years (as of this writing in 2023). Gretchen passed over the bridge at the age of 13.
Donna has also coached many professional trainers wanting to learn to work with fearful and aggressive dogs. Working professional trainers seek her out for coaching to learn how to coach people, train dogs and work with aggression effectively.
Donna’s commitment to her own education in training and animal behavior is second to none. From general and advanced seminars to coaches for her own interests in Performance Obedience, Agility, and Canine Freestyle, Donna brings a variety of personal experiences as well as her vast education to every lesson.
Donna and her husband adopted then 2-year-old German Shepherd, who they named Moxie in 2008, from serious neglect. For the first two years of her life, Moxie had been crated for days at a time without even being allowed out to eliminate. Moxie enjoyed training and rehabilitation with Donna and became a friendly, sweet dog who enjoyed Nose Work for fun, swimming, Barn Hunt for fun, and ball chasing (and a little Canine Freestyle too)! Moxie passed at 14 years old, and Donna’s experience with her has carried over into client cases even today.
Donna currently lives with her German Shepherd, Vader, who titled in the sport of Barn Hunt and Lure Coursing and is an honorary big brother to his sister, German Shepherd Rikkochez, who is training for Competitive Obedience, Canine Freestyle and has achieved Advanced Master Title in Dock Diving, Novice Barn Hunt Title and trains for Agility for fun AND teaches obedience, sports and confidence with Donna. She also has a Belgian Malinois named Lazer who trains for Competitive Obedience, titled to Master Level in Dock Diving, titled in Lure Coursing, and has titled at first place levels in Agility. And a German Shepherd named Buzzynga Smashes It (Buzzy) who trains for Obedience and Agility!
Donna enjoys multiple sports as an opportunity and goal toward continued learning as well as enrichment for her shepherds, not to mention the all-out fun of dog sports and activities!
Certifications & Memberships Past and Present:
- Certified Dog Trainer
- Certified by the Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) [former]
- Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI)
- Certified TAGteach International Level 2
- Animal Behavior College, Honor Graduate
- Certified Behavior Consultant
- Certified Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (ACDBC) [former]
- AKC CGC Evaluator #34524
- APDT, Professional Member (Association of Professional Dog Trainers) [former]
- International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
- Fmr Board Member
- Boston Trainer’s Network, Member [former]
- Mentor Trainer – Pack of Paws Dog Training Professional Trainer’s program
- Living & Loving Animals ABA Course with Susan Friedman; Graduate with Excellence
*[Former] Some of the memberships have lapsed due to significant costs but the vigorous testing required which were passed with excellence to be accepted into those organizations stand.
Kristine has been competing in Flyball for over 5 years. It was this exciting sport that led her to a love of working with high energy dogs as well as helping shy dogs develop confidence. Kristine’s expertise in teaching how to build working and active attention is second to none. She is an expert in teaching dog owners to harness excited energy and build confidence in themselves and in their dog.
Kristine is an integral part of our team of trainers who work with reactive, scaredy and aggressive dogs. Kristine’s experience and expertise in working with high drive fast dogs who need to think first before they act makes her the perfect candidate to work on our behavior team.
Kristine currently lives with and competes in Flyball with her two Australian Shepherds,Stella and Wiz, her Belgian Malinois, Raven, a sport mix Oakley, a Dutch Shepherd Lexus and Border whippet Titanium. Kristine also competes in Dock Diving and other dog sports.
Kristine is a certified Search and Rescue Responder with Massachusetts Canine Response Team and is currently the President of this incredible organization.
- Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) [Former]
- Mentor Trainer – Pack of Paws Dog Training Professional Trainer’s program
- AKC Approved CGC Evaluator
- Member – APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers)
Deborah Taylor, CPDT-KA
Deborah is a skilled and creative trainer with over a decade of experience. Deborah is an expert in working with high drive working lines dogs to develop impulse control and flawless obedience. She focuses on high quality training, teaching solid foundational skills and maximizing each dog’s performance.
Deborah continually attends advanced training classes and seminars and is passionate about learning, as well as working with all dogs and their people!
She has been actively competing in Flyball for 10 years and has traveled all over the country learning the newest techniques in Flyball training. Deborah has been sought after by Flyball teams in England, where she spent a week teaching seminars.
Deborah is the Captain of the highly successful Flyball team Mass Chaos and actively participates in agility, competition obedience, K9 Nose Work and disc.
- Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
Joyce has been training and competing in agility for 20+ years with her three German shepherds. She has competed in NADAC, AKC, CPE and now primarily competes in USDAA. Her current dogs are Kaia, a 10 yr old German shepherd and Halliah, a 5 year old German shepherd.
Before her retirement, Kaia was competing at the Masters level in AKC and USDAA, earning two Championships in USDAA, a Lifetime Achievement-Bronze award and a team placement of 8th out of 132 teams at Cynosports (USDAA Nationals) in 2015.
Halliah is competing in the Masters level of USDAA and in 2018 earned her second Championship titles as well as her first Lifetime Achievement Award (150 total qualifying scores). We have recently started competing in AKC agility and have worked our way to the Excellent Level in just a handful of trials. Halliah is the cover dog for Amanda Shyne’s “Weaves that Wow” book. Her team placed 4th in New England Regionals in 2016, she had an amazing performance at Cynosports (USDAA Nationals) in 2017 and won the Bronze Medal in Grand Prix at the 2018 New England Regionals. We are looking forward to 2019 USDAA Nationals!
Kaia also loves Nosework and Halliah loves dock diving, although they do not actively compete in either of those sports, and their favorite activity is hiking.
Joyce absolutely loves watching each team grow!
Shannon Gerber, CPDT
Ever since she was young, Shannon knew she wanted to incorporate her love of animals into her career. Shannon attended the University of New England with interest in becoming a marine mammal trainer at SeaWorld. Shannon’s interest later changed from working with marine mammals to training dogs, specifically service dogs for PTSD.
Shannon found Pack of Paws while training her own mixed breed dog, Dakota. Together they took many classes, focusing on working with dog distractions, an area Dakota had difficulty with. While taking these classes her love of dog training grew and she knew she had found her calling.
In 2016 she began the Pack of Paws Trainer Program, working towards her dream of becoming a certified trainer and eventually graduating from the program with honors.
Shannon continues to learn as much as she can about all different aspects of dog training, with a special focus on service/assistant dog training.
Currently Shannon is developing training videos for our Online On Demand programs.
In her free time she enjoys training and competing in flyball with Dakotaand her 4 other dogs. Shannon is also a wife and a mom!
- Honors Graduate – Pack of Paws Professional Dog Trainer program
- Member- Pet Professional Guild
- Certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT)
Derek has always had a love for animals and believes that dogs and puppies offer us more than just companionship; they are our family, friends, and in some cases, our workmates. Derek’s journey to dog training began with his Australian Shepherd, Diego. As he started attending obedience classes with Diego, he became fascinated with the bond between humans and dogs. He saw that dogs crave attention, love, and direction and realized that training provides all of those vital aspects of a pup’s well-being. Derek’s goal is to help develop long-lasting relationships between you and your dog that will create memories to last a lifetime.
Derek passed the Pack of Paws Professional Dog Trainer’s program with honors and we were excited to get him on board as Lead Trainer in our Family Dog Programs. Derek’s commitment to his own education is second to none.
Julie Blanding, TWC Certified
Julie is a Master at building motivation and engagement, especially through play.
Julie is a TWC (Training Without Conflict) Certificant and was one of the very first to certify in this program.
Julie has been captivated with animals since childhood and began training in dog sport in 2001. She enjoys teaching high levels of play and engagement, as well as building strong behavioral foundations in dogs of all ages. She also recognizes that not all dogs have the same level of motivation, so every dog/handler team deserves an individual training program.
Julie has titled dogs in Schutzhund, IPO, Mondioring, and French Ring. She successfully cross-trained her German Shepherd Fred to earn both Schutzhund 3 and Mondioring 1 titles. She also shares her home with her amazing little helper, Belgian Malinois Puppy Dim Sum.