About Us – San Diego’s Best Dog Trainers

About Us – Wonder Dog Trainers


Looking for the BEST dog trainers in North County San Diego? Do you have a dog that needs training, but you really don’t want to haul him to class? Good news! We can save you a ton of time and stress by bringing the training to you!

Our services include in-home dog obedience training, manners training, and behavior modification for a wide range of concerns (e.g. excessive fear/timidity, separation anxiety, house training, puppy nipping, on-leash aggression, aggression in the home with pets and/or people, trouble with focus/distractions, new pet introductions, leash walking, preparation for a new baby, destructive chewing, and much more! Our goal is to help you have the confident, happy, well-behaved dog of your dreams!

Wonder Dog trainers serve: Carlsbad, Oceanside, Escondido, San Marcos, Vista, Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Valley Center, Rancho Penasquitos, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Temecula and Murrieta.

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Jennifer LaBar

Jen knows from first-hand experience that even the most challenging canine behaviors can be overcome with the right approach.

She founded Wonder Dog Training in 2001 with a 3-part mission: to reduce conflict within the family “pack,” to work with the family to resolve difficult behavior concerns, and to help dog parents better understand their canine friends.

Jen’s education includes a B.A. in Biology (with an emphasis in Animal Behavior and Learning Theory) from San Diego State University, a Masters Degree from National University, certification as a Pet Nutrition and Dietary Specialist, Veterinary Assistant Certification, and Honors Certification in Dog Obedience Training from Animal Behavior College.

In addition to training canines, Jen has also had the privilege to work with the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program (training dolphins and sea lions), the SLEWTHS project (training horses and sea lions), and Rare and Wild Animal Productions (training and caring for North American exotics).

Jen believes that good trainers invest in their professional development. To that end, she  is a member of APDT, and several other professional organizations for trainers. She is also certified as a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.

Jen’s training methods are kind, dog-friendly, practical, fun, and easy-to-implement! Each training plan is specifically customized to the individual needs of the dog. Jen approaches training and behavior modification from a holistic perspective, and considers such factors as diet, nutritional needs, environment, health, temperament, age, drives, and exercise, in order to create an optimally effective training plan.

In addition to obedience training, she also works with serious behavioral challenges, (including separation anxiety, hyperactivity, fear issues, aggression, house soiling, excessive barking, destructiveness, puppy concerns, and difficult/stressful relationships with other family members).

Jen is endorsed and recommended by multiple North County Veterinarians, Groomers, and Doggy Day Cares. She has also had the opportunity to work directly with several local Veterinarians to resolve their dog’s behavioral concerns.

Jen brings a genuine enthusiasm and sincere love of dogs to the training process. She believes that each and every dog is unique and special in its own way, and endeavors to bring out the best in each dog.

Areas served: San Marcos, Escondido and Vista.

robinRobin Sumner

Upon graduating the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in English, Robin packed up and moved to California in order to pursue her lifelong dream of working with animals!

Robin graduated from prestigious Moorpark College in 1997 with a degree in Exotic Animal Training and Management. Her coursework included Animal Behavior, Positive Reinforcement Training, Animal Health and Safety, Elementary Veterinary Procedures, Husbandry, and Animal Care and Handling.

In 1997, she accepted a job at the San Diego Zoo in their husbandry department. During her time at the Zoo, she worked with a large variety of animals, doing husbandry training, and creating behavior enrichment programs for the animals in her care.

Soon thereafter, Robin obtained a job working as a dog obedience trainer. Her background in positive reinforcement training techniques and knowledge of canines allowed her to quickly develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become a talented trainer. Robin soon realized that every dog is a unique individual, and that what works for one dog doesn’t always work for another. For each dog, she created a customized training program that engaged the dog and made learning a rewarding experience. This program was based on each dog’s temperament and motivational drives (play, food, praise, affection, etc.). By customizing the training to the dog, she found that dogs enjoyed the training process, acquired skills quickly, and were able to retain learning from session to session.

Robin also worked with Canine Companions for Independence, a local non-profit organization that provides highly trained assistance dogs for people with disabilities. Her responsibilities were many. In addition to teaching basic manners and obedience, she assisted with puppy socialization. She also taught dogs how to retrieve objects, push or pull doors, push buttons to open automatic doors, and walk nicely alongside wheelchairs. Once the dogs had learned the basics, she helped solidify their training by teaching them how to remain calm and focused in public, despite numerous distractions and demands on their attention.

Robin looks forward to helping you and your dog overcome even the most difficult challenges. She works tirelessly as a trainer to ensure that no family feels the need to give up their dog due to behavioral issues. Robin’s goal is to help as many dogs and their families as possible, to teach them to understand each other, and to live together in harmony.

Robin is an effective dog trainer who brings a warmth and gentleness to all the animals and people she meets. She teaches private lessons in the home environment, and customizes each lesson to the specific needs of the dog and family.

Areas served: Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Leucadia, Cardiff, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe and Olivenhain.

 

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Wendy Hart

Wendy has over 20 years experience in obedience training, behavioral consulting, and caring for dogs. She is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Pet Care Specialist, Group Class Instructor, and Canine Evaluator for American Therapy Pets (the official therapy group for the USO).

Her passion for dogs began as a teenager when she started training dogs at the local Humane Society in order to better prepare them for adoption. Wendy’s love of canines led her to become a Veterinary Assistant, allowing her to further develop her skills and broaden her knowledge base in the area of canine health.

As a Canine Evaluator for the USO, it is Wendy’s job to make sure that dogs meet the necessary requirements to become therapy dogs, (including excellent manners and a calm temperament). American Therapy Pets are used to support military personnel in a variety of settings, including airports and hospitals.

Wendy teaches a variety of small group classes for puppies and adult dogs, including Puppy Socialization, Basic Manners and Obedience, STAR puppy, and Canine Good Citizen classes. She loves her students, and goes out of her way to make learning fun and productive for both the dogs and the humans. It is her goal to help you and your dog develop a strong bond based on teamwork, clear communication, and mutual respect.

Wendy’s curriculum utilizes reward-based training principles and techniques, which have been developed by leading trainers and animal behaviorists. Classes are kept small in order to offer you and your dog an ideal training environment for the real world. She strives to keep her classes interesting, fresh, and fun!

For those dogs that need training to address specific home-based behaviors, or for those that would benefit from individualized attention, Wendy also offers private one-on-one classes in your home. Whatever your needs, Wendy can help!

Areas served: Escondido, San Marcos, Valley Center, Bonsall, and Rancho Bernardo.


Ariel Santa Maria

Ariel graduated with a degree in psychology from Cal State University, San Marcos, where she studied both human and animal psychology. As a part of her studies, she conducted behavioral research on gorillas, mallard ducks, petting zoo animals, red-winged blackbirds, and even African elephants! Her experience observing and recording animal behavior in a variety of species has helped her to hone her observational skills and to notice behavioral subtleties that often escape other less-skilled eyes.

Upon graduation, Ariel was able to put her skills and knowledge to work at the San Diego Humane Society and ASPCA, where she worked as an Admissions Counselor. It was there that she provided canine behavioral assessments and implemented care plans for all incoming animals. She uses this knowledge today when assessing canine behavior and creating training plans for private clients.

Ariel starts by helping you define and clarify your training objectives, and then teaches you how to implement the training one step at a time. She is also able to adjust training methods and techniques as needed to better suit the individual dog or particular situation. Ariel knows that clear communication between dog and owner is crucial to the training process, and believes in using body language, hand signals, and vocal tone to communicate intention.

Ariel is very passionate about the human-animal bond. She cares about dogs and the people who love them and takes great pride in watching them succeed. She loves to teach people about how they can enrich the lives of their pets and how, the humans, can greatly benefit from this relationship.

Ariel has several years of experience teaching group classes and private lessons. Her specialties include: obedience training (beginner through advanced), loose leash walking, tricks and games, beginning agility, and problem behavior resolution.

Keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming obedience classes, loose-leash walking clinics, tricks and games class, and her fun and innovative new “Dog Meets World” class.

Areas served: Fallbrook, Bonsall, Vista, Oceanside, Temecula, and Murrieta.


Jenna Romano

With over a decade of experience, Jenna knows that the best way to see effective and fun results in our canine companions is by using positive, force-free methods. She practices a gentle approach, which allows you and your pet to better communicate and listen to one another.

Jenna utilizes her education from Karen Pryor Academy Professional Dog Training Program to transition pets from a life of unwanted behaviors into a life of fulfillment and teamwork with their pet parent. Jenna also has experience clicker training: she has clicker trained not just dogs, but also cats, guinea pigs, and other exotic animals. Though clicker training is not her primary method of training, she enjoys this tool and looks forward to opportunities to teach pet parents how to click.

Jenna’s lesson plans are always custom to the pet; Jenna understands that each dog learns differently and that each dog’s needs are unique. When creating her shaping plan for your pet, she will explain the importance of a holistic approach, which considers all the factors that may affect why your dog is displaying a certain behavior.

Jenna has experience ranging from serious behavioral issues to agility. She works to improve reactivity to dogs and people, anxiety, puppy behaviors including nipping, chewing, and destroying, excessive barking, potty training, basic skill cues, and tricks.

Regardless of what behavior you’re learning, Jenna’s primary goal in training is to bridge the communication gap between you and your dog. Her enthusiasm is contagious when training, and she always refers to all of her canine clients as her “kids”.

Service Areas: Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, Fallbrook, Vista, Escondido.

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Mike Koligman

Mike’s training philosophy is twofold: to produce desired training results, and enhance the bond between owner and dog in the process. He uses positive methods that engender trust, improve communication, and make the training process enjoyable for all.

Mike is an honors graduate from Animal Behavior College, and is certified as a professional dog trainer. He also holds an engineering degree. Mike is also a member of several professional organizations for dog trainers, including APDT.

Mike has been training dogs for over 10 years, and has extensive experience training dogs of all ages, breeds, and temperaments. He specializes in difficult cases, including: fear/anxiety, aggression, destructive behaviors, house training, leash reactive dogs, and more.

Mike has taught AKC STAR Puppy classes, and prepared dogs for Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog Certification. He also has experience training dogs with disabilities (both hearing and eyesight impaired).

He is a current volunteer member of Helen Woodward Animal Center Therapy Program (9 years), and is also certified to work with difficult (“red zone”) cases in the adoptions department, preparing dogs for a forever home. Mike’s therapy dogs bring many happy smiles to patients in nursing homes and other care facilities. Mike and his dogs have been featured on television as well as a number of national publications.

Mike believes that all dogs are precious and unique, and he works with each dog as an individual to bring out their best strengths. His education, training experience, patience, and attention to detail make him an outstanding dog trainer and behavior consultant. Mike is dedicated to making training a positive and productive experience for both you and your dog.

Areas Served: Poway, Rancho Penasquitos, Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch, Scripps Ranch, Mira Mesa, Kearney Mesa, Carmel Valley, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Black Mountain Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, and Fairbanks Ranch


Rachelle Heyveld

Rachelle has over 25 years experience as a professional animal trainer and behavioral consultant. She earned an Associates of Science degree in animal training from Moorpark College’s Exotic Animal Training and Management program.

Rachelle is a seasoned professional who draws from a wealth of experience. During her career she has worked with a variety of exotics (wolves, cheetahs, sea lions, birds, and porcupines), and domestic animals in places like the San Diego and Los Angeles Zoo. She has done movie/TV dog training for Animal Actors of Hollywood, and has trained dogs for live presentations. In addition, she has trained service dogs for a variety of needs, and has even volunteered her time to work with dogs at local animal shelters.

Rachelle offers both obedience training and behavioral consulting for a variety of challenging concerns.  She continues to expand her knowledge, and is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Rachelle greatly enjoys helping clients with their dogs. She believes that training should be enjoyable for the dog and family, and to that end, she uses positive, dog-friendly training techniques.  Rachelle knows how important it is to create a bond between dog and owner based on good communication, understanding, trust and mutual respect.

Areas served: Escondido, San Marcos, Vista, Rancho Bernardo, Fallbrook, Bonsall, Temecula, and Murrieta