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, Bonsall, Fallbrook, Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Mira Mesa, 4S Ranch, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Sabre Springs, Valley Center, Rancho Penasquitos, Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Cardiff, Del Mar, La Jolla, Carmel Valley, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Coronado, Menifee, Temecula, and Murrieta.

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 and Escondido

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.


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.

Areas served: Carlsbad, Bonsall, Vista, and Oceanside.

Jenna Romano

With over a decade of experience, Jenna knows that the best way to create lasting results in our canine companions is by using positive, force-free methods that are enjoyable for both dogs and people. Jenna teaches you how to read your dog’s body language, how to interpret your dog’s behavior, and how to communicate with your dog more effectively.

Jenna utilizes her education from Karen Pryor Academy Professional Dog Training Program to resolve difficult / unwanted behaviors, and transform your dog into a well-mannered, responsive canine that is a pleasure to live with. She teaches you how to provide solid leadership to your canine friend, and gives you the knowledge and tools you need to become an unstoppable team.

Jenna is also an experienced clicker trainer. She has clicker trained dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and exotic animals. Though clicker training is not her primary method of training, she enjoys this tool and finds that in some cases, it enhances the learning process.

Jenna’s lesson plans are always customized to the pet; she understands that each dog learns differently, and that each dog’s needs are unique. When creating a training plan, Jenna uses a holistic approach which takes into consideration all factors (including diet, exercise, and mental stimulation) that may be affecting your dog’s behavior and ability to learn.

Jenna has experience modifying and resolving a wide range of behaviors, such as, dog reactivity, anxiety-related concerns, puppy behaviors, (i.e. puppy nipping, destructive chewing and digging, excessive barking, potty / house training, manners, leash walking, and attention/focus training). She also enjoys teaching tricks and agility.

Jenna’s primary goal in training is to bridge the communication gap between you and your dog, and help you find a common understanding. 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.


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’s also done movie/TV dog training for Animal Actors of Hollywood, and has trained dogs for live presentations. In addition, Rachelle 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

Sharon Westervelt

Sharon believes every family has unique goals for integrating canine family members. As a graduate of Animal Behavioral College (ABC) and a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), she implements positive, gentle training methods to help families achieve desired behavior outcomes.

Sharon continues to seek new information and novel approaches to problem solving. She believes that the foundation of all training is kindness, trust, and respect. Each of her training plans is customized to the needs of the dog, and she goes out of her way to make learning enjoyable and fun for both the dog and their owner.

She has spent many hours volunteering her time to help dogs in need, including her work for “The Last Chance at Life All Breed Rescue” which helps prepare dogs to go to their forever homes. Sharon and her first boxer were also part of a Therapy Dog International team that visited patients while they received chemotherapy.

Over the years, Sharon has trained dogs and people with a variety of special needs, including post-surgical dogs and deaf dogs, and has assisted pet parents with arthritis and other physical limitations. She creates customized training and behavior modification programs for the dogs, and takes into account their specific medical concerns and frailties.

Sharon’s degrees in Kinesiology (BS in Athletic Training & MA in Sport & Exercise Psychology) from San Diego State University help fuel her passion about bridging the training gap in special cases. Her youngest dog is deaf. As a result, she has been able to hone her observational skills with respect to canine body language, and this knowledge has helped guide, shape, and inform her own nonverbal communication skills and abilities.

Whether it’s puppy socialization, basic obedience, loose leash walking, reactive dog training, manners, puppy concerns, or home-based concerns, Sharon wants to help dog parents create harmony in their homes and pride in their dogs.

She believes that all dogs are good dogs. They just need the chance to become their best selves. Good training can transform a wild outta control puppy into a calm, controlled, attentive, well-mannered companion that can accompany you at an outdoor coffee shop, play off leash at the beach, or relax in a crowed gathering.

Areas served: Carlsbad, Vista, Oceanside, Leucadia, and Encinitas.


Corwin Cheng

Corwin’s animal training career began when he graduated from the University of Alberta in Canada, receiving a degree in Animal Biology. His passion for animals led him to the Exotic Animal Training and Management (EATM) program at Moorpark College, where he learned to take care of animals and gained a large amount of training experience working with many different types of exotic animals.

Soon after earning an Associate’s Degree in Exotic Animal Training and Management, Corwin started working with dogs. Over the years, Corwin has taught many group classes, done in-home private sessions, and trained dogs in a board and train setting.

Using positive reinforcement techniques, Corwin has experience dealing with a wide variety issues, ranging from puppy training, basic obedience, and loose leash walking, to more serious behavioral problems such as fear and leash reactivity. He is also very knowledgeable in dog social dynamics and understanding dog body language, which is due to working with dogs in large group settings for many years.

Corwin believes that each individual dog is different and special in their own way, which is why his training plan is customized and adjusted to the dog’s needs. On occasion, he may bring along his helper Lola (a Great Pyrenees/Border Collie mix) to assist with training.

Corwin’s goal is to help every dog owner better communicate with their dogs effectively and help nurture a strong relationship with each other.

Areas served: Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Rancho Santa Fe