The Family Companion

WNY's Premier Professionals in Pet Training & Behavior Health



My passion for dog training started out in the late 70’s when I purchased my first dog out of college. Like many other instructors, it was due to owning a very difficult and challenging dog that led me down this path. At the same time, I was working at a veterinary hospital and was fortunate that the owners supported my interest in training and behavior. This was the beginning of a career in dog training and behavior in the Buffalo, New York area. I started teaching group classes in 1984. At that time the only classes available in the Buffalo area were competition style obedience with one handler only. Working in the veterinary clinic I realized the needs of the average “family companion” were not being met. I designed my programs to be both practical with plenty of lifestyle training and family inclusive. At this time I was fortunate to also have the support of the late Shirley Flood, founder of HABOC (Hamburg All Breed Obedience Club). Although our methods differed greatly, she never wavered in her encouragement. Another pivotal moment occurred in 1991, when Dr. Craig Wiede sent me to a five day Ian Dunbar workshop on teaching puppy classes, also attended by fellow instructor Cindy Mead. In the Buffalo area, instructors typically accepted only dogs 6 months of age and older in classes. Instruction for younger puppies was a new concept, with our program being the first specially designed class for puppies in Western New York. I continue to be an Ian Dunbar "groupie" to this day. Shortly after the development of our Puppy Pre-school Program, I had the oportunity to connect with Sally Cataldo of Eagle Ridge Kennel. We share a commitment to top notch pet friendly care. I was most fortunate when she allowed us to hold classes at her facility beginning in 1992. Throughout the years our program has expanded greatly, including the addition of more trainers to our group. We now boast Western New York’s most credentialed team of dog trainers, each bringing their individual strengths and talents to “The Family Companion”.  

Warm Wags & Woofs,