Kennel Attendant, Dog Trainer
Abby is an accomplished dog trainer with a degree in Animal Science from VA Tech University and 10+ years of dog training experience. It all started when she adopted her first dog, Riley, when she was 12. Riley was a re-homed Australian shepherd who seemed very confident when she met him at his farm. However, it soon became obvious Riley had never been off the farm or socialized. He had major separation anxiety and noise phobias. This was the beginning of Abby’s journey learning about dog behavior while developing her dog training skills. Riley required a lot of specialized training to help resolve his anxieties. Abby started taking him to a variety of new settings to help ease his fears, joined a 4-H dog training club and began weekly classes at a dog training facility. She then started agility training to help build his confidence. It took years but eventually Riley overcame most of his anxieties. Riley and Abby earned many titles/awards in obedience, rally, and agility. He even became a certified Therapy Dog, visiting nursing homes on a regular basis. Some of his more notable achievements include qualifying for the first ever AKC National Rally Competition in 2012 (while Abby was still a Jr. handler) and their 6th place finish! He was the first dog she trained and handled to qualify for Agility Nationals (2013, and 2014). Riley retired after earning his MACH title, Master Agility Champion.Abby has many years of teaching experience, including working with youth handlers with special needs. She has been a volunteer with the VA Dog 4-H Program for many years, teaching basic manners, Rally, and Agility at local clubs in Fauquier and Fairfax County. Currently she teaches agility twice a week and enjoys working with clients who have behavior concerns.
According to Abby, “Riley is really the reason I love training dogs. He started out shaking in a corner at his first dog class to traveling around the country competing at national competitions in various dog sports. It AMAZES me the progress that he made. I now have two Border Collies: Usher and Ruckus. Usher is another re-homed dog whose notable achievements include several podium finishes at regionals, 6th Place finish at AKC Agility Nationals (2017), and 5th Place finish in Steeplechase at USDAA Agility Nationals (2017). Usher & I were members of the AKC’s 2017 ‘Team USA’ that represented the United States at the European Open Agility Competition in Italy. What an honor and a privilege to compete with the best dog and handler teams from over 40 countries! Ruckus is my young Border Collie who is just starting out his agility career. I’d love to help you learn to connect with your dog and help you achieve your behavior and training goals!"