What makes us different

Training is what we do.

In the same way that you wouldn’t go to a doctor that was a full time chef who did surgery on the side for extra cash, we believe you shouldn’t trust your dogs development and training to anyone who treats training as an “add on” to a larger business. At Heavenly Hounds our passion and purpose is to provide excellent services that will help you to train your dog effectively using positive methods that will improve your relationship and be fun for everyone involved. Our goal is for your dog to develop good habits, strong self esteem, and grow into a confident, well mannered dog both at home and in public.

We are experienced.

All of our trainers carry years of experience and have attended seminars, conferences and training camps – many are even pursuing or already have national certifications for training! We are always trying to better ourselves by constantly engaging in continuing education so we can stay on top of our game and provide you with the very best service, backed by the newest scientific behavior research.

Personalized Training Approach. We do not carry a “one-size-fits-all” mentality. Even in our group classes, our instructors will find ways to make learning easier for both you and your dog. Every dog and family are different and we strive to make a training program that is right for YOU.

Large Training Space.

Unlike some facilities that cram you into a small box with several other dogs and their people, our facility allows for you to work next to and near other dogs without feeling like you are on top of them. Our facility gives us the opportunity to spread out when we need to but is not so big that your dog won’t learn how to work in a distracting environment with other dogs nearby.

We teach your whole family. We believe in teaching YOU how to teach your dog. After all, when you are at home, our trainers won’t be there with you if something comes up. Kids are welcome to join in and switch off with the adult handlers so that everyone gets a chance to see how it is all done.

Training is FUN and EFFECTIVE.

Our training methods keep your dog excited about training and make it fun for both you and your dog. You will find that when a dog enjoys training, you both will reap the benefits of it both from the training itself and the bond it creates between you.

Our Trainers

steph

Stephanie and her Portugese Water Dogs, Daisy and CJ, the much beloved dogs who started it all but are, sadly, no longer with us. Lost but not forgotten.

Stephanie Kowalewski

M.Div., CPDT-KA

Owner/Director of Training and Behavior

Stephanie has been professionally training dogs for over 15 years. Upon earning her Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, Stephanie felt that her true “calling” was working professionally with dogs and made her passion into her profession. She trained under some of the top trainers in New Jersey, and was an instructor at the nationally recognized St. Hubert’s Dog Training School in Madison, NJ. Stephanie is also certified AKC CGC Evaluator.

She believes that positive training strengthens the bond between dogs and their humans, and that is the only true way to achieve behavior modification. She regularly attends training and behavior seminars in order to increase her knowledge and skill set. Believing strongly in networking, Stephanie is in constant communication with other trainers in order to share thoughts, ideas and methodologies.

She currently resides in Lawrenceville, New Jersey with her husband, two children and their rescue pups Bug and Hiccup, and German Short-haired Pointer Archie.

jess

Jess and Zero

Jess Verderame

CPDT-KA

Jess has been training dogs for nearly seven years. Before becoming a dog trainer, she earned her BA in Psychology and her Elementary Education Certificate from Rutger’s University. Jess worked in early childhood education as a teacher for six years and eventually became the school’s director for four additional years.

Jess Verderame

CPDT-KA

Jess has been training dogs for nearly seven years. Before becoming a dog trainer, she earned her BA in Psychology and her Elementary Education Certificate from Rutger’s University. Jess worked in early childhood education as a teacher for six years and eventually became the school’s director for four additional years. It is this experience that helped to tie her love for both children and dogs together. Believing that children and dogs should have mutual respect for each other, Jess loves working with families and people of all ages to make the family dog or puppy a welcomed and well-behaved addition to their homes.

After she and her husband got married, they decided their home could never be complete without a dog. Three months later they got their first whippet puppy, Zero. Jess went straight out to sign up for training class. Her trainer happened to be none other than Stephanie herself. After taking multiple classes with Stephanie, Jess became hooked and began studying under Stephanie and Lynn to become a trainer. As she began her training career, she opted to leave her job as childcare director and devote herself to training dogs and starting a family. It was around this time that they got their second whippet, Sookie.

Jess and her dogs have participated in Dog Agility, Nosework, and Disc Dog and also enjoy learning new tricks. She resides in Hamilton with her husband and their adorable little boy who loves (and respects) his buddies Zero, now a Canine Good Citizen, and Sookie.

nicole

Nicole and Renegade

Nicole (Lorenzetti) Yuhas

CPDT-KA

Nicole has been working with dogs for over 15 years beginning in a dog kennel at just 16 years old. After earning herself a full scholarship for acting at Rider University, she spent most of her college career either on stage, building sets, or doing her favorite...

Nicole (Lorenzetti) Yuhas

CPDT-KA

Nicole has been working with dogs for over 15 years beginning in a dog kennel at just 16 years old. After earning herself a full scholarship for acting at Rider University, she spent most of her college career either on stage, building sets, or doing her favorite job: stage managing the musical productions (running all technical aspects of a stage production from pre-production to the time the audience leaves the theatre). Despite her love of the art form, she knew that pursuing the difficult life of technical theatre (let alone acting) after graduation was not the life for her. She went back to basics and continued to work with dogs in boarding and at veterinary offices as a veterinary assistant.

It was after moving out on her own and getting her current dog, an Australian Shepherd named Renegade (after the Styx song!) and taking lots of classes at Heavenly Hounds with him, that all the light bulbs went off in her head and she determined that training dogs was where she wanted to focus her energy! She has since apprenticed for two years at Heavenly Hounds, attended numerous training seminars and completed ITC (Instructor’s Training Course) in 2014, studying under some of the best dog trainers in the world. She also recently became a certified professional dog trainer in the spring of 2016 (CPDT-KA) by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.

Nicole prides herself in combining the skills she gained in college, through her time perusing theatre, with her love of training to help direct owners on how to use their whole bodies, voices and energy to help communicate with their dogs in order to strengthen their bond and increase understanding. When not working or training you can find her at her home in Hamilton, New Jersey with her husband, her dog Renegade, who is a Canine Good Citizen, and their cat, Caffrey (who is also undergoing training).

melinda

Melinda with Edison and Franklin

Melinda Berger

CPDT-KA, CDBC, VSPDT

Melinda is a long- time practitioner of force-free, positive reinforcement dog training with 20 years professional experience.  She is a Nationally Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

Melinda Berger

CPDT-KA, CDBC, VSPDT

Melinda is a long- time practitioner of force-free, positive reinforcement dog training with 20 years professional experience. She is a Nationally Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She is also an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and is a Fear Free Certified Trainer.

Melinda is a graduate of Peaceable Paws Academy, a canine training academy, owned and operated by Pat Miller, award winning author, and Training Editor of The Whole Dog Journal. She also attended numerous courses at The Harvard University Extension including Canine Ethology and The Learned Dog. As a licensed Family Paws Parent Educator, Melinda is a part of an international group of professionals providing expert support, guidance, and resources for families with babies and young children. At Dream Dogs Training in Bucks County, PA. Melinda offers private in-home training programs tailored to the student’s needs.

Melinda lives in Bucks County PA with her wonderful husband and two Standard Poodles. Together they also have two grown sons and two grand-daughters.

dinna

Donna and Luke

Donna Greco

CPDT-KA

Donna started her dog training career the moment she brought her German Shepherd, Luke, home. She just didn’t know it yet. After attending puppy class at Heavenly Hounds, she knew she had her work cut our for her with her spirited new dog and she set out to learn as much as she could about dog training and behavior.

Donna Greco

CPDT-KA

Donna started her dog training career the moment she brought her German Shepherd, Luke, home. She just didn’t know it yet. After attending puppy class at Heavenly Hounds, she knew she had her work cut our for her with her spirited new dog and she set out to learn as much as she could about dog training and behavior.

Before long, she was attending ITC (Instructor’s Training Course) in 2014 alongside Nicole Yuhas (above), attending numerous seminars and earning her certification as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) in fall 2016.

Donna is proud to say the training is going well, both with Luke and her human students: her husband and grown children!

sheryl

Sheryl with Chandler

Sheryl Marszalek

CPDT-KA

Sheryl has been surrounded by pets of all kinds most of her life.  She graduated from The College of New Jersey (TSC) and has owned and operated a graphic design business for the last 18 years.  After getting her puppy Phoebe in 2014, Sheryl signed up for training classes at Heavenly Hounds and caught the training bug.

Sheryl Marszalek

Sheryl has been surrounded by pets of all kinds most of her life. She graduated from The College of New Jersey (TSC) and has owned and operated a graphic design business for the last 18 years. After getting her puppy Phoebe in 2014, Sheryl signed up for training classes at Heavenly Hounds and caught the training bug.

Working together as a team, Sheryl and “Pheebs” earned their CGC, Tricks Novice and Tricks intermediate titles. At this time, Pheebs needed a baby brother so along came Chandler, puppy no. 2. He challenged Sheryl’s training techniques, and she quickly learned that no two dogs train exactly the same and began assistant teaching to learn how to make training work for all different personalities. Sheryl is passionate about encouraging people to use positive reinforcement techniques to bring out the best in themselves and their dogs, and most of all, have fun while doing it. She encourages dog owners to participate in activities with their dogs which will strengthen their bond and form a great relationship. Sheryl loves teaching her dogs new tricks and incorporates them into her training. She is currently attending seminars and preparing for the the CPDT-KA test, as well as becoming a Certified Trick Dog Instructor.

When not busy with her Graphic Design business or training at Heavenly Hounds, Sheryl spends a lot of her free time with Pheebs and Chandler at their home in Ewing. They all enjoy entertaining friends and family and their yearly vacations to Florida & OBX with the wild horses.

tricia

Tricia and Miki

Tricia Baker

CPDT-KA, Co-founder AIR Therapy Dogs: Paws for Minds, Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor

After a 20 year corporate career in marketing, Tricia Baker took her love for animals and started her career as a teacher of dog training. Tricia’s belief is that a well-behaved dog adds significant value to our lives.

Tricia Baker

CPDT-KA, Co-founder AIR Therapy Dogs: Paws for Minds, Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor

After a 20 year corporate career in marketing, Tricia Baker took her love for animals and started her career as a teacher of dog training. Tricia’s belief is that a well-behaved dog adds significant value to our lives. In 2009,after the tremendous loss of her son, Kenny, recognized the need for educating our nation’s youth about good mental health, and with her family, started Attitudes In Reverse® or AIR™, which includes AIR Therapy Dogs: Paws for Minds program. AIR Therapy Dogs is a national therapy dog program recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Tricia is a National Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), training for over 12 years. Tricia is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), STAR Puppy, and Trick Dog Evaluator and Certified AIR Therapy Dog: Paws For Minds Instructor and Evaluator. She provides all levels of training for dogs from puppy through advanced therapy training and certification. Dogs are an integral part of Tricia’s work with AIR, including educational programs at schools, town events and at mental health conference presentations. The AIR Therapy Dogs and their volunteer handlers are trained for crisis results and have been called into schools after the tragic loss of a student, providing comfort and aid in the grieving process.

In addition, Tricia works with school counselors, administrators and school staff to help train and certify school facility dogs, where school staff utilizes trained certified therapy dogs for mentoring and motivating students and to enhance the educational environment. Through AIR Therapy Dogs, Tricia presents a complete, robust program for school facility dogs, training the human to work with his/her dog in a challenging environment, always keeping the safety and well-being of the dog in front of mind, while complying to regulations.

Tricia is also a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor, working to educate adults, who work with children, about the first signs of mental health disorders in youth. In addition, through AIR, Tricia has educated close to 100,000 students, ages six to college-age, across the US about good mental health and signs of suicide. Tricia’s dogs are always by her side during these programs, helping to break down the barriers of stigma.

Tricia’s little Pomeranian, Miki, has received accolades for his work with students. In 2011, Miki received the top AKC Award of Canine Excellence (ACE) for his work through the AIR Therapy Dog program. Miki has also received his AKC Distinguished Therapy Dog (THD), Canine Good Citizen (CGC), and Novice Trick Title. Miki was the inspiration for the AIR Therapy Dogs program, the annual Miki & Friends mental health awareness walk, and a future book about children’s mental health.

Tricia’s canine family also include Misha Silver Lining, Classic Scotch Collie (CGC) (ThD) and Novice Trick Title holder, and the Goofy Goober (ThD), a Pomeranian, who is a student favorite. Misha will be appearing in a book on the human-animal bond, being written and published by a professor at The College of New Jersey.

Teaching humans how to have the best relationship with their dogs is what brings joy to Tricia and that shows through in her training classes.

For information regarding AIR’s mental health student education programs please contact Tricia@AIR.ngo.

Daniela and Dogs

Daniela with Romeo and Roxie

Daniela Decker

CPDT-KA

Daniela adopted her first dog, a rescue named Romeo, in 2013.  Romeo’s early life as a shelter dog inspired her to volunteer at a local animal shelter, involving herself in all aspects of the shelter from dog walking to volunteer coordination.

Daniela Decker

Daniela adopted her first dog, a rescue named Romeo, in 2013. Romeo’s early life as a shelter dog inspired her to volunteer at a local animal shelter, involving herself in all aspects of the shelter from dog walking to volunteer coordination. Daniela has a true passion for shelter and rescue dogs: In 2017, she became a State of N.J. certified Animal Control Officer and an Animal Cruelty Investigator.

Daniela’s volunteer work led to an interest in professional dog training after she and Romeo became clients at Heavenly Hounds and completed obedience, tricks, and therapy dog programs. Daniela then became a training assistant at Heavenly Hounds and in 2018, when Heavenly Hounds began a partnership with EASEL Animal Rescue League, Daniela began teaching weekly classes at the EASEL shelter. The EASEL classes instruct volunteers in basic dog handling and training skills with the intent of making the dogs more adoptable.

She currently resides in Lawrence with her fiancé and two rescue dogs, Romeo and Roxie.

ashley

Ashley with Penelope and Quinn

Ashley Rutherford

Trainer

Ashley has always had a love of animals. Growing up she had dogs, cats, fish, lizards, and ferrets, to name a few. During her senior year of high school she volunteered at the Hamilton Animal Shelter.

Ashley Rutherford

Assistant Trainer

Ashley has always had a love of animals. Growing up she had dogs, cats, fish, lizards, and ferrets, to name a few. During her senior year of high school she volunteered at the Hamilton Animal Shelter. The summer after high school, she worked as a Play Timer at Kauffman Kennels. She knew that her career would involve working with animals in some way. So, she attended Delaware Valley College in PA with an interest in Animal behavior and training. On summer break and looking for work, she was hired at PetSmart as a Bather. Shortly after, she was offered the opportunity to go to Grooming Academy! She took it and found a new passion.

Ashley worked at PetSmart for about 5 years and during that time, managed one of the salons and met her current husband, Chris. They had a Bulldog named Gir and in 2010, their 1st son, John. In 2011, they opened their own mobile dog grooming business named, Curbside Cuts. Quinn, their Great Dane, joined the family a few years later. She is now 7.5 years old. In 2015 their daughter, Lily, was born and business was good! Ashley has a soft spot for French Bulldogs and in February, welcomed Penelope into her home! Penelope started puppy training right away at Heavenly Hounds. The class re-lit a fire in Ashley, and she found that her passion for training and animal behavior never left.

In 2019 she became a Certified yoga teacher. Practicing yoga helps her find balance in her daily life as well as in her work with dogs. Ashley is excited about learning and connecting with people and their pets. “This is my path and I’m loving it!”

Junior Trainers and Assistants

liz

Liz Earle-Lott

Assistant Trainer

Liz found her way into dog training after attending Basic and Tumultuous Teens Two classes at Heavenly Hounds. Liz had been around dogs, and had a dog at a younger age, but once she was able to have a dog as an adult, she knew the first step would be dog training classes to make sure to set the dog up for success.

Liz Earle-Lott

Assistant Trainer

Liz found her way into dog training after attending Basic and Tumultuous Teens Two classes at Heavenly Hounds. Liz had been around dogs, and had a dog at a younger age, but once she was able to have a dog as an adult, she knew the first step would be dog training classes to make sure to set the dog up for success. After adopting Keira, she started attending training classes and just became hooked.

Liz is a full time-teacher, who loves to assist classes when she can. She encourages as many dog handlers as possible to attend at least 1 training class and keep up the training. She continued nosework and basic skills with her dog, and also fosters dogs for a rescue. While fostering she can give those pups a jump start on their training, while staying safe waiting for their “furever” home.

emily

Emily Hsia

Assistant Trainer

Emily adopted her first dog after graduating from The College of New Jersey and moving down to North Carolina. She became fascinated with training when she was working with her dog, Cooper. After she eventually moved back home from NC to NJ, she spent time...

Emily Hsia

Assistant Trainer

Emily adopted her first dog after graduating from The College of New Jersey and moving down to North Carolina. She became fascinated with training when she was working with her dog, Cooper. After she eventually moved back home from NC to NJ, she spent time volunteering with local shelters and rescues and realized that she had a passion for dog training. This eventually led her to Heavenly Hounds and she has been assisting with classes since January 2016.

Emily believes that positive reinforcement training is an important part of a dog’s development, and it can foster a strong bond between humans and their furry companions, so attending classes is very important! When she is not working, Emily loves to spend time outdoors and going to concerts and festivals. The beach is her happy place. She resides in Burlington, NJ with her wife and recently adopted chorkie, Smoogle.

sommer

Sommer Harm

Assistant Trainer

Sommer started assisting at Heavenly Hounds after attending the Basic class with her puppy, Loki. An avid animal lover from a young age, she was always interested in dogs and dog training. She believes in the positive training techniques taught at Heavenly Hounds and enjoys being able to help other dog owners achieve success.

Sommer Harm

Assistant Trainer

Sommer started assisting at Heavenly Hounds after attending the Basic class with her puppy, Loki. An avid animal lover from a young age, she was always interested in dogs and dog training. She believes in the positive training techniques taught at Heavenly Hounds and enjoys being able to help other dog owners achieve success.

Sommer encourages pet parents to continue training beyond basic obedience as a fun and exciting way to build confidence in your dog while strengthening your connection with them. Sommer has completed the Agility I & II classes with Loki and is looking forward to their next training adventure. She resides in Ewing with her husband and two dogs, Mishka and Loki.