We love dogs.

We love spending time with them. We love having them around the house. We think they make perfect companions and wonderful friends.

We also know that it’s nearly impossible to think of a dog that way when behavior problems make your dog seem more like a huge pain.

When dogs are well behaved, you’re free to enjoy their personalities, their companionship and their love without feeling the cons far outweigh the pros of dog ownership. That’s why we’re so committed to helping you train your dog into near-perfect behavior and excellent manners – we want you to love dogs as much as we do, and we want you to be proud of your dog.

We’re always up to the minute on the latest information on the best ways to train dogs humanely, and our devotion to dog-friendly methods means that your dog actually enjoys his training instead of feeling bullied into it.

That means a stronger bond between you and your dog that lasts far beyond our training sessions, which is pretty much exactly what we’re hoping to accomplish.

About the trainers

Sarah and GSDsSarah Filipiak CDBC has been training dogs since age 8. A longtime volunteer with humane societies and dog rescue groups, Sarah began training professionally in 2001 after failing to find appropriate puppy classes for her second competition dog.

Best Pets Dog Training LLC is the result of Sarah’s obsession with dogs combined with her passion for teaching others how to relate to animals.

Sarah served a five-year term on the board of and is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, and has been a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers since 2001. She raised and trained European-line German Shepherd Dogs for more than 10 years, and has competed in disc, agility, AKC and UKC obedience and rally.  Her current dog crew includes two Whippets, a German Shepherd Dog and a mixed breed Nelsonville Special.

debby-ecsDebby Clark-Lalley relocated from Ithaca, New York, where she worked as the behavior and training manager for the local shelter. Her responsibilities included evaluating, developing behavior plans for and rehabilitating dogs. She had the opportunity instruct clicker classes and host behavior workshops for veterinary students and volunteers. Debby also developed and instructed a course called Beyond Obedience for her dog club.

Calvin, her English Cocker Spaniel, participated as a therapy dog visiting children with special needs along with visiting residents at hospice. She has successfully competed in agility and is an advocate for the sport. Debby enjoys teaching pet owners the skills needed to train their dogs without intimidation or force. She is thrilled to be in Athens.

Jocelyn and Erin 7 mosErin Sykes got her first dog, a German Shepherd she named Rookie, the summer before 8th grade, after begging her parents for a dog for two years.  A letter she left on their pillows one night finally won them over. She explained that she would vacuum more and go on more walks with her dad if they granted her wish. She also had eighty-some dollars to contribute to the cause. Erin trained Rookie herself, dressed him up for photo shoots, and set up makeshift hurdles in the back yard for him to jump over.

More recently, Erin was a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence.  She spent 15 months working with a puppy, Jocelyn, on good manners, impulse control, confidence and 28 different cues. She returned Jocelyn to Canine Companions in August 2014 and thought pursuing an internship with Best Pets would be a nice way to fill the tiny hole in her heart, learn more about positive dog training, and share some of the knowledge and experience she gained working with Jocelyn.

JoAnna and JediJoAnna Sidote joins us from The Spirit Connection to teach agility classes. JoAnna has trained and shown dogs for 17 years, including a Miniature Poodle and a Doberman Pinscher. For the last 12 years she has used clicker training, a positive-based training method. Using clicker training, she has had the honor of working with many species including dogs, horses, cats, alpacas and squirrels. JoAnna earned her Bachelors degree at Ohio University in biology with a minor in psychology for animal behavior. She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

JoAnna and her Belgian Sheepdog have earned a championship in conformation and agility. While achieving the title of Master Agility Champion, they were ranked in the Top 5 of the breed and competed at the national level. JoAnna’s passion is to help others achieve that special connection with the animals in their lives.