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Tiff Shao


I'm a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and I’ve been training dogs for over a decade. Professionally, I started by working at a private, nonprofit animal shelter - the Humane Society of Western Montana. I worked there for 7 years as a trainer and as a Behavior Manager. In that time I taught classes and private lessons, wrote curriculum, presented at conferences, created behavior modification plans for shelter pets, and helped my behavior team better the lives of pets in our shelter. Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients and dogs of all breeds. I have spent thousands of hours directly training in the classroom and shelter... and thousands more hours training my own dogs out in the world.

Training Philosophy

Positive reinforcement all the way! I train with an emphasis on motivation, reinforcement, and management. In a nutshell, this means I teach dogs to LOVE doing the things I want them to do. I create learning environments that help dogs succeed. When dogs (or humans) make mistakes I direct them to solutions. I alter variables to prevent repeating errors. Training is a web, not a linear process. I love helping dog owners navigate these pathways! You can learn more about positive reinforcement training in my FAQ section.

My Dogs

Meet my best friends! We dabble in most activities on a hobby level - nosework, tricks, disc, agility. We hike, backpack, bike, and paddle through all terrain. And we are in the neighborhood or on the trail every day.

Click on their photo to learn more about them.

Education & Certification

My background is in the sciences. I graduated from Duke University with a BA in Biology and a minor in Evolutionary Anthropology. As such, my approach to training is based in science and I believe in delivering measurable results.

I am a certified trainer (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. You can learn more about certifications in the dog training industry in my FAQ section.

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