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About Our Trainers

Dogs add immeasurably to the quality of life of many New Yorkers. But having a dog in the city can be a challenge. Since February 1992, when it was founded on Manhattan's Upper West Side by Phyllis Couvares and Peggy Spencer, Follow My Lead has been one of the foremost schools addressing the special training needs of the urban dog.

The trainers at Follow My Lead are accomplished professionals committed to reward-based training. All work with dogs of different sizes, ages, breeds, and temperaments. Our understanding of canine behavior is deepened by our recognition that the study of canine behavior is an evolving field. Our openness to that evolution, combined with the depth of our experience and insight, means that we offer a variety of up-to-date solutions to your training issues.

In our classes and our private lessons, we hope that the enthusiasm and joy we find in working with dogs translates into classes that are equal parts instructive and fun. When we talk about "working" with our dogs, we are talking about finding better ways to communicate, which often involves play. We want you to have a great time training your dog, and for your dog to have a great time learning with you.

Phyllis Couvares, CPDT-KA

Phyllis' keen observation and skillful handling have been developed over a 30-year career. She has a remarkable ability to teach owners how to overcome the frustrations that sometimes keep them from fully enjoying their dogs. Her primary goal is to help owners build an easy trust between themselves and their dog. Watching that connection and understanding grow is, according to her, the most satisfying part of what she does.

 David Hawke

David is an exceptionally patient and gentle teacher who takes particular delight in the "light bulb" moment that occurs when students realize they are able to communicate with their dogs, and when dogs get that they can be understood. In our beginning classes, David especially enjoys teaching tricks so that people grasp that whatever they are training, roll-over or sit-stay, dogs learn best when all behaviors are taught with the same level of joy.

Nancy Field, CPDT-KA

In additional to being a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Naancy is an Approved Evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test, and an Authorized Mentor for the Animal Behavior College. She has been a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) since 1997.

Nancy is committed to force free, reward based training methods. She continues to deepen and expand her knowledge of evolving training methods through extensive reading and by attending numerous seminars and workshops covering a wide range of training topics.

Nancy competes in rally and obedience trials with her Labrador Retriever, Emma (Legacy’s Mrs. Peel, RL2. CD-C) and has also trained Emma for agility competition.

For additional information, please visit Nancy's website: http://www.harmonydogtraining.com

Jessica Schulte,  CPDT-KA, CNWI

Jessica was introduced to K9 Nose Work® in 2010 and has been obsessed with this new sport ever since. In 2011, she became one of the first Nose Work instructors to be certified on the East Coast.  Her terrier-mix, Trix. has her NW2 title and all four L1 Element Specialty titles, and many of her students are competing at elite levels as well. Jessica is also the National ORT® Coordinator for the National Association of Canine Scent Work.

Jessica calls herself a "training junkie" and reads everything she can get her hands on regarding dogs. She attends seminars and workshops to keep up-to-date with the newest science and training techniques. She is a clicker trainer and loves that "a-ha moment" when a dog truly becomes a partner in the training process.

For more information about Jessica, please visit her website: http://www.trainingmatters.net

 

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