Pawlite Best Friends

Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Located in Sturbridge, Massachusetts and serving the surrounding communities, I specialize in at-home dog training, personalizing each appointment to maximize effectiveness and minimize unnecessary stress for you and your best friend. My goal is to help your dog become a happy, balanced and well-mannered member of society. I will create a plan to help achieve what you need as well as what your dog needs.

Appointments are usually 1-1.5 hours and we go over behavior and training concerns, management, concepts, exercise, enrichment and relaxation, as well as addressing particular problem behaviors you may have. At the end of appointments I give 'homework' to help maximize cost-effectiveness and efficiency of training. I also have a YouTube channel with a combination of public and private videos to review concepts in-between appointments and to provide you with the most support.

Appointments can be in home, on trails, in stores or in parks. I work with you to help with your goals, whether it is having a dog who is well behaved around guests, reducing your dog's reactivity or keeping your dog calm in new situations. I do not require packages, most of my clients have 2-4 appointments but my goal is to go at the pace that works best for you and your dog. You have a bunch of questions you want answered in an appointment? Great! Do you have a moving goal that expands as we work? Awesome! This flexibility works better for most people's budget and the realities of life.

Puppy Training

Start your puppy off on the right paw!

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Basic Training

Great for dogs who need some manners!

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Service Dog Training

Looking for help with your Service Dog in Training or setting your puppy up to be a service dog?

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Behavior Modification

Struggling with your dogs behavior? We are here to help!

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Board and Train

Need a jump start with training? This program may be for you!

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Online Course image
Sometimes it is hard to communicate with our dogs properly, or to get them to listen. This course is designed to help you better understand your dog, from body language and communication, to building confidence, loose leash walking, recall and obedience.

To view the course please click here.

What Payment Methods Are Accepted?

I accept Cash, Check, Venmo, Paypal and Credit Cards.

What Education Do You Have?

I have learned from many trainers and organizations in various formats- including seminars, online courses, classes, books, and academic papers. I have completed courses from well known trainers including Michael Shikashio, Pat Stuart, Michael Ellis, Laura Donaldson, Mark McCabe, and Grisha Stewart, and academies including CATCH, Absolute Dogs, and The School of Canine Science. I value learning from a variety of people so I can understand a variety of viewpoints, as well as expand my ability to help more dogs. Not every dog learns the same way, just like people. I put a lot of importance on continuing my education so I can continue to help dogs and clients as much as possible.

Why Did You Become A Dog Trainer?

I started my path to being a dog trainer after we started rescuing and fostering more difficult dogs. We started getting over our heads and the trainers I reached out to at that point didn't have answers to the questions I had, so I experimented and researched more. As we learned we continued to take on harder cases- including dogs who got easily overstimulated and bit, resource guarders, feral dogs, aggressive and reactive dogs.
We currently have 8 of our own dogs, all rescues of various breeds, ages, and backgrounds. They mainly came to us after being at risk of euthanasia or for being incompatible with their other situations. We put a lot of work into rehabilitating our dogs, and later the many foster dogs that we had, so that they could live their best lives. Now my dogs get to enjoy a lot of fun activities like hiking, bikejoring, slat mill, sports, pack walks and just lounging around. Working through my own dogs and foster dogs behavioral problems is what started me as a trainer.

Do You Require A Deposit? Do I Need To Sign A Contract?

Yes, I require a $75 deposit that is applied to your last appointment, so long as you don't have a last minute cancellation or reschedule. My cancellation policy is 4 days.
Yes, all clients sign a contract before we can work together. I electronically share the contract with Square or can print the contract and bring to the appointment if you prefer.

What Toys Do You Recommend for Dogs?

Mostly I use and recommend enrichment activities, such as snuffle matts, puzzles and food dispenser balls, or interactive toys for play, such as balls, flirt poles or tug toys. I love playing with my dogs and we play more with toys together than they play on their own.

For chews we normally go with things such as goat horns, pig ears or Himalayan chews. We don't use bones because they are more likely to break or fracture dogs teeth. Instead we use nylon or bamboo alternatives, which are not my favorite but do give the dogs something durable to chew on.

For toys that the dogs enjoy on their own, what we have found lasts the best are Jolly Balls. They are flexible so the dogs enjoy grabbing them, but they do not lose  shape if punctured so they will play with them for months on end. A very worth-it investment for us!

Do You Require Appointment Packages?

I do not require appointment packages. At this point as I found the upfront cost makes training inaccessible to many people who need help. I also find it's not as conducive with many people's goals, sometimes they just need the support of a single appointment, sometimes they have a goal that changes as their dog grows in their confidence and training.

Do You Offer Board and Trains?

Yes, we offer board and trains to help set your dog up for success for puppy training- exposure to crates, potty training, leash training and intro to obedience, as well as basic obedience and behavior modification. Packages start at $1000 a week and include access to our Living Well with Your Dog course so you will be on the same page when your best friend returns.
Please reach out for more information on our board and train options.

What Support Do I Have Between Appointments?

I am available to answer questions on concepts that we have covered between appointments by text, call or email. Some concepts are more difficult to cover than others so I may not be able to answer all questions this way unless I am with you and your dog and able to see the behavior.
I also have a YouTube Channel that is meant as a reference for clients that has public videos as well as private videos that are more in-depth for more complicated concepts.

Can My Kids Be Involved During Appointments?

I encourage the whole family to get involved in training! That being said, if your children become upset or distracted they are definitely not required to pay attention to the appointment. If you want them to learn I am happy to help them as well. I was a martial arts teacher for children for several years so I can explain concepts to them in a way they can understand.
Having children, significant others, or other family members present is helpful because it increases retention and encourages more parties to be involved in training, which is great!

What Treats Do You Recommend?

What treats work depend on your dogs motivation, as well as the difficulty of what we are asking. Some dogs are perfectly happy doing obedience for kibble, other dogs will turn their nose up at the idea and prefer higher value treats.
Treats that I often use include Bil-Jac Small Jacs, Happy Howies, Charlie Bear, Fromm Crunchy O's, Pet Botanics, as well as a variety of freeze-dried treats and food.
Some dogs are not food motivated and those dogs we can work with play, praise, affection and/or building food drive, so don't worry if your best friend hasn't been eager to sit for their treats recently.


1st Rescue- September 2006


2nd Rescue- May, 2017

Sweet Pea

3rd Rescue- August, 2017


4th Rescue- November, 2017


5th Rescue- May, 2018


6th Rescue- Foster fail


7th Rescue- October, 2018


8th rescue- May, 2020


9th Rescue- June 2020


10th Rescue- March 2021