Meet the TrainerWoofGang owner and dog trainer/behavior specialist Laura Garber, CPDT-KA, is a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and is certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the first national certification for dog trainers. She is a mentor trainer for CATCH and ABC Dog Trainers Academies and is an approved AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator.
Besides her work in relationship training and behavior modification with private clientele, Laura has joined the team at the Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia, PA, as the Head of Behavior, to build a behavior department that will do behavior evaluations and rehabilitation with the shelter animals. Before this, Laura worked as the Head of Behavior at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh, NY, and as a behavior consultant for Long Island rescue groups Last Hope and Forgotten Friends of Long Island. Prior to that she was Head of Behavior at Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, NJ, and she began her shelter career as a behavior expert at the ASPCA in NYC.
Laura's education includes an honors certificate from the Dog Trainers' Academy at the San Francisco SPCA and a training internship with the Monks of New Skete. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Laura regularly attends seminars and conferences in canine behavior, behavior modification and training. She has had the opportunity to learn and train with such great trainers as Pam Reid, Jean Donaldson, Suzanne Clothier, Sue Sternberg, John Rogerson, Pat Miller, and Pia Silvani. Because of her passion for an understanding of the behavior and ethology of more than just the domestic dog, Laura attended a seminar comparing wolf and dog behavior at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana, and she worked with the dolphin trainers at the Dolphin Connection, a Florida facility touted for its marine mammal education, breeding and research techniques. Laura has attended TTouch (Tellington Touch) training as well as studying Companion Animal Natural Health and Nutrition with Clayton College of Natural Health and even dabbled in a seminar in animal communication!
Laura has authored articles about dogs and dog behavior in such animal-centric magazines as Your Pet Connection and The Animal Companion, and on-line resources Dog Service Network, Cliffview Pilot, and the National Examiner and Newark Examiner. She has taught webinars in shelter training with the dog trainers' online educational resource Dog Training Connection and published the book Bringing Up Puppy about the proper training and socialization of a new puppy. A guest lecturer and "Ask the Trainer" speaker for shelters and rescue groups, doggie daycares, pet stores, and dog fancy groups throughout the North-east and Midwest, she's been a guest on a call-in radio show called Freewheelin' on the Sirius Radio's Road Dog channel and on the Today Show website.
Laura believes strongly in strengthening the bond between human and companion animal. For this reason, she regards training as an exercise in building relationship rather than obedience. Such an approach promises greater understanding and symbiosis within our family packs.
Her own pack includes rescued German Shepherd Dog Tilly, her loving canine companion, and an unruly black kitty named Jazzi.
"Laura has taken the PSPCA’s behavior function from sparse basics to a robust program with significant impact in a very short period of time. The program goes beyond animal handling and evaluation to include behavior modification and individualized plans for a wide range of needs. Her “behavior on a shoestring” concept has extended the reach of her expertise across staff and volunteers of all skill levels to help as many animals as possible. Laura has also been a valued colleague. I worked with Laura on our transport program, where she was an insightful and collaborative partner who helped build and refine this new program. Working with Laura has been a true pleasure, both as a co-worker and in observing the amazing impact she’s had on so many animals."|
Linda Torelli, former Director of New Program Development, Pennsylvania SPCA
“It is with great pleasure that I write [... a] recommendation in support of Ms. Laura Garber. [...] My own special-needs dog, "Shorty" [...] is a young male mixed breed dog from the Caribbean, who suffers from documented PTSD, and has been a difficult and unpredictable member of our family since I acquired him. [...] Within a month of beginning training [with Laura], we began to see a glimmer of hope. She worked with Shorty for over a year, and in that time, he has become a different dog. He can socialize safely in many situations, his anxiety and anger levels have become manageable and most importantly, I feel like he now has a good quality of life, perhaps for the first time ever. I am convinced that without her intervention, Shorty would not be with us today. Laura's method of training involves compassion, kindness, boundary setting and appropriate discipline, and is fully in line with the accepted method of training set forth in veterinary medicine.”|
Dr. Darlene Fletcher, DVM (excerpted from a longer letter of recommendation)
“When we got our new very hyper and happy Schnauzer Lola May after several years without having any puppies at home, we were lost. That’s when we heard about Laura and called her to have what we thought it would be a “small training period”. It was not. Laura helped us a lot with house training, understanding Lola’s behavior and exercising tips. The entire experience with Laura was amazing. Laura calmed us down letting us know how to deal with Lola’s hyper attitude and showed us so many great ways to get control of all situations. Laura was always understanding and patient. We were so pleased to get to know her and learn so many things with her. We just moved back to our country and everybody is really impressed at how well-trained Lola is.|
We (Lola, Paolo and myself) give Laura a thumb and paw up! Thank you Laura!!! Hope to see you here in Brazil very soon!!"
Wellington Mendes & Paolo Romero, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Lola's human family
“I just wanted to write to you to say thank you SO MUCH for all your help with Bodie. You changed our lives!|
I am pretty sure that at this point I could star in a Lifetime Movie-of-the-Week entitled "40 Year Old Woman Gets New Perspective on Life When She Learns How To Train The Puppy She Unexpectedly Inherited During Divorce". You'd have to take a starring role in this film!
Bodie is SO much happier and adjusted and, yes I know it is a cliche, but he has become my best friend and I am relieved that I know how to be his, thanks to you."
Gillian Axtens, Weehawken, NJ, Bodie's human family
“Thank you for your time and patience in training Shea. You taught us important everyday exercises which I'm sure will make our lives more enjoyable. From the first day you came for Shea’s training it was very apparent how well you are with animals. Your training exercises were simple but effective and you took the time to explain each one as many times as needed. Shea looked forward to seeing you come for her training classes.”|
Gerry Bonventre, Jersey City, NJ, Shea's human family
“I found out about you at my dry cleaners of all places when we were talking about trainers. What a good day that was! I was so worried that my Sweetie Pie was too much for me to handle, but I just didn’t have the right tools or know how until we met you. Thank you so much for training me, since I was the one that really needed it. I love my girls so much and because of your help, they can fully and safely enjoy themselves now. Thank you for all of your emails, updates, tips, patience and thoughtfulness.”|
Michael Farino, Jersey City, NJ, Sweetie's and Roxy's human family
“Thank you so much, Laura! This has been such a great experience for Chris, Beau and me and we're so grateful for all of your advice and support over the past 3 months as we settled in with Beau and learned to adapt our lives. We couldn't be happier!”|
Andrea Joy Albrecht, Hoboken, NJ, Beau's human family
“Bernard and I are so happy with our "PuppyGirl" Miz Tasha and want everyone to know that we think you are the BOMB!!!!!!!!”|
Marion Hughes, Jersey City, NJ, Tasha's human family
“Thank you for everything. We've seen such massive improvements in Molly's behavior since we started working with you
and we couldn't be happier with our little 'mutt'! We'll be sure to keep you posted on her progress and
we'll definitely send along some pictures of her -- especially the wacky ones!”|
Melissa Arlio, Jersey City, NJ, Molly's human family
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! Both Flynn and I have really enjoyed working with you
over the past few months. I most certainly see a positive change in my relationship with Flynn...
we seem more "in synch", which is exactly what I was hoping would happen. He's a great dog,
and seems very eager to learn, which is certainly a perk.”|
Kelly Ward, Westwood, NJ, Flynn's human family
“I can't thank you enough. I told my husband our sessions were the best birthday gift!
He's excited about learning what you have taught me as well. The biggest change is inside...
I didn't realize it until I had to reform my ways. I was WAY lax.
Oscar's happier, and when we take him for "business", it's almost immediate.
Thanks again, and I can't wait for our next session!”|
Beth Kumar, Jersey City, NJ, Oscar's human family
“Blake is doing very well. He's gained 4 pounds [...] and is his usual playful self.
He's quickly becoming the puppy I knew he could be -- and we really credit you for a lot of that!”|
Lauren Leatherman, Jersey City, NJ, Blake's human family
“I cannot thank you enough and am so happy to say that the lesson
did so much! Not only did it help me help Kismet become a
better-behaved dog but it made our walks so much more fun. When he
started exhibiting his aggression during walks, I became tense and
nervous every time we went out. After the training, it was the
highlight of our days. Not only did we enjoy ourselves, but it made so
many people come to us to ask what we were doing and for them to
compliment him. I'm hoping some will call you with their own issues!”|
Jin Park, Hoboken, NJ, Kismet's human foster family
“I was very lucky somebody gave me your card and I decided to call you.
I was running out of options, and in front of the real dangerous situation my dog is creating,
I was ready to use the electrical collar and punish him for something that is not his fault,
or even sacrifice him if that didn´t work. Instead of going back to the Middle East
with a collar, I go back with new ideas and new methods that make a lot of sense.
If only for that, my trip to New York was worthwhile.
Walad and I thank you from the other side of the world.”|
Marina Solis, Mascate, Oman, Walad's human family
“Thank you for the amazing session. You worked magic.
Mocha couldn’t wait to get into the crate this morning. It was very funny to watch.
I will definitely take all your advice and see how things go. Will keep you updated.
Thank you so very very much! It was the most amazing hour with Mocha during our 5 years.”|
Acme Wu, Manhattan, NY, Mocha's human family
“Laura, I love your sessions with Didge and me. It is such a pleasure to have you in our lives. We both really appreciate what you are doing for us! Thank you so much.”|
Michelle Ra'ttray, Manhattan, NY, Didge's human family
“The light came on!!!! Dakota had been a family member for 3 weeks, and I was
a little frustrated. Then we stumble onto Laura.
WOW, just an hour and a handout later and........ progress! It was
apparent within the first 15 minutes of the seminar that there was a
connection between Laura and the puppies at the social hour. This led me
to believe that there was hope and that I could do it too. Laura, your handout
instructions were so easy to follow that, in one training session, (with me
struggling to read the handout and guide Kota through the exercises), Kota
learned to "touch"!!! And I saw how much Dakota loved to learned!!!!
Thanks so much for that and for your support on further questions and
working through our issues. Your perspective and experience have made a
huge difference. It's so much fun to learn together, and we are being a team.
We couldn't have done it without you!!”|
Rhonda Gibson, Grand Haven, MI, Dakota's human family
“Laura has been a big help to Rosie and me when we encounter other dogs on our walks. Our walks are already much better. Laura had lots of patience (with me AND Rosie!!) and gave me good advice. Although I can't say a major miracle happened, we've had minor miracles and progress on every single walk. Thank you, Laura, for your expert advice! And, Rosie thanks you too!”|
Cheryl Wabeke, Grand Haven, MI, Rosie's human family
“What a terrific first session for us and a real relief to feel like we have a better handle on what to do with Spencer. You are just wonderful both with Spencer and with us, and for that we are most grateful.|
p.s. Oh, and he slept thru the night till around 5:45am and then back to bed til about 7. Not bad. We are starting to sleep again and that is so thanks to you!!!”
Chris and Gina Burns, Weehawken, NJ, Spencer's human family
“Thank you so much for all your great input! You are so fantastic at what you do!!!
Lucy says "woof"!”|
Kerry Ackerman, Hoboken, NJ, Lucy's human family
“Laura returned my initial email query promptly and set up an appointment for that week.
I told her that Rudy responds badly to the doorbell ringing, so Laura suggested she
phone upon arrival instead. I was able to unlock the door and Laura was able to enter.
Laura had instructed me to keep Rudy on leash and he barked like mad, but she continued
to give me instruction on what to do (and what NOT to do) and Rudy settled down to the
point of allowing Laura to play ball with him. Laura emails me after each visit and
meticulously explains each exercise she suggests. As Rudy needs a lot of exercise but
sometimes suffers with leg pain, Laura has introduced some "mental activity" games to
keep Rudy's mind active even if his body is mostly resting. She assesses Rudy's behaviors
and then crafts a positive and rewarding scenario which is easy for both the dog and the human to follow.
It's been a long road, but I feel like we have finally found our own "dog whisperer".”|
Ellen Scheurer, Hoboken, NJ, Rudy's human family
“Laura Garber is a truly amazing dog trainer.
She is an absolute wealth of knowledge regarding dog behavior and will explain
things to you about dogs that you didn't know existed. This woman is right on
top of her game! She can and will gladly give you reasons behind everything she
does with your animal and can date it back to dog history. My dog, Wes, knows
basic commands and is 100% house-broken because of Laura. She is extremely
humanistic and no-nonsense. She cares, and people know her in the community.
If you have issues with your pet, you must allow her to handle them one at a time.
She will do the job with impressive, humanistic methods that a lot of us didn't
know about growing up with animals. Go with more than four sessions –- it just
makes sense –- if you're looking to really help your dog.”|
Dr. Michael and Mrs. Piper Magera, Hoboken, NJ, Wes' human family
“I hired Laura to work with my dog after I rescued the dog from a shelter.
Laura's knowledge of animal behavior and temperament were evident from the moment
we began working together and her friendly, positive-reinforcement approach to
training made for a fun and educational experience all around. I highly recommend
Valerie Boccadoro, Hoboken, NJ, Molly's human family
Call Laura at (646) 345-5116 if you'd like to set up a private consultation. Or stop by and visit with her at Cornerstone Pets in Hoboken on Sundays from noon to 2pm. She'll be happy to answer your questions, troubleshoot a behavior issue, or just give some fun training tips.
We'd love to hear from you! Feel free to send questions, comments, or suggestions for the site to info@myWoofGang.com.