Who's a Good Dog?


I’m an English professor and part-time dog trainer.  As the former, I direct the writing program at my college, and I work on the “long” 19th-century, especially the circulation of reading and writing practices.  That work reflects more generally a fundamental interest in learning (really in how learning happens)–one that took an “animal turn,” when my husband and I adopted our first dog and realized we had a lot to learn about communication across the species divide. In addition to writing and teaching about writing, literacy, literary history and related topics, I write and teach about animals; I train and occasionally compete with my dogs in various dog sports; and I’m a volunteer trainer at my local shelter.  When I can (when my schedule permits), I take some private clients.

I earned my trainer certification in 2010 from Kutztown University’s program in Canine Training and Management (the program has since moved to Carroll Community College in Westminster MD). And I’m a member of the Pet Professional Guild.

I created this blog to have a space for exploring my interest in animals—especially dogs. (Previous blogs of mine can be found here and here.)  I’m interested in thinking about how dogs and other animals learn, how that learning is represented in language and discourse, how we (humans) represent our relationships with other animals and, consequently, our moral obligations to them.


In order to stay current, I regularly attend workshops on dog behavior and training.

 Instructor  Topic  When & Where
Pat Miller “Real Solutions for Canine Behavior Problems.”  Dog Training Club of Chester County. Exton PA.  Sept 24-25, 2016.
 Jean Donaldson  “Negative Punishment, Negative Reinforcement and the Humane Hierarchy”  PPG webinar.  June 22, 2016.
 Dr. Susan Friedman  “Living and Learning with Animals”  Dog Training Club of Chester County.  Exton PA. June 11-12, 2016.
 Karen Pryor Academy  Clicker Expo  March 17-20 2016
 Chirag Patel  “Expanding your Force Free Dog Training Toolkit.”  Dog i-box webinar.  February 8, 2016.
 Pam Dennison Cleaning Up Your Act:  The Fussy and Meticulous Behaviors Needed for Competition/Rally, Parts 1 and 2  February-March 2014, online course

 Pam Dennison  Magic of Shaping 11 January 2014
Let’s Speak Dog, Nazareth PA
 Denise Fenzi  Relationship Building Through Play  20 November 2013-9 January 2014, online course
 Rise Van Fleet  The Human Half of Dog Training  9-10 November 2013, Positive Motivation Dog Training, Washington, NJ
 Grisha Stewart  The Power of Choices:  Behavior Adjustment Training for Aggression, Frustration and Fear  20-21 April 2013
Let’s Speak Dog, Nazareth PA
Denise Fenzi Heeling Games 26 May-9 July 2013, online course
 Renee Hall  Treibball Workshop  5 January 2013
Let’s Speak Dog, Nazareth, PA
 Ken Ramirez  Making the Impossible Possible!  21-22 July 2012
Dog Training Club of Chester County, Exton PA
 Suzanne Clothier  Relationship Centered Training  25-27 May 2012
 Nicole Wilde  Helping Fearful Dogs  6 August 2011
 Pam Dennison  Managing the Multiple Dog Household, Parts 1 & 2  August-September 2011, online course
Kathy Sdao  So Many Choices:  A Workshop for Trainers and Dogs  20-21 November 2010
 Ali Brown  Reactive Dogs Workshop  31 October 2010

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