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Pawgress Dog Training
Pawgress Dog Training

Pawgress Dog Training

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Introduction: ***Voted 2018 Best Private Trainer-East Bay, Bay Woof magazine*** During a free, 30-minute meet and greet, I will cover your training goals, assess your dog's drives (motivations) and sensitivities, discuss training equipment, and go over the basics of behavior and learning theory, in addition to answering any questions you may have. Once we have identified the best training package for you and your dog, payment will be due in full prior to booking time on the calendar. I offer 30 and 60-minute lessons, which are available for purchase as individual lessons or a significantly discounted pack of four. I specialize in behavior modification for shy, fearful, and aggressive dogs and also provide basic obedience and specialized training, as well as problem solving for nuisance behaviors, such as jumping, chewing, digging, and accidents in the house. All lessons come with complimentary nutrition counseling. An honor's graduate of Animal Behavior College and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the CCPDT (the leading independent certifying organization for trainers), I have been working with dogs for nearly 15 years, both professionally and as a volunteer. As a trainer, my goal is that you and your dog learn how to become a more confident team through a relationship built on mutual trust and understanding. In other words, I focus on training both ends of the leash. I believe in using science-based, positive reinforcement techniques, empowering you and your dog to navigate real-world situations without the need for physical force, fear or aversive training tools. I focus on teaching the "why" behind the "how" of dog training concepts, enabling you to become a better advocate for a valued member of your family.

Hired 28 times

1 employee

4 years in business

Top pro status

Top Pros are among the highest-rated, most popular professionals on Thumbtack.

All year

Jan - Jun

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14 photos

Dog training type


Customers rated this pro highly for work quality, professionalism, and responsiveness.

Exceptional 5.0

28 reviews


Read reviews that mention:

Jeffrey l.

Dog Training

We adopted a 3 year old blue-nose Amstaff from East Bay SPCA backed in Winter '17. Considering this is not our first dog (we had the most amazing Westie for 16 years), we thought to train the new member would be easy or at least manageable. Nah, absolutely not the case!! Perhaps because our pitty was a stray before, she was not house trained and were defensively-aggressive towards other dogs which basically made the daily regular dog walk around the neighborhood next to impossible.. We soon figured we need professional help to sort out this staggering situation (short dog walk, less exercise for a young pitty, more frustration/ energy abundance = a viscous cycle). From there, we found Rusty/ Pawgress thru Thumbtack. Rusty had thoroughly observed, analyzed and explained where our dog frustration/ disobedience issues may root from. We then went from multiple indoor sessions to gradually outdoor training sessions. In hindsight, I think the most important training wasn't necessarily during the lesson itself, but thru the training exercises that Rusty recommended for us to practice on our own when he is not around! Thanks to Rusty, the main effort is to re-educate ourselves and learn more about behavior adjustment training. Its also pertinent to acknowledge that there's no magic switch that can turn a dog into an obedient super dog immediately. For context (and this should go wo saying, apparently each dog and each owner cases will be different), we had roughly 10 lessons with Rusty that spanned approx. across 4 months. With Rusty's lessons and persistent similar practices when Rusty's not around, our pit now would not keep on lunging during walk/ fully house trained (no more peed on carpet or destructive behaviors due to separation anxiety). We even went to camping and local dog park (off leash) for the first time. Without a doubt, that's significant upgrades to our dog (& ours) lives. If you and your dog are going thru similar struggle, I highly recommend look no further and schedule a meet w/ Rusty. Its a no-brainer to look for professional help and proper training if you seek for a better relationship w/ your furry friends which goes a long way. So here's to Rusty, thank you for guiding us thru the difficult and frustrating times w/ our pit. We wish Pawgress will continue to bloom and more frustrated dog-owners will consider to scout for your assistance to better their situations. Cheers!
Aug 7, 2018
Danielle H.

Dog Training

Rusty at Pawgress dog training has been an absolutely amazing trainer for our reactive cattle dog/ border collie mix. He has really given us so much information and shined light on some new techniques and strategies! We have found it so useful to have our dog practice with his dogs and we love the feedback and guidance! His PDFs have helped us to be able to practice and apply at home in between trainings as well! We can’t thank Rusty enough for the work this far! We look forward to training every week as we see our dog (and us!) make strides!
Apr 14, 2018
Lisa W.

Dog Training

We haven’t really begun yet but it was obvious during our initial (free) meeting that Rusty is a knowledgeable and caring trainer. Our dachshund/lab mix responded to Rusty’s calm demeanor and figured out she wasn’t being rewarded for jumping up and immediately calmed down. We liked that Rusty intends to bring his own dog along to help ours practice her new non reactive skills!
Dec 28, 2017
Rachel K.

Dog Training

Rusty has exceeded above and beyond my hopes for a trainer. After our first complimentary consultation for him to assess my pups behavior as well as for me to assess whether Rusty was the right trainer for us, I knew I had landed on one of the best. He possesses an incredible wealth of knowledge that he conveys efficiently and proficiently giving you the tools to truly carry over the work done in the sessions to every day life with your dog. He is professional, patient, and creative in his training, not to mention a true dog whisperer. While I originally sought Rusty's guidance for foundational obedience training and separation anxiety, it evolved to using him to assist in the journey of training my pup to be a therapy dog. Along the way, my dog suffered an traumatic experience while under the care of a sitter and adopted fear behaviors that had not existed before. I called Rusty right away for advice and help. We adjusted our sessions to address the immediate concerns so they would not become permanent. He was a complete blessing and my pup is successfully on the mend. Rusty is so well-versed in many areas of dog-training (he's your one-stop shop!) Whether you need short-term assistance, long-term, or varying areas of concerns, look no further. You don't need to take my word for it, just take advantage of the complimentary consultation and see for yourself. Absolutely no regrets here.
Dec 21, 2017
Dina T.

Dog Training

Rusty is very clear and ensures we understand the exercise we are learning that day. Even better, he follows up each training with an email detailing the training with pictures and links. We're excited to continue working with Rusty and both our dogs.
Jul 15, 2017


  • What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?

    I offer a free, 30-minute meet & greet to all new clients to determine if we are a good fit for each other. After that, 30 or 60-minute lessons can be purchased individually or as significantly discounted packs of four.

  • What is your typical process for working with a new customer?

    During a free, 30-minute meet and greet, we will cover your training goals, assess your dog's drives (motivations) and sensitivities, discuss training equipment, and go over the basics of behavior and learning theory, in addition to answering any questions you may have. Once we have identified the best training package for you and your dog, payment will be due in full prior to booking lessons. All lessons are customized to fit your lifestyle and home environment, and I strive to provide you with exercises that can be practiced during your regular dog-related responsibilities (i.e. walks, feeding, etc.), minimizing your need to block out additional time for training. We begin lessons in the comfort of your home and eventually progress to field trips, where we can simulate real-world situations. It is important to remember that training is a process, one that must be done at your dog's pace to help him / her build confidence through incremental success. Sometimes this takes days, and sometimes it can take months. Timing depends on the dog, but more importantly, your ability to consistently practice between lessons.

  • What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

    Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA); Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT), honor's graduate; more than 10,000 hours of dog handling experience (professional and volunteer); B.A. Communication and B.A. Sociology, Purdue University

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