Russ is a Karen Pryor
Certified Training Partner. Certified
Training Partners participate
in an extensive educational program culminating in a detailed
assessment of their technical ability and hands-on skill teaching
pet owners and training pet dogs.
Successful candidates must
complete the program, earn the equivalent of an A on each component
of the assessment, and pledge to uphold the high standards and
practices of Karen Pryor Academy.
Russ has been a Region Coordinator for Guiding Eyes for the Blind (GEB),
and has raised thirteen guide dogs for GEB. He has prepared new puppy-raisers
for their first puppy and has taught weekly classes to the volunteer
puppy-raisers until their dogs returned to the training school.
Russ is a licensed social worker and has worked for over 20 years
in the human services profession. As a therapist and clinical supervisor, he has
provided services to people overcoming addictions and mental
illness, and to those resolving family conflict. Russ's career has
reinforced his belief in the resiliency of people and the power of
Growing up on a small farm in central New York, Russ has always
been drawn to nature and relationships with animals. Russ learned to
relate with animals in a calm, consistent, and rewarding manner
while helping his father shepherd sheep and care for other livestock
and companion animals.
Russ learned that working with animals is a
sacred experience, that their needs come first, and that if you pay
attention you learn a great deal about yourself in the process.
Russ's concern for animals was advanced in his training as a
bereavement counselor to assist families through the difficult time
of the loss of a loved family pet.
Being a professional dog trainer is a natural integration of
Russ's human service career, guide dog experience, and animal
Russ holds a MS in social work from Marywood University, in
Scranton, Pennsylvania, and a BS in education, with a major in
outdoor recreation, from SUNY Cortland, Cortland, New York. He lives
near Ithaca, New York, with his family and with
Toby a retired guide dog now serving as a therapy dog,Kylie a Great
Pyrenees Mountain Dog, Zena the wonder cat and a cockatiel.