Education, Qualifications

Summary of education and qualifications:

CPDT-KA: Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed


The NCCA-accredited Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers is an independent organization whose belief is that the public has the right to work with dog training and behavior professionals who are not only knowledgeable, but whose knowledge is based on current, sound, scientific principles.

The internationally-recognized Certified Pet Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) designation requires years of experience; references from veterinarians, clients, and other Certified Pet Dog Trainers; strict adherence to a code of ethics (regarding both human and dog interactions), and the passing of a formal examination measuring expertise in ethology (animal behavior science), training equipment (both modern and antiquated), general learning theory, instructional/classroom skills, and both general  and dog-specific animal husbandry.

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American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator

CGC Evaluator

The CGC test is a non-competitive, 10-step evaluation meant to demonstrate a dog-handler team’s mastery of basic obedience skills, and the dog’s socialization and demeanor. Since becoming an evaluator in 2011, I have instructed and tested dozens of dogs. An important note about the test is that no food is allowed to be used during the test. This is relevant, because a common misconception about using food in training is that dogs will be unable, or unwilling, to behave or perform without it. This isn’t so, and the CGC test is one of many examples.

I take the class and the test very seriously. If, as an evaluator, I pass teams who do not meet the standards as described, I feel I would be demeaning not just the other test-takers, but all of the CGC dogs. As an evaluator, I am proud to say not all of my students pass. As an instructor, I am proud to say almost of all my students pass the test — and do so easily. I feel a connection with all my clients and students; one particularly impressive dog-handler team was Blind Louie and his person, Lanni. Louie embodies everything I hope to find in any dog: love, courage, and gentleness.

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Rudy Circle

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BA: Bachelor of Arts



I graduated from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University in 1998. Fairhaven is an inter-disciplinary college, and a department of WWU. My concentration was titled The Power of The Written Word: Expository, Dramatic, and Fictional Writing. Besides literature and writing, I studied psychology, sociology, economics, business ethics, scientific ethics and methods, and, of course, behavioral science. My final project was about the importance of precise language, and the sub-conscious confusion that comes from direction which is worded poorly.

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I  am certified by the Red Cross in pet first aid.

Continuing education:

Dog Emotion and Cognition by Duke University. Certificate earned on December 21, 2015