Our Trainers

Our dog trainers use positive, dog-friendly training methods and will show you how to teach your dog to respond to verbal cues and hand signals.  Our instructors have experience in everything from puppy socialization and basic manners training to behavior modification for reactive and fearful dogs.  Our trainers are required to complete a formal training process and are all Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDTs), requiring documented experience in hands-on training, passing a written exam and maintaining annual continueing education credits.

Dog Trainers

Heidi Kerr, CPDT-KA

Trainer and Behavior Consultant

Heidi is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, specializing in private lessons and behavior modification for dogs of all ages.  Heidi got her start over 15 years ago as a volunteer trainer at a municipal shelter in Southern California, focusing on play groups, enrichment and in performing behavior assessments.  Heidi brings a wealth of knowledge to the shelter including experience working with multi-dog households, fearful dogs, and dogs with kids.  

Tiff Shao, CPDT-KA

Trainer and Behavior Consultant

Tiff is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer focusing on our group training classes and behavior modificaion in private lessons.  Tiff is an accomplished trainer and has been working with her star student, Soro since 2006.  Soro recently obtained his TDCH (Champion Trick Dog) title and is very proud of himself.  In 2013, Tiff and Soro placed 2nd in the APDT (Association for Professional Dog Trainers) Train Your Dog Month video contest in which Soro performed many of the 100+ behaviors he knows on cue!  Tiff's technical training skills combined with her studies at Duke in cognition and evolutionary anthropology make her an invaluable addition to our Training and Behavior team.

Mariah Scheskie, CPDT-KA

Director of Programs, Lead Trainer and Behavior Consultant

Mariah Scheskie is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. She has been training professionally since 2005 and is the lead trainer at the Humane Society of Western Montana, specializing in  private lessons and all things involving Australian Cattle Dogs! She was awarded the APDT Premier Shelter Staff Award in 2009 when she wrote about rehabilitating her first reactive and dog selective cattle dog, Mowgli. Mariah has worked at several humane organizations including Best Friends Animal Society and has experience working with reactive and fearful dogs and also specializes in behavior modification. Mariah is also a Professional Behavior Responder for the ASPCA Anti Cruelty Behavior Team working with dogs from cruelty and neglect cases throughout the country. 

Jean Biggins, CPDT-KA


Jean Biggins is the on-staff animal behaviorist at the Humane Society of Western Montana.  Jean is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and teaches group classes and private lessons for the shelter. She has been an educator for various non-profits for the past eleven years and has worked at the Humane Society since 2009. She has experience working on a variety of behavior issues and specializes in designing individualized behavior modification plans for both cats and dogs. Jean shares her home with six cats, three dogs and a very tolerant husband.

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  • Friendly, Spirited, Independent
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