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.
Tiff Shao, CPDT-KA
Tiff is our full time Certified Professional Dog Trainer and teaches many of our group classes and 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 50+ behaviors he knows on cue! Tiff graduated from Duke University where she attended classes and lab meetings led by Dr. Brian Hare, founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center. Tiff's technical training skills combined with her studies in cognition and evolutionary anthropology make her an invaluable addition to our Training and Behavior team.
Mariah Scheskie, CPDT-KA
Director of Programs, Dog Trainer
Mariah Scheskie is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. She has been training for the past 14 years and is the lead trainer at the Humane Society of Western Montana, offering group training classes and private lessons. She was awarded the APDT Premier Shelter Staff Award in 2009 when she wrote about training her reactive and dog selective Australian 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. Her favorite training moments include teaching her dogs to perform entertaining tricks like ringing the doorbell and getting her a beverage from the fridge.
Jean Biggins, CPDT-KA
Behaviorist, Dog Trainer
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.