Force-free Trainers of the Northwest

The Force-Free Trainers of the Northwest is a group of professional trainers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia advocating for the physical, emotional and environmental well-being of the animals we train.  The trainers on this list pledge to follow the Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) approach, using training methods and techniques that focus on teaching animals by rewarding desired behaviors and exclude the intentional use of physical discomfort or psychological intimidation and do not use equipment or techniques that rely on punishment or discomfort.
Members of this list are passionate about education and take pride in collaborating with each other to help pets and their owners. 

Why a Trainer's List?  We are constantly asked, "who do you recommend in my area?" It became obvious that we needed a place to send people to find dog and people-friendly trainers in our corner of the country.  The purpose of this list is to help Northwest pet owners find trainers they can trust to provide gentle, positive training using proven, science-based methods.  The trainers on this list maintain competence in animal behavior through continuing education, active training and applied experience.  This is a voluntary directory.  Trainers listed in this directory have accepted the definition of "dog-friendly" as stated on this page.  Please check out their websites to see if their philosophy, background, and services match your needs.

Carol teaches group classes at Diamonds in the Ruff and also offers private behavior consultations and lessons at the training studio and in-home behavior consults in the Spokane area.  Carol is the creator of the "What is My Dog Saying?" body language powerpoint presentation, available through


Cathy Fox, CPDT-KA - Paw & Order Canine Behavior Services, WA

Cathy Fox - 509-993-3622

Cathy is a former instructor for Diamonds in the Ruff in Spokane and recently moved to Chinook, WA on the coast.  She offers long distance behavior support!

Kim Imel, CPDT-KA - Shaping Better Behavior, Spokane, WA

Kim Imel - 509-465-1849

Kim specializes in early puppyhood education and building confidence in shy and worried dogs as well as helping with your basic training needs.  As a licensed veterinary technician, Kim is also ready to work with your veterinarian for prescription medications in concert with a behavior modificiation plan to address issues of separation or generalized anxiety.  Kim offers Puppy Primer sessions at DITR and conducts our supplemental Puppy Confidence sessions.


Natalie Sinton - 509-720-8608

I graduated from Rocky Mountain Regional Dog Trainer’s Academy in Denver Colorado in 2011 and currently working on earning my CPDT-KA accreditation. I teach group Puppy Socialization Classes to build strong foundations for further work with all breeds of puppies, focusing on body language and positive shaping training methods using a clicker. I also offer private one-on-one behavioral consults for common behavioral problems as well as for more complex issues like fear, anxiety and aggression in all breeds.

Bren Axon - Woofers One to One Training & Kennel Free Dog Boarding, Victoria BC, Canada

Located just outside Victoria BC, 15 minutes from ferries and airport.

Private dog training sessions. 
Dog boarding in our home for a small number of sociable, well adjusted dogs. 
Graduated with Honors from: Animal Behaviour College

I work one to one with training clients from their own home, or wherever they wish. I take clients from across the Greater Victoria area. No shock, prong or choke collars. I use positive training methods without the use of pain or fear.  I apply the same philosophy to boarding dogs.

Stine Theede - (208) 860-5919

Through my more than 30 years of professional training as well as my practical experience
rehabilitating foster dogs, I have considerable working knowledge of teaching basic manners and such problem behaviors as shyness, fearfulness, sensitivity to new things and people, aggressive behaviors, food and object guarding, out-of-control rambunctiousness, acting-up when seeing other dogs, and the difficult age of adolescence, whether it be at around 6 months or 2-3 years of age.

Catrina Ross - Gentle Ways Dog Training - King & Pierce Counties

Catrina Ross - (253) 632-6310

In-home training and day training - serving King and Pierce counties. 

Gentle Ways Dog Training offers in-home private training, behavior modifications, on-leash walk & train, puppy start programs, and more. Our gentle and highly effective methods, using only those that are humane in application and based on animal learning theory, will help build bonds between owners and dogs to last a lifetime! 

Nancy Tanner - 406-522-1558

Paws & People was founded in 2003, in Bozeman, Montana.  We are an integrative training business that works on the social, emotional, physical, and nutritional well being of each dog, because we believe in reaching potentials.


All teaching is centered on building a strong handler/dog relationship, using reward based training.

Colleen Hild - 425-753-0923

I am a force free trainer and a graduate of The Northwest School Of Canine Studies here in Seattle with my Certificate in Canine Studies (Fall 2016).  I completed an apprenticeship, post graduation, at Riverdog Canine Coaching.  I am now teaching at Seattle Puppyworks where I am specializing in puppies.  I do board and trains for puppies, and  private training for all age dogs.

Force-free pet professionals of Oregon

A safe, reliable place for Oregon communities to find credentialed animal professionals who use scientifically-proven, force-free training, behavior modification, and animal handling techniques.

Pet professionals are tasked with helping us achieve the best possible care for our pets.

Every professional whether they are a store clerk, manufacturer of dog products, veterinarian, trainer, or groomer can have a positive or detrimental impact on our dogs’ lives. One of the primary goals of Force Free Oregon is to provide a directory of trustworthy pet professionals who adhere to force free methodology and seek continued learning and professional development.

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Megan Cathey-509-481-7549

Dr. Megan Cathey is a  small animal veterinarian with a special interest in the behavior and welfare of dogs and cats.  She has taken additional training in this area, and has been providing behavior consults for several years.  As a veterinarian, she is able to evaluate, diagnose, develop, and implement a treatment plan for behavior problems for your pet, including Rx care.  Dr. Cathey started offering behavior consults for dogs and cats at the Diamonds in the Ruff training studio in Spokane.

Dr. Megan Bauer is a graduate of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  She is a small animal general practitioner with a special interest in behavioral medicine, especially canine anxiety, canine cognitive decline, and feline behavior.  In addition, she is Fear Free Certified, which means she is passionate about reducing fear during veterinary visits and has taken a course on providing gentle restraint, a calming environment, and (if necessary) anti-anxiolytic medications to keep your pets calm during their veterinary visits.  To learn more about Fear Free Veterinarians:

Debra Duwe - 208-640-9551

Debra (Deb) Duwe is owner-trainer/teacher at Four Paws Dog Training and she is delighted to offer training for both people and their dogs in Sandpoint, Idaho, Eastern Washington and beyond. Her motto is “Catch ’em being good!”, capturing the essence of “clicker” and positive reinforcement training.  Her goal for her canine and human students is to gain valuable skills to build a healthy cooperative relationship based on “best practices” and force-free techniques.  In this way confidence is built for the dog and the owner.

Chris Armstrong - 509-951-0768

Farpoints Farm is located in Spokane County.  Areas of interest include behavior and building canine/human relationship, agility, conformation (fitting and showing), herding and 4-H.)

Joyce Biethan - 206-819-7297

Joyce has been a dog [People really] trainer for 23+ years. She has taught manners and skills classes to pet dog owners, as well as teaching a variety of dog activities and sports including Treibball, Agility, & Therapy Dog teams. She also worked for Paws With a Cause as a field trainer for service dog recipients and has always had a handful of private behavior clients. For the last 10 years her focus has been on K9 Nose Work ®  as a Certified Nose Work Instructor [CNWI]. She is delighted to be in Spokane now and looks forward to working with clients interested in introducing their dogs to scent detection as well as in helping dog and handler teams problem solve and progress, if they are already playing the game.

Nicole Dossey - WSU, Pullman, WA

Nicole Dossey

Nicole is a force-free trainer using primarily lure and reward training methods.  She is located in Pullman, WA.


Jeanne Shaw - 250-359-6650

Group puppy and obedience classes for all levels
Private consultations for behaviour

Agility, Rally, K9 NoseWork

Susan Signor - 509-594-6337

Behavior consultations and dog training services at your home or my facility.

Puppy Start Right class, Foundation Skills Class.


Serving the Yakima Valley since 2007.  Susan strives to teach both the human and canine ends of the leash with kindness and compassion.   

Help for aggression, house soiling, barking, jumping, resource guarding, and general disobedience.  Help with service dog and therapy dog selection and training.

Cherie Ekholm - 425-985-4961

Cherie offers behavioral consults, private and group training classes. She also offers Tellington TTouch sessions either in your home or at her facility. She teaches positive conformation handling skills at Four Paws Sports Center in Lynnwood, WA, during selected class sessions at that facility. Cherie is available to teach workshops on “Using TTouch to Enhance Performance for Your Conformance Dog” and “Visiting the Vet: Making Vet Visits Less Stressful for Everyone”.

Lori Stevens

Lori offers a variety of behavior, training, fitness, and bodywork services including: Tellington TTouch® training, rehabilitation massage, canine fitness, and animal behavior consults. She also teaches workshops and webinars and is the creator of the Balance Harness, available through Blue-9 Pet Products:

Puget Sound Positive Trainers

Dog-friendly trainers in the Greater Puget Sound

Puget Sound Positive Trainers’ (PSPT) is a group of professional dog trainers in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Bellingham, the islands, and the rest of the greater Puget Sound area of Washington who use positive, dog-friendly training methods.

A positive dog trainer can help you with your dog's behavioral issues. We have a range of skilled trainers in our group, from manners problems to agility and scent training to solving complex problems like aggression, fear, and separation anxiety.

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Please email and include your name, credentials and professional affiliations, business name, website address, contact phone number, photo or logo if you have one.  Also include your service area and list of services.

By asking to be included on the list, you agree that you do not use or condone ideologies, methods or gear that impart physical or psychological punishment or pain (including, but not limited to, the use of prong collars, choke-style collars, shock collars for the use of training or containment, citronella collars, throw chains, shaker cans and/or squirt bottles). 

This list is for positive trainers in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and British Columbia.  If you would like to be included or know someone who should be, click the email button below.

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Thank you for your interest in joining the Force Free Trainers of the Northwest!

Membership in the FFTNW is not automatic with application. The FFTNW reserves the right to protect the integrity of the group by conducting a detailed review of each application to ensure it is in line with our group’s mission, principle values and ethics. We reserve the right to remove any FFTNW member, at any time, for violations of the group mission, principle values and ethics.

All rights reserved - List created July 2016