Well hello! I’m Mary!

I’m a full time Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, running a small business focusing on pet behavior consulting and training classes. I've been involved in the modification of animal behavior as a researcher, veterinary technician, trainer, and animal behaviorist for the past 19 years. Before starting Helping Pets Behave, I worked at the National Institutes of Health doing behavioral research (see résumé). This experience has given me a profound understanding of pet behavior.

Most animal behavior scientists would agree that much of the information about cats and dogs on the internet and on popular television shows is largely inaccurate (read more...). This is frustrating for all involved, but it's our pets that suffer the consequences. It seems that all too often a fearful dog labeled as dominant is mistreated with unnecessary, harsh methods that can contribute to bites to humans. It's the inaccurate assessments that leads to a missed opportunity for application of the correct behavior modification treatment.

The latest research in animal behavior allows us to train our pets what TO DO using positive training instead of what NOT to do using aversive means. My methods are science-based meaning I look at the pet's environment to determine the triggers for the unwanted behaviors and the consequences that are maintaining them. I'll teach you humane and innovative training techniques proven effective for training the most challenging of dog and cat behavior problems.


Educating the public is a monumental task so I started a blog to share my adventures. It’s evolved from helpful tidbits to a lifestyle blog focused on training, behavior, and all things pets! My blog is full of projects and photos documenting each step in owning my dream business.

Here is my "employee" / teacher / best dog in the world.

Applied animal behavior is still a pretty new field, so I always look forward to meeting and sharing tips with other young entrepreneurs like myself and people with the same interests. So please look around and don’t hesitate to introduce yourself.

To get you started, here are some of my favorite posts:

Photo-shoot: Frisbeeing it Up! / Video: How to Apply a Calming Cap / Video: Borzoi Play / Video: How to Play Tug with Your Dog / Can Playing Tug-of-War Make a Dog Dominant? A Scientific Study Dispels the Myth / Video: Trick of the Week - “Cop-Cop” or “Your Feet on Mine” / Video - Creating a New Behavior with Shaping by Successive Approximation / 101 Things to do with a Box: Rewarding Variability in Behavior / More Differences Between Dog-Dog vs. Dog-Human Play / How Dogs Initiate Play: Descriptions & Video Examples of Play Behaviors

As always, thanks for reading and hanging out in my corner of the internet. Stop by whenever you can! Thanks so much, Mary a.k.a. petbehaviorgirl.