Animal Behavior College Reviews & Success Stories

Meet Them Yourself!

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Shannon Sumner
High School English Teacher and Owner of "Polite Paws, LLC"

I've always had a love for dogs, though I studied English and Education in college and graduate school. After having taught high school English for 8 years, I decided that I really wanted to work with dogs more than teenagers! I enrolled in ABC because of its reputation for being positive-based and thorough. I could not be happier with the program!

Now, staying at home with my 1 year-old son has allowed me to complete my ABC studies and open my own dog training business – Polite Paws, LLC. I love being able to impart my knowledge on dog owners! ABC has taught me how to communicate effectively with both dogs and their owners! Please visit for more information.


Kare Romanski
Human Factors Engineer, Executive Director of Missing Pet Recovery Services, and Owner of “K9 Kare”

I chose ABC for the comprehensive training program they offered compared to other programs I researched. ABC provided insights into animal behavior I felt would improve my skills in the field when approaching shy or nervous dogs and to help owners properly train their dogs to prevent them from running away again. Please visit for a detailed interview of that mentions ABC several times. ABC provided excellent course materials, mentors and coordinators who truly showed an interest in my success.

Since starting the program, I have been recognized for having the highest recovery rate in the nation for lost dogs and cats. I have been comfortable assisting owners of nervous dogs and newly adopted shelter dogs in helping them train their pets; I also desensitize nervous dogs and help owners establish better relationships with their pets. I also started a free group called The Concord Dog Training Group in NC to help folks with their training and socialization issues, expose owners to various dog events (i.e., Rally, Agility, Search & Rescue, etc.).


Tara Schaper
Licensed Clinical Social Worker and ABC Certified Dog Trainer

I have worked with dogs for many years. For the last 3 years, I have been working with rescue dogs. I had always wanted to have the opportunity to work more closely with animals and had heard great things about ABC. My experience with ABC was great! I learned many new things and was also able to brush up on skills that I already had. With my certification, I will continue to work with shelter/rescue dogs and also provide private, in-home training to our foster parents and others. Most of my experience has been with more difficult dogs, especially feral dogs. I am excited to be able to further my career working with animals!

My primary occupation is working as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with at-risk families. I have been doing this for over 10 years. Working with dogs ties in with my occupation and also serves as a "therapy" for myself. It’s so rewarding to help dogs and watch them succeed and become happy, healthy, well-behaved, and social beings!


Astrid "Mimi" Buendia
Legal Consultant, Animal Behaviorist and Owner of “Fancy Dogs Corporation”

Ever since I was a child, I have had pets, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, which I loved and cared for. People used to come to me for advice on animal care, so I believe I am naturally talented in communicating with and perceiving their needs. Besides “animal languages,” I speak English, Spanish and Italian. My family consists of humans, dogs, cats, horses, ducks and other creatures, including my neighbors’ dogs.

After a successful career as a law student and professional, I reinvented myself with my eternal passion for animals. Then, I started considering a new career as an animal behaviorist. My family and friends thought that this was a hobby of mine, but all of them agreed I was born with the “Dog Whisperer Touch.” All my neighbors and friends were bringing their pets to me to take care of them, or simply looking for advice for their dogs, cats or horses.
I felt there was a need for people to learn how to relate with their dogs and their behavior, but I never imagined there was a professional career which addressed this problem. Then, I discovered the Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer curriculum. When I considered getting an education for this new career, I started researching for the best organization I could find. I found that this prestigious school holds very high standards of excellence and a strict code of ethics, with the most modern teaching techniques. That is why I chose ABC for my education.

I must affirm that my life has changed during and after I took the ABC program. Since the beginning, it has enriched me as a person and as an animal lover. I feel that, with this education, I can accomplish my real mission in saving dogs’ lives. The volunteer time at the shelter showed me how important it is to help dogs who have been abandoned and give them a second chance in life, using the methods that I learned at ABC. My joy is to watch the dogs smiling and greeting me happily when they see me, considering me the leader of their pack. I play with them, I brush them, I massage them, I walk them, and I praise them and get them to recover their pride and self esteem. I also teach them obedience commands and I get them ready to be adopted, no matter their breed or previous traumas, from pit-bulls to toy dogs.
The best part is that now I am volunteering in this no-kill organization and I will continue to do so forever.

With my certification in animal behavior from ABC, I am planning to become a full-time dog behavior expert. I plan on continuing my education by taking further courses and attending seminars related to animal care. ABC made me realized that my mission was not in the legal field, but that I was destined to accomplish great things by helping creatures that could not speak out for themselves.

With this mission in mind, I founded Fancy Dogs Corporation with a group of professionals who share a common bond – our love of animals. Our objective is to protect and serve animals by educating people and training their beloved pets. We are becoming mentors to our clients so they can give love and respect to their dogs. We help them to enjoy safer, happier and better lives with their best friend.

Within our staff, I have my Scottie, Tina M., as an advisor in doggie psychology. She also holds a seat in my board of directors.


Kelli Neufeld
College Student and ABC Certified Dog Trainer

I have always had a great love for animals. When I was 12 years old, I adopted my first dog, Autumn. Immediately I knew my path in life – to work with dogs. A year later I adopted another German shepherd mix, Sierra, which only strengthened my desire to follow my path. Without “my girls” I know that I would be way off track and probably lost in life. Knowing that I wanted to help animals, I started on the route to becoming a veterinarian. Being a veterinarian was the only way I thought I could fulfill my love of making a difference in animal’s lives. After becoming aware of the millions of homeless dogs and of the unfortunate reality of America’s shelter system, I knew that I wanted to make a difference for the dogs that truly need the most help. I wanted to focus on behavior and learn how to prevent dogs from being surrendered and help those already in shelters to get out and into loving homes.

When I found ABC, I knew their program would be extremely beneficial to me. I chose ABC because I know the importance of having certification and professional training. ABC offered a flexible schedule with both online and hands-on work. I got to learn from an invaluable Mentor Trainer. What really made my experience at ABC great was the genuine interest all the staff had in my success.

As a certified dog trainer, I am training part-time while I work towards a degree in psychology with a minor in veterinary science at the University of Arizona. I want to incorporate my certification with my degree to create my own training business after college. My life goal is to operate my own dog rescue/shelter.

I owe my success to ABC and all the staff who offered such great support, as well as to Autumn, Sierra, and Sadie (my beloved shar pei & pit bull mix who has crossed the rainbow bridge), the greatest dogs who have loved me unconditionally every day and have given me the strength to accomplish all that I have.


Dennis Fehling
Former Aerospace Industry Professional and Window-Cleaning Business Owner and Owner of “Friends for Life Dog Training”

I believe this is what I was meant to do with the rest of my life. After eight years in the military and 23 years in the aerospace industry and being the owner and operator of a small but successful window cleaning business, I realized it was time for a change. Working with dogs has been a life-long passion for me, but until about two years ago, I didn't plan on making a career out of it. My wife and I are dog lovers without a doubt. We are the proud companions of seven dogs. At the time of this photo, one of our pack members (our wolf dog, Tuka) was at the vet with some stomach issues.

Some dear friends of ours have commented more than I can count that they really believe I was "raised by wolves," so I figured it was about time I put my love for all things dogs to the test. I cannot tell you how much my life has changed going through the ABC program. From start to finish, it has been a journey of heartache and pure joy. The heartache part stemmed from my volunteer time at the shelter, but I still spend a fair bit of time there. Seeing all of these beautiful animals and working with them and interacting with the shelter staff really made me realize why I have chosen to become a dog trainer with my mission being to keep as many dogs with their owners as I possibly can and to do whatever it takes to keep any dog from being euthanized. The pure joy part comes when I work with a dog that is considered unworkable or un-trainable and seeing the results from the training I have received through ABC in a very positive light. I looked into many other schools and none really offered what I was looking for. The material is very thorough in its approach to animal behavior; I felt that I was really getting an education, not just on the surface but a very deep understanding of how dogs tick.

The externship part was a blast. I was assigned to, in my opinion, some of the best agility trainers around – Stephanie Morris and Jane Devlin. I learned so much from them, I will be forever in their debt.

My plans are to become a full-time dog trainer specializing in behavior problems including aggression, both dog on dog and dog on human. I plan on continuing my education by attending workshops that specifically deal with aggression issues and behavior modification treatment. ABC has given me the tools to really fulfill my dream of becoming a great dog trainer.

My business name is Friends for Life Dog Training. The reason I chose that name is another success story from my training with ABC. One of our rescue dogs who we call Mr. Kingsley, a 75lb pit bull, was going to be put down because he was going kennel crazy at the shelter I volunteered for. We took a chance on him and adopted him. Our German shepherd Meika wanted nothing to do with him and we were almost forced to give him up. With a lot of work and training, he is now a very happy and loving member of our family. Meika and him not only live and train together; they have even been spotted sleeping together. Thanks, ABC, for helping me to help my best friends. Thanks to my Program Manager, Azure, and my Externship Coordinator, Heather, for staying with me and helping me get through a very demanding but rewarding course.


Janet French
Technician at HACH and Owner of “Be the Leader Dog Training”

I have been an animal lover my whole life. Dogs are my passion, though. I am an Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer. I help owners understand that changing training approaches will make for successful training experiences. Each dog, like their owners, is an individual and I evaluate each dog to find the best method that will work for them. I have worked for veterinarians throughout the years and I have been a dog groomer since 1974. Rehabilitating abused dogs has always been my specialty. I also train and rehabilitate horses. I have a Pek-a-Poo, a Greyhound, a Manx, a Quarter Horse Paint crop-out and a Mule. My husband and I love our kids. My specialty is behavior problems.

The ABC program is great. I chose it because they realize that you have to be a well-rounded trainer so that you can help all dogs and their owners. It is important to evaluate each situation and know that what worked for one dog may not work for the next. I will find the method that will work for each dog and owner.

I work at HACH where I make water probe cables. I solder and run an injection molding machine at night. I love my job! It makes it easy for me to pursue my ABC career.


Joanna Cristalli
ABC Certified Dog Trainer

I’ve always had a love for all animals but really found my love of dogs in my first ones, Bear and Jade, who were my inspiration to take the step and make a career of training dogs. When I was growing up, my family always had cats so I didn’t have a dog until I got married. Now a dog will always be a part of my family and my life.

I have been working in the corporate world for over 15 years; suddenly my days became very boring and monotonous and I thought to myself, “life is too short not to enjoy what you do every day!” It was then I realized I wanted to follow my passion and start an entirely new career working with dogs. Once I made this decision, I immediately started researching options to become a trainer. With many different companies, courses and agendas to choose from, I chose ABC because of the flexibility to complete the coursework online and in my own time. This was very convenient since I work full time. My knowledge of dogs at this time was rather minimal so the information provided in the curriculum was precise, detailed and great for me! The stages flowed perfectly for me to understand and the hands-on portion is what really put the finishing touches on it. When I found a local animal shelter to complete my volunteer hours, I knew I would continue volunteering to help the less fortunate dogs become more adoptable. I am hoping to start my dog training career with a local training company to gain more knowledge and experience so I feel more confident in following and fulfilling my dream, which is to one day start my own business and offer private lessons as well as group classes. My goal is to help families with dogs grow and live together in a positive and happy way!

In the last stages of my studies, we unfortunately lost our beloved Jade, so my incentive to do what I love grows stronger every day.

Thank you ABC for enabling me to follow my dream.


Crystal L. Williams, Honors Graduate
Stay-At-Home Mom and ABC Certified Dog Trainer

My path to becoming an ABC Certified Trainer started when I had to put my pit bull, Duke, in a rehabilitation program. I had rescued him from fighting, and consequently, he had aggression issues towards other dogs when food was around. The prospect of being able to rehabilitate an animal from such a behavior absolutely amazed me. So, I did my research, and everywhere I looked, I saw ABC’s logo. I put in an inquiry and got a call from admissions the next day. Just weeks later, I received my books in the mail.

Halfway through my training, I became pregnant with twins. I started my externship phase at five months pregnant, and got put on bed rest right after finishing the aptitude stage. Three months after having my son and my daughter, I jumped right back into training, even though my son was in the hospital. I finished up with my participation stage of the externship and got to work on my volunteer phase. Then I studied, studied, studied. I was so close to graduating with honors, and I did not want to blow it on the final exam.

On July 9, I submitted my final for grading, and on July 13, my Program Manager Azure Long called me with the news that I had done it! I was finally graduating, and with honors.

Currently, I conduct private training sessions part-time at the Jersey Shore, besides being a stay-at-home mom to my twins, and five dogs (three beagles, a yellow lab, and an English mastiff). I am also interested in educating people about pit bulls. I want to people to understand the truth about pit bulls and about dog fighting. I would love nothing more than to help clear up their name, and do away with BSL once and for all. Moreover, I hope to start a rescue of my own one day.


Jennifer Guastella
Teacher and Owner of "Dog World"

One of my earliest memories is of pretending to read books to my German Shepherd, Max, in his doghouse outside. I used to get up early in the morning and walk him. No one could quite figure out why this 120 lb monster of a dog would walk obediently by my side when my little arms could never have held him should he have chosen to run. The strength of such a bond is a mystery to me, but the love of a dog still fills me with wonder and awe.

My affinity with all animals began in our household, which always included at least two dogs and usually an injured bird, orphaned bunny, or some other little friend in need. At the age of eight, I began riding horses and this soon developed into a full-time hobby. I rode Morgan horses and began showing on both a local and national level until about the age of 21. This experience, more than any other in my life, taught me that dedication, consistency, and hard work equaled success. Those lessons transferred into all areas of my life as I pursued an education at the State University of New York at Fredonia. I earned my teaching degree in Secondary English Education and learned how rewarding it is to pass knowledge on to others.

About three years ago, my son Alex began learning agility from his grandmother. He was fortunate to be able to work with her dog, Mach Minka, and was so enthusiastic he pulled me in! Soon, I was attending classes with our new Boxer, Shiloh, and the light began to turn on. I loved the process and began to feel the same excitement that I felt all those years before when I had worked with and shown the horses. I also began to see the opportunities available and realized that it was time for a change. With three children at home who are all approaching their teens, I felt it necessary to be available for them and not work full-time. Maybe it was time to be my own boss, and pursue a career that had meaning for me.

I began researching dog training programs in my area and quickly discovered the web site for ABC. The curriculum was so comprehensive; I felt right away that this was something that was actually attainable. The staff won me over immediately and I was on my way. I guess timing is everything! My experience with ABC has allowed me to take something that was just a hobby and a dream and cultivate it into a career. I have come to recognize that there is a need to strengthen the bond and bridge the communication gap between dogs and their owners. This ensures a more cohesive household and reduces the number of owners forced to give up their pets because of behavior issues.

My dream for the future is to create a canine super-center where owners can come for training, grooming, daycare, or simply to play and enjoy their dogs. Because Western New York isn't an area that promotes dog parks, I believe that this type of recreation center is greatly needed and will be a huge success. To that end, I have begun private, in-home training to gain experience and build a strong client base. I also hope to add group classes to my curriculum for the added benefits of socializing dogs together. It is exciting to be pursuing something that I believe in so completely.

ABC has been instrumental in providing the skills and knowledge that will allow me to build a strong foundation for my business. The externship offered an amazing opportunity to apply the skills and ideas that I had learned in a practical setting. The business building concepts that I learned have also been invaluable to building my business. I hope that in the future I will be able to act as a Mentor Trainer myself and continue to promote a program that has changed my life and given me the opportunity to realize a lifelong dream.


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