About Ann Marie Easton, Ph.D., CPDT-KSA, PMCT
Ann Marie Easton is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge & Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA) and Pat Miller Certified Trainer (PMCT). Ann Marie also has a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and is uniquely skilled at applying scientific principles to dog training.
As a scientist, Ann Marie embraced the positive reinforcement school of dog training because it is based on decades of scientific research. But as an animal lover, she was drawn to positive training because it effectively improves dogs’ behavior without punishment. Both people and dogs enjoy this learning process, and Ann Marie’s clients ultimately enjoy better-behaved dogs.
Before starting Pawsitive Companionship, Ann Marie earned her dog training chops assessing dogs for Memphis Animal Services and the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County, a service she continues to this day for the Humane Society. She was also the lead instructor of basic family manners dog training classes at The Dog’s Day.
Ann Marie continually sharpens her dog training skills through continuing education and professional development by regularly attending workshops, classes, and seminars offered by leaders in the dog training and behavior field. She actively participates in the local dog training community as a mentor for Animal Behavior College students, is an official Canine Good Citizen evaluator, and has founded the Positive Dog Trainers of the Mid-South – a network of dog trainers in the Memphis area who meet monthly to discuss dog training and behavior. She has served as an assistant at a Pat Miller Peaceable Paws Reactive Rover workshop.
Ann Marie’s specialties include training dogs to be great family pets, nurturing puppies into well-mannered adult dogs, and helping reactive dogs (and their long-suffering owners) actually enjoy meeting other dogs. She has loved dogs her entire life, and truly loves professionally training dogs to become full-fledged family members.
Ann Marie shares her home with her husband John and their 5 dogs, one of which is highlighted below.
- Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers
- Association of Professional Dog Trainers
- Peaceable Paws Affiliates
- International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
- Pet Professional Guild
My rescue dog Penny has made amazing progress with her reactivity thanks to Ann Marie’s training. Her kind, patient, and positive approach was just what Penny needed.
— Marilyn Dunavant, Memphis, TN
About Bailey — My Canine Inspiration
How can training transform reactive rovers into calm canines? Here’s one dog’s story – my dog’s story – that proves reactive dogs can live full and happy lives.
I was a volunteer dog walker at the Humane Society when first I met Bailey. Such a sweet, friendly dog. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been properly socialized as a puppy, so his adopters returned him to the shelter complaining he was fearful and reactive on walks.
Bailey clearly deserved a stable, permanent home where he’d be appreciated and happy. But I knew that without effective training, his chances of finding one were slim – so I began working with him.
I’d just started studying professional dog training at Peaceable Paws Academy, which teaches a reward-based “counter conditioning” approach using positive reinforcement. I’d also seen another more control-based training technique used on a “reality” TV show. So, as a trained scientist, I decided to do a little experiment: test both methods to see which one worked better.
I first tried the television trainer’s method, which involved use of force. It did not go well. In fact, Bailey’s fear increased. Then I tried Peaceable Paws’ method, which relied on a positive approach to overcome fear – and Bailey was soon doing things he’d previously feared to do.
As I continued working with Bailey at the shelter, other volunteers commented that he came alive whenever he heard my voice – so home he came. Within a month of adopting Bailey, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. Taking care of Bailey has given me firsthand experience, and a very personal perspective, on living with a dog who has issues, whether behavioral or medical.
Nowadays, Bailey is my “assistant trainer” with reactive dogs. His laid-back demeanor helps dogs become more comfortable as we work together to reduce their anxiety and reactive behavior.
And so, we all lived happily ever after. Bailey found the loving family he, and every other dog, so needs and deserves. Me: I’m just thankful to have Bailey in my life. Because he brings joy to our home sweet home every day – and helped me discover my true calling as a professional dog trainer.