About

JW Dog Training & Behavior provides professional, expert dog training and behavior support to the D.C. area -- primarily McLean and Great Falls, VA, as well as NW DC. We specialize in one-on-one lessons with clients, working virtually and in the client’s home to thoroughly address behavior issues and build skills.

 

Training sessions are fun and low stress for both the dog and human. Using the science of learning, with an emphasis on positive reinforcement, we create effective, easy-to-follow training plans that are designed to make dogs and their owners successful.

 

We use positive, science-based methods when working to change behavior, including clicker training, play, real life rewards, management, and more. We focus on building and reinforcing desirable behavior, while also implementing structure and management to decrease undesirable behavior. We tailor our training plans to the individual client's needs, whether it is basic manners or a more complex behavior issue such as fear, anxiety, leash-reactivity, or aggression.

 

We teach human clients how to better understand their dogs’ behavior and communication, and help them improve their training skills to more effectively work with their dogs and see better results.

Meet the Trainers

Juliana DeWillems

Juliana DeWillems is the Owner and Head Trainer at JW Dog Training. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP),  Certified Behavior Consultant Canine (CBCC-KA), and a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC). Juliana has been training dogs since 2014 after she graduated with distinction from the Karen Pryor Academy. She is now a faculty member at the Karen Pryor Academy and teaches the Dog Trainer Professional program.

Juliana works full time as a private trainer in the Washington, D.C. area. She specializes in reactivity, anxiety, and aggression cases. She enjoys applying her knowledge of canine behavior and the science of learning when working closely with owners to improve their dog's behavior. Watching the training plan strengthen the bond between owner and dog -- whether it's a puppy, adolescent, or adult dog-- is her favorite part of the job.

You can regularly catch Juliana on TV, radio, and online programs. She has shared her dog training expertise on WTOP and Good Morning Washington, and she was a regular guest on The Pet Show with Dr. Katy for many years.  Juliana currently co-hosts the Live from The Ranch online broadcast with Ken Ramirez. She also provides quarterly free seminars and webinars for dog owners through the non-profit Your Dog's Friend.

Areas of Expertise: Fear, Reactivity, Aggression, Anxiety, Puppies, Basic Manners, Adolescents, Dog-Cat Introductions, Dog-Dog Aggression, Virtual Training

Services Offered: Speaking Engagements, Media Inquiries

Not currently taking on new training clients

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Kayleigh Sullivan

Kayleigh Sullivan is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)  in the Washington, D.C. metro area. She has been training animals for over 10 years. For eight of those years Kayleigh has been training elephants using positive reinforcement-based training.

 

Kayleigh graduated with a BA in Animal Sciences with a focus on Animal Behavior. She has experience working at veterinary clinics, volunteering at animal shelters in behavior departments, and many years working with exotic animals in sanctuary and zoo/aquarium settings.

 

Now, Kayleigh is taking her skills to help people succeed in their training and behavior goals with their companion animals, using the same science-based positive reinforcement techniques she has been using for over a decade. Kayleigh believes that training is incredibly important to the welfare of any animal under human care no matter the species. Kayleigh enjoys teaching people how to efficiently communicate with their dog. She believes in having a clear level of communication in both directions to set you and your pup up for success.

Areas of Expertise: Puppies, Family Dog Manners, Socialization, Husbandry Care, Dog-Cat Introductions, Newly Adopted Dog, Enrichment, Virtual Training

Services Offered: Virtual Training, Limited in-person training in NW DC

Miranda Hitchcock

Miranda is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and a Fear Free Certified trainer. She began working with dogs as an animal shelter volunteer in Maryland, and fell down the rabbit hole of learning about dog behavior. She started with doing shelter dog assessments and playgroups, then started doing private training before moving out to Austin, TX to continue working in the sheltering world.

 

In Texas Miranda worked in shelter leadership for both nonprofit and municipal shelters, and worked with thousands of animals evacuated from Hurricane Harvey. After years of managing behavior and animal care teams in shelters, Miranda left to return to private training. She founded a non-profit called Every Dog Behavior and Training that seeks to expand training resources to the Austin, TX community.

 

Miranda is a super behavior nerd, working toward her Master’s in Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare from Virginia Tech. She loves helping dog people have “a-ha!” moments about working with their pups, especially in the tougher cases. She’s passionate about helping families work through behavior challenges, and providing emotional support to both the humans and canines along the way.

Areas of Expertise: Fear, Reactivity, Aggression, Anxiety, Virtual Training

Services Offered: Virtual Training

Cynthia Robertson

Cynthia is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP) who graduated with distinction in 2017.  She has also earned her Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) accreditation. Cynthia is an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and an AKC STAR Puppy Evaluator, as well as certified in Cat and Dog First Aid and CPR by the American Red Cross. She holds a Level 1 TAGTeach Certification and a Novice Trick Dog Title from Do More With Your Dog. 

 

Having grown up and lived with several dogs with behavioral issues, including fear and aggression, Cynthia learned first-hand what a difference training methods can have in making – or breaking – your relationship with your dog. Cynthia is passionate about teaching people how to deepen their connection and communication with their pet and improving both the owner and pet’s quality of life in doing so. She loves watching clients faces light up as they hit success points and learn how fun training can be.

Cynthia currently resides in Great Falls, VA, where she lives with her 1-year-old Goldendoodle, Knox. She hopes to become a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine (CBCC-KA) in the near future.

Areas of Expertise: Puppies, Socialization, Adolescents, Basic Manners, Newly Adopted Dogs, Enrichment, Reactivity

Services Offered: Virtual training, In-person training in Northern Virginia

Kat Heckert

Kat is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP), and a Fear Free Certified Trainer. She became interested in behavior and training when she entered the shelter world as an Adoption Associate and never looked back.

 

Since 2017, Kat has worked in the behavior department of two animal shelters and has provided training services to shelter volunteers, fosters, and adopters. In 2020, she decided to take the leap from animal sheltering to private training and discovered how rewarding it was to work so closely with owners and their dogs. She has experience working with dogs with a variety of behaviors and specializes in fear, anxiety, and reactivity. She also enjoys working with puppies, adolescent dogs, and newly adopted dogs.

 

Kat is passionate about helping people connect with their dogs using positive reinforcement and force-free training methods. She loves to incorporate enrichment activities into her training plans and thinking of creative ways to approach challenging behaviors. She believes in creating a compassionate and supportive environment for dogs and their owners to set everyone up for success.

 

Areas of expertise: Fear, anxiety, reactivity, newly adopted dogs, puppies, basic manners, dog body language, enrichment

Services Offered: In-person training in Arlington, VA, Virtual Training

Teresa Villatoro

Teresa has been training animals for over ten years. She got her start in the animal shelter world, and most recently managed a Behavior and Training Department at a D.C. area shelter. Teresa is currently enrolled in the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional program, and she will be taking her Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) exam in the fall.

After spending the past decade in animal welfare, Teresa is ready to jump into the world of private training. She is excited to help owners form better relationships and deeper bonds with their dogs. She feels that setting both owner and dog for success and providing a space that is non-judgmental and supportive are key in helping address behavior problems.

Teresa loves animal behavior, and her background with both dogs in the shelter and adopted dogs settling into their new homes has given her knowledge, experience, and a chance to use creative problem solving when helping people with their dogs.

 

Teresa también es bilingüe y habla español. Si usted requiere una entrenadora que hable español ella está bien orgullosa en poder ayudar la comunidad Latina.

Areas of Expertise: Newly Adopted Dogs, Reactivity, Fear, Enrichment, Adolescents, Dog-Cat Introductions

Services Offered: In-person training in Arlington, VA, Virtual Training