What sets Joyful Dog apart from other dog training facilities is owner Marnie Montgomery’s belief that learning should be fun for both the dog and the human.
When Marnie asked me to assist at Joyful Dog in 2013, I was immediately attracted to the possibility of helping her make a difference in people’s lives and the lives of their dogs. I quickly saw that Marnie did not want to open just another “obedience” school, where students and dogs are given rote behaviors to practice. She wanted to create an environment where humans and dogs are treated with respect while applying the most recent advances in canine learning science.
Marnie also brought to the endeavor Tellington TTouch methods that develop a deeper level of trust and communication between humans and dogs, an exciting addition that sets the tone for a rewarding relationship between students and their pups.
Marnie’s background is unique among trainers in the area: not only has she spent years learning from some of the most well-respected dog behaviorists and trainers in the country, but she can also draw on her broad experience in adult education to make each person who walks into her class know that they will be successful. Her work in Tellington Touch is truly a labor of love, employing the techniques in all aspects of her teaching. Marnie is continually learning new training methods by attending seminars and workshops, as well as being active in number of professional associations.
One of the first things Joyful Dog students notice is how small Marnie keeps all of the classes — everyone gets loads of individual attention, progressing with their dogs at a rate that respects each team’s strengths but also gives owners the chance to be amazed at just how much their dog really can accomplish.
Marnie fosters an atmosphere in her classes where students are encouraged to question, suggest, and get excited about what they are learning — this goes double for me as an assistant. She’s helped me gain a level of confidence in my skills to where I can not only step up my game with clients, but also use my skills out in the community, including helping to develop and implement enrichment programs for dogs at my local shelter and working to give dogs a second chance at a happy life with Foster Dog Alliance.
Adding Kim Miller to Joyful Dog, with her decades of experience handling all varieties of dogs and other animals, broadened our group’s abilities considerably. Now I have both Kim and Marnie to use as sounding boards for when I’ve found myself stymied about a tricky behavior situation, or wondering how to develop more creative ways to get a student to see the next step in their dog’s training.
While I am still early in my career as a dog trainer, it is not exaggeration to say that I am miles ahead of where I would be had I not accepted Marnie’s generous offer last fall to come work with her at Joyful Dog.
Marnie’s serene composure, infinite patience, and her own pure joy in this work serve to bring out the joyful dog in even the most difficult furry companion.
Joyful Dog was destined to become the name of Marnie Montgomery’s business. The word “joy” aptly describes how she views dogs and also the way she approaches working with people. As a fellow dog trainer and owner of my own business in Montgomery County, MD, I know many other trainers in the greater Washington, DC area and Marnie stands out.
She has a terrific ability to “read” dogs and act accordingly, always putting their best interests at the forefront. Whether she is monitoring playing puppies, teaching a class, or working one-on-one with a dog who has serious behavioral issues, she is able to size up very quickly what needs to be done and act—or not act—accordingly.
Marnie is a first rate teacher. While there are many trainers who work well with dogs, a relatively small percentage have an understanding of how to communicate well with people. I have observed her working one-on-one with challenging clients and have repeatedly been impressed by her calm and patient manner. She is able to strike a perfect balance by attending equally to the needs of the dog and the person, even when these two things may not be reconciled easily. Moreover, I’ve never seen her take the easy way out in a difficult situation. She has far too much integrity to do that.
Marnie brings to the table a thorough understanding of dog training skills as well as the expertise she has developed as a certified TTouch Practitioner. This is an unusual combination that serves all of her clients well. She can view every challenge in front of her through multiple lenses and solve problems creatively. She also has an unyielding desire to learn more and a willingness to try new things. This openness and flexibility is one of the things that drives me to consult with her when I need an outside perspective. Marnie truly embodies an entrepreneurial spirit.
Every so often, I need to find someone to teach one of my own classes in my absence. Marnie is my go-to person. She has substituted for me on many occasions and I always receive positive feedback from my clients. In teaching classes, I believe it is essential that instructors not only convey information clearly, but also embody the sheer joy it can be to interact with a dog and celebrate the human-canine relationship. It is the relationship that they develop that will ultimately serve them the most in the years to come. This can’t be done through words alone; good teachers do this naturally by example and I know I can trust Marnie with this responsibility every time.
Whether someone wants to take a class simply to have fun with his/her dog or needs help with a serious behavioral issue, Marnie is a terrific choice. In fact, were I to confront a behavioral challenge with my own dog, I would put Marnie at the top of my list of colleagues to consult—high praise indeed from a fellow dog trainer!
I have known and worked with Marnie Montgomery of Joyful Dog for several years and can highly recommend her company and her services. She is a skilled, competent and ethical professional and very committed to compassionate and effective dog interaction and training. Dogs and their humans can be confident they are in good hands with Marnie.
Besides her high level skills, what makes Marnie truly special is that she is a genuinely caring and kind person. She began the journey of becoming a professional dog trainer by learning how to help her own Husky-mix, Flim, overcome many challenges. I have no doubt that any client she works with will benefit from not only from her technical knowledge but also her empathy and understanding.
I have known Marnie since early in her Tellington TTouch® training, and have enjoyed watching her progress over the three years of her training. I am impressed by her dedication to building her skills in applying all aspects of the Tellington Method – TTouch, the Playground for Higher Learning and the philosophy, as well as studying other methods that help us understand our canine companions. Her charm and ability to share knowledge mark her as an outstanding teacher, trainer and communicator.
The transformation of Marnie’s own dog, Flim, is noteworthy. His behavior changed from the highest level of agitation and stress during their first training with me, to a dog who was a confident partner to Marnie during her final presentation to her classmates — required to become a practitioner.
As an apprentice practitioner Marnie collaborated with a fellow apprentice to develop half and full-day practice sessions for TTouch students to build their skills between trainings. This collaboration continues now that they are full practitioners, as Marnie’s business, Joyful Dog, brought a TTouch confidence course to Loudoun County during Great Country Farms’ Dog Days event. Practitioner Jamie Guffey traveled from Pennsylvania to work with Marnie and with TTouch students to introduce dog lovers and others to the benefits of thoughtful movement, as well as to the body work and wraps that are tremendous tools for well-being and behavioral balance for our dogs and other animals.
Marnie’s individual and group work with puppies, dogs, and their people encompasses TTouch techniques in harmony with other force-free training methods to help her clients build transformative relationships with their companion animals.
I love Marnie! It was always fun when she came to visit. She taught me how to be brave and trusting. I even walked on weird stuff like bubble wrap. When I was extra good, she had the best treats!
I don’t allow anyone to touch my paws. But, Marnie showed me it’s really ok and it doesn’t hurt a bit.
The best part, is when I got tired or a little bit worried, Marnie said ”Smidjin needs a break” or “I think she’s ready to stop”.
She actually understood what I was feeling! Then I could relax while she gave me some TTouch. Ahhhh.
My mom and I learned lots of fun stuff from Marnie. We were so sad when we moved away.
My dog and I have been students of Joyful Dog, LLC since 2013 and have been in classes led by Marnie Montgomery and her team of supporting instructors. Joyful Dog provides an outstanding service to the community and to dog owners in our area.
We started in the puppy kindergarten and moved up through several levels of the classes where we learned: basic socialization for puppies, good manners for dogs both at home and in public settings, and some TTouch and clicker training.
The professionalism, expertise and dedication that Marnie and her team at Joyful Dog bring to this work are exceptional. They were able to address a wide range of training issues and provide solutions to behavioral issues specific to each dog handler pair. The classes were a lot of fun while still providing the educational format needed for dogs and handlers to learn new techniques and make progress with their dogs.
Through attending these classes my dog learned how to interact appropriately with other dogs and how to behave in public settings. All of the training is positive and teaches the use of positive reinforcement to learn new behaviors or to modify existing behaviors.
I learned many techniques that can be applied more broadly about the impact of positive reinforcement on behavior. Businesses like Joyful Dog contribute significantly to the quality of life in our community.
As a result of these classes, my dog and I are able to go out together in the community without any concerns – we know how to address any situations that may arise when another dog approaches, when children approach or when other situations occur at the park or when walking through a crowded area.
My dog has learned so much through this training that he is progressing on to be a therapy dog. This training supports the development of a dog to the point where the dog can go into a facility for the elderly or disabled and bring joy to the residents.
Joyful Dog provides an excellent and much needed service to the community by graduating well trained dogs that can be positive influences in the lives of everyone they encounter regardless of the setting.
The difference that Marnie continues to make in the lives of Loudoun Counties homeless dogs through her volunteering at Loudoun County Animal Shelter and as a trainer for Foster Dog Alliance sets her apart from any other dog trainers in Loudoun County. Joyful Dog uses only positive training techniques combined with TTouch which is a unique approach not seen in other dog training opportunities in Loudoun. Owner and trainer Marnie Montgomery is a very special person who is an absolute natural when it comes to communicating with dogs and their owners, giving them a learning experience that brings them together in a fun and positive way.
Your Dog’s Friend is a non-profit that helps keep dogs out of shelters by educating and supporting their humans. Marnie Montgomery, owner and trainer of Joyful Dog, has contributed consistently to our programs. She has helped with puppy classes, coached in reactive dog classes, practiced Tellington TTouch with rescue dogs, and is now running Foster Dog Alliance classes in Virginia to help foster dogs become more adoptable.
It’s clear that this is Marnie’s passion and that she is truly invested in the well being of your dog and great results for your family. We have a rescue puppy and two young children, and Marnie made sure everyone was involved and understood the methods. Marnie’s patience is a gift, we highly recommend this experience.
Marnie is a gifted and intuitive dog trainer. She is passionate about what she does, and she has an amazing ability to read and connect with a dog’s psyche. Additionally, her commitment to providing the best service and her personal integrity make it easy to HIGHLY recommend her. My dogs adore her!
Marnie has a kind and compassionate heart and a remarkable amount of patience for both dogs and their owners. She helped Benji, my 1 year old rescued terrier, and I to make some excellent progress. She was full of helpful tips and solutions to working around some of the behavioral challenges that we were facing. I am certain that Benji really appreciated the large variety of treats and toys/tools she brought that helped make our sessions both productive and exciting for him.
Marnie and TTouch changed my shelter dog’s life! Ben was an exceedingly anxious dog who seemed to be perpetually stressed, even in the calmest environment. I was referred to Marnie by a trainer that Ben and I were working with after my vet ruled out any physical causes for Ben’s behaviors. Marnie worked with us diligently for 6 weeks, teaching us about different strokes, hand positions, hand pressures, wraps, and balance exercises. I was able to take and implement these techniques at home immediately, and the results have been nothing short of astonishing! Implementing just two 15-minute sessions daily, along with some time spent in a wrap each evening, Ben has stopped many of his obsessive, repetitive (and annoying!) behaviors outright. His stress levels are visibly reduced, and he is significantly more receptive to training and attentive to me in general. He truly is a completely different dog! I can’t thank Marnie (and TTouch) enough for what she has done for Ben and me!
Marnie has been a great ambassador that dogs can be trained using positive reinforcement methods, as opposed to submission or fear based training techniques. Dogs that are relinquished to rescue groups such as ours have often been turned in because the dogs were not behaving “properly”. Almost always, this was because the owners did not take the time to train their dogs, or used out of date methods which can be counterproductive.
Therefore, we are very particular about what types of trainers that we can recommend to our foster families. We never want to set up our adoptive dogs for failure – and the training done at Joyful Dog by Mamie and her staff ensures that both the dogs and owners start off on the right paw!
Ms. Montgomery sets a high standard in this regard. Not only do we refer clients to her, but she also volunteers at various local events to give free advice to dog owners. This is the second year that she will be at our annual Capitol Area Bichon Bash – we asked her back because many of our patrons took time to let me know how much they appreciated her time and advice to them. I have been organizing the “Bash” for 7 years now, and she is the first dog trainer we have ever requested to come back.
Ms. Montgomery and Joyful Dog are a true asset to our community. And we are thankful for the great work she has done for our organization.