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!