Instructors & Staff

Click a name to jump down to your instructor’s bio:


Sarah Stoycos, KPA-CTP, instructor


Sarah’s goal is helping dogs become happy, healthy life-long companions to their people. A former college professor who loves to teach, Sarah enjoys meeting new people and showing them ways to communicate better with their dogs.

  • Owner/trainer of Laughing Dog Academy
  • Education:
    • Graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA-CTP)
  • Memberships:
  • Over a decade of experience working with a variety of animal species (dogs, seals, chimps, and monkeys!)
  • Experienced handling many different behavioral and training issues

(Contact Sarah.)

We are so thankful to Sarah and YDF.  We now have a calm, happy, and confident one year old dog. Benny has much greater impulse control, walks better on a leash, and probably loves treats even more because he knows he’s earning them! It’s so much fun to be able to communicate with him and to see how much he loves to learn.

  • Katy H.

Michelle Mange, instructor


  • Owner/trainer at Right Start Maryland
  • Teaches Basic Manners 1, Basic Manners 2, Reactive Dog Class, and Agility at Your Dog’s Friend
  • Over 20 years of experience in positive dog training

(Contact Michelle.)

Michelle is very knowledgeable and it was great to see her demonstrate some things with her own dog. It was clear she had a strong understanding of how to train, and was eager to share what she knew with everyone. I learned a lot about things to do, what not to do, and how some of the things I did could be confusing to my dog. I look forward to more classes with her!

  • Jennifer N.

Lisa Arant, instructor

  • YDF-LisaTrainer/owner of Small and Tall Dog Training
  • Certifications:
  • Memberships:
  • Experienced foster for various shelter and rescue dogs
  • Worked at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter as a kennel technician
  • Worked as a veterinarian technician at a private practice
  • In addition to her own dog training business, Lisa also teaches a variety of classes at Your Dog’s Friend including Basic Manners, Confidence Building, Canine Good Citizen Preparation, Play and Games for Small Dogs, Puppy Kindergarten, Puppy 1st Grade, and Fearful Dog class and has coached for Reactive Dog class.

(Contact Lisa.)

Lisa ensured my shy dog always felt safe. She’s knowledgeable, patient, and kind and always uses gentle techniques. I hope to bring Cookie to classes at YDF for a long time.

  • Karen G.

Susan Sanderson, PMCT, instructor


  • Teaches at Joyful Dog LLC in Great Falls, VA
  • Teaches agility classes at Your Dog’s Friend
  • Certifications:
    • Pat Miller Certified Trainer (PMCT)
  • Education:
    • Pat Miller’s Academy
    • Sue Sternberg and Pia Silvani’s Instructors’ Training Course
    • Two sessions of Bob Bailey’s Operant Conditioning Chicken Workshops
    • Agility workshops with Stuart Mah and One Mind Dogs
  • Competes with her dog, Falco, in the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) at the Masters level
  • Volunteers as a trainer with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington
  • Memberships:
    • Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)
    • Mid-Atlantic Association of Positive Professional Pet Trainers
    • Pet Professional Guild

(Contact Susan.)

Susan gave encouragement, suggestions for better handling, tips and tricks for entertaining while my dog Conner impatiently waited for his next turn. Each week there were new and interesting courses to challenge both the dog and the handler. Susan & her assistant Debbie seem to understand exactly what your dog needs and are patient, kind and caring.

  • Jane S.

Jacy Kelley, CNWI


  • Owner and lead trainer for Canine Copilots, LLC
  • Experience:
    • Nearly 20 years of experience working and training dogs
    • Formerly a Military Working Dog Handler in the United States Air Force and a Contract Dog Handler for numerous Federal Agencies
  • Certification:
    • The first Certified K-9 Nose Work instructor (CNWI) in the Mid-Atlantic region
    • Certifying Official for NACSW® official trials
    • Judge for NACSW® official trials
  • Teaches Nose Work classes in both Maryland and Virginia
  • Has instructed at K-9 Nose Work® Camps
  • Assists other trainers in their pursuit of building and developing their own Nose Work programs

(Contact Jacy.)

Jacy always makes class fun and encouraged us to continue our study and try Nose Work trials. Isabelle has become much more focused on me and less on other people & dogs. Jacy not only helps train dogs… he helps train the owner!

  • Diane G.

Rachel Binfield, CNWI


Rachel first came to Your Dog’s Friend as a student in Reactive Dog Class. After graduating from Reactive Dog Class, she was invited to be a Reactive Dog Class coach. Rachel began taking Nose Work classes with Jacy that year and became a huge fan. She started assisting Jacy in his classes and enrolled in the CNWI® program to become an instructor.

  • Certifications:
    • Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI)
  • Nose Work Titles:
    • with Aeris (pictured): NW1, NW2, NW3

Rachel teaches classes on Fridays at Your Dog’s Friend and participates in the Canine Copilots Travel Class program.

(Contact Rachel.)

Rachel is so passionate about Nose Work. You can’t help but get caught up in her enthusiasm about the way odor is moving around the room and how your dog is tracking down its source!

  • E. F.

Judy Wickliffe, CNWI

  • ydf-judyOwner and trainer at Noseworthy Canines, LLC in Ellicott City, MD
  • Certifications:
    • Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI)
  • Titles:
    • Her dog, Max, is the first PBGV (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen) in the U.S. to have earned an NW1, NW2, and an NW3 Title
    • Trained and trialed in field work and hunting with her English Cocker Spainels and PBGVs
    • Has also trained and titled with her dogs in agility, freestyle, and rally obedience
  • Experienced therapy dog handler

Judy was a part of the first Nose Work classes Jacy ever taught and has been a big part in the development of classes and trials that Canine Copilots, LLC has hosted.

(Contact Judy.)

Alfhild Winder, CPDT-KA, instructor


Al is knowledgeable about a variety of dog training methods. She continually enhances her training skills and knowledge of canine behavior by attending seminars, training courses and conferences given by today’s top trainers.

  • Owner of Come When Called Dog Training
  • Has been training dogs since 1996
  • Certifications:
    • Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
    • AKC Canine Good Citizen Test evaluator
  • Education:
    • Earned a Counseling Certificate for behavior problems from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, led by Jean Donaldson
    • Graduate of Bob Bailey’s Chicken Camp in Sequim, Washington
    • Completed the Growly Class program at the SF/SPCA Academy
    • Has taken continuing education classes taught by Jean Donaldson, Susan Garrett, Leslie Nelson, Sue Sternberg, Kathy Sdao, Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, Suzanne Hetts, and Pamela Reid
    • Completed Nose Work classes taught by Amy Herot and Jill Marie O’Brien
  • Teaches competition obedience at Your Dog’s Friend, gives private lessons in clients’ homes, and counsels individuals on solutions for problem behaviors in their dogs
  • Has co-chaired the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test
  • Judges and stewards for obedience matches and trials in the area
  • Memberships:
    • Association of Pet Dog Trainers
    • Capital Dog Training Club
    • German Shepherd Dog Club of Greater Washington

(Contact Al.)

Alfhild was a great teacher and can work with any dog. I was very impressed! My dog is a herding breed and everything draws her attention. Alfhild was able to teach me techniques to keep her attention focused on me.

  • Dixie H.

Hedda Garland, CPDT-KA, PMCT, instructor

  • HeddaFounder of School of Dogs
  • Certifications:
    • Pat Miller Certified Trainer (PMCT)
    • Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
  • Education:
    • Attended the Canine Behavior and Training, Behavior Modification, and Advanced Behavior Studies academies at Peaceable Paws
    • Completed a one year formal apprenticeship under Pat Miller at Peaceable Paws
    • Frequently attends educational seminars and conferences, like Clicker Expo and APDT Conference
    • Attended seminars conducted by Patricia McConnell, Steve White, Kathy Sdao, Sue Sternberg, Pia Silvani, Roger Abrantes, Nicole Wilde, Susanne Clothier, Terry Ryan, Sophia Yin, and others
  • Presenter for Dogs & Storks and Dog & Baby Connection. These programs helps parents and grandparents-to-be in their endeavor to prepare their dogs for the arrival and life with a new family member or to adjust to the new stages of baby’s develpment while including the dog in activities and keep everyone safe.
  • Teaches classes and summer camps for kids at Your Dog’s Friend
  • One of her special interests is in Assistance Dogs and the support they can provide to children with Autism. She has worked with several families with autistic children and their assistance dogs. She offers guidance and training to people who train their own assistance dogs.

(Contact Hedda.)

Marnie Montgomery, PMCT, CPDT-KA, instructor


  • Owner and lead trainer of Joyful Dog LLC
  • Certifications:
    • Certified Tellington TTouch practitioner
    • Pat Miller Certified Trainer (PMCT), having completed academies in Basic Training and Behavior, Behavior Modification, Canine Aggression, Advanced Behavior Studies, and a one-on-one week-long internship with Pat Miller
    • Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
  • Memberships:
  • Volunteer trainer at Loudoun County Animal Shelter

Marnie’s training approach draws on 20+ years’ experience in diverse areas of adult education honed through study and experience in Tellington TTouch and rewards-based methods of dog training and stress reduction.

(Contact Marnie.)

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!

  • Laurie

Joyce Loebig, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA, instructor


  • Trainer/owner of Rewards Dog Training
  • Certifications:
    • Graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA-CTP)
    • Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
    • B.A. in Psychology
  • Volunteer at WARL and Montgomery County Humane Society
  • Memberships:
  • Continues to enhance her education through webinars, workshops, and professional organizations

Joyce’s goal is to help clients better understand and enjoy their dogs. By teaching them how dogs learn and communicate, they can improve not only their dog’s manners and behavior but their relationship with their dog.

(Contact Joyce.)

Debra Ekman, founder & administrator


Debra founded Your Dog’s Friend.

She is an Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT), but has retired from teaching to serve as Your Dog’s Friend’s administrator. Debra organizes all of Your Dog’s Friend’s free workshops and events.

When you call Your Dog’s Friend for advice, she is the friendly voice on the phone.

She and her dog Jenny (seen in the photo) assist in Reactive Dog Class.

(Contact Debra.)

E. Foley, webmaster


E. Foley is a board member and YDF’s webmaster. Her dogs have taken many classes at YDF, including Puppy Kindergarten, Basic Manners 1 & 2, Agility Games, Agility, and Nose Work.

Her two cocker spaniels are agility dogs. Titania earned several titles in CPE agility before retiring and E’s new puppy, Syrio, is well on his way to being an awesome agility partner. Titania currently takes Nose Work classes with Rachel and Titania recently earned her Barn Hunt Novice (RATN) title.

Her cocker/beagle mix, Rex, is a special boy who prefers to stay out of the spotlight. He was rescued from a hoarding situation and is slowly learning about how to trust people and be a dog.

E helps moderate the Fearful Dogs Facebook group, where she is inspired daily by trainer Debbie Jacobs and other fearful dog owners from around the world.

By day, E works in marketing.

(Contact E.)