Instructors & Staff

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


Sarah Stoycos, KPA-CTP

YDF-sarah 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
  • Certifications:
    • Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP)
  • Education:
    • B.A. Bowdoin College
    • PhD Washington University in St. Louis
    • Seminars by Ken Ramirez, Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, Ken McCort, and Terry Ryan
  • 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.)

Lisa Arant, CPDT-KA

  • Owner/trainer of Small and Tall Dog Training
  • Certifications:
  • Education:
    • Workshops/seminars by: Kathy Sdao, M.A., Ken Ramirez, Patricia McConnell, PhD., Dr. Susan Friedman, Dr. Lore Haug, Bob Bailey, Kaye Lawrence, Suzanne Clothier, Temple Grandin
    • “Is That A Chicken?” Camp
  • 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
  • Presenter for Dogs & Storks and Dog & Baby Connection with Family Paws. 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 development

(Contact Lisa.)

Susan Sanderson, PMCT3, KPA-CTP

Susan’s practice centers around force-free, rewards-based dog training and behavior work. She offers group classes and private lessons throughout the Washington, DC area. YDF-Susan

  • Teaches basic manners, Parkour (urban agility) and tricks/games classes at Joyful Dog LLC in Great Falls, VA
  • Certifications:
    • Pat Miller Certified Trainer (PMCT3)
    • Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP)
  • Education:
    • Sue Sternberg and Pia Silvani’s Instructors’ Training Course
    • Bob Bailey’s Operant Conditioning Chicken Workshops
    • Agility workshops with Stuart Mah and One Mind Dogs
    • Suzanne Clothier’s Trainers Workshop, Advances Trainers Retreat, and CARAT 1.1 Seminar
  • Memberships:
  • Has competed 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

(Contact Susan.)

Marnie Montgomery, PMCT4, CPDT-KA

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. YDF-Marnie

(Contact Marnie.)

E. Foley, CPDT-KA

E’s headfirst dive into dog behavior began when she adopted Titania, a fearful cocker spaniel. She discovered her passion for fearful dog rehab, most recently working one-on-one with cocker mixes rescued from a backyard breeder. E advises other foster parents of fearful dogs and helps manage Debbie Jacobs’ Facebook support group for fearful dog owners. E assisted in many classes at Your Dog’s Friend prior to obtaining her certification.

(Contact E.)

Jacqui Reardon, ANWI

Jacqui has been teaching K9NW® classes since May 2017. She started her nose work journey with her chocolate labs Blake and Chip when Blake was a puppy (he is now 6 years old). Hunter, her new puppy,  will be taking his Odor Recognition Test (ORT) in August 2020 and has his novice tricks title and his junior jumper title as well. Chip is now retired with his first NW3 title and several element titles and Blake has earned his NW3-Elite title and numerous element titles, in addition to competing in dock dogs, fast cat, and rally. Blake also competes in AKC scent work at the advanced level, Performance Scent Dogs at the novice level and recently attended the PA nose work camp.  Jacqui also volunteers at trials and attends seminars to further her knowledge and to watch dogs work to solve increasingly complex scent puzzles and build their confidence!

  • Certifications:
    • Associate Nose Work Instructor (ANWI)
  • Education:
    • B.S. Accounting, Loyola University
    • M.S. Taxation, University of Baltimore
    • CNWI course, NASCW
    • K9 Nose Work for Shelter Dogs Workshop
    • Various nose work, scent detection, handler workshops, seminars and coaching clinics
  • Membership:
    • National Association of Canine Scent Work (NASCW)
    • Dock Dogs Worldwide (DDWW)
    • North America Diving Dogs (NADD)
    • Oriole Dog Training Club

(Contact Jacqui.)

Joyce Loebig, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA

Joyce strives to develop training solutions that meet both the dog’s and their family’s needs. She loves looking at the world from the dog’s point of view.  Joyce is experienced in teaching classes and workshops for basic and advanced manners, puppy socialization, leash walking, reactive dogs, tricks and many other behaviors.  She has volunteered in several foster dog and animal welfare organizations in the area.

(Contact Joyce.)

Melissa Dilla, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA, CBBC-KA

Melissa and Bodhi, her Collie, work as a therapy dog team and Bodhi is also a certified R.E.A.D. dog. They’re titled and active in a variety of dog sports such as Obedience, Rally, Coursing, FCAT, Barn Hunting, Scent Work, Conformation, Tricks, and Herding. They’ve also earned the CGC, CGCA, CGCU, ATT, and Farm Dog titles as well. Melissa instructs several levels of Tricks and CGC classes and conducts evaluations at a local volunteer dog training club. She’s stewarded at club trials, and piloted the project of Fit Dog. Melissa and Bodhi contributed several admissions to the AKC PupPals program. She’s also volunteered with Hero Dogs for several years.

  • Owner/trainer at Metropolitan Dog LLC
  • Certifications:
    • Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP)
    • Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
    • Collaborative Care Partner (DN-CCP)
    • Fear Free Pet Professional
    • AKC CGC, Tricks and ATT Evaluator
    • Do More With Your Dog Evaluator
    • Certified Dog Bite Prevention Educator (DBPE)
    • PPG Pet First Aid
    • Red Cross CPR
    • Certified Service Dog Coach
    • C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator
  • Education:
    • Bachelor of Social Science
    • Seminars/workshops: Bob Bailey, Suzanne Clothier, Temple Grandin, Sue Sternberg, Michael Shikashio, Clicker Expo
  • Memberships:

(Contact Melissa.)

Linlin Cao, Ph.D., CPDT-KA, CCUI

Linlin specializes in fearful, reactive and aggressive dog training. She enjoys applying her knowledge of canine behavior and the science of learning to improve the dog’s behavior and the owner and dog’s quality of life. Linlin  received full scholarship to The Aggression in Dogs Master Course and is currently training to become a Certified Professional Canine Fitness Trainer (CPCFT) because she believes it is important to help the dog’s mind and body.  Linlin also enjoys dog sports and competes in Nosework and Rally/Obedience with her dogs Niko and Sunny.

  • Owner/trainer at Dogtor Training
  • Certifications:
    • Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
    • Certified Control Unleashed Instructor (CCUI)
  • Education:
    • Ph.D., Material Science and Nano Engineering, Rice University
    • Living & Learning with Animals with Dr. Susan Friedman
    • Aggression in Dogs Master Course with Michael Shikashio
    • Family Paws Parent Educator

(Contact Linlin.)

Kelly Burgdorf, KPA-CTP

Kelly’s interest in animal behavior was sparked by training her anxious golden retriever, Luna. Together they took nearly every class Your Dog’s Friend has to offer. These days they practice Rally-O for fun and spend time exploring the parks around their home. In addition to her dogs, Kelly has clicker trained her three cats and her horse. Kelly assisted in many classes at Your Dog’s Friend before working towards her certification.

  • Certifications:
    • Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP)
  • Education:
    • B.A. University of Connecticut
    • Au.D. Towson University
    • Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional

(Contact Kelly.)

Rosetta Kelley, CPDT-KA

Rosetta loves working with dogs and their families to foster relationships built on mutual respect and cooperation. Helping humans see the world through their dogs’ eyes is an important part of her training philosophy. She is experienced in teaching basic and advanced manners classes.

(Contact Rosetta.)

Angie Madden, CPDT-KA, CCUI

Angie focuses on relationship building and communication between dog and handler with the goal of developing a harmonious working relationship. Her training philosophy is heavily influenced by her experience as a carnivore keeper, which introduced her to the concepts of husbandry training and enrichment. All of this led Angie to become a Certified Control Unleashed™ Instructor, and she has taught CU classes, webinars, and presented at Conference Unleashed 2020 and 2021.

  • Owner/trainer at DogSpeak
  • Certifications:
    • Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
    • Certified Control Unleashed Instructor (CCUI)
  • Education:
    • B.S University of Maryland
    • Conference Unleashed, 2021, 2020
    • Aggression in Dogs Conference, 2021, 2020
    • Aggression in Dogs: Safety, Defensive Handling, and Training
    • Pet Professional Guild Geek Week, 2020
    • ClickerExpo, 2019, 2022
    • Behavior Adjustment Training for Reactive Dogs webinar
  • Memberships:

(Contact Angie.)

Cynthia Langford, ANWI

Cynthia currently runs nose work with her dogs Bruce Wayne, Mr. Tim Drake, and The Mighty Peanut. Bruce was the puppy who had too much energy and is a born competitor. Tim was born feral, scared of his own shadow and had no idea how to be a dog,. The Mighty Peanut is chaos in a ten pound package and is the most challenging one to run. Cynthia spent many years working in shelters and learned of the power of nose work to help a dog build confidence. She apprenticed during her NACSW instructor training under Jacy Kelley and Walt Feno of Canine Copilots.

  • Certifications:
    • Associate Nose Work Instructor (ANWI)
  • Education:
    • Bailey-Farhoody Operant Conditioning Workshops
    • Training internship at Humane Domaine
      (Contact Cynthia.)

Nicole Wright, Training Center Coordinator

Nicole provides administrative support, including managing class registrations, scheduling and responding to your email inquiries. (Contact Nicole.)

Debra Ekman, Founder

YDF-Debra Debra founded Your Dog’s Friend in 2006.  She is an Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT), but has retired from teaching. Debra organizes all of Your Dog’s Friend’s free workshops and the newsletter. (Contact Debra.)