Picture of Ali Brown and with Dax.
Ali and Dax are cheering on one of
the other dogs in C-WAGS Rally Class.

Ali Brown
graduated from Ursinus College with a B.S. in Psychology, and earned her M.Ed. in Human Development / Behavioral Science from Lehigh University. Working earlier in her career as a behavior therapist/consultant with mentally challenged children and adults, she made a fulfilling switch to working with dogs in 1998.

In 2001, Ali became one of the first 100 trainers to receive her CPDT certificate (Certified Pet Dog Trainer) from Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). In May 2008, she became a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). Ali takes great pride in providing non-force training methods for dogs and their people. Ali was a member of the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) for 15 years and served on multiple committees as well as serving on the Board of Directors for a 3 year term.

She lives, trains and works with Bing, a 10-year-old Belgian Sheepdog whose abilities and antics qualify him for his own section of this Website, and Tango, a 'little white fluffy' rescue, who is technically her daughter's dog, but has earned multiple titles with both Ali and Cyan (age 7). Pictured to the right with Ali is Dax, a Belgian Tervuren who joined the family as a puppy in August 2014.

Ali is a great believer in forever learning. She attends seminars, IAABC conferences and Clicker Expo conferences regularly. She attended the first two Nose Work seminars on the East Coast. The first was in April 2010: Intro to Nose Work and was presented by Jill-Marie O'Brien and Amy Herot. The second, Intro to Odor, took place in June 2011. Her interest in scent work has evolved into becoming a Scent Detectives judge at all levels. Great Companions runs regular Scent classes, and they are very popular.

Ali Brown and daughter, Cyan, after Cyan wins her C-WAGS Rally level one title.
Ali Brown and daughter, Cyan,
after Cyan wins her C-WAGS
Rally level one title.
You can read about one of the more unusual training events Ali was involved in -- a week-long Chicken Camp, run by behavior guru, Bob Bailey, and hosted by Terry Ryan in Washington State. Click here for the whole story.

Giving is as important as receiving, and Ali does just that. She has been traveling the nation, delivering her one-day and two-day seminars on fearful and reactive dogs (www.ScaredyDog.info); this seminar has taken her as far as Alaska, California and Florida. Ali leaps at any invitation to share the information she has learned regarding this issue.

Another passion for her is Rally. Ali is a C-WAGS judge at all levels. What makes Rally unique is that it is competitive obedience for anyone and everyone, regardless of age, gender, breed, mix, handicap, or level of competitiveness. It's more about the relationship between the owner and the dog and having fun, than it is about precision. Ali's judging assignments are usually close to home, but they have taken her as far west as Arizona and California.

Agility has long been a source of amazement for Ali. Agility is a real craze among dog-lovers, but what Ali finds most fascinating is how precise body movement and posture must be in order to communicate effectively with your canine partner. She's always known that body language is important; agility makes that fact screamingly clear! Click here to see Ali and Bing in action in Agility

Part of Ali's evolution as a trainer has been to learn how to work more effectively with kids and dog. Having a kid of her own has enabled her to be even more effective in helping families to effectively juggle childrens' and canines' needs in the home, fostering a peaceful existence. Ali's own daughter has earned four titles on her dog before the age of 7.

Ali currently competes with her dogs in rally, agility, obedience and scent.

Cover Scaredy Dog for About the Trainer Click here to buy Scaredy Dog! book Ali's second book, FOCUS NOT FEAR, TRAINING INSIGHTS FROM A REACTIVE DOG CLASS (2008) is available by clicking here and through Dogwise.

Her first book, SCAREDY DOG! UNDERSTANDING AND REHABILITATING YOUR REACTIVE DOG, was published in June 2004 and revised in 2009. The book can be purchased through Dogwise, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other book sellers nationally, and is available through this Web site. It includes training methods that are easy to implement, and comes from her experience with individual training sessions and group classes on the subject. For more information on the book please go to the ReactiveDog.com website. Ali's seminar DVD, which is based on her book Scaredy Dog!, and her Reactive Dog Classes DVD are also available on the ReactiveDog.com Website.

Contact Ali by phone 610-737-1550 or by email: ali@greatcompanions.info

Sue Sanders

Sue Sanders, pictured here with TedSue Sanders, RNC, CPDT-KA, graduated from The Allentown Hospital School of Nursing with her RN diploma. She has worked in various areas of nursing including 15 years in adult Intensive Care and the past 16 years in Neonatal Intensive Care. She obtained her RNC – certification in the NICU specialty, after an extensive course at Hershey Medical Center in 1996. Sue is a professional member of the Association Of Pet Dog Trainers. She lives with Tony, an 11-year-old JRT who loves to hunt and chase mice, and hopes for success as an Earthdog.

Sue’s work with animals began over 30 years ago when she served on the Board of Directors as Membership Secretary for Animals In Distress, a local no-kill shelter. She also actively participated for several years in vaccinating the resident cats, fostering as needed, and assisting with cat adoptions.

Along came a mellow Jack Russell Terrier, Teddy, in 1993.There was no Great Companions then, no positive training classes available, but in 2003, Sue began training and working with Ali Brown, M.Ed.,CPDT-KA, CDBC. She and Teddy never left, taking every class offered as well as weekly private lessons. Teddy became an avid Rally Obedience titlist and a Therapy Dog. Tony, a stray Jack Russell Terrier, became part of the household in 2004, offering some training challenges of his own! Over the years, Tony has shown the merits of positive training in his own way. Initially a noise- reactive, very easily over stimulated, anxious dog, he has become a wonderful companion who loves to learn new things and learns so very quickly!  

Having become a loyal believer in the merits of non-force, positive training methods, Sue became Ali’s assistant for nearly a year, as she continued to read and train and learn. She received her certification (CPDT-KA) as a professional pet dog trainer in November of 2007 from the Certification Council For Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT). In 2008 she became an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator, in 2011 an APDT  C.L.A.S.S. evaluator, and in 2103, she became an Approved C-WAGS Advocate.


Continuing education is part of Great Companions’ commitment to excellence as professional trainers. Besides many on-line telecourses, Sue has attended both the Intro to Nose Work and Intro to Odor seminars presented by Jill- Marie O’Brien and Amy Herot. She also attended the Canine Freestyle Federation seminar presented by Joan Tennille and hosted by Great Companions. Ali’s dog Acacia graciously agreed to work with Sue that day and fun was had by all! Sue attended the APDT Conference and Trade Shows in Atlanta and San Diego, including a workshop with Terry Ryan. She also had the pleasure of attending a Bob Bailey seminar in 2011. The 2013 Clicker Expo in Connecticut is next!  


As a trainer with Great Companions, Sue conducts classes in Puppy Manners and Socialization, including the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy program; Puppy Teens class for puppies entering their adolescent period; Foundations, a basic obedience course; a recall/loose leash walking class; a greetings, stays, games class.

Mardi Closson

Mardi Closson brings her puppy to Puppy Class

Mardi has been involved in agility for 20+years. She and her husband both compete regularly with their golden retrievers. Her husband is also an AKC agility judge.

Mardi has earned the Master Agility Championship with three of her golden retrievers. She has also done some competing (at a novice level) in obedience and field. Her dog Sassy is her most accomplished dog title wise and has also produced three litters of puppies. Those pups are Mardi's pride and joy and she feels blessed to have seen them go to loving homes where they also get to compete in agility, field, tracking and obedience.

Agility for Mardi is her avocation. She loves to watch dogs learn, especially young pups. The training she enjoys is all positive based and will work with you to create a positive experience for you and your dog while learning agility.

Michael Girvin

Michael Girgin Training Associate at Great CompanionsMichael Girvin has always had a love of dogs. He spent many hours as a kid with family and neighbor's dogs, whether it was just hanging out on the lawn or taking them as a great fishing partner.

After two years of college, Michael joined the US Army and became a part of the K-9 Corps. He worked with two dogs, one a German Shepherd Dog, the other a Rottweiler. The methods used to train these dogs were harsh (now changing). This never sat well with him. After leaving the Army, Michael quickly joined the civilian police force. During his time as a police officer he started to research different ways to train dogs. He continued to train dogs for family and friends.

After retiring in 2004, Michael was ready to open up his own dog training business, The K-9 Connection LLC, a successful all in-home dog training business in Eastern PA/Western NJ. He has attended an online program, seminars, and webinars, and continually learns the newest techniques in positive reinforcement dog training. Michael is passionate about conducting training by attaining a mutual trust, love and respect with his clients and their dogs. He is currently a professional member of the APDT.  

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About the Trainers

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