About The Trainer
Casey McGee, CPDT-KA, CSAT, CTC
Training and Education
Casey is proud to be a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), a national certification demonstrating that she has passed rigorous standards for knowledge and skills in science-based dog training and that she stays current on the science and techniques of the dog-training profession through continuing education.
Also a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT), Casey studied with Malena DeMartini and is a graduate of her intensive training program—the only one of its kind to certify dog trainers to work with separation anxiety and isolation distress. Malena is the author of Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs and a widely-recognized authority in effective treatment protocols for the anxiety disorder that are based in scientific principles of behavior modification.
Casey is also an honors graduate of Jean Donaldson's prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers, where she earned her Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC). At the Academy, Casey developed a special interest in fear and aggression, and dedicated herself to using the training methods with the best track record for meaningful behavior change.
I found my calling in force-free dog training after losing my heart-and-soul dog Cooper to outdated, misguided training methods. A rescued foster-failure, Cooper was a wicked-smart, hilarious and engaging puppy who grew into a young adult who was aggressive toward other dogs. Armed only with the dog training strategies I saw on TV and read online, I tried to correct Cooper's behavior with harsh, intimidating methods - although of course I didn't see them that way. I loved Cooper more than words can express, but I believed that his aggression stemmed from dominance, and that the only way to fix a dominant dog is to become his "boss". (Read more about the tension between folklore and science in dog training here.)
But even though I saw short-term gains at times, especially right after I punished Cooper for aggressing, overall his behavior spiraled. I asked every dog trainer I could find for a practical strategy - not just a short-term one that scared him into submission, but one that would genuinely change his behavior for the better. And I wanted a different relationship with him, not one characterized by so much frustration and anger.
By the time I stumbled upon a veterinary behaviorist, it was too late. The steady diet of alpha rolls, shocks from collars and loud scary scoldings had made Cooper feel like he had to defend himself against his family and he struck back, becoming dangerously aggressive to us.
We said goodbye to Cooper a month before his second birthday. The only silver lining is that his short life absolutely transformed mine. Shortly thereafter, I found the best formal dog training education available with the intention of changing careers and helping other dog owners.
If you're like me, you love your dog intensely even though you don't always love his behavior. You want help changing his behavior using methods that 1) make you feel good about who you are as a dog owner, 2) help you have a relationship in which you can lead with kindness, 3) produce positive, lasting results and 4) have no dangerous side effects.
Like many of my colleagues, and more and more dog professionals around the country, I'm what's called a crossover trainer. Proudly. In Cooper's memory.