All Dogs and People Are Welcome Here!
(And a special Hello to Cats!)
Doggy Geeks University is a supportive and inclusive community. We celebrate diversity, and stand against racism. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
We welcome and celebrate all breeds and mixes of dogs. As dog behavior experts, we love all dogs, especially those who might have trouble fitting in to our human world. Our online community offers a safe place for dogs who prefer not to learn in group settings.
Our Training Philosophy
Doggy Geeks University is proud to offer smart and compassionate learning for dogs and people. Our training methods are based on proven techniques backed by principles of animal learning and behavior. We use and recommend rewards-based, force-free training. We never use or recommend the use of force, pain, or fear to teach dogs. Our methods preserve and improve the canine-human bond.
We train with efficiency, proven techniques, & compassion.
We use our smarts to help dogs learn. Our proven techniques have worked on thousands of dogs. We know that you probably don't want to be a professional dog trainer. Our efficient methods and time-saving techniques will help both you and your dog build good training habits that fit into your busy lifestyle.
We train with rewards & positive reinforcement.
We teach dogs what we want them to do, and pay them for doing what we ask. Yes, that means food rewards! Instead of reacting to bad behavior and getting frustrated, we can set our dogs up for success by preventing unwanted behavior while teaching our dogs a different way.
Our compassion and support extends to human learners, too! We are here to support you, and help you through training obstacles.
We are transparent about our training methods & equipment.
We know it's important to trust that your dog's education and welfare are in the right hands. We are proud to use rewards to train dogs.
We never recommend using shock, prong, or chain collars, shake cans, or squirt bottles. We are happy to recommend harnesses and head collars that work in conjunction with rewards-based training.
Meet our Team
Kristi Benson, CTC, PCBC-A
Kristi Benson is a dog trainer and behavior consultant living in central Manitoba, Canada. She shares her small farmhouse with her cat, Apricat, her spouse, and her large crew of beautiful huskies. She has a big soft spot for sled dogs, who she first met when living in Canada's Western Arctic, working as an anthropologist. She and her spouse brought a gaggle of them with they moved to central Manitoba to a small mixed farm, and they've continued to give her family joy, exercise, and...how to say this delicately...a lot of training opportunities.
Kristi is a student coach, mentor, and handles special projects at the Academy for Dog Trainers, where she helps to shape the next generation of canine behavior professionals. She is an honors graduate of the Academy and holds the PCBC-A credential as well. She lives and works in the Parkland Region of central Manitoba, Canada, where she works with dogs and their human family members in private consultations–both in-person and via video chat–for a full range of dog problems, from basic obedience to fear and aggression.
Kristi writes extensively about dogs, for her own blog and the Academy for Dog Trainers’ blog. She is also a Special Correspondent for Companion Animal Psychology, the blog published by Dr. Zazie Todd. You can contact Kristi through her website, and check out her blog, Facebook page, or Twitter for training tips, articles about dogs and training, and more.
Rachel Szumel, DVM, CTC
Dr. Rachel Szumel grew up in the bay area, and wanted to be a veterinarian since before she can remember. She started working for her family vet when she was 13 helping out throughout the clinic and running all the heartworm tests! She went to college in Portland, Oregon, and returned to California for veterinary school at UC Davis. After vet school she completed an internship (another year of intense training) at a 24 hour specialty hospital in Santa Rosa. Since then she has been in general practice and moved to Tahoe in 2013.
Dr. Rachel loves practicing veterinary medicine – it’s always interesting, and there is always more to learn! She particularly enjoys internal medicine, dentistry, and behavior. In addition to frequent continuing education in the veterinary field, she honed her dog training knowledge at The Academy For Dog Trainers, from which she graduated with honors in 2015. She is also Fear Free Certified Practitioner and strives to make her patients as relaxed as possible when they come to see her. She loves helping newly adopted pets get started off on the right foot, as well as helping out when things go awry.
Dr. Rachel couldn’t be happier to live in Tahoe with her husband Leo, kids Tenaya and Banner, and their SuperChiTM Mamacita. She spends her free time trail running (slowly), skiing (getting better), mountain biking (also pretty slowly), vegetable gardening (trial and error), camping and backpacking, occasionally rock climbing, and always nerding out about birds and wildflowers. Mamacita joins her in all of the above activities (yes, including backcountry skiing), and never seems to get tired.
Mary Angilly, CTC, CPDT-KA
Mary Angilly is a behavior consultant and dog trainer living in Colorado. She is committed to force-free, evidence-based training, and streamlining the training process for dogs and their families. While she works with all aspects of dog behavior and training, she specializes in fear, reactivity, and aggression.
Mary’s entire professional career has been dedicated to working with animals. She has a passion for helping dogs, keeping them in their homes, and improving their relationships with their humans. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Biology from Northeastern University, with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Mary spent several years working as an Animal Care and Adoption Counselor, then as the Adoption Center Supervisor for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals before relocating from Boston to Boulder in 2015 to pursue her passion for dog training and behavior at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley’s Training and Behavior Center. She also worked as a veterinary technician and in animal welfare legislation for the Humane Society of the United States. Mary has worked as a Professional Behavior Responder for the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team.
In her free time, Mary enjoys climbing, skiing, running, soccer, and taking her goofy adopted mutt, Buster on hikes in beautiful Colorado!
Beth Sautins, CTC
Beth came to dog training as a mid-life career change, after adopting 2 senior coonhounds from the local shelter. After pursuing professional training help for her dogs, she caught the “training bug” and never looked back! Beth graduated with honors from The Academy for Dog Trainers, and has loved helping dogs and people live successfully together.
Beth is the Doggy Geeks University school administrator, working to make sure the school platform is running smoothly for students and instructors. As a former engineer and software developer, she feels right at home doing technical work, and is passionate about using technology to bring accessible, affordable dog training to more dog families.
Beth also works as a business coach and consultant through her business True Compass Dog Partners. Beth loves offering empathetic support and technical know-how to support dog professionals, so they can concentrate on what they do best: working with dogs!
Beth’s favorite things are people, dogs, creativity, and technology. She loves cooking, making art, and spending time outdoors. Beth is a fan of the Oxford comma, word games, jigsaw puzzles, and every shade of purple, and she thinks being over 50 is a heckin’ good time! After saying good-bye to her senior coonhounds last year, whom she misses greatly, she and her spouse Andy recently welcomed a new dog to the family: Iris, a 5-year old Treeing Walker Coonhound. Iris jumped right out of the shelter, and directly onto the sofa, and the whole family is enjoying getting to know each other.
Jessica Ring, CTC, CPDT-KA
Jessica Ring is the owner of My Fantastic Friend, LLC based in Ellicott City, Maryland. Jessica helps you bring out the best in your dog for a happier life together. She strives to provide the most effective, efficient, humane and up-to-date training solutions to her human and canine clients. She offers private and group training for puppies, basic skills, tricks and enrichment, as well as consultations for behavior problems.
Jessica's interest in dog training and behavior was inspired by her dogs Gus and Pippi, who you'll see starring in her training demonstration videos.
Jessica is a Canine Behavior Consultant (PCBC-A) through the Pet Professional Accreditation Board, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), an honors graduate of Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers (CTC), a Pat Miller Certified Trainer (PMCT), an SA Pro Trainer and a Fear Free Certified Professional. Jessica is committed to preventing and alleviating fear, anxiety and stress in pets. Because she is devoted to continuing education and professional development, she regularly attends workshops and seminars. Furthermore, Jessica has 15 years of teaching experience as a graphic design professor at the university level. More information can be found at My Fantastic Friend.
Jane Wolff, CTC, CSAT, CPDT-KA
Jane Wolff is a graduate of the Academy for Dog Trainers. She uses humane, field-tested, science-based methods for dog training and behavior modification as well as having a firm understanding of how to counsel and coach dog owners.
Jane is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT) and a Certified Trainer and Counselor (CTC) through the Academy For Dog Trainers. She lives in Southeast Michigan with her wife (who is also a trainer) and their four dogs.
Jane’s interest in training was really sparked after she adopted her second dog, Nina. Nina had a host of issues including separation anxiety and was aggressive during any handling. Jane has a particular interest in helping her clients through stressful and sometimes complex behavior issues while keeping it fun and easy. More information about Jane is available at Good Wolff.
Lizzy Flanagan, CTC
Lizzy works with dogs and people through her business Lizzy And The Good Dog People. She brings compassion, patience, knowledge, and kindness for both dogs and people--and maybe a few laughs, too!
Lizzy graduated with honors from Jean Donaldson’s esteemed Academy for Dog Trainers, where she studied canine ethology, domestication, learning theory, and its applications for two years. Her work with dogs spans basics like teaching "sit" to more advanced aggression cases.
Lizzy lives with her dogs Tuck, Finch, and Idgie in a cozy cottage near the woods in Worcester, MA. Her days off are spent hiking with her dogs, laughing with friends, and treasure hunting at flea markets.
Iris Sautins, Queen Puppy
Iris is a 5-year old Treeing Walker Coonhound. She is in charge of taking care of her humans, Beth and Andy. When not working with her people, Iris enjoys long, sniffing walks in her hometown, eating delicious food out of puzzles and toys, and snoozing on the sofa.
After a full day of excitement, she retires early and is in full snoring mode by 7:45 pm every night.
Iris spent her early years in Oklahoma before moving to Colorado. She briefly stayed at a fine local establishment, The Humane Society of Boulder Valley, before settling in with Beth and Andy in 2020.
She is known by many names, including Queen Puppy, Pawsy Penelope, The White-Chested Warbler, Girlie Dog, and Freckles FancyPants.