Meet Our Instructors
Andre has spent his whole life, by choice, around dogs. After attending theater school in London, attending Plymouth State, moving to NYC for circus school, managing a retail store, driving all around New England as a Sales Rep, and managing a bar did he realize that his passion for dogs could be put to good use. He graduated with High Honors from the Thompson School of Applied Science with a Degree in Companion Animal Science and a focus on Canine Learning Theory. He worked at Cocheco Valley Humane Society, and ran his own dog training business: Big Picture Training, before teaming up with Kara, and her business: Kara’s Pet Care (KPC). He made this choice because he saw a great opportunity to effect more change and improve the lives of more of the local canine community than he could alone. He is currently the Training Manager at KPC, working with people in their homes, in group classes, and out in the wide world.
Andre trains with a focus on the human-canine bond, always working to improve the communication and relationship of and between human and dog. He believes that without communication and understanding of each other as a species and as an individual real learning cannot happen. This bond also helps improve coexistence in the same household and environment, and makes the learning of new skills an easier venture. Andre focuses on Positive reinforcement and LIMA training methods (Least Invasive Means Available). This training is based on scientific methods that are proven to work and be the best means of sustainable learning for dogs.
He has two dogs, Odin, his family dog he has had since he was a puppy, and Hager, who is a Canine Companions for Independence service puppy in training. Hager is the second CCI dog Andre and his wife have raised, the first of whom, Nolan, is currently a PTSD support dog paired with a Veteran in California. Andre and Gretchen live in Dover with their two dogs, daughter Naomi, and cat, Martin. When not dog handling or training you can catch Andre spending time with his family, running the dogs, and finding new ways to partially fix broken things in his house with the help of YouTube.
Liz Newman has had all kinds of animals all her life. I’ve always been interested in animal’s behavior. My first professional experience was 25 years ago when I got a job working in a cageless doggie daycare and boarding business. I was trained by a professional trainer who specialized in aggressive dogs. That helped a lot with monitoring 20-30 dogs. Knowing what to watch for, observing the dogs themselves probably taught me the most. Having had that training, I realized I needed some work with my own dogs, so I went to him privately as well. My original training was in correction-based but I’ve kept up with things on my own and have incorporated reward-based, distraction and dog’s body language into my repertoire of tools. I’ve used Sophia Lin’s method in trying to get a dog over “stranger danger.” I’ve taught basic obedience and canine good citizen classes at Petco and privately as well as private consultations on problem-solving.
I had a short stint at the Animal Rescue League in Kennebunk. I was mostly assigned to the strays. I loved it because I could work my training skills. There was a giant schnauzer that wouldn’t let anyone near him. So, I got a little bossy with him and eventually he was running to bring me a toy every time I walked by. So, satisfying. I’m good at working with shy, anxious dogs and aggressive dogs. My original trainer told me the more aggressive the dog, the more relaxed you must be. I’m cautious and aware but I’m not afraid when faced with a situation.
Renee Mack, AS, BS
Renee Mack has been involved in animal rescue and rehabilitation since 2005 when she adopted her first shelter dog Kodee. Kodee was an extremely intelligent, very large, highly anxious Great Dane X – and he proved to be Renee’s greatest teacher. She dove into the world of animal behavior and training and left the corporate world to pursue a career in animal welfare. Renee soon began working as a rescue trainer, specializing in socialization and behavior modification. Renee became the manager of an animal shelter in the summer of 2016 where she was responsible for the care and enrichment of many different species of animals.
She earned a B.S. in Animal Science from the University of New Hampshire in December of 2016 where she focused on the areas of animal behavior, animal disease, and biosecurity/sanitation practices. Her passion is teaching humans how to better communicate with their dogs. Renee lives in Barrington, NH with her adopted dogs; Harley, Pinky, Dillinger, Minnie Mouse, and Winnie. She lost Kodee at the ripe old age of 13 in February of 2018. She enjoys camping, hiking, and any activity that her dogs can be a part of.
Lead Dog Lover
Makes the Website Work
Desiree has always loved animals. As a military kid, it wasn’t really an option for a Marine Corp family that traveled internationally, but the moment they set down roots pets became priority #1 for her (and the family.) Since she was 11, Desiree has always had a fur baby by her side and continued to add to her family. She currently is the mom to Kara, a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Jack Russel rescue, and Vinnie “the squeaks” Martinez, an Australian cattle/miniature pincer mix with CRAZY high anxiety.
In between her fur mom duties, she has been a social media professional since 2009. She has worked with hundreds of small business owners on shaping their social media and online marketing strategize. She is the founder of Social Media Day Arizona, a National video and content marketing speaker, Youtuber, Social Media Examiner contributor, and award-winning social media manager. Her biggest accomplishment is making the two cutest weirdos ever, Flynn & Harley, with the help of her amazingly supportive Air Force Veteran, hobby-chef, and super finder husband, Stephen.