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About Tom

I'm a "depends" trainer. Just like people, dogs have different personalities. My methods for a Chihuahua shaking in fear in a corner are certainly going to be different than the approach I take for a Great Dane that looks in the mirror, sees God, and wants to eat my kneecap.

I've been a dog trainer for 40 years in New York City and Martha's Vineyard, in addition to training my own dogs to find missing people. Of the over 800 training appointments per year, about 60% of the calls I receive are for behavior problems of one sort or another, from urinating in the dining room to chasing squirrels or wanting to kill the mailman. I train by catering to the needs of what will work most humanely, effectively, and quickly--- in that order. I adhere to the "International Association Of Animal Behavioral Consultants" policy of LIMA (Least Intrusive--Minimally Aversive.) 


Over my career, I have had as many as 800 dog-training appointments per year, almost all of them in the dog owners' homes.  I’ve been to some of the most exclusive addresses in the Northeast as well as the homes of regular folks. The life of the seriously rich and famous (RAFs as I fondly call them) is something the great majority of us can only imagine. I was impressed at first, but it didn't take long for me to realize that regardless of the fame or circumstances that made them RAFs, stars are like us: they love their dogs and they do stupid things that cause problems with their dogs


I have also trained and worked with two search and rescue dogs over a twenty year span to find missing people.  In fact, my dog Michelle was responsible for finding two people alive.  I wrote about my adventures with Michelle in the book Michelle and Me- True Life Stories of a Heroic Search and Rescue Dog (Berkley.)

I've worked with some of the best dog trainers out there, including Brian Kilcommons and Mathew Margolis.  I was a member of the Rockland Sheriff's Dept K-9 Search and Rescue unit until I moved to Martha's Vineyard. I am one of the founders of the Amigo Search and Rescue K-9 unit and I've been a dog handler at Westminster at Madison Square Garden. I have taught group classes for the Humane Society and Bide-A-Wee in NYC, and have trained a dog for an off Broadway play and for videos.  I volunteer my services to the Animal Shelter of Martha's Vineyard, providing training services to families adopting dogs.


Along with training dogs, I write the Ask the Dog Charmer column in the Martha’s Vineyard Times. My latest book is Dog Training Diaries: Proven Expert Tips & Tricks to Live in Harmony with Your Dog (Skyhorse Publishing.)


I'm a strong proponent of well-mannered dogs and have been correcting and preventing unwanted behavior since the 1970's. I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world because I love what I do.  As Mark Twain said:  “If you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.”

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