We're proud to provide a great group of trainers, all with a wealth of knowledge in all areas of dog training and behavior. Please read their bios and contact us to schedule a time to meet with trainer you'd like to work with!
Shannan Hall-Nutting, BS, ABCDT
Shannan is a Certified Dog Trainer, CGC/STAR Puppy Evaluator, APDT Rally-Obedience Representative and graduate of The University of New England where she received her B.S. in psychobiology and education in the cause, function, development & evolution of animal behavior. Shannan and her husband founded Finish Forward Dogs, Inc in 2009.
Growing up in midcoast Maine, Shannan lived with Spaniels, Shih Tzus, Goldens, Labs and an Alaskan Malamute. It was Shannan's undergraduate research that led her to the field of animal welfare. Several years later she worked as Co-Manager for an emergency animal shelter temporarily constructed to house over 300 dogs seized from Maine puppy mills. Shannan remains an advocate for humane education, working as a consultant for the ASPCA and teaching obedience classes at The Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick.
Shannan made her way to dog training after acquiring her American Staffordshire Terror (sorry, Terrier), Brina, who she credits with teaching her the most valuable life lessons.
"It's amazing what you learn about yourself as a human when all you really set out to do is learn a bit about a poorly behaving little dog...Brina and I began training in obedience and agility and any other dog sport we could find. Now more than eleven years later, I owe great thanks to my own dog, Brina, for teaching me the value in quiet patience, clear communication, consistent leadership and a very healthy sense of humor. I would not trade the challenges Brina and I faced at the beginning of our relationship for anything in the world because it's always the struggle that makes us stronger. She's just a dog, but she's my 'heart' dog."
Shannan apprenticed under Kimberly VanSickle and Amy Allenwood, both CPDT's at The Animal Welfare Society in West Kennebunk, Maine before moving on to teaching obedience at a large dog training facility in Portland. It was there that Shannan worked alongside Teri Robinson, CPDT before assuming the position of Director of Training where she taught up to 15 classes a week and directed a team of three additional trainers.
Now living in Southern Maine, Shannan and her husband share their home with their FOUR active dogs (ARCHX Brina CGC, RL1X, RL2X, RL3X, RN, TT, UWP, Maverick RL1, Deucey-B TT and Willow). Willow is the newest addition to the pack - an AmStaff who joined the family in June of 2013. Willow is training in Conformation, Obedience, Flyball, Weight pull, Rally and Agility. Sadly, May of 2010 marked the loss of their 8 year old shepherd mix, Tucker TT, after his battle with Mast Cell Disease. Sleep soundly, sweet Tuckey.
Shannan and her dogs enjoy competition dog sports and spend their free time training and trialing in Competitive Obedience, Rally-O, Agility, Weight Pull, DockDogs, Tracking and various other activities.
Professional credentials: B.S. Psychobiology, University of New England, Cum Laude; Honors Graduate and Mentor Trainer, Animal Behavior College; AKC CGC/STAR Puppy Evaluator; APDT Rally-O Representative, American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) Apprentice Tester.
Rebeccah Aube, CPDT-KA
Paws & Ink!
Rebeccah took her first steps with a dog in “heel position." She grew up in a house full of Shetland Sheep dogs with a mom who loved to show in competitive obedience. It was a natural progression for Rebeccah to follow in her mother’s footsteps, working with two shelties and a collie in obedience before the age of 15. All three dogs held obedience titles in both the United States and Canada.
As a member of several different obedience clubs and captain of the Flyball MAINEiacs, Rebeccah actively competes in both sports and coaches her flyball team. She also attends seminars and classes in order to stay up-to-date with the newest training methods and ideas, and has earned her CPDT accreditation (Certified Professional Dog Trainer).
Rebeccah’s training style is a blend of intuition and creativity which enables her to deliver uncomplicated and effective solutions. She has a deep understanding of the dog/human bond and communicates clearly in both realms.
Rebeccah is currently owned by 4 dogs, a Westie, a Border Collie, a Jack Russel Terrier and an Aussie. The dogs compete in flyball, obedience, disc dog and dock diving.
Meredith (Merri) Button B.S, CPDT-KA
Meredith (Merri) Button is a CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed) and an AKC CGC/Puppy S.T.A.R Evaluator with a B.S degree in psychobiology. She started her animal training career as an assistant beluga whale trainer at the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration in Mystic, CT. She began dog training as an apprentice trainer at a large doggie daycare in Portland, ME under the guidance of Shannan Hall-Nutting. When Finish Forward Dogs Inc. was opened in May 2010, Merri was invited to teach basic obedience and puppy classes at the studio. In late December 2010, Merri’s husband Tom accepted a nursing job at Duke Hospital in Durham North Carolina. While in Durham, Merri managed the dog training program at Best Friends Pet Care, where she taught classes, private lessons and did board and train. In May 2012, Merri and Tom moved back to the Greater Portland area to be closer to friends and family. She is excited to come back to Finish Forward to teach classes and become a part of the dog training community in southern Maine.
Merri loves teaching people how to communicate with their dogs in a fun and positive way. She finds it very rewarding to watch the dogs learn what their handler’s are asking of them as well as watching the bond grow between dog and human. From her experience working with animals she understands the importance of forming lasting and trusting bonds with an animal as well as properly communicating with them.
Penny J. Cary
PETIQUETTE® Canine Education
Although she has owned and trained dogs most of her life, Penny Cary has been breeding and handling her own Doberman Pinschers to championships since 1993, she has also shown other select breeds for select clients for several years, finishing multiple champions. As a breeder/owner/handler, she has multiple Best in Shows, Best Puppy in Shows, Best Bred By Exhibitor in Shows and Best Veteran in Shows to her credit.
Penny owns and operates PETIQUETTE® Canine Education and offers courses in conformation handling, specializing in training techniques to instill confidence and build foundation skills for all venues of exhibition. She specializes in puppy socialization and training. Many of her students have successfully finished their own dogs against strong professional competition.
She is a member of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, the Doberman Pinscher Club of Canada, and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). She is also a certified evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. Contact Penny at: email@example.com
Danielle Cyr, B.S.
Danielle has been training/working with dogs for the past 10 years. She graduated from the University of Maine in 2003, with a Bachelors in Animal Science. She’s a Veterinary Technician full time and a hobby trainer part time. Danielle is an AKC CGC/Star Puppy evaluator and Provisional Tester with the ATTS. She lives in Kennebunk with her husband, barn cats, chickens and 3 dogs (Panzer an APBT, Ryder an APBTx, and Isabella a boxer.)
Between volunteering at CanAm sled dog races and titling dogs in UKC weight pull, she has also worked hard with her shy dog, earning their AKC CGC, ATTS TT, RL1, RL2 and ARCH. Danielle has participated and demonstrated in local Bite Prevention demonstrations, as well as worked the basics in bite work and sports such as Personal Protection and French Ring. She has attempted to try everything she can, and in turn it has taught her many techniques in problem solving training and bonding with her dogs. It helps her communicate to her clients the importance of having fun with your dog while teaching them a job. The best thing she could have done was adopted dog after puppy after dog, that no one else wanted.
Diana Logan, CPDT-KA
Cindy instructs agility at the studio. She has had dogs since birth and has been training and competing with her dogs since the 1980’s. Her training emphasizes relationship, communication, and foundation. She is known for being very clear and motivational with her instruction and for holding classes that are relaxed, yet challenging. Her goal is to provide flexible instruction so as to meet the needs of the hobbyist as well as those of the serious competitor.
Cindy has lived with and/or trained dogs from every group, including mix-breeds and rescues. Her dogs have competed in and hold numerous titles in agility and obedience, have dabbled in herding and conformation, have modeled for print ads, and television commercials and have done therapy work. Her dogs have had several national and regional top ten rankings in multiple sports. Her Shetland Sheepdog, Shane, has not only earned the coveted ADCh or Agility Dog Champion title, but was on the podium at the 2005 USDAA National Championships placing 3rd in the Veteran’s Grand Prix at the age of 13. She currently competes in agility with her two Border Collie, BAM!, her first terrier, Jonesy, and is training her new Sheltie, Zep.
Cindy was bitten (pun intended) by the training bug while spending childhood summers hanging around her aunt’s obedience school. She has been an instructor since the late 1980’s when she taught both pet and competition obedience for Vacationland Obedience Training Club. She has conducted therapy groups for special-needs individuals with dog phobias and designed a self-awareness program for at-risk teens using dog behavior, training, and husbandry as a model. She currently teaches agility classes and seminars and offers private instruction in agility, pet obedience, and does behavioral consultations.
Cindy lives in Cape Elizabeth with her husband, Jim, her son, Eli (when he is not away at college) and her daughter, Delaney, who is also an accomplished agility competitor. They share their home with 5 dogs and one very tolerant kitty, Mabel.
You can reach Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessica Robichaud, B.A., CPDT-KA
Jessica Robichaud is a Knowledge Assessed Certified Professional Dog Trainer and CGC Evaluator. Mrs. Robichaud holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism/Communications from the University of Hartford.
After holding various positions in corporate America, she decided to pursue her passion for working with dogs. Upon completing her training at a national retail chain, she began teaching puppy and beginner training classes in New Jersey. Ultimately, she became the senior trainer, teaching up to 12 group classes per week and conducting private lessons for dogs with specific behavioral needs.
Jessica continued her education while working as an assistant volunteer trainer at one of the of most influential training schools in the country, St. Hubert’s Dog Training School in Madison, New Jersey. While there she worked with senior trainers assisting them in their well known reactive dog class “Feisty Fidos”, in addition to puppy and basic classes.
She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and attends numerous seminars each year. She enjoys volunteering for Boxer Angels Rescue, doing pet therapy work and participating in Rally Obedience. Mrs. Robichaud resides in Biddeford with her husband, baby daughter Olivia, and three dogs, Bean (CGC/TDI, RN, RL1) a Boston Terrier, Layla (TT, RN) a Boxer and Lucas, a one year old Shetland Sheepdog.
“The most essential building block to creating life long trust in your canine companion is developing a relationship that is built on mutual respect,” states Jessica.
Committed to the use of positive reinforcement techniques and behavior modification, Jessica provides practical solutions to help owners better communicate with their dogs.