Sandi Pensinger: Founder of Living With Dogs
Sandi has decades of experience working with animals and has been working as a full time professional trainer since 2000. Sandi teaches a full range of classes including Puppy, Family Dog and Dog Sports (Agility, Scent Work, Treibball).
One of Sandi’s priorities is to help dog owners prevent dog behavior problems with training, fun sources of exercise, and enrichment.
Sandi is a member of the organizing committee for Coastal Dog Owners' Group (C-DOG www.coastaldogs.com) annual Harvest, Hops & Hounds FUNd-raising events for dogs in need. C-DOG has raised almost one hundred thousand dollars for local rescue dogs over the years.
Sandi is a founder and Emeritus Board Member of the National Association of Treibball Enthusiasts (NATE). She is the author of The Treibball Ball Herding Handbook and the Beginning and Intermediate Treibball DVDs. She teaches workshops in Treibball to trainers and dog owners in workshops around the country. She also authored many training articles that have been featured in local and national publications.
Sandi gained early experience working in her father's veterinary cardiology practice and with the Veterinary Post Graduate Institute. Training, trialing, showing and breeding many breeds through her life she has gained a deep appreciation for the diversity of canines.
Sandi graduated from San Jose State University School of Business with Distinction. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and a professional member of the Pet Professionals Guild and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and attends their annual conference in October. Sandi enjoys photography, gardening, birding, camping, fishing and spending quality time with her family, friends and dogs.
Mike Colucci is always interested in evolving methods and applying them to modifying canine behavior.
"I enjoy training because there is gratifying feeling when you see a light bulb come on above a dogs head. When the behavior you were focusing on settles in and the dog is on the same page, eager to earn more reinforcement, it is very exciting!" Mike enjoys teaching Puppy, Family Dog 1 & 2 classes and assisting with Treibball classes. Mike became interested in training while working with his dogs. He attended the Animal Behavior College earning his certification in 2019. After mentoring with Sandi and working for Living with Dogs, Mike took over operation of the business when Sandi retired. Mike currently has a Pit Bull Terrier, Hazel, who is training in Treibball and Scent Work.
Lee Morrow has decades of experience working with reactive dogs and adopting reactive dogs who need behavioral help. Lee is a member of the Pet Professionals Guild and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and attends their annual conference in October. Lee teaches some fun Puppy and Family Dog classes for us.
Monica Pielage has been training dogs since her teenage years in 4-H. She has trained dogs in cattle herding, search and rescue, as a Therapy Dog and now focuses on Treibball or Urban Herding as it is also called. Her Australian Shepherd, Jojo, has achieved the following titles from the National Association of Treibball Enthusiasts; TE-N, TE-I, TE-A, OTE-N, OTE-I. Monica taught 4-H dog project for many years and ran the 4-H dog show at the County Fair. She has focused on Positive Reinforcement training since 2002 and has worked with LWD since bringing her puppy through classes in 2011. Shaping is her favorite training technique and Monica loves the teamwork and joy of seeing dogs and their handlers learning to work together.
Jen has been an animal lover and advocate all her life. Growing up on acreage in the Sierra Nevada foothills, her family always had lots animals around to take care of. She has a passion for helping animals in some capacity, whether through activism, rescue and rehabilitation or human education. She has spent some time volunteering at organizations like the Sacramento SPCA, Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, and The Monterey Bay Marine Mammal Center. She became an Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer in 2013, and is also certified in pet sitting, dog walking and animal CPR. She completed an internship at Living with Dogs before she began teaching Family Dog 1 classes.
Jena has been a dog lover and animal caregiver since her most formative years. As a child she sought adventure trekking the Santa Cruz Mountains, creeks and beaches. One of her prized recent doggy memories is walking her German Shepherd companion Gordon as they tracked wildlife in the African bush. Her dog training qualification stems from years of work in wildlife behavior and child behavior modification for ASD. She taught preschool through high school, both regular and special Ed and has taught at universities and for private nature guide training in South Africa.
She completed her dog training internship at Living With Dogs focusing on positive training techniques for obedience and bonding with family dogs and puppies. She holds dual bachelors in psychology and biology and a MS. Environmental Studies.
Barn Hunt Judge and instructor Cathy Leavitt of K9 Rat Pack and K9 Sports Dynamics of Fremont teaches the Barn Hunt classes and conducts the Barn Hunt trials. Barn Hunting is the fun sport of locating rats hidden in a cylinder in stacks and tunnels built of hay. No experience or training needed for dogs but a sense of humor is required! She has two dogs, Sykes, a New Zealand heading dog and Sachi, a Belgian Malinois. She is shown here with Sykes.
Sophie is our Agility Instructor. Sophie's passion is agility. She enjoys teaching novice up to advanced students in the nuances of relationship to build a strong agility performance. Sophie is competitive in Agility with her dogs, Daiya and Cash. Sophie is a world-renowned artist, scientist, and author of peer reviewed scientific papers, field guides and extraordinary natural history books. Find out more about Sophie here.
Shannon is our Disc Dog instructor. Shannon comes from a long background of professional competition in barrel racing. For the last ten years, she has found a new love in the sport of Disc Dog. She and her husband, Ryan, are members of the demo team for the Disc Dogs of the Golden Gate and have performed at major sporting events as the halftime show. She has 4 border collies, Emma, MacLaren, Nico and Kimmi.
Ed Mabie: Engineer & Facilities Manager
Ed is responsible for building, maintaining and running all of our agility and training equipment. You'll see him weekend mornings at the agility classes. He is a mechanical whiz with patience for problem solving. Sandi and Ed were married on a 50' sailing yacht with the family Golden Retriever at their side. Ed also loves sailing and racing out of the Santa Cruz Harbor. Ed graduated from Santa Clara University with an Bachelor's degree and Stanford University with a Master's degree in Engineering.
Kait Martone: Program & Enrollment Coordinator
Kait has extensive experience working with many species on her family's ranch. Kait handles many aspects of training from organizing our office and keeping communications on track, to working with clients and animals and maintaining our training facility in Aptos.