Sarah Surritt, KPA-CTP Dog Trainer
Sarah Surritt, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP
Owner & Head Behavior and Training Consultant

Sarah is a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT) and is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP).  She has been training dogs for over 17 years. 

Her career began as a volunteer dog trainer working with shelter dogs at the San Diego Humane Society & SCPA in 2001. Based on her exceptional performance and love for the animals she soon after was contracted by their Behavior and Training Department to teach a variety of popular classes.  


In April 2009, Sarah's love of training animals inspired her to forego a successful sales career and begin dog training full time. She now owns and operates Get Pawsitive and manages a successful group of trainers.  She teaches group dog training classes at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society where she founded the "Pawsitive Practices" trainer-in-training team of volunteers whom she mentors.  Together, through best training practices, they help to make a difference in the lives of the shelter dogs.  Sarah also is the training evaluator for the shelter's Pet Assisted Therapy program.


Sarah specializes in dogs who have aggression, fear or reactivity issues. She also is a puppy expert and runs the online Pawsitive Puppy Training Academy.  Through safe, humane and positive training methods Sarah helps new puppy and dogs owners stopping feeling disappointed in or stressed out by their pets and start feeling confident that they will behave no matter what the circumstance.  She focuses on teaching a new set of core skills to choose such as calmness, focus and attention with their owners vs barking, lunging or cowering.  She enjoys helping both pet parents and their pups build more confidence and less stress while making training fun! 


Sarah continues her ongoing commitment to use safe, humane and positive reinforcement training based on up-to-date scientific research and force-free training methods. 

Sarah is a wife, mom to three young boys and proud pet owner to her rescue dog Nick, rescue pet pig Toby and rescue horse Mahoney. She also enjoys spending her spare time with her 4 cats, goats and chickens.


Sarah holds the following certifications, titles and memberships


  • Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior Certified Training Partner (KPACTP)

  • Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) 

  • Victoria Stilwell Academy Mentor Trainer

  • Animal Behavior College Mentor Trainer

  • American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator (AKC CGC Evaluator

  • Member of Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)

  • Member of IAABC

  • Pet Assisted Therapy Evaluator

  • Evaluator for Therapy Pets Unlimited

Patti O'Farreel KPA-CTP
Patti O'Farrell, KPA CTP, CSAT
Sr. Behavior and Training Consultant


Patti is a certified Karen Pryor Academy Trainer and certified Puppy Start Right Instructor.  She also holds her Animal Behavior College Certification. She began her love of animals as a child vacationing on family ranches and farms in Texas, Washington and Idaho while caring for and riding horses, as well as training and playing with a multitude of cats and dogs.  Growing up with her own family's pets was when she truly caught the training bug.  Patti also has a background in working with children.  This, combined with her love of behavioral science and animal training, overall, has helped guide her to where she is today.


Patti is a believer in positive reinforcement, science based methods because of “how quickly the dog learns, how you can see on their faces that they are really enjoying it, and how it creates such a stronger, holding bond between pet parent and their dog”.  Patti’s overall goal when working with students is to help allow them to enjoy their pet to the fullest potential.  Patti’s strengths sincerely lie in helping owners lay a good solid foundation for training while showing them that the possibilities are endless.  


Having recently adopted a yellow labrador retriever pup “Peaches”, Patti really knows the joys and challenges of having a puppy, and what it takes to raise one with positive reinforcement.  Her other furry companion is Maggie, a 6 year old Terrier/Chihuahua rescue. 

Patti's Credentials and Certifications

  • Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) Certified Training Partner 

  • KPA CTP Puppy Start Right Certified Instructor  

  • Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer graduate 

  • Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, (CSAT)

  • Family Paws Certified

  • Member of Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) 

Pilar de Veintemilla, VSA
Behavior and Training Consultant


Pilar is attended the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, and graduated with distinction. She also holds a certificate in Dog Trainer Foundations from Karen Pryor Academy. Pilar is also a member of APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers).


She began her love of animals as a child when she would rescue street dogs, bringing 2-3 at a time home and caring for them. She has kept many dogs throughout her life with her family and in 2005 she started volunteering at the German Shepherd Rescue of San Diego, fostering dogs and caring for them before adoption. She currently spends a considerable amount of time volunteering at Rancho Coastal Humane Society as part of the Pawsitive Practices team.


As a positive dog trainer, she believes the bond between an owner and learner is built on mutual trust and understanding. Positive training teaches the dog that good things come from the owner and makes the owner a cue for “happy times.”  This not only motivates your dog to learn, it encourages them to make the right choices.


"Together, we find what works best for them to be successful in any situation or environment and ultimately build a stronger relationship between you and your dog. By focusing on a dog’s mental, physical, and emotional strengths, we make the learning experience more favorable for success and more fun for the you and your dog!"


Pilar's Credentials and Certifications


  • Certified Victoria Stillwell Academy Dog Trainer

  • Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)

Libby Lucas, CPDT,-KA, ABC-DT
Behavior and Training Consultant


Libby is a graduate, with honors, from the Animal Behavior College where she received her first dog training certification and is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT).  A lover of domesticated and wild animals ever since she can remember and as a retiree, Libby volunteers at the San Diego and Rancho Coastal Humane Societies.  She also offers her time ( retired profession ) as a biologist working in habitat and wildlife conservation. 


After Libby’s beloved dog died, she took ABC’s dog-training course at the suggestion of a dear friend.  Libby feels very fortunate to have had Sarah Surritt as her mentor and trainer for the ABC course.  She enjoys continuing her behavior and training education by participating in the Pawsitive Practices sessions at Rancho Coastal Humane Society, attending annual conferences, reading current articles in APDT’s and other publications, and reading books.


Libby considers dog training as dog/human training because the success of dog / human relationships is as much about how humans interact with their dogs as it is about the dogs’ choices. Libby delights in the progress diligent clients and their dogs make over the course of just a few weeks of classes, and in the growing bond and mutual confidence between them.  She believes that respect for dogs and keenly “listening” to and observing them is critical to successfully applying positive reinforcement.


Though Libby has no dog now, she enjoys exposing her cat Reef to the endless benefits of positive reinforcement training. 


Libby's Credentials and Certifications


  • Certifed Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)

  • Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer

  • Member of Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)

Get Pawsitive's Professional Affiliations
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