Sarah Surritt, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA
Owner, Operator & Certified Dog Trainer
Growing up I was that kid who was always bringing home strays and begging my mom to let me keep them. Ever do that? Thankfully, she typically said yes and I grew up surrounded by animals.
But I didn’t realize there was a different way to train and build a great relationship with my pets. I had only seen traditional, punishment-focused training.
When I started volunteering at the San Diego Humane Society & SPCA in 2001, I discovered humane, positive, kind training. It opened up a whole new world to me.
Now I’ve successfully used positive reinforcement training with not only my rescue dog, Nick, but also: our goats, chickens, cats, and our rescue pet pig, Toby. And with my mini-herd of horses: Lily, Storm, Whinny (our miniature horse), and even Mahoney, my rescue horse. Building a long-lasting relationship with a foundation of trust has been critical to my success with my pets, Mahoney especially, and has only been possible because of the positive training methods.
I believe so strongly in the benefits and effectiveness of positive training, and allowing our pets to have an equal role in the training process. This was the inspiration for the business name: Get Pawsitive.
In addition to the local in-person group and private training offered by myself and the other Get Pawsitive trainers, I also help coach volunteers-in-training how to train the shelter dogs at Rancho Coastal Humane Society so that both parties receive a solid foundation of learning skills.
Online training is another amazing option for pets (and their parents) who live outside the San Diego area. I offer virtual private coaching sessions, created the online Pawsitive Puppy Training Academy, and lead our monthly Pawsitive Training Club - a great way to keep you on track with your training goals.
When I’m not spending time with my clients and their pups, you can find me at home with my family where we love going to the beach, river, watching our boys play sports, and just hanging out with one another.
MEET THE TEAM
Patti O'Farrell, CSAT, KPA-CTP
Separation Anxiety Expert Trainer
Believer in positive reinforcement
Patti is our Certified Separation Anxiety Training (CSAT) expert. She 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.
When not training dogs, you might find Patti spending time with her two rescue pups Peaches and Maggie.
Pilar de Veintemilla, VSA
Behavior & Training Consultant
Believer of mutual trust & understanding
Pilar attended the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, and graduated with distinction. She teaches several of our in person Puppy & Speciality Training Classes.
As a positive dog trainer, she believes the bond between an owner and learner is built on mutual trust and understanding.
"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 you and your dog!"
Pilar enjoys spending her free time hiking and training her German Shepherd Koda.
Libby Lucas, CPDT,-KA, ABC-DT
Behavior & Training Consultant
Believer of keenly listening to our dogs
A lover of domesticated and wild animals ever since she can remember, we are grateful to have Libby head up several of our Puppy Training Classes.
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.
In her spare time, 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. Libby loves attending annual dog training conferences, reading current articles in training publications, and reading books. She also enjoys exposing her cat Reef to the endless benefits of positive reinforcement training.