Have you ever wondered how you got to this point with your dog?

Thought to yourself “I’ve owned and trained dozens of dogs in my life, why can’t I figure out this one?”

Or “what have I gotten myself into with this dog!?”

At The Freckled Paw, we are committed to kindness towards both you and your dog. We understand that every dog and owner team is different and will have their own unique challenges. We pride ourselves in listening to your challenges and coming up with a plan that will help you reach your goals for your life with your dog. Let us help you navigate your challenges and come up with a plan that works!

Crystal Partain​, Ba of Sci. CPDT-KA

With almost 2 decades of hands on experience in veterinary hospitals, local shelters and rescues, Crystal has been working with pets and their people to improve their lives together in many different settings. She recieved a dual bachelors degrees in biology and psychology, from Old Dominion University in 2009. Clients will often joke that she is their dogs therapist during their sessions together.

In 2012, she passed the Certification for Professional Dog Trainers exam and began to train professionally shortly after. She is a perpetual student and always improving training skills with her own dogs, taking classes or attending seminars that allow her to help your dogs with the most effective and current methods!

Crystal currently has 3 dogs, who are all continuously teaching her to be a better advocate for the dogs she works with. Opal, a rescued Boxer mix, is the namesake for The Freckled Paw. She has taught Crystal the most about living with challenging dogs, while working through her separation anxiety, stranger danger, and dog selective behaviors. We lost Opal in June of 2019, and will forever be The Freckled Paw. Crystal’s 7 year old American Pit Bull Terrier, Pixie, competed in Dock Diving, and Rally Obedience, has her Canine Good Citizen Certification, she has turned out to be an incredibly challenging dog to live with, and has taught her the most on how to manage dogs who are difficult. Opie is an 10 year old Border Collie mix, who can often be found assisting with your dogs and working appointments. He is working on his Therapy Dog Certification and competes in Barn Hunt and Rally. Cargo, the Belgian Malinois is now 2 years old and beginning her career in all the sports! She is truly a working dog, and not for the faint of heart!

Jonathan Horwitz CPDT-KA

Jon Horwitz is the newest addition to the Freckled Paw family. Born and raised in Virginia Beach, he graduated from Frank W. Cox, and traveled to Israel to participated in a 9 month long youth leadership building program called Nativ. While there Jon took college classes and volunteered as an educator in a childrens’ school in the town of Yerucham.

When Jon returned to the United States he graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S degree in Criminal Justice. He returned to Virginia Beach and found his passion with working with animals.

While working as a handler at a local dog daycare he began doing research to help maintain a safe environment fro the dogs. From this thirst for knowledge came the introduction to Crystal Partain. From their first conversation Jon came to realize his methods to maintain a safe environment was based on learning theory and animal behaviors. After a few more meetings Crystal decided to take Jon under her wing, and under her tutelage Jon has realized his passion for dog training.

Jon is ready to help your four legged friend become the happy, well-behaved family member you know they can be!

Callie with PenguinCallie Spruill

Callie Spruill is a Pungo native and self proclaimed animal nerd. She earned her Bachelors of Science in marine science, with a psychology minor, from Coastal Carolina University in 2016. She spent the last few years working in the animal care field as a zookeeper and animal trainer. During this time, she cared for and trained a variety of animals, including otters, bears, penguins, sea lions, flamingos, and more. She has a cat named Charlotte who has served as a wonderful companion as she moved around the country to follow her dream of becoming an animal trainer. Now she and Charlotte are coming back to her roots, working as a trainer with The Freckled Paw. Callie hopes to be able to help you and your pets build positive relationships that will last a lifetime!

Please note that the dog training industry is not regulated by any type of certification or schooling. This means that anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, regardless of their background. Please do your research before agreeing to work with someone.

Ask questions!

How are they going to train your dog? Punishment based techniques only serve to create a fearful and anxious dog, which can create more problems down the line.

What tools are they going to use? Do you feel comfortable using these tools? If not, find a trainer that agrees with your philosophy. Harnesses, Head Collars, and Cookies are my favorite tools for training a willing and happy companion.

Who needs to be involved in the sessions? Will the trainer be teaching your pup and giving him back? This is a great option for certain behaviors and circumstances, but make sure the trainer is not using a different philosophy while you are away. Only clear instruction and compassion here at The Freckled Paw!

Why are they choosing the technique they are teaching you? Because it works doesn’t mean it’s always the best option. Each dog is different and needs different teaching styles. Make sure you are comfortable with the way the trainer is interacting with your dog.

Just because someone says they are a dog trainer, does not mean they have the best interest of you and your dog in mind.