The Elite Team
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!
Winner 2019 Best of Virginia Beach for Dog Training
Top Trainer in Virginia Beach 2022 (3rd Place)
Crystal Partain 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 received 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 5 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.
Callie Spruill CPDT-KA
Did you know that an otter and your dog learn the same way?
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.
Callie brings an unique perspective to the team, and has excelled at problem solving for those behaviors that don’t seem quite right.
Sarah Onweller ABCDT
From Dolphins to Dogs!
Sarah is a Pennsylvania native who left for the Navy when she was 18. She did 5 years in the Navy and then pursued a career in the marine mammal field. She received her BA in Psychology, from Brandman University. She has worked with dolphins, sea lions, seals, penguins, and more. Sarah decided to switch from dolphins to dogs when she moved to Virginia. She received a dog training certification from Animal Behavior College.
Although dogs and dolphins are different in many ways, they are the same when it comes to the love, training, and enrichment you as their human companions add to their lives!
Keri Carter CPDT-KA
Keri started her training career as one of Crystal’s clients in 2017. Her passion for dogs, and love of figuring out the behavior, quickly led Crystal to suggest Keri should consider a career in dog training. A few years later, Keri earned her CPDT-KA and is now an employee. Keri shares her home with a gaggle of misfit bully breed mixes and an Australian Shepherd. She usually has one or two in foster care for a local bully rescue. Keri is also involved in sports with her dogs and can be found running FastCAT or teaching barn hunt lessons.
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.
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 our 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. All dogs big and small learn the same way. Certain breeds don’t need different training techniques. 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.