About Us

Owner, Vicki Ronchette, CPDT, CAP2, CNWI
Vicki has lived with dogs her whole life.

She began working with animals professionally in 1985 when she received a
certificate in Veterinary Assisting while still in high school. She began focusing on
training dogs just a couple of years later.

She started as an assistant trainer with her own dogs in Competition Obedience.
Later, she offered classes through Heads or Tails Pet Grooming, the grooming
salon she owned and operated for 8 years.

Vicki is the author of Positive Training for Show Dogs – Building a Relationship for
Success (www.dogwise.com) and has written numerous dog training articles. Vicki
also has a DVD available (www.tawzerdogvideos.com) to help people learn more
about using positive methods to work with show dogs.

As dog training is evolving all the time, Vicki continues to take courses and attend
seminars and workshops from well known trainers, behaviorists and authors to
continue to grow as a trainer. She also meets regularly with other trainers to
discuss cases, exchange ideas and improve her skills. Vicki is committed to
continued education and continues to add training, experience and certifications to
her resume.

Vicki is the owner/moderator of “clickershowdogs” a yahoo group dedicated to
positive and clicker training for show dogs.

She participates with her dogs in obedience, conformation, rally obedience, K9
nose work, canine freestyle, earthdog and field trials. She has also been active in

She is an AKC licensed Dachshund and Basset Hound Field Trial Judge and an
AKC CGC Evaluator.

She was the Founder of the Golden Gate Dachshund Club’s Rescue Program.
She evaluates, trains, fosters and rehomes rescue dogs and serves on the board
of this club.

In November 2006 she became a CPDT (Certified Pet Dog Trainer).

In 2007, Vicki founded East Bay Dog Trainers a group of positive reinforcement
dog trainers committed to continued education and positive reinforcement

In 2008, Vicki took the CAP (Clicker Competency Assessment Program) test. The
CAP program is one of the few that actually tests the trainers mechanical skills and
ability and assesses them on that rather than on straight book knowledge. Vicki
passed her CAP Level 1 and her CAP Level 2 with distinction, the highest possible

Vicki is a CNWI (Certified Nose Work Instructor) and offers K9 Nose Work classes.
She uses her years of experience as a Dachshund and Basset Hound field trial
competitor and judge as well as her Nose Work Instructor training to help people
understand the amazing ability dogs have to do scent work.

Vicki has lived with and/or competed with many breeds including Rottweiler, Chow
Chow, Maltese, Dachshund, Australian Cattle Dog, Poodle, Cocker Spaniel,
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Havanese, Clumber Spaniel, Boxer, Pekingese,
various terriers, Afghan Hound, Shih Tzu, Pug, Doberman, German Shepherd,
Golden Retriever, Pomeranian, Chihuahua various mixed breeds and has worked
with many breeds with much success. She has trained 1000s of dogs over the
past 23 years in group classes and private instruction. She takes pride in being a
versatile dog trainer, capable of successfully working with all different types of
dogs and canine learning styles. Vicki believes that all dogs, regardless of breed
or size should be treated with the same compassion, understanding and humane

Vicki has a special interest in using positive reinforcement training (including
clicker training) to train show dogs. She will show you how to train your show dog
or train it for you. She also has a love for working with fearful individuals including
show dogs who need help learning to cope with their fears.

Vicki is also very interested in parrot and bird care and training.

Vicki’s Professional Affiliations and Certifications

APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) – Professional Member
CCPDT (Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers) – Certified Pet Dog Trainer
IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants) – Affiliate Member
Pet First Aid and CPR Certified
DogTec – Member
Four Paws of San Leandro – Member
Golden Gate Dachshund Club – Vice President
Dachshund Club of America – Member, 2007 Show Chair
Golden Gate Dachshund Rescue – Founder
Dublin Creek Animal Foundation – Training Coordinator
JavaDawgs – Member
East Bay Dog Trainers – Founder/Member
Oakland Zoo – Past Volunteer
Muttville – Volunteer/Foster
Golden Gate Basset Hound Rescue – Foster Coordinator, Training Coordinator
Lion Hearted Small Dog Rescue – Founder
National Association of Canine Scent Work – Certified Nose Work Instructor

Braveheart Dog Training is licensed and insured.

References Available Upon Request


Colleen Pepper, Assistant Trainer
Colleen assists Vicki in her Castro Valley Adult School Monday night classes.

Colleen has been training her own dogs for competition obedience and agility for
many years. Colleen works as a veterinary assistant and worked for many years
as a groomer.

Colleen trains and competes in agility with her dogs Bart (a McNab) and Sherman
(a Catahoula Leopard Dog mix).

Kathy Kinney, Assistant Trainer
Kathy assists Vicki in her Castro Valley Adult School Saturday classes.

Kathy is training Josie, her Border Collie in agility, obedience, rally and K9
nosework. Josie competes in both AKC and APDT rally and has completed her
Rally Excellent title!

Yvonne Chohan, ANWI, Assistant Trainer
Yvonne assists Vicki in her San Lorenzo HARD classes. She also supervises the
Braveheart play groups and co-teaches the K9 Nose Work classes with Vicki.
Yvonne is also in the K9 Nose Work Instructor Certification Program. She is the
owner of You and Me Dog Walking.

Yvonne is currently training Rossi, her American Pit Bull Terrier in conformation
where Rossi has already earned championship points and has earned her Canine
Good Citizen award. Rossi is also working on becoming an Area Search and
rescue dog with CARDA and they are also a volunteer companion dog patrol team
with East Bay Regional Park District. Yvonne is also training and competing with
Hayden another APBT in conformation and runs a 4H dog program with her junior
handler daughter Hannah. Finally, Yvonne is training her newest addition, Bree,
another APBT of course in K9 nosework and conformation and has already
completed her ORT (odor recognition test) for nose work and her bench

Michelle Wolff
Michelle is Vicki’s Saturday assistant. Michelle has been working professionally
with animals for years as a veterinary assistant and now as a full time Groomer.
Michelle is training Dennis in agility for fun and is also working on teaching her two
legged Chihuahua mix Cheerio how to walk with a cart. Michelle is the proud owner
of Dennis the Pug and Cheerio, a Chihuahua mix.

Kristen Masar
Kristen is Vicki’s relief assistant. Unfortunately, Kristen’s work schedule doesn’t
allow her to assist on a regular basis, but she graciously helps out whenever one
of Vicki’s other assistants isn’t available.

Kristen is the proud of owner Samoyeds Dakota and Madden. She is currently
showing Madden in conformation.

Our Methods
Our training uses exclusively positive reinforcement methods. With positive
reinforcement the dog is able to have fun and enjoy the training process rather
than have to worry about being punished. There are no choke collars, no prong
collars, no shock collars, just science based dog friendly methods that work. You
will not be told to use confrontational methods like pinning your dog or pushing it to
the ground. Instead you will be taught to train with the same methods that are
used by professional trainers all over the world to build cooperative relationships
with even the most dangerous animals. Having trained for many years with a
variety of trainers and methods and, Vicki has found positive reinforcement
training to be the most effective and enjoyable regardless of the age or breed of
dog. Even children and people with less than perfect timing can succeed with
positive training. Our goal is to make science based animal learning theory fun,
easy to understand and execute so that owners have success.

Because we train without force and compulsion you will not be asked to jerk your
dog’s neck or use painful collars. We will teach you to train for results while still
being able to maintain a positive relationship with your best friend.

We have success with basic manners and obedience training, puppy training as
well as helping owners of dogs with issues like aggression, shyness and
destructive behavior. All of these are solved using positive, scientific, non-violent

Does positive training mean that there are never consequences or discipline
involved? Absolutely not! We simply realize that pain and intimidation is not the
way to build a healthy working relationship between you and your dog. We teach
people to communicate with their dogs and train them in a fun, kind and humane
way. We are committed to treating both the dogs and their humans with
compassion and understanding.

Recent Posts

Beginning Obedience/Manners Classes

Beginning Obedience/Manners Class (6 weeks, 1 hour, $150)
Saturdays, Castro Valley, 9:00-10:00am (next session starts on September 29, 2012*) – Instructor: Vicki Ronchette
Beginning Obedience is recommended for dogs 5 months of age and older. This class is designed to teach owners how dogs learn. Students will be taught how to train their dogs to heel, sit, come, lie down, stay as well as others. Dogs do come to the first class. Different types of equipment will be discussed and recommended on the first night. Owners must bring proof of shots to the first class. Aggressive dogs may be excused from class. *No class 10/6, 10/20

Beginning Obedience/Manners Class for Small Dogs (under 25 pounds) 6 weeks, 1 hour, $150
Mondays, Castro Valley, 6:30-7:30pm (next session starts on September 10, 2012*) – Instructor: Vicki Ronchette
This class is identical to the one listed above but is open only to smaller dogs. This class is great for the little guys who may feel uncomfortable or intimidated by being around larger dogs. Dogs do come to the first class. *No class on the first Monday of the month.

Three’s Company Beginning Obedience/Manners Class (5 weeks, 45 minutes, $200)
Tuesdays, San Leandro, 6:00-6:45pm (next session September 11, 2012) – Instructor: Vicki Ronchette
This class is identical to the Beginning Obedience/Manners Class listed above but is limited to only 3 dogs and owners. This allows clients who need more one on one time. Somewhere in between private lessons and a group class, our Three’s Company class allows clients to afford more one on one training at an affordable cost.

  1. Puppy Classes Leave a reply