Our Philosophy


As the role of the dog has evolved from that of a working species, to one of a beloved family member, we must too think about the evolution of dog training. Gone are the days of training focused on dominance. These ideas are outdated and there's growing scientific data supporting the use of science-based learning principles resulting in much more effective and humane ways to train dogs.

Spot On Training stands for positive based training with evidence based outcomes. For dogs who thrive and are happy and healthy. Our core model focuses on:

  • positive motivation to encourage behaviors (positive is not permissive)
  • training protocols based on science-based learning theory
  • replacing undesirable behaviors with more appropriate responses
  • management for success; eliminate practice of unwanted behaviors
  • a fair leadership strategy
  • clear communication system
  • a wholistic approach where nutrition, exercise, and enrichment compliment training
  • having fun and building a relationship

To train a dog you need motivation, otherwise change in behavior won't happen. Motivation comes in many forms, some trainers use rewards to encourage a dog to continue doing a certain behavior and others use fear, intimidation, and pain - we NEVER use pain, force, intimidation, or fear to train any dog we work with. We believe in using positive motivation to get desired behaviors, setting the dog up for success, and focus on relationship building.

Customer Testimonials


"I have a highly reactive dog with a history of aggression that caused me to be anxious every time I stepped out of my front door with my dog. After multiple trainers who either told me my dog was helpless or used techniques that didn’t help, I had given up. The day I found Heather and Spot On Training was the first day I had hope. Heather listened without judgment, tailored a plan to get me smart on dog behavior, and became a dedicated partner in rehabilitating my reactive dog. I am pleased to say that I am doing things that I NEVER thought I would be able to do with him- and he continues to get better every month. Heather uses positive based training and incorporates her deep understanding of dog behavior to tackle every situation. My dog loves her and I am so grateful for how she has changed our lives!"
Jen Charron
"We have a great goldendoodle puppy Kuba: smart, sweet, and playful. Thanks to Heather and Ashley, he is also well behaved, very reliable off leash, and not bad at all on leash (and he could be even better if his parents worked a bit harder). Since we got Kuba in January 2011, we participated in many Spot On Training private and group classes, to socialize Kuba (monthly Puppy Spots), teach him some manners (Puppy Manners, Adult Manners, and private loose leash-walking classes), and for fun (Dog Tricks!). Working with both Heather and Ashley is fun and friendly and their lovely studio on H Street has quickly become one of Kuba’s favorite places in the world. Many thanks to both."
Sylvia & Lex
"We've taken three classes from Spot On, and they have been great. The trainers are wonderful and make sure that both the human and the dog understand the training process. I'm a big fan of positive reinforcement, and together we learned so much. My dog loved Spot On so much that now every time we go to Metro Mutts, Reggie tries to go downstairs to the Spot On studio in hopes there's class."
Monica Carmean
"Shortly after adopting my dog, Maizy, I noticed her getting overly excited and even aggressive when she saw other dogs while on leash. It was embarrassing and frustrating because I knew what a sweet dog she really was. After consulting with Heather, I signed her up for a reactive dog training class and it has done wonders. Before reactive dog training, Maizy would jump, bark, growl, and pull at the sight of another dog. Now, on walks she is able to see other dogs without overreacting because she learned how to self-regulate and I learned which tools to use to prevent her from losing control. Additionally, during training sessions Maizy and I developed a mutual respect that has made our time together on walks and at home much more enjoyable."
Natalie Mann
"The transformation I've noticed in Kuma was lighting fast. She was/is a reactive dog around other dogs and I've struggled with walking her on leash, in passing other dogs on narrow sidewalks in DC and have resigned to walking her in early mornings or walking on the streets. Approximately a year and half ago, Heather started working with us and I am much more confident in walking Kuma because I now have tools I can use to redirect her attention to me. Kuma now wags her tail when she sees other dogs, and is able to pass or follow some dogs on sidewalks. Kuma loves Heather and Jackie's classes and she knows when I'm chopping up cheese for training treats that it's time for her to waggle and strut her newly learned skills."
Bobbie Jo Kite
"Spot On Training came to my rescue when I brought home a new 8-week-old puppy, Tonk. As the puppy grew, he became increasingly mouthy and my other dog, Roxanne, was not taking well to him. Through in home and private studio sessions, puppy manners, puppy play dates, a class for Roxanne who was picking up bad habits, and several SOS emails and phone calls, I now have two great dogs that genuinely love each other and are a fun addition to my house. Spot On Training is a great resource and I truly consider them a partner in raising the dogs. I couldn’t imagine my life without both dogs and am indebted to Heather, Ashley, and Jaime for making it all happen."
Robin Jones
"Spot On hosted our spectacular puppy birthday party! Pooches of every size frolicked on agility equipment, with a trainer offering support, and my friends surveyed the mayhem with snacks, beverages, and comfy chairs!"
Sarah Pheasant

Our Trainers




Toni Woods


Toni has attended graduate school, studying Animal Sciences. She taught high school Biology for 8 years, during which time she volunteered at a local vet and organized a community service group with her students to volunteer at the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL). While volunteering she learned that behavior problems are the number one reason dogs are euthanized and decided to take action. She became an Animal Behavior College certified trainer to fulfill her passion working with dogs. Since 2007 she has been working tirelessly to build Anytime K9, her walking, pet sitting and training company, to help educate families and their pets to prevent further loss of life. On September 1, 2016 Toni merged her training company with Spot on Dog Training with the purpose of improving the relationships between dogs and their families. Both Toni and Heather Morris (Spot on Dog Trainings’ Founder) focused their attentions on the community that they work, live, and play in. As development in the Atlas District and Capitol Hill increases and larger brands increase their foot prints, Toni felt that this merger was the best way to continue serving the community and secure her position as one of the market leaders. As such, Toni took over the reigns of Spot On Training, while leaving the cultures and methodologies of both businesses intact. Toni is the proud parent of her chocolate labs, Riley and Sina.

Jennifer Jackson


Jennifer Jackson originally began training animals in 2004 by working as a keeper and trainer in zoos across the country, including DC's National Zoo. On a whim, she took dog training and was amazed at the passion and huge breadth of knowledge dog trainers possess, and loved how committed dog owners are to their dog's well-being. She then left the zoo field to pursue a career as a dog trainer.

Jen specializes in separation anxiety and is a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer. She is also a student of Raising Canine's Professional Dog Training school and a graduate of Dr. Susan Friedman's "Learning and Living with Animals" course. Her favorite part of dog training is working closely with owners and providing them with all the guidance, support, and encouragement they need during the entire training process. As a mom, she also has an interest in helping families safely incorporate their dogs into family life.

Jen lives with her husband, daughter, and their small menagerie of furry, feathered, and scaly friends. When she's not training dogs, her main interests are reading everything she can about child development and behavior, and spending time with her family.

Kelton Williams


Kelton Williams is a lifelong dog lover, and is the proud owner of Madison (rescued from a Virginia roadside in 2003), and Waylon Jennings (rescued from an Illinois family about to surrender him to a shelter in 2011). His entry into dog training occurred when he moved to DC in 2013 and started volunteering as a behavioral coordinator with City Dogs Rescue and walking dogs. Leaning into his passion for dogs, Kelton pursued and received his certification from Animal Behavior College.

Kelton’s approach to dog training is heavily influenced by his teaching background. He started his professional career in 2006 teaching middle school and high school in Texas. While in Texas, Kelton completed a Ph.D. at Texas A&M in Curriculum & Instruction, and served as an Assistant Professor of Educational Studies at Knox College in Galesburg, IL where he taught aspiring educators. Kelton’s experience teaching others naturally translates to the dog training world; Kelton focuses on reactive dogs, introducing dogs to the home, and fostering the vital relationship between dogs and their humans.

Avi Israeli


Having grown up in a home where dogs outnumbered humans, Avi has always had a natural kinship with our four-legged companions. Inspired by his mentor and Spot On owner, Toni Woods, Avi received his certification from Animal Behavior College in 2012, and has been working to improve the relationships between dogs and their people ever since.

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Wilson


Matthew's love of dogs began with his English Springer Spaniel, Nickie, the perfect nanny dog and a great hunter too. Abby the shepherd came next, a very sweet and anxious little girl. After pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Masters in International Development Studies, Matthew moved back to his true passion and began working with dogs in a professional capacity in 2011. After several years of experimenting with different training methods, Matthew decided to attend Starmark Academy's School for Dog Trainers, one of the highest rated dog-training schools in the country. Matthew is certified by Starmark as a Canine Training and Behavior Specialist, and is a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals.

 

 

 

Chelsea Shanline


Chelsea has had a passion for animals of all kinds since she was young. She grew up in Virginia Beach, always surrounded with dogs, cats, and horses. When she started working for our sister company as a walker she knew she wanted to work with dogs the rest of her life. She graduated from Animal Behavior College as a certified trainer studying under Jessica and Toni. She finds helping pet parents and their furry family members extremely rewarding and is looking forward to her future as an Spot on Dog Trainer. She is the proud pet parent of two Sphynx cats Mozart and Edgar and a tortoise Ludwig.