About Us

Positive-based training

Our Staff

Toni Woods

ABCDT, CSAT, CGC Evaluator

Toni Woods, ABCDT, CSAT, attended graduate school studying Animal Sciences and went on to teach high school Biology for 9 years. She organized community service groups with her students to volunteer at the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL). Volunteering made it apparent that behavior problems and anxiety issues were the two main reasons contributing to dogs being euthanized which fueled Toni’s passion for working with dogs and lead her to become a certified dog trainer.

Toni is the owner of Spot On Dog Training. Their purpose is to improve the relationships between dogs and their families and to focus on easing the suffering of dogs experiencing separation anxiety. Toni is a graduate of Malena DeMartini’s world renowned Separation Anxiety Certification Program and is now dedicating her life to helping dogs with separation anxiety.

Tania Morgan

CPDT-KA certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers

Tania loves her job because she gets to help people develop happier and more fulfilling relationships with their pups. Plus she gets to give lots of ear scratches to her four-legged clients! Tania received her CPDT-KA certification in 2018 after completing the Spot On Training apprentice program.

Courtney Moyer

CPDT-KA certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers

Courtney developed an interest in dog training while fostering for City Dogs Rescue, working with different trainers to help her foster dogs become more adoptable. She pursued this interest further by completing an apprenticeship at Spot On Dog Training and received her CPDT-KA certification in 2018.

Courtney is also a licensed Social Worker and this experience and training allow her to bring a client-centered, understanding approach to helping people work with their dogs. She has a special passion for helping new dog owners as well as fearful pups. Courtney is the proud dog-mom to Dolly and June, her two rescue hounds.

Avi Israeli

Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Certified

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.

Jessica Charrette

Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Certified

Jessica has been training dogs for just under a decade. She was hired by Toni, who was her mentor in ABC fresh out of school. She has a 16 month old son named Luca, and 3 dogs: Jax, a 2 year old pitbull; Bianca, a 14 year old Shepherd mix; and Pepper, a 10 year old Pitbull. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband Gavin.

Lily Elliot

CPDT-KA certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers

Lily Elliot is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, CPDT-KA, and a contractor with Spot On Dog Training. She began her career as a professional petcare provider in 2012, after more than a dozen years in the corporate world. Lily began as a petsitter and dog-walker. She volunteered with, and then worked for, The Washington Humane Society (now the Humane Rescue Alliance). She started training dogs professionally in 2015. Since then she has performed more than 300 hours of hands-on dog training and earned her CPDT-KA certification in 2018. Lily leads group-training classes for Spot On.

Lily believes in, and practices, humane and positive-focused dog training with puppy, adolescent, adult, and senior dogs of many kinds, from 5-pound Chihuahuas to 120-pound Rottweilers. She is especially adept at helping reactive and anxious dogs to reach their full potential. She does this while helping their human companions develop the skills and mind-set that they can apply to provide the best care possible for their dogs and to nurture a mutually fulfilling and positive relationship with them. Her primary career for nearly 13 years, however, has been chauffer, stylist, chef, and all-around Personal Assistant to her beloved 13-year old Basenji-Pharaoh mix, Bella.

Kevin Wenzel

Office Manager / Digital Content Manager

Kevin manages the website and social media accounts for Spot On Training as well as sending the email newsletters. He first came to us as a client, and then joined the team as Office Manager before taking on additional Digital Content Manager duties. He lives in Cleveland Park with his fiancée and their Pomeranian, Gizmo.

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.