Pia's love of teaching began over 30 years ago as a private trainer, dance instructor, and track, field, and swimming coach for the Special Olympics. Her academic background was gained through the training of the world-renowned President, CEO and Founder of the famous Cooper Aerobics Center, Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Cooper, recognized as the leader of the international physical fitness movement and credited with motivating more people in the field, helped Pia learn more about motivational teaching through good coaching skills, specifically for people who may not be self-motivated in their pursuit to obtain a goal. As a result, she achieved the highest level of training by becoming a Regional Clinician for the first international aerobics corporation where she trained hundreds of new instructors in the field. After 13 years of para-legal/office management work, she decided to make her coaching and teaching background a full-time dream. She combined her love of coaching and teaching people with her other fondness -- dogs.
Pia is Director of Training and Behavior at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey (www.sthuberts.org) where she has developed various courses focusing on positive, reward-based techniques. The result of her efforts is an astounding 100+ classes per week, including 8 levels of pet training classes, specialty courses designed for dogs with extreme behavioral problems, and much more. She oversees a staff of 22 trainers and continues to instruct new trainers in the field. She has written six training manuals, which are used as a resource guide for other trainers around the country.
When Pia began working at the shelter, she realized that people were relinquishing their dogs to the shelter as a result of behavior problems. At the time, there was very little education for the pet-owning public. Through the research of people such as Dr. Gary Patronek, and many more, Pia was instrumental in developing a behavior department for the shelter. Today the shelter offers pre-adoption and post-adoption education to all adopters. A few years later she developed a canine coach program where volunteers and apprentice trainers work with shelter dogs on a daily basis. They help the dogs become more adoptable by learning and maintaining good manners, as well as offer behavioral wellness while in the shelter. The shelter now uses Gentle Leaders® and Easy Walkers® on all of the shelter dogs, as opposed to the old tools used years ago. Through word of mouth and a good reputation about the behavior department, St. Hubert's now has a very successful private consultation department for pet owners, specializing in aggressive and anxiety-related problems for dogs and cats. In 2006, the department saw over 500 behavior cases.
Pia writes behavior articles for the shelter's newsletter and library and contributes articles to many shelter newsletters around the country. She has been written up many times in national and international newspapers and magazines, most recently the largest dog magazine in Japan, and she routinely gives guest appearances on television and radio. Pia has spoken at various conferences and forums internationally (from Belgium to Japan) and regularly consults with various shelters to assist them in improving and expanding their programs. Her newly published book "Raising Puppies and Kids Together -- A Guide for Parents" was voted one of the top three parenting books for a Franklin D. Roosevelt Foundation.
Pia shares her home with husband, Marty, as well as their 9-year-old Belgian Tervuren, Lance, and his 3-year-old daughter, Guinn. Pia competes in Obedience, Rally-O, Agility, and continues to enjoy dancing but now with her dogs!
- Member of the American Humane Association Task Force for Humane Dog Training
- Business Practice chairperson of the Delta Guidelines for Humane Dog Training
- Past V.P. of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and charter member
- Helped to restructure the training curriculum for over 500 PETsMART stores in North America
- Helped to implement a six-week training curriculum for the PETsMART Area Trainers and conducted the educational program, along with Drs. Suzanne Hetts, Mary Lee Nitschke, Pamela Reid and Terry Ryan and Trish King.
- Senior Staff instructor for the Dogs of Course Instructor Training courses (www.dogsofcourse.com)
- Telecourse instructor for Animal Behavior Associates (www.animalbehaviorassociates.com)
- Past Board Advisor to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters
- Subject Matter Expert in the development of the first national certification program for dog trainers
- Past V.P. of the National Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
Charter member of APDT
Member if IAABC
Subject Matter Expert CCPDT
● "Raising Puppies and Kids Together: A Guide for Parents" (2005) TFH Publications,
Neptune City, N.J.
● The Dog Trainer's Resource - The APDT Chronicle of the Dog Collection, (2006) Dogwise Publishing, Wenatchee, WA (contributor)
● The Dog Behavior Answer book - Practical Insights & Proven Solutions for Your Canine Questions - (2006) Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA (contributor)
● CD: Dogs Will Be Dogs, St. Hubert's Giralda, Inc. (2003) (www.sthuberts.org)
● CD/DVD: Fun to Know Dog Training (2004), Millennium Interactive, Inc.
● DVD's: Lecture Tours, Tawzer Videos - www.tawzervideos.com