About Our DGS Family

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Owner and Canine Master

Chris is the owner and founder of Dog Gone Smart. He has been working with animals for over 25 years and has developed a unique training theory that combines instinct with learning. He is a noted expert in canine behavior who works with dogs and their humans.


Chris’ personal daily practice involves helping dogs with special issues i.e. aggression, separation anxiety, fear, disabilities and training problems. He is often the last hope for many dogs. His outgoing personality and fun approach to learning have made him one of the most popular trainers in Fairfield County. His clients (both human and canine) are highly motivated to work and thoroughly enjoy their learning experience.  Chris is also the host of his own Canine Master Radio show on Pet Life Radio.


Read here for more info about Chris.

Debbie Modica

General Manager and Canine Care Captain

Deb is a one of a kind professional multi-tasker.  Deb is constantly managing the day to day tasks here at Dog Gone Smart ensuring everything runs optimally and efficiently with the absolute priority always being to provide the best care, safety, and services  to your dogs.  We think Deb must have a secret twin because we just don't know how she does it all!  Deb knows each and every one of our clients both canine and human and prides herself on those personal relationships which allow us to be able to provide your dog with the best experience while in our care.  Both Debbie and her family have fostered for the CT Humane Society as well as volunteered at events. Debbie lives in Silvermine with her husband Alex, her son Michael,  and her daughter Allison, who is a special needs teacher.  They have three rescue dogs: a bichon named Sadie, a Bouvier des Flanders named Kona and their newest rescue, a standard poodle named Luke.     debbie@doggonesmart.com

Jaimee Kelsey

Jaimee runs the training department at Dog Gone Smart.  She has been part  of the Dog Gone Smart Family for over 20 years.  A resident of Westport, she started as a client who needed help with her rescue dog, and pretty much never left.  She went through Chris’ canine behavior and training internship program in 2000, and has been helping pets and their owners ever since as part  of our training team, and is now the Director of our Training Program.  Jaimee’s love of animals is contagious.  Jaimee is also a mother of 2 boys and knows what it takes to keep a household running smoothly for both humans and canines! She specializes in working with families to teach how all can live together harmoniously through playful and positive techniques. Having a pet should be a joyful bonding experience for the entire family!  Jaimee heads our training team, and teaches both group classes and private lessons for obedience and behavior shaping.  If you are unsure the best training program for your dog, Jaimee will help you navigate your options and make a plan for success.  Jaimee has many years experience in both broadcast and social media, as a radio producer and internet brand builder. You can see some of her media appearances HERE and some more fun stuff on the job HERE.  She is Dog Gone Smart’s Manager of Training, Marketing and PR.  Many refer to her as our "Pet Therapist"and she would love to hear from you!     jaimee@doggonesmart.com

Laurie Rendon

Certified Dog Trainer, CPDT-KA

Laurie has been with Dog Gone Smart since 2005 learning Chris’ instinctual and behavioral approach to training. She is certified by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and is also a member of the CPDT. Laurie teaches five levels of obedience from puppy class to outdoor distraction class and is following in Chris’ footsteps as his lead trainer in our aggression and reactive dog team.  Laurie Teaches our Canine Good Citizen Classes and specializes in working with dogs with behavioral concerns such as food guarding, separation anxiety, socialization and more. 


Laurie's Behavioral Bootcamps are designed to help dogs with socialization challenges learn safe and appropriate play skills and boundaries.  She has worked miracles in transforming the life of pets and their owners.  After successful completion of Laurie's Bootcamps, previously reactive dogs are now interacting safely with ease and even play with other dogs!  Laurie is a dictionary of dog behavior! 


Dan does it all! He teaches group classes, does private lessons, and socialization on the floor.

Betsy Schwartz

Agility Trainer Extraodinaire

Betsy Schwartz AKA "Agility Queen" is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed and an evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, the Pet Professional Guild and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She is committed to only positive, force-free, dog-friendly training methods, which create a bond of trust and foster teamwork. Training is all about relationships and clear, two-way communication between handler and dog. Betsy believes that training should always be enjoyable for both human and animal alike, and she interjects humor and fun into all her classes.  MORE INFO ON AGILITY AND HER CLASSES CAN BE FOUND HERE

A lifelong animal lover, Betsy has taught pet training classes in CT since 2003. She was Training Coordinator and Assistant Trainer for The Good Dog Foundation for Fairfield and Westchester Counties from 1999-2002, and is currently an administrator of the Pet Therapy Program at Kids in Crisis in Cos Cob, CT.  Betsy is very excited to be bringing her Agility program to Dog Gone Smart with her Agility for Fun classes!

Betsy, along with her husband, Will and son, James, are the guardians of two Old English Sheepdogs, Rigby and Eleanor (a.k.a. Ellie Belly), two rescued feral cats, Maizey and KitKat, and a clicker-trainer horse named Sundance.

Puppy Trainer and Marketing Assistant aka "Wonder Bebz"

Bebz is our Puppy Guru!  She began as a client of Dog Gone Smart before entering our internship program. Prior to joining the training team, she was an informal learning researcher with a focus on human-computer interaction. She supplemented her love for education for training puppies and their owners. Bebz specializes in puppy socialization and runs the puppy board and train program at DGS. When she's not supervising the Puppy Palace or running around puppy play times, she can be found helping Jaimee with marketing and media. Check out her Puppy Program HERE!

Nikki Kelly

In House Training Wizard for Daycare and Boarding, Dogs LOVE Nikki!

Nikki Kelly truly is an Animal Whisperer. She is Dog Gone Smart’s lead daycare trainer. Nikki has been part of the Dog Gone Smart Team for over 10 years and LOVES her job!  She went through our Dog Gone Smart Trainer Apprenticeship Program and now applies the skills and techniques she learned to working with our daycare dogs every day on various behaviors, agility,  and commands. Why does she do this?  Because she knows its FUN to teach a dog new tricks!  Nikki is truly a miracle worker and heads our Daycare Training Program.  Let her do the heavy lifting and train your dog for you!

You can find out more about that HERE!

Candace Cole

Mary "Puppins"

Candace is one of Dog Gone Smart's Lead Puppy Trainers!  From Class to Playtime Candace has you covered, she is an encyclopedia of all things Puppy!

Swim Instructor

Pierce is our swim instructor extraordinaire!  You will often find Pierce in the pool with one of his many canine swim students and running our puppy swim program. When he's not in the pool he'll be the one hustling around the facility with wet hair  He is skilled in not only getting the dogs comfortable in the water, but teaching them to be confident swimmers who love to swim! Pierce is also a senior kennel associate who keeps a watchful eye on each and every dog making sure they are in the proper playgroup and are having as much fun as possible!  Dogs LOVE Pierce and Pierce LOVES Dogs!

Check out some of the action in the pool HERE at our @dgsswims instagram!

Boris Katzenberg

Fabiola Rodriguez

Small Dog Area Specialist and Professional Cuddle Giver

Fabiola never met a dog she didn't love! 

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Hours of Operation:                                


Monday - Friday 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM              
Saturday 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM                   
Sunday 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Copyright © 2020 by Dog Gone Smart.

All rights reserved.