Play-Based Dog Training 


Do you want to enjoy a stress-free life with your dog?

Regain your natural harmony with nature’s wonderful canine companions through our integrated program.

  • Use play-based learning to teach new skills
  • Teach your dog to be responsive
  • Gain a deeper level of understanding of your own behavior and lifestyle and its impact on your dog
  • Improve your communication skills with creativity
  • Have a relaxed and happy dog

You want to understand your dog, feel a wild bond with your dog, and have more fun with your dog!

•Learn sit, stay, come and all the niceties – and be the envy of all your friends!

•Do more that your DOG wants to do: play off leash safely, hit the streets with confidence, and have way more fun than most dogs!

•Try new things and have new adventures – want to be a therapy dog team? Show off your tricks? Play dog sports?

Play-based dog training is holistic in that it encompasses the understanding of behavior, the teaching of skills, the assessment of subtle body energy, nutrition, and the exchange of energy/communication between animal and human.

Dana uses an innovative “Elemental Approach” to prescribing balance in your dog. By applying the concept of elements, which are thriving and innate in all living things in nature, we have a greater perspective of harmony in your dog and what it takes to bring she or he into balance in order to live optimally.


Your Dog’s Basic Needs & Considerations:

  • Air: Thought, Focus, Creativity
  • Fire: Love, Motivation, Drive (instinct)
  • Earth: Constitution, Routine, Habits
  • Water: Ease, Flow, Play

Included in your first session:

  • Behavior – the science behind the unwanted or desired behavior
  • Skills – a reward-based approach that respects your dog’s unique needs and methods of communicating
  • Nutrition – how nutrition not only can affect behavior but overall well-being and longevity
  • Enrichment – covering play, exercise, love, socialization, and all things in between
  • Energy Balance – an assessment of your dog’s chakras (energy centers) and a re-balancing of those chakras with Reiki and shamanic healing
  • Animal Communication – psychic/telepathic communication with your dog for an enhanced perspective of the situation


Do More with Your Dog

Skills you can learn – 

  • The Basics: sit, down, come (recall), wait, targeting, leave it, heel (stay by me)
  • Beyond Basics – REALLY “stay,” target different things, retrieve, pivot on things, lots more fun!
  • How to be a therapy dog (be well-mannered enough to visit seniors and children and make them feel loved and happy)
  • Walking well on a leash
  • Tricks
  • Foundations for performance sports

Other things we address – 

Common behavior problems such as:

  • Nuisance barking
  • Mild separation anxiety
  • Jumping on strangers
  • Fear reactivity / shyness or anxiety


dog training

First Paw Forward’s Elemental Approach to prescribing balance in your dog

What method of skill training do I use?

Positive, force-free, science-based learning. That means that a bunch of really smart science-y people did studies to find out the most effective and efficient way to train your dog in a way that doesn’t hurt them physically, emotionally or psychologically. In other words – IT WORKS. And it happens to be FUN for both you and your dog.

We will use a clicker in most cases, because of its efficacy in training.


Initial Sessions are $211 for 90 minutes

Subsequent sessions are $120/hour

*Reiki sessions are available as an add-on service for $45 


Schedule Appointment

We service the Far West End/Short Pump/Wyndham area, Western Henrico, Midlothian and Richmond City. Ask us about parts of Hanover, Eastern Henrico, Chesterfield, and Goochland before booking.


Is this training right for you? Let’s get to know each other first! Email or call (804) 719-1PAW for a complimentary phone consult. 


AKC CGC Testing:

As an AKC CGC Evaluator, I offer CGC testing for a nominal fee. Testing is done at either Stony Point Shopping Center or Bass Pro Shops. Contact me below for questions and to schedule an appointment.

Learn more about the CGC test here


Quick Questions? Reach out!