Mutts Have Fun uses science-based, force free methods to train dogs and their human guardians. We teach you to observe your dogs closely, so you know what might trigger fear, excitement, or stress; what relaxes your dog; and what is rewarding and fun for your dog. Our training helps teach you how to “fill your dog’s emotional cup” and meet their physical and emotional needs as a starting place for foundation training and behavior modification. “A Dog’s Emotional Cup” poster from Sarah Owings and Lili Chin provides a great visual for this step in the process.

© Sarah Owings/Lili Chin

We also help you learn to manage your environment and set your dog up for success, whether that means learning new behaviors more easily due to the way you’ve set up your training space or reducing opportunities to practice unwanted behaviors (see exit 2 on the diagram below). We teach you how to train a variety of new behaviors using positive reinforcement (see exit 3). For behaviors that are causing problems or disruptions to your relationship, we try to understand the function or purpose of the behavior to your dog. We then reinforce alternative behaviors that meet both the dog’s and the humans’ needs (see exit 4). Our approach is to teach your dog what behaviors you want and reinforce him for offering those behaviors willingly, rather than withholding affection or resources, or actively punishing behavior with pain, force, or intimidation. Reading your dog’s body language, providing your dog with choice and agency, and helping to build foundations for a strong bond are key aspects of our approach.

© Friedman, Fritzler

My goal is for you and your pup to have fun during the training process. Even though training is a commitment that takes effort and time, I hope you look forward to our sessions. By using the approach described above in working with you and your dog, I seek to foster trust, improved communication between you and your dog, and joy in your relationship together.

Services offered include: walk and train (or hike and train), in-home private sessions and day training (where I come work with your dog alone).

About Anna Wong

Certified Training Professional, Karen Pryor Academy (KPA-CTP)

I grew up with a fat, sweet cat named Peaches, who was born a month later than me. I’ve always loved animals, but my interest in dog training began after I adopted my first puppy, Kempie. I was introduced to positive reinforcement training through a puppy kindergarten class at the East Bay SPCA and was hooked.

Fast forward many years…While Kempie is almost perfect in my opinion, I have to admit…she hasn’t been the easiest of pups and is my inspiration and one of my best teachers. In my journey, I have taken additional training classes and hired private trainers to coach me in working on specific issues with her.

Everything I learned about training and behavior modification was so fascinating that I enrolled in KPA’s Dog Trainer Professional course, where I earned my professional certification. In addition to running Mutts Have Fun, I became an Assistant Trainer at the East Bay SPCA where my training journey began.

I am dedicated to continuously improving my knowledge base and skills through coursework, reading, attending conferences and learning from more experienced trainers. (See a selected list of my ongoing professional development.) By taking on the roles of professional trainer, client, and student, I seek to provide concrete assistance to my clients, be compassionate with the people and dogs that I work with, and be a lifelong learner.

Outside of my life training dogs, I have advocated for over a decade to make our youth and adult criminal justice systems more humane and equitable. My dream is to bring together my passion for working for social justice with my love of dogs and dog training.

© BehaviorWorks.org

There are already a handful of excellent programs that work with people in prison to train rescued shelter dogs so they are more adoptable, as well as service dogs. If you want to check a few of these out that are in California, see Paws for Life K9 Rescue and Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs.

These programs save human and canine lives and quality of life is greatly improved for each person who receives a service dog. 

People inside prison get a chance to develop loving relationships with the dogs they care for, learn dog training and behavioral change skills, and to give back to people outside the prison walls. In this way, they help the public understand that “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done” — a quote I love from Bryan Stevenson.

“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

Kempie and Anna, 2019

To extend this impact, my vision is to make living-wage jobs in the dog training field more accessible to people coming out of prison. I have lots of ideas about how to do this which will continue to evolve over time. If you’re interested in learning more about this part of my work, let me know…I’d love to have a conversation about it.

In the immediate future, my focus is on training you and your dog through Mutts Have Fun. I look forward to our work together!