About Helen


 Helen Del Bove, CPDT-KA
Owner, Operator
I am a dog lover and owner first, and a dog trainer second. I know from first-hand experience the difference dog training makes in the relationship between dog and owner. Without professional training it can sometimes be a frustrating relationship, but with an investment in good training a wonderful transformation will occur.
I am a graduate of Animal Behavior College (ABC) where I earned my certification as an ABC Certified Dog Trainer.  ABC is approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education and is an internationally recognized school.  My year-long commitment to this program has provided me with a formal education in canine obedience training and understanding behavior and its motives.  In addition, I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT*).My certifications, education and over 20 years of experience working with dogs of all ages and breeds provide me with the skills required to effectively and humanely train your dog while keeping alive the spark that makes your dog so special to you. 

I live in New York with my husband and three dogs, collectively and affectionately known as my "monsters."  I began experimenting with clicker training in 1991 with my cat, Pippin, who we, sadly, lost in July 2008.  I found the clicker to be a highly effective and gentle method and I successfully trained my cat to come, fetch and give her paw.  Since then, my training method has always been about positive reinforcement with clicker training as my specialty.  My two Lhasa Apsos, Pebbles & Bam Bam, were thought by many to be untrainable (especially Bam Bam) but, through my consistent and patient handling, they are now my loving and obedient companions.  Bam Bam came to me with some aggression issues and we have successfully worked through them.  He sometimes even accompanies me on training sessions because he is now a calm, non-reactive dog.  My Havanese, Shmoopy, is the youngest member of the family and often accompanies me on training sessions, as well as serving as a demo-dog in groupclasses.  Both Bam Bam and Shmoopy are proud to be CGC Dogs.  I have even managed, to the astonishment of all, to train my hubby to put the toilet seat down and do so with a smile!  If I can do that, I can help you and your dog. 
I have spent hundreds of hours volunteering at shelters and took great pleasure in working with the shelter dogs and helping people find the right dog to adopt.  I am also on the board of directors and head volunteer trainer for the Ananda & Johnny Program, a charitable organization that attempts to pair inner city children with shelter dogs. I am a proud member of APDT and an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator.  I offer private, in-home training lessons and have done so for the last 20 years.  In 2007, I began conducting group training classes under the name of “Smarty Paws Dog Training” and am happy to say that many participants in my group classes come back for more advanced classes and/or “brush-up” classes.  I have been working with dogs and their owners for many years and there is nothing that satisfies me more than to see a happy dog and a happy owner!
My mission is to help you and your dog enjoy many happy years together
Happy Tails!
* CCPDT serves to establish and maintain recognized standards of competence for animal training and behavior professionals through criteria based on experience, standardized testing, skills and continuing education, and identifies those individuals to the public.


"You have showed so much patience and care, that it truly touches me. It is so evident in the way that you give your time, it is not just a job to you - but a passion. I want to thank you for sharing your passion and expertise and look forward to learning all we can with you. I would highly recommend Smarty Paws to anyone looking for a trainer!!"

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