Laurel Scarioni

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Laurel Scarioni is the founder of Pawsitive Results Critter Academy, LLC, which offers training and behavior modification for dogs, cats, and parrots. A significant portion of Laurel’s business involves working with people to resolve behavior problems such as fear and aggression. However, her ultimate goal is to prevent such problems, so she also conducts puppy socialization and training classes to help families start off on the right paw. Fun is an important part of any good relationship, so Laurel also offers classes to introduce people to sports such as agility and canine freestyle.

Laurel is a regular contributor to Sonoma Pets, a quarterly insert in Sonoma County’s Press Democrat newspaper, and has also contributed to Fetch, a Bay Area newspaper dedicated to all things dog.

She is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) and has earned a certificate in dog behavior counseling (with honors) from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers.

Laurel and her husband Athen share their Northern California home with a menagerie of pets that they have adopted from shelters and rescue groups. They are currently owned by Tina the pitbull mix, Butch the Shih Tzu, Edgar the Border Terrier; cats Cassidy and Calvin; and parakeets Magnolia and Lily. You can learn more about Laurel’s business on the web at

Blog posts by Laurel Scarioni

Never Say Never

A few years ago during a casual conversation with a group of fellow dog trainers, I made the mistake of saying that I would never have a Jack Russell Terrier. What was I thinking?! I know how these things work… the minute those words passed my lips I knew I was destined to share my home with a JRT. I didn’t know when, but I knew a rowdy little terrier would grace my doorstep.

At the time I’d said those fateful words, I had never lived with a terrier. I had worked with many terriers and found them to be fun to train, but I just didn’t feel that they would fit well into my rather laid back but occasionally active lifestyle.


Mind Your (Trail) Manners

Last week I was walking two of my clients’ dogs at a local park to practice their trail manners. When I saw people coming, I would call the dogs to whichever side was further from the approaching people and cue them to walk there. Many people smiled and commented on how well behaved these two dogs were, despite the fact that the younger one often made at least one attempt to sneak around to greet the people or dogs that were passing by. Compared to the behavior that most people are used to seeing from dogs these days, I think that these two looked like saints.


Obedience… Or Intelligence?

Dog intelligence is a topic that I find fascinating. People often tell me that they want a certain breed of dog because that breed is smart. But what exactly is intelligence…and do people really want to live with a smart dog? Professor Stanley Coren has put together some tests for owners that are supposed to measure their dogs’ intelligence. He has a book and video full of tests, but 6 of them are readily available on the internet. I thought it would be fun to test my dogs and see how they fared. Our three contestants for “Smartest Dog in the Scarioni Household” are: Edgar, a 3 year old Border Terrier adopt ed from Border Terrier rescue 1 ½ years ago; Tina, a 12 year old pitbull mix adopted from the Petaluma Animal Shelter 11 years ago; and Butch, a 12 year old Shih Tzu adopted from the Bakersfield SPCA 11 ½ years ago.


Uh Oh! Caught on the Couch!

Its funny how many people try to shoo their dogs off the furniture when I arrive for their first in-home training appointment. Some of these people really don’t allow their dogs on the furniture. Their exuberant young dog is so focused on his efforts to investigate the stranger that smells strongly of liver and a pack of dogs that he really has forgotten the house rules. It is obvious to me that these owners are genuinely shocked by their dog’s behavior, and they take immediate action to remove the dog from their relatively hair-free couch. On the flip side, I meet owners that look smilingly at their dog as he sits on the hair-covered couch, and then suddenly remember that “THE DOG TRAINER” is watching, and start trying to remove a rather confused dog from his usual perch. These are the ones that make me want to giggle. I ask them, “Do you usually let him sit on the couch?” and they sheepishly reply, “yes”, as if they are confessing to some great sin.



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