Pawsitive Reactions, LLC is owned and operated by Debby McMullen. Debby McMullen is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the IAABC (more info below). Debby began her training career in 1998 as a volunteer instructor at Animal Friends shelter in Pittsburgh. She taught various group classes at the shelter on a regular basis until about 2014. She has been doing private consultations for several years through Pawsitive Reactions, LLC. Debby’s training methods are force-free and rewards-based, utilizing the most modern definition of positive reinforcement. These training methods are dog-friendly, using science supported techniques for effective and humane relationship based training and behavior modification.
Debby started her dog training life with 4 dogs of her own in residence and typically had a foster dog or five as well. Debby lost her heart dog, Merlin, the black dog in photos, to cancer in late September of 2011 and Kera, the white dog in photos, to kidney failure in June of 2012, and then Siri, the brown dog in the photo in April of 2015. Trent, the brindle Pit Bull mix crossed the bridge in late November of 2018.
The most recent crew was down to 2 and included Kenzo, a Caucasian Ovcharka, added as a puppy in late June of 2012 and Mela, a Chow Chow adopted in late November 2015 at the age of one year at the time.
Sadly, Debby lost Mela, her beautiful blonde Chow Chow, very unexpectedly and suddenly of a suspected aneurysm on Valentine’s Day of 2022 and then only 4 months later she lost Kenzo, her perfect Caucasian Ovcharka, to a liver cancer diagnosis in mid June 2022 just 2 months after his 10th birthday. These losses left her crushed and without a dog for the first time since the late 90’s.
In late July of 2022, she added Meridiana, a red Chow Chow. Her goal is to add another Ovcharka puppy to the family when the time is right.
Debby is the author of the book “How Many Dogs?! Using Positive Reinforcement Training to Manage a Multiple Dog Household” More information on this as well as how to order, can be found on the official website for the book available here.
Debby is a proud contributor to Victoria Stilwell’s Positively website. Read her blog posts here.
Debby believes in building a strong relationship with the canines in our lives. Having a solid mutually respectful relationship as a foundation will help all other aspects of living with your dog to come into place more easily. If you clearly communicate with your dog(s) the guidelines and safety boundaries while teaching dogs to make environmentally cued quality choices, this effectively improves the relationship between the species, resulting in more complete harmony all around. Debby’s goal is to give you the skills that you need to achieve this harmony. She believes in teaching you how to more effectively communicate with and better understand your dog(s), making you a better dog parent as a whole. Your dog(s) will thank you for taking the time to understand the human/canine relationship needs!
Important information to understand in advance: if you are expecting traditional old-fashioned training techniques that rely on physical and/or verbal corrections on your dog in order to train him or her, then Debby is not the trainer for you. Debby subscribes to the more modern and dog friendly techniques that involve teaching your dog(s) to make better decisions on their own and be rewarded for those, giving you far less to do in the way of management overall. If this is something you would like to learn more about, by all means, give Debby a call! There are no refunds for misunderstanding the implementation of modern training methods.
Debby believes in training without pain and supports methods and management tools that do just that. This means no prong collars, no choke chains and no shock/e/stim collars. The preferred management tool for walking is the fabulous Freedom harness by 2 Hounds.
For more information on dog friendly methods, please see Truly Dog Friendly.
To locate a trainer near you who subscribes to these methods, please see Dog Friendly Trainers.
If you need a trainer in another area, you can check Dog Trainer Search.
Professional memberships and affiliations:
- Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) – professional member since 1999
- International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) – certified member
- No Shock Collar Coalition
Debby is also the founder and President of Damon’s Den Dobe Rescue of Western PA, a not-for-profit group which rescues abandoned, displaced and unwanted Dobermans and places them into loving and caring indoor homes. The rescue group is inactive at the present time.
Debby is a CATCH Canine Academy Mentor Trainer as of spring 2016.