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Testimonials & Success Stories

Virginia is kind and caring. Her love for dogs is obvious. Virginia was reliable and has a lot of great ideas. She always wrote a helpful recap of each lesson, which is so helpful to look back on. We had a good experience overall!

Jessica G., Danbury, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

Virginia was an amazing experience. I had adopted a puppy, and was completely lost with the training. She helped me figure out to do's and don't's, and guided me with an expert hand. She was extremely helpful at teaching my pup good behaviors, while also explaining why certain things were good behaviors versus others.

I'd recommend anyone to try North Star. It really helped both me and my puppy to better understand each other, and dives deeper into the psychology behind certain things, than a normal Petco Puppy Class would.

Thanks Virginia! Me and Clementine are so happy to have worked with you!

Nick C., New Milford, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

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Virginia has been an absolute gem to work with our 3 1/2 year old dachshund, Scoot. She helped us understand what his aggressive tendencies meant, where they stemmed from, and how to correct them with positive reinforcement. Her trainings were not only helpful and organized, but they felt catered specifically for Scoot and his personality - which made the experience working with Virginia personable, comfortable, and supportive for us as dog parents! Would absolutely recommend to anyone looking to train their pup!!!

Emily O., New Fairfield, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

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We are having an excellent experience with Virginia. We’ve had four sessions so far and have learned so much. She is calm, professional, compassionate, and her training style and methodology perfectly match with ours. It’s really for us - the humans - to learn how to understand what cues we are giving and the environment we are creating. Those are things that, when done well (and under the tutelage of a skilled trainer), set us and our pup up for success.

Our dog is a sweetie - a big sweetie. That’s new for us and we need to make sure she is very well behaved. She has responded so well to Virginia’s training. So much so, that we aren’t stopping!
Training never really ends and we are committed to doing the best we can to positively shape our, and our pup’s, behavior. We are so happy we found Virginia and would absolutely highly recommend her.

~ Sara M., New Milford, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

Virginia is amazing to work with. She is professional, knowledgeable, personable, honest and PATIENT!!! She came to our home to help us with our two cavapoos. Our 2 1/2 yr old is super excitable, over the top, every day is a party. Our 2 yr old is super shy and timid. Whew!!!! Virginia really helped us to understand both of them. She taught us different techniques that worked! Even the ones that were for us lol! We are looking forward to working with her again in the Spring. We highly recommend Virginia. She will not disappoint!

~ Wanda S., Lagrangeville, NY

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Both my daughter and I have used Virginia’s boarding and training services on several occasions. We could not be happier with how our dogs (a small 4-lb Chihuahua and a rambunctious Frenchie puppy) have been taken care of and trained. Virginia is a patient, skilled and loving trainer and the dogs in her care are treated like family. I am personally very careful with whom I entrust my precious chihuahua and I have complete confidence in Virginia and her services. 

~ Maja M., Greenwich, CT

My three dogs (2 Samoyeds, 1 Australian Shepherd) recently completed a dog training program under the guidance of Virginia, and the results have been exceptional. Virginia's training sessions were effective, personalized, and conducted with a deep passion for dogs. She tailored the program to suit each dog's unique needs, using a variety of methods with a focus on positive reinforcement. Virginia's patience and adaptability were crucial as my dogs were at different stages of their training. As a result of Virginia's training, my dogs have shown remarkable improvements in their behavior, responding promptly to commands and interacting positively with others. I highly recommend Virginia's dog training program to any dog owner looking to enhance their pets' behavior and well-being. Her expertise and dedication have made a significant impact on my dogs, and I am incredibly grateful for the positive changes she has brought to our furry family members.

~ Erik M., Ridgefield, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

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Had a very positive experience with Virginia, who provided weekly in-home training for our 4 year old mini poodle. She was easy to work with, provided great positive reinforcement (for me and the dog!) and gave our family very actionable feedback we could put into practice when we weren't in active training sessions. I would highly recommend Virginia and North Star Canines for training needs!

~ Ashley R., Danbury, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

We adopted a 1yr old beagle about 3 months ago, and I decided I wanted to start with positive reinforcement training. We started working with Virginia on my puppy's issues and with hard work and dedication, he is doing much better than when we first got him. I’m so proud of him & how instantly he started learning. Would definitely recommend Virginia to anyone who needs help with their pup!!!

~ Lizbeth N, New Milford, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

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Virgínia is wonderful. We have a 2 year old Pittie Mix that was pulling on walks and very excitable. We learned great techniques to get her to walk with us and I’m ecstatic! I never thought I’d be able to take her on walks. Virginia's calm voice has such an affect on how the dog reacts. I would recommend Virginia 100%.

~ Sofia M., Danbury, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

I’m so glad I found Virginia! She was so kind and helpful with our new pup, Randy, and he loved her! She was always prompt and really helped me understand how to work with my dog. I absolutely love her gentle, positive teaching style. Also super helpful with the follow up emails for review. Highly recommend! :) 

~ Michele I., Danbury, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

german shepherd puppy training CT
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We have two lab mix puppies and are so happy we had Virginia help us with their training. Virginia has so much knowledge and experience on all types of behaviors. She listened and observed to the things we needed help with and tailored each training session to address those needs. She has so many tips and tricks that work great. Also the detailed recap of each training session was really helpful. Highly recommended!

~ Brian J., Danbury, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

Virginia is AMAZING!! So friendly, knowledgable and gentle with our dog. She helped teach our dog, Ace, such great skills that help our day to day life that we didn’t even think about, like giving him a specific place to sit during meal time, greeting guests, and walking on the leash without pulling. She always showed up on time, if not a few minutes early and was able to adjust a lesson time if something came up. All the little tips and tricks she has to help make not only the dog but us humans happier! Plus after each lesson she sends very detailed notes to reiterate what was taught in the lesson so you can continue to practice and enforce on your own, along with great product suggestions. Couldn’t recommend her more!
~ Elizabeth P., New Fairfield, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

Virginia was awesome to work with. Before even coming to my house for the first training session, she was asking the important questions on how my dog does with strangers coming into the home. That was an immediate green flag for me! She asked more than just basic questions and really got to know the points in where my dog was having issues. It seemed like she could tell the type of personality and intelligence that my dog had right away, which shows her experience to me. She also focused on how my family and I were going about the training, to help us improve with our reactions and methods. Very quick to respond, in-depth, polite, and thorough. I recommend her if you have any training issues that you might struggle with.

~ Amber R., Danbury, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

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We met Virginia in the fall of 2018 when we had just adopted Fletcher and she was and is a godsend. She really helped us with Fletcher with her knowledge and down-to-earth training approach. When we were planning a trip to Europe in the fall of 2019 we were thrilled to learn that Virginia was willing to have Fletcher stay with her.

We dropped Fletcher off with his supplies and he was so excited to see Virginia and meet her dogs. She was careful in introducing the dogs and luckily it turned out that among them it was really love at first sight. Each morning we’d awake to a message on how Fletcher was doing and most days we’d get a picture or a video.  Now when we take Fletcher to stay, he starts getting excited when we turn the corner to her house!

There are not enough words to describe how confident we are to leave Fletcher with Virginia. She not only knows dogs, she is sensitive to their needs and she communicates with us about how he is doing. Recommend 150%.      

~ Andrea E., Mt. Kisco, NY

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Virginia is amazing. Always shows up promptly. Recaps are detailed and in depth. Help us train our puppy Pit Bull. Instant results in a few sessions. Highly recommend.

~ James S., Brookfield, CT (posted 5-star Google review)

Our new puppy fell in love with Virginia as did we! Her style is always positive and fun. Our pup did not have any particular behavior problems that we were addressing. Simply, we wanted to set a solid foundation for him and get some ideas of how to engage his mind more. He responded immediately to the training and his personality has really started to come out. She really helped us learn how to communicate with him better. We are very grateful to Virginia for her help and will definitely use her in the future! We also really appreciated that after every session she sent us a synopsis of what we did and what we could work on that week on our own. Highly recommended!

~ Kathryn G., Pound Ridge, NY (posted 5-star Google review)

Virginia was awesome. We are new Pomeranian puppy owners and Virginia really helped us understand the essentials to train our pup and redirect his behavior. She was so patient and loving with our pup; he loved seeing her every session! Virginia was also very professional and was always on time which we appreciated.

~ Maria T., Ridgefield, CT  (posted 5-star Google review)

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Virginia Dare is a terrific trainer. She approaches her work based on what you want to accomplish and what your dog can do. She brings a wealth of expertise which she communicates in the clearest way, moving at your and your dog's pace. Each visit is followed up with a recap of what was taught augmented with suggestions, videos, recommendations for play materials. I can’t imagine a better trainer.

~ Ben O., Ridgefield, CT  (posted FB review)

You have helped us with my first puppy’s training and boarding services to give us a peace of mind when we travel for the last 4 1/2 years. We love that you follow each dog's schedule and food requirements. Our dogs love to go to your place and run about in your fenced-in property. I highly recommend North Star Canines to all my friends and family. We are so happy to have found you and would rather our dogs be boarded at the comfort of a home and not a vet or kennel.

~ Carla C., Brewster, NY (posted 5-star Google review)

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Virginia was amazing! We bought a 6 pack of lessons and it was the best thing we did. We adopted an 8 week old puppy who was rescued from Mississippi. Virginia was extremely nice and knowledgeable. She came into our home and our puppy took to her right away and her people skills are just as good. She is able to explain the training procedures and tips in a way anyone can understand. I also liked how she recapped each lesson via email. Overall, I would highly recommend Virginia and North Star Canines!

~ Emily D., Sandy Hook, CT   (posted 5-star Google review)

Virginia was helpful with getting Oria over her reactiveness to other dogs in our apartment complex. Slowly with her tips and consistency Oria behaves so much better when she sees another dog out on our walks. Virginia was super easy to work with, she was very accommodating to coming to my apartment and working with my schedule. I definitely recommend her to anyone looking for any training for their dogs!

~ Victoria D., Danbury, CT   (posted FB review)

border collie behavior training Brewster NY

My husband and I found North Star Canines by googling local trainers in our area. We certainly lucked out by connecting with Virginia! She is warm, caring, quite knowledgeable, and offered many helpful and informative guidelines and tips for training our 7 month old yellow lab. Her advice is spot on and our puppy responded to her readily and consistently. We are having success following her instructions, and highly recommend her training.

~ Debbie S., Bethel, CT   (posted 5-star Google review)

It is hard to express how fantastic Virginia is at what she does! My pup stayed with Virginia for a week, and I could not be more grateful for all of the amazing work Virginia accomplished with him. She specifically addressed the training issues I was concerned about, and I have seen such progress in all areas! I also felt so comfortable leaving my pup with her - you can feel the love for dogs radiating off of Virginia at all times! She was great about sending me regular updates and also providing helpful tips and guidance for continuing my pup's training moving forward. Virginia is also so patient about answering all questions! I already have another visit with Virginia booked for my pup - he definitely misses her!

~ Marisa D., Greenwich, CT   (posted 5-star Google review)

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We are so glad we found Virginia! We have two dogs (Harley and Hannah) that we needed help training, both behavioral and general training. We both knew we liked Virginia when we had our first zoom consult. We really loved that she came to our house for the lessons which made it very personable. Virginia made us feel right at ease on our first in-person lesson. She worked with both dogs individually then gradually worked them together. After every lesson, she provided a very detailed follow-up email, which we love (it's hanging on our fridge for reference!). We completed our first four lessons and we have some homework to do on our end with the training but hoping to keep in touch for future trainings down the road. We would recommend her to anyone!

~ Alyssa S., Wappingers Falls, NY   (posted 5-star Google review)

I was happy to find that Virginia does phone and Zoom consults! She helped us to understand and work with our dog effectively to stop the barking and biting. Her instructions are precise and easy to follow and she even sent an email recap! I highly recommend!!!!

~ Ruth E., GA   (posted 5-star Google review)

Zoom dog behavior consultations
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We were so lucky to find Virginia. We lost our 8 year old dog to cancer and a week later we bought home a 12 week old puppy. It was emotional and overwhelming so we immediately started training with Virginia. She is professional, patient, responsive, friendly and willing to address our concerns and problems.

~ Christine S., South Salem, NY   (posted 5-star Google review)

Virginia is simply the best! We initially contacted Virginia to help sort out some of our pups behavioral issues - we rescued Archie about a year ago and while he is the sweetest and smartest boy, he had a tendency to bark frequently and was quite fearful and timid of things.. even of some of the members of our household. However, after just one session with Virginia we noticed huge improvements in Archie's behavior and overall attitude.... and after multiple sessions we were literally blown away! Not only has Archie's behavior and obedience improved, but our relationship with him has improved as well - and we owe it all to Virginia! Virginia is professional, timely, kind and knowledgable - she takes the time to understand your family dynamic and your pup and tailors the entire training program to fit those certain needs. Our sessions were always productive and successful - we were stunned at how quickly Archie's behavior was improving! Also, she follows each training session with a detailed and personalized summary of the lesson, often including attachments and videos so that everything is made clear and easy to follow. She is such a pleasure to work with and we are so excited to continue working with her. I cannot recommend her enough!!!!

~ Lane B., Ridgefield, CT   (posted 5-star Google review)

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We have been entrusting our cherished – and now elderly – golden retriever to Virginia ever since we adopted Lilly eight years ago. Her visits in Virginia’s home have been for both long and short stays while we travel.

Lilly is always happy to arrive and we are confident that she will be safe, well-fed and walked, and entertained by her two best friends who live with Virginia. We appreciate that Virginia is meticulous about ensuring that all her boarders are vaccinated and healthy.

We wouldn’t think of sending Lilly to stay with anyone else. And as a huge bonus, we get messages and videos from Lilly while we are away. We recommend Virginia without hesitation. 

~ Judy S., Brewster, NY

Virginia has helped us so much with training our 11 week old puppy. She has provided support, guidance, and recommendations for how we can help our new pup truly be a part of our family. She has a calm manner, which our sensitive puppy really responded to. Her email recaps at the end of each session are invaluable. The ability to do a quick Zoom session is also a really nice affordable feature of working with her. We’re looking forward to using her again in the future!

~ Anna T., Briarcliff Manor, NY   (posted 5-star Google review)

I needed help getting my mini-poodle okay with taking insulin shots...a sweet dog that got really nasty. Virginia provided me with one session of training (for me, not the dog!), detailed instructions and videos and it made all the difference! I've got to keep doing the work, but am happy to. The drama and trauma are minimal, and the dog feels safe again. Very grateful.

~ Aaron D., Chappaqua, NY

poodle behavior consultation Westchester County NY

We had an amazing experience with Virginia ! We brought home two ( yes we are crazy ) 8 week old Sheepadoodles and knew we would need help. We zoomed with Virginia even before the dogs came so we have the house set up and ready to go and that was super helpful. Once the pups were here we did our training sessions outside and masked. She was so professional and timely and knowing she was coming every week to help with all the issues that arose was amazing. The puppies are 5 months old now and happy to report that they are doing amazing. Highly recommend North Star Canines!

~ Lisa M., Armonk, NY   (posted 5-star Google review)

We enjoyed working with Virginia from North Star Canines. Our sessions were always informative and we loved the email follow up from each session. You always seem to "get it" during the session but many times forget some of the details. So the follow up summaries are essential. Virginia was always responsive by email when I had questions or concerns after the sessions or my puppy's behavior in between sessions. Our puppy loved working with Virginia and was always sad when she left. We would highly recommend Virginia Dare from North Star Canines for your dog training needs!

~ Nadine S., Armonk NY   (posted 5-star Google review)

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Virginia has been so great with our puppy Rex! She is super thoughtful and kind. And we really appreciate her post-lesson feedback. Virginia has been very responsive to our needs/goals and timeline and we really enjoy working with her. Would highly recommend and we are excited to continue working with her!

~ Meena N., Stamford, CT

Virginia’s positive reinforcement techniques have transformed the lives of our two young rescue dogs. One of them, a beagle, was so stressed-out by his pre-rescue existence that he suffered from uncontrollable diarrhea. He was nervous with us and it sometimes was impossible to persuade him to come into the house – even for his meals.  The other, a Jack Russell mix, had been abused before the Humane Society took her into its care. Whenever she spotted a stranger, she would set up a nonstop bark and lunge aggressively.  Both dogs now are socialized after just a few training sessions and it is a pleasure to watch them trot up to people for petting sessions.      

~ Sharon C., North Salem, NY

help a fearful dog, North Salem, NY
border collie training, Carmel, NY

Virginia is a dog whisperer! She is helping me to see things through our puppy's point of view. Her lessons are tailored to our dog's individual needs and our training goals. After each lesson, she e-mails a very thorough review of what we went over (half of which I would forget without the e-mail), including attachments with handouts and videos. I am so happy we called her because I feel we are getting our puppy off to a good start!

~ Nancy W., Carmel, NY

Virginia is a gift. I was losing hope with a new puppy who, after 2 weeks, would not settle in at night. I was desperate before our scheduled in-person appointment so Virginia kindly offered me a phone consult. Her wholehearted desire to help is so evident in her voice... patient and compassionate. Her skill and knowledge helped my new puppy sleep through the night right away without any distress... and our family as well. What a great service when you need help and can’t wait.  My sincere thanks!

~ Debbie L., Ridgefield, CT

lab puppy training, Ridgefield, CT

We were concerned about our dog and his possible aggression when dealing with new people. Virginia totally made us feel at ease and helped us to see what our dog needed to make him (and us) more comfortable. She is straight forward, completely non-judgmental, and involved our whole family in the process. She followed up every session with detailed notes, further suggestions, and other resources to keep us on track. She is pleasant to work with and made us feel very comfortable and confident in the entire process.

~ Lisa R., Brookfield, CT   (posted 5-star Google review)

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Virginia is simply fantastic. I adopted a rescue dog with some fairly serious behavioral issues, and with her guidance I was able to resolve them. I never could have done it without her help and encouragement. She is warm and positive and fun to work with.

~ Jennifer L., Dobbs Ferry, NY   (posted 5-star Google review)

Virginia was very pleasant, professional and knowledgeable. She offers pragmatic advice and solutions, and thoughtfully takes into consideration the whole family picture, and works within it. Her positive methods have helped calm our dog and make life better for everyone in the household. I would highly recommend her!

~ Sara M., Greenwich, CT

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aggressive, barking dog, South Salem, NY

In the short amount of time that my dog & I have been training with Virginia, I have seen a marked improvement in the behavioral issues that I am determined to correct. Her methods work!  She is a kind & encouraging teacher who has given me hope, & has convinced me that my 6 year old Schnoodle is not a “lost cause”! By using positive reinforcement & treats, along with a detailed review & follow up, we are well on our way to a happier living situation!

~ Wendy M., South Salem, NY

Virginia was amazing. Working with her helped me further understand my dog's triggers and how to work through them. I am thankful we found her and would highly recommend her to anyone who needs training!

~ Jeff S., Danbury, CT

Virginia is a fantastic trainer!  Her ability to understand you, your dog and the family dynamics is impressive.  Her advice is custom tailored to your situation and reflects her in-depth knowledge of how dogs learn (and us humans, as well).  She is a coach and cheerleader to every family member, whether four or two-legged.  You never feel rushed during a training session and she follows each one up with an email full of goodies: a personalized summary of the lesson - often broken down in manageable steps, hints, and suggestions.  Virginia often includes links to helpful internet sites and always invites questions.  I know from personal experience, she responds promptly!!  

~ Carol K., White Plains, NY

pit bull training, obedience training, Katonah, NY
dog training, obedience training, Mt. Kisco, NY

We have worked with Virginia for a few sessions and it has made all the difference in the world. Her approach is common sense and we love the way she respects the dog and helps us to work with him. Our guy is a rescue and a challenge and we've reached out to Virginia via email and have gotten great timely advice. Right now we working on crate entry and I soldiered through with her advice and it works. We all look forward to our sessions with Virginia.  Highly recommend her.

~ Martha G., Mt. Kisco, NY   (posted 5-star Google review)

Virginia is nothing short of amazing. With her calm but upbeat demeanor she captures and holds our puppy’s attention each time, with incredibly rapid results. Of course I realize it’s really me she’s training, but that’s OK. There aren’t enough clicks and treats to reward this lovely, skillful and experienced trainer.

~ Lori H., Armonk, NY

doodle puppy training, crate training, NY
boxer obedience training, New Fairfield, CT

We just completed 4 sessions with Virginia for our boxer puppy, Banner -- what a wonderful experience! Her advice is practical, useful, and easy enough for both my 11-year-old and 9-year-old daughters to utilize when helping train Banner. She's also given us so many helpful tips on best items for puppies and money-saving tips on treats that help motivate our pup! Highly recommend!

~ AnnMarie C., New Fairfield, CT

After trying several training sessions elsewhere, our “little one” had learned her commands but would not listen. She’s a good dog but has a mind of her own. I decided to try private lessons. After seeing her method on heeling demonstrated in Virginia’s video and then in just one session, I can see improvement already. Ammi (although not perfect) will now listen to my commands. Using Virginia’s techniques, Ammi sits and lies down as never before. And, the impossible command - heel - is becoming a reality.

These results are amazing. But the thing I like most about Virginia is her gentleness, love and understanding of our Ammi – the caring that creates these almost miraculous results. She is a pleasure to work with and I would trust her with my baby without a second thought.

~ Carol S., Brookfield, CT

papillon training, potty training, house training, Brookfield, CT
German Shepherd, fearful dog training, aggressive dog training

Virginia is terrific! I feel so grateful to have her help training my 7 month old German shepherd. I met Virginia through her foundations class which she does a great job teaching. She listens well to people's questions and responds thoughtfully, kindly, and without judgment. In class, she explains the training process, giving examples of situations in which a specific skill will be important and explains the rationale behind training methods. She uses only positive reinforcement.

More importantly, Virginia is helping to train my dog, Heidi, and me at home with private lessons. These have been the biggest help! Heidi is very fearful and barks a lot at people she doesn't know. During our first lesson with Virginia, she detailed the steps we should take to introduce a visitor to Heidi and how to begin practicing with Heidi gradually so she could be successful.


We're working with Virginia now to get Heidi more comfortable out in public. Virginia's knowledge and experience are both broad and deep. The pages-long post-lesson report she emails is very useful to refer back to for reminders. Virginia is a very nice person to work with and clearly loves animals and wants them to be successful. I recommend Virginia whole-heartedly!

~ Anne H, Rye, NY

Virginia has been fantastic! With new baby on the way, we were worried about how our very spoiled miniature schnauzer would adjust to someone new grabbing all the attention.After just two visits, we already feel infinitely more prepared for baby's arrival later this month.

​~  Ann G., New Fairfield, CT

I met Virginia years ago at a Clicker Expo in Newport, RI. I was wowed!


Virginia is a delight to be around. She clearly understands dog behavior and can offer suggestions that are spot-on and effective. Not only is she talented, she is funny, empathic, encouraging and supportive; even if I thought I was ready to throw the towel in!  Check out her video, The How of Bow Wow, as well.  

~  Karen R., Mamaroneck, NY

husky puppy training, obedience training, NY

Virginia Dare - the best dog trainer for us and probably you too!


I would recommend Virginia Dare to anyone who has any type of dog training need.  She is professional, warm, easy with pets and children as well as adults.  Virginia is non-judgmental, patient, attentive and truly loves animals.  Her pricing is reasonable and if I have any future needs, I am going back to her!  There are levels of training – even if your dog is already good with basic commands, she can get him/her and you to the next level.  I have a rescue who had a number of behavior problems (jumping, nipping, uncontrolled enthusiasm) – much of this is related to his age, but Virginia gave us tools that reduced and even eliminated his poor behavior.

Training approach – Rewards-based


  • Responsiveness & Availability – Any question I had I was able to ask her either during the training session or in follow up (email or phone).  Virginia’s goal was to ensure we were getting the behavior we wanted to see.  Whenever I had to reschedule a training session, she was very flexible and understanding.

  • Overall character – Virginia is someone I’d love to call a friend – she is warm and friendly and is kind and consistent with everyone!  I’d thought my children (both 9) would be ‘in the way’, however, Virginia included them in the training sessions and it was great!  My daughter became very skilled in training our Ivan.  Virginia is very gentle with everyone and has a refreshingly open view of living with dogs.

  • Follow-up – Virginia always followed up after each training session to ask if there were questions.  She provided detailed reference for us that we could review and more deeply understand the ‘why’ of the training.  She did explain everything during the training, but it was very helpful to have written material to refer to afterwards.


  ~  Lois Lawerence, Brewster, NY

hound training, obedience training, Brewster, NY

Virginia was wonderful and truly helped our family understand our dog. I would highly recommend her!

~  Maria N., Mt. Kisco, NY


Australian shepherd training, obedience training, Armonk, NY

Virginia worked with my Aussie, Milo, for a number of weeks, during which time he learned to focus, walk on a leash, sit, stay, come, wait patiently for other dogs to get their treats first, among others. The best part about Virginia is her kind, gentle and sweet manner with the puppies; she makes them so eager to do the work for her!!!!

~  Melissa H., Armonk, NY

I just had my third visit with Virginia. I can't say enough about her professionalism, knowledge and love for your animals. When I first phoned Virginia I was extremely concerned about my dog Willow. I have a three dog household and Willow was causing havoc. 

Virginia was available to come in just a few days...what a relief.

The most interesting fact about Virginia is she works with the whole family, not with just the one dog you asked her to help you train. All her techniques involve positive reinforcement. She teaches the owners how to train their dogs in order to maintain a peaceful household. The insight she has is remarkable and she has a way of having it all come together. Upon leaving she asks you to follow up with her and she checks to see if you understand her management plan.


What really sets Virginia apart from the other dog trainers is how the day after meeting her she emails a well thought-out management plan that was discussed with you the day before. This is such a wonderful tool to refer to when training your animal. She then continues to be available to you through email. It is so refreshing to see how well someone understands my dog. Additionally, her techniques have provided me with excellent results. I have recommended Virginia to many people I know and will continue to recommend her because you will definitely be happy with the results you will see.
~  Lisa Gregory, Newtown, CT

Virginia has the experience, knowledge and patience to work with frustrated owners and problem dogs.  I wasn’t getting satisfactory results from other trainers I’d consulted and worked with.  My next step was a call to Virginia.  We met and worked with my dog who was reactive and acted aggressively when on leash.  She worked wonders helping me to understand my dog’s behavior and how to solve his problems. I could see results almost immediately.  My dog is now relaxed in situations in which he would have previously acted out aggressively.

I have and will continue to recommend Virginia to friends and acquaintances for all their dog training needs.
~  Sue & “Cisco”, NJ

English Shepherd, fearful dog, reactive dog, NJ

Virginia Dare is a premier trainer with an innate ability to positively communicate with dogs.

I had a scrappy, undisciplined, yet timid 3 month old toy poodle puppy named LuLu. Now LuLu is a gem thanks to the excellent training/boarding experience. Virginia demonstrated that gentle instruction, without frustration, produces positive results. It was like she and Lu were speaking a private language. Watching Virginia with Lu and the other dogs, I realized Virginia has a special talent not bestowed on most.

Lu was not even concerned when I was leaving, which was very unusual because she would never let me out of her site. Lu was immediately at ease with Virginia. When I picked Lu up a week later, she knew all of her basic commands and was also a more confident and a peaceful puppy.

I unequivocally recommend Virginia Dare.

~  Joan C., Glen Allen, VA

bulldog training, barking dog, Sherman, CT

Virginia came to our home to help us with our two dogs, a boxer and a bulldog.  One issue they had was that if someone came to our front door, they would bark and jump and sometimes they got so excited they would snap at each other, something they would not normally do.  In her kind and expert way, she was able to teach us how to correct that behavior. Now having a visitor at the door is pleasant instead of chaos!  We continue to use the advice she gave us. We highly recommend her service.

~  Ann D., Sherman, CT

General is a Pomeranian that we adopted in February of 2014. After a short while, we realized that General needed some additional training.  My vet recommended Ms. Dare at North Star Canines. We couldn't believe the improvement after just one session!


Prior to our session, General was too scared to use the dog door.  He would have accidents in the house, including peeing on delivered mail and marking other areas around the house. His barking was also out of control.  He would wake us up at 2 am every morning to go out.  She worked with General for over two hours. With her guidance, General went back and forth through the dog door. What a relief!  She also provided directions for the other issues, and the accidents stopped and the demand barking cooled off!  He also slept through the night!!! 


Her training was priceless and made our lives a hundred times easier. I highly recommend her.  We could not be more delighted with the results!

~  Surita M., Richmond, VA

I first met Ms. Dare over 15 years ago when she provided an in-service on canine training at the veterinary clinic where I was working. I was impressed then with her gentle training techniques, the clear results of the training and the obvious affection that her canine companions had for her. Her training methods were in sharp contrast with other trainers who had come to the same veterinary setting. Over the years, in my practice as a veterinarian, when asked for a recommendation for an animal trainer, Virginia's name always came to mind.

​Most recently, she has aided me in the training of my own young and impulsive Labrador Retriever. Her recommendations were easy to practice at home and the lessons reinforced on dvd. Two lessons were scheduled at her home where I had the opportunity to see at least a partial collection of her references on training - it was quite impressive and evidence of her dedication to the art of animal training. I would recommend her, without reservation, to anyone looking for assistance with their pet's education.

~  Marissa Gonzalez, DVM, Lakeside Animal Hospital, Richmond, VA

When we adopted our black retriever mix, Axel, from Pen Pals, we thought, "What could be easier? A certified Canine Good Citizen who needs a good home -- that's for us!"  And for the most part, Axel has fit right in with our family of four.  Our girls, 13 and 9, adore him, and he's wonderfully behaved with them. Our two cats were much less excited about an exuberant, inquisitive 10-month old dog coming into their lives.  Axel wants nothing more than to play with them, but we had a couple of close encounters of the slightly scary kind in the beginning.  One call to Virginia and she came and spent more than an hour giving us some great redirection tips for Axel and showing us lots of techniques to keep his attention on us, rather than the kitties.  Virginia's patience and expertise put all of us at ease.  She's made such an important difference in Axel's transition to full-fledged member of our family.  We'd recommend her service to anyone.  She's a wonderful trainer and we're so lucky to work with her.

~  Scott and Kati Brown, Richmond, VA

labrador retriever training, obedience training

What my dog was like before we worked with Virginia:  anxious, reactive to dogs and people including children, chases cars and anything with wheels, herds geese.What my dog is like after working with her:  not as anxious, greets people and dogs in a calm manner, cars and wheels do not bother her, enjoys watching geese fly by. What a difference she has made in the life of my dog.

~  Cabell West, Richmond, VA

hound training, obedience training

Ms. Dare is one of the most knowledgeable professional trainers and seminar presenters that I know.  Dog training seems to come naturally to her.  She has a way of explaining scientific terms so they are easy to understand.  For me, one of the most telling signs of a great trainer is how her dogs behave.  She always has five or more dogs of varying sizes and temperaments and they are all so well-behaved.  When I am stumped with a training issue, I call her and she always has good suggestions to help me.

~  Connie Snavely, Owner of Happy Tails Dog Training, Madison Hts., VA

After adopting a young dog from our local shelter we decided that it would be a good idea to work with a trainer. Our sessions with Virginia were wonderful. She was able to work on several behaviors during each session. Her method of demonstrating the steps and then having me do a number of repetitions gave me confidence. Following the sessions she emailed me literature about the  training covered that day which helped to reinforce everything for me. Working with Virginia has added tremendous quality to our life with Gracie. The entire experience was a pleasure.

~  K. Taylor, Goochland, VA

Over the Christmas holiday, we boarded our two golden retrievers for a week.  The puppy, Gracie, needed basic training, and the four year old, Maggie, needed socialization as she was a rescue dog and appears to have been neglected or abused as a puppy.  Virginia has five dogs that live in her home, though it is certainly not obvious as they are very well mannered and the home is neat and clean. Maggie was right at home with her new friends and blended into the pack beautifully.  Normally very skittish, she truly was over-the-moon happy!  Gracie needed basic training:  sit, come, down, settle (on your bed, in your crate), don't touch the food (off).  Virginia accomplished so much with her in one week, it was phenomenal!  With three boys at home, I now need her to come by to teach them how to work with Gracie so we all are consistent.  

I would highly recommend Virginia Dare as a trainer for your dog, and frankly, have done so with two other friends who have young dogs.  Thanks!

~  Barbara T., Richmond, VA

golden retriever training, Somers, NY

Ms. Dare is amazing.  Over the past four years, I've seen her train more than 20 inmates to be exceptional dog trainers at the largest maximum security women's prison in the North/Mid East.  To date, well over 110 dogs have been trained and adopted to families, with a current CGC success rate of over 90%.  Yes, the shelter dogs are beautifully trained, but perhaps more importantly, her grace, care, clarity, patience, and commitment have created healing and transformation in the lives of human beings that most of society have given up on.  Each of us would be fortunate to have Ms. Dare in our life.

~  Susan Perry, Counselor at Fluvanna Correction Center for Women, Troy, VA

Jack russell training, obedience training, Bedford Hills, NY

It’s my pleasure to recommend Ms. Dare.  She is an extremely skilled, kind, and patient professional dog trainer, and I’m certain you and your dog would benefit from her services.

She was instrumental in training our Jack Russell mix, Poppy. We obtained Poppy through Pixie's Pen Pals, which takes rescue dogs to prisons in Central Virginia and teaches inmates how to train them. The dogs then become available for adoption.  She taught the inmate trainers who worked with Poppy. We met those inmates and watched them work with Poppy. They were very skilled, which is a tribute to Ms. Dare, and they spoke very highly of her, as did everyone associated with the Pen Pals program.

We felt we needed additional instruction on dog training after we adopted Poppy, so we hired her to work with us at home. The instruction and demonstration she provided was invaluable, and Poppy is doing extremely well. Because of her dedication and skill, we now have a beautiful, loving, well-trained dog. Poppy brings a wonderful tone and energy to our household.

~  Timothy C. Jackson, MSW, Richmond, VA

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