Meet Marlene & Her Team

Marlene Layman

“I specialize in clicker training, using positive reinforcement. Together, you and your dog will learn in a positive, fun, results-oriented way!”

Hi, I’m Marlene Layman. As a long-time dog owner, and owner/operator of a dog walking & pet sitting business, I know how much dog training and behavior modification help owners understand their dogs and enjoy more peaceful & productive relationships with them.

 As a result, I studied, tested & did hands-on work to obtain from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and from Animal Behavior College.

I have a great group of dog training clients in the Western Mass. area where I offer both in-home programs, as well as group classes. I especially enjoy helping people with reactive dogs as well as getting puppies off to a right start. I have a special place in my heart for senior dogs!

Contact Marlene

My Credentials

skilled in identifiying and managing problem behaviors using positive reinforcement training methods.

  • Animal Behavior College certified dog trainer
  • ​Obtained CPDT-KA certification from Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
  • Fear Free Certification
  • ​Experience with developing & leading group dog training classes, including those focused on reactive dogs & dog exercise  in multiple locations in the Western Mass. area
  • Hands-on experience with obedience & behavior training in individual in-home settings
  • ​Dakin Humane Society’s Springfield trainer
  • Trained in safe animal handling as a volunteer at Dakin Humane Society
  • ​Mentoring with Michael Shikashio, president of IAABC, with a focus on reactive/aggressive dogs
  • Ongoing seminars with Sue Sternberg and Michael Shikasio on dog aggression and Ken Ramirez on advanced dog training topics.

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Meet the Team

Sara Birkel

Belchertown Class Assistant

I grew up in Belchertown and continue to  raise my 2 children here. We currently have 3 dogs and 2 cats at home. 

I became Interested in dog training while learning and training one of my dogs. She is a high energy breed from working lines ( Belgian Malinois) which wasn’t something I had dealt with before. As we learned together I really enjoyed the experience as well as finding it hugely important in having this dog fit into our family!  I had such success that I decided to change careers!

I am currently certified through Karen Pryor Academy in basic obedience. I also enjoy walking/ pet sitting for a local business here in Belchertown, as well as enjoying hikes and swift river time with my own pups! 

Through the last 2 years I have worked with many breeds and owners and continue to have the same passion and excitement for training dogs as my first day! I plan to advance my certifications in scenting and search and rescue in the future with a focus in police work. 

Jasmine Powers

Springfield Class Assistant

 I graduated from UMass Amherst with my degree in Finance but I have always had a passion for animal welfare..

I’ve had pets my entire life, but I definitely consider myself a “dog-person.” They just have so much unconditional love to give!

I have been volunteering at Dakin in Springfield since April 2017 and I absolutely love it! I am now an Elite dog handler at Dakin, as well as the Community Outreach Coordinator Volunteer. 

I started assisting Marlene with dog training classes during the summer of 2017, which has been such a rewarding and enlightening experience.

I’ve learned so much working with Marlene, and I have been able to apply that knowledge and experience to my work at Dakin, which has helped me enrich the lives of so many dogs.

Meet our special girl…


“We teach you how to bring out the best in your dog.”