Crystal Partain​, B.S. CPDT-KA

With over 15 years of hands on experience in veterinary hospitals, local shelters and rescues, Crystal has been working with pets and their people to improve their lives together in many different settings. She recieved a dual bachelors degrees in biology and psychology, from Old Dominion University in 2009. Clients will often joke that she is their dogs therapist during their sessions together.

In 2012, she passed the Certification for Professional Dog Trainers exam and began to train professionally shortly after. She is a perpetual student and always improving training skills with her own dogs, taking classes or attending seminars that allow her to help your dogs with the most effective and current methods!

Crystal currently has 4 dogs, who are all continuously teaching her to be a better advocate for the dogs she works with. Opal, a rescued Boxer mix, is the namesake for The Freckled Paw. She has taught Crystal the most about living with challenging dogs, while working through her separation anxiety, stranger danger, and dog selective behaviors. She is now 15 years old and retired from working and competing. Crystal’s 5 year old American Pit Bull Terrier, Pixie, competes in Dock Diving, and Rally Obedience, has her Canine Good Citizen Certification, she has turned out to be an incredibly challenging dog to live with, and has taught her the most on how to manage dogs who are difficult. Opie is an 8 year old Border Collie mix, who can often be found assisting with your dogs and working appointments with me. He is working on his Therapy Dog Certification and competes in Barn Hunt and Agility. The newest addition is a Belgian Malinois puppy, Cargo, who is teaching me how to empathize with all my puppy parents!


Please note that the dog training industry is not regulated by any type of certification or schooling. This means that anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, regardless of their background. Please do your research before agreeing to work with someone.

Ask questions!

How are they going to train your dog? Punishment based techniques only serve to create a fearful and anxious dog, which can create more problems down the line.

What tools are they going to use? Do you feel comfortable using these tools? If not, find a trainer that agrees with your philosophy. Harnesses, Head Collars, and Cookies are my favorite tools for training a willing and happy companion.

Who needs to be involved in the sessions? Will the trainer be teaching your pup and giving him back? This is a great option for certain behaviors and circumstances, but make sure the trainer is not using a different philosophy while you are away. Only clear instruction and compassion here at The Freckled Paw!

Why are they choosing the technique they are teaching you? Because it works doesn’t mean it’s always the best option. Each dog is different and needs different teaching styles. Make sure you are comfortable with the way the trainer is interacting with your dog.

Just because someone says they are a dog trainer, does not mean they have the best interest of you and your dog in mind.