Nancy M. Kelly

  • B.S. in Biology from Texas A&M University
  • Currently working on Master’s in Behavioral Psychology at University of Houston-Clear Lake
  • CPDT-KA from CCPDT, Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
  • Professional Member of APDT, Association of Professional Dog Trainers 
  • 30 years of experience professionally training dogs and teaching people
  • 5 years of experience as a Veterinary Technician

About Me

I love and respect animals; all of them! I grew up with dogs, cats, horses, cattle, rats, rabbits, and fish as pets, but also explored the animals out in our yard and at our family country home. I put the small ones in jars and boxes to study for a while before releasing them, and I watched the larger animals out in the woods and fields. I rehabilitated multiple orphaned bunnies and birds. Because I have always wanted to understand how animals work, I read animal books as a child until I had exhausted the supply at our local library. I excelled at Biology in high school and majored in it in college. I still love learning about animals, their behavior as well as their physiology. I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in behavior.

I didn’t really start training until I got my own first dog, a Labrador named Howdy from Texas. We ventured into training for good manners, then obedience competition, where we did really well! I competed in Rally and Obedience, and played at agility, tracking, tricks and other sports with 7 dogs over the next 30 years, loving the partnerships between myself and my dogs.

I believe obedience competitions were meant to show off the lovely manners a dog uses on a day-to-day basis. I enjoy having mannerly dogs who are able to participate in the activities I choose, and who other people love having around as much as I do. I also take great joy in knowing my own dogs and cats can enjoy their trips to the vet when they need to go. They can relax because I have taught them what to do and what to expect when being handled by the vet. Since I was a veterinary technician for five years, I know how stressful these visits can be for a pet who doesn’t know what’s going to happen. It’s difficult for a professional to examine a stressed-out pet who is trying his best to escape what he doesn’t know is intended to help him. Experiences like this can stress the pet to the point where he defends himself, making him an even more challenging patient, and the stress can make him sick. I don’t want that for my own cats and dogs, so I make sure they are prepared for these visits and continue to get better at them throughout their lives. My training philosophy is based in care and respect for all animals and a desire to always be doing a better job at making their lives fulfilling.

After my name, you’ll see a B.S. for Bachelor of Science in Biology from Texas A&M University. You’ll also see CPDT-KA for Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed® Find out more about this certification here.  I’m a professional member of APDT, Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Find out more about APDT here.

I’ve learned about behavior from many influential people over the years, but I’m most proud of my work with Dr. Robert Bailey for the last 20 years. Find out details of my continuing education in animal training here.

After studying and training animals for my entire life, Bob changed my life by filling in the gaps in the training skills I had accumulated. He taught me the missing pieces – how animals learn, how I learn, and how to change my own behavior to change the behavior of animals. I was “just getting by” with my training before I learned all this from Bob! I learned that I have the power to change behavior and make animals’ lives better. I am on a mission to share this with the world, starting with my students.

Accomplishments

  • created a comprehensive behavior program at Houston’s largest animal shelter, BARC. It resulted in a safer environment for staff and lower stress levels for animals. Animal Care Staff learn how to read what animals are communicating., handle them in a low-stress manner, and understand animal behavior better. The program has been in use for over 5 years.
  • wrote a training manual for trainers of service dogs containing a sound, science-based set of protocols for training dogs as well as teaching their handlers.
  • edited the 2018 re-release of Keller and Marian Breland’s classic book, Animal Behavior, with a new foreword and introduction by Dr. Bob Bailey.