Ruth Cionca, CNWI

In 1989, when I was living in Italy, I took in an abandoned, pregnant hunting dog. I found homes for her pups and brought her back to the States. Titta (tee-tah) was my first heart-dog. I can’t measure what she taught me about healthy canine behavior, as she raised her litter and, throughout her life, moved among humans and dogs with matriarchal confidence.

In the mid-90s, I discovered clicker training. It helped me communicate quickly and clearly with Titta and my Lab mix Emily. Reinforcement training made immediate sense and made us happy. I stepped onto a steep, wonderful learning curve. Soon, I was teaching puppy classes and a professional life with dogs became possible. My human teachers have included Patricia McConnell, Bob Bailey, Turid Rugaas, Susan Garrett, Sue Sternberg, Trish King, Grisha Stewart and many others.

In group classes over nearly 20 years, I’ve taught pet dogs and their people a coherent, peaceful training approach. I work always to build cooperation between our two marvelous species. As a behavioral consultant, I specialize in puppy raising, fearfulness, reactivity, and aggression. It’s gratifying to use gentle hands and sound science to bring about change.

My Irish terrier Nello and I attended our first Nose Work camp in 2011 and had a blast. I loved witnessing the mystery of dogs working scent instinctively. Becoming a Certified NW Instructor was a natural progression – another steep and lovely learning curve – with dogs as my teachers and detection experts as my guides. I’ve taught this joyful game at DTCCC since 2012. I also coach NW teams privately and consult with a limited number of behavior clients, for whom sniffing is an integral part of the program. Nello and I enjoy competing, as do some students, but that’s optional. I hope you’ll join us! We play regularly.

Voted Best Dog Trainer in the Philadelphia Area 2009 by Greater Philly Tails magazine, Reader’s Choice Award. My other passions are writing and knitting.