about sara

Training Credentials, Training Methods, Life before Training

A Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), Sara graduated with distinction from the rigorous and esteemed Professional Trainers Program at the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Behavior and Training (KPA).

Becoming a Certified Training Partner at KPA requires demonstrating excellence in knowledge, skills and teaching, and then maintaining certification through Continuing Education. Sara is also a KPA Puppy Start Right Instructor, and holds certification as a Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT) from SA expert Malena DeMartini. In addition, she is a certified dog walker through dog*biz’s Dog Walking Academy, where subjects of study and practice include canine learning theory, dog communication and body language, aggression and its prevention, group management, screening of group members, prey drive related behavior, and safety. She is Canine First Aid certified, and a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. A participant in continuing education seminars and workshops, she regularly attends professional training conferences by leaders in the science of dog training.

Training Methods

Learning Theory describes how all organisms learn, and evidence-based studies show that positive reinforcement is the most effective training method for a gold fish to a dog to a human. Sara’s studies and experience support this on a daily basis. Because she’s in the business of teaching our best friends, she uses reward-based, positive reinforcement training methods that are both effective and kind in their application. This allows training to become a creative, fun game where “problems” become opportunities for a deepening relationship with your dog. Training sessions access and build on what naturally motivates your dog to act, teaches him what works for you, and gives him specific, easy-to-do alternatives to the stuff that doesn’t. Sara builds a foundation of essential skills that both support your specific training goals, while setting you and your dog up for a lifetime of successful and happy learning. And, you’re not done until she shows you how to keep it all running smoothly. Feel free to contact her for more in depth information or with any questions you may have. 805-845-8458 email.

Life before dog training

During a life transition, Sara began walking a small group of dogs, which soon became a large, off-leash group of dogs. Unbeknownst to her, her career with canines had begun. Fascinated by behavior and unsatisfied by the many “common sense” ideas and practices too easily accepted, passed along as fact and generally applied, she decided to dig deeper and began an ongoing study of behavioral science – how animals, including humans, learn. “Improving the lives of dogs and their guardians is a dynamic, unfolding process.  To start, it requires approaching every situation with an open mind (and heart), good training skills and a solid knowledge of learning science and how to apply it.  Then compassion and science meet in the craft of non-invasive, reward-based training.  Years ago the discovery of this training method, with its consistency and capacity to produce enthusiastic, happy learners, rocked my world. I haven’t looked back.” It took Sara a while to find her true calling as a dog trainer, and thus she brings a diverse background and rich life-experience to her work. Previous careers include teaching high-school English, retail and wholesale sales for outdoor industry leader Patagonia, and commercial copywriting, beat reporting and features writing. Teaching and coaching people in different capacities and circumstances has been a life through line, and discovering that animals are also enthusiastic learners has truly been a great joy. Sara lives with her two adopted rescues, Moki and Turtle.

Sara helped our whole family gain a better connection with our French bulldog puppy. Instead of being frustrated by his annoying previous behaviors, we learned how to work with him to encourage his intelligence and good behavior.

Recently, he really behaved himself at our holiday gathering. In fact, many family members made positive comments about his behavior, which is a first. Even my youngest nephew wasn’t afraid of him anymore! There are so many times we all say we are so glad we have been working with Sara!

-Ginny Spiers, Artist

I was afraid I would have to rehome Ladybird, the dog I had fallen in love with. After she chewed up the umpteenth pair of shoes, the coffee table, and cost a small fortune in medical bills, I was pretty sure I had failed. Fortunately, Sara brought my family together on the same page. With her support and guidance, we ditched the shock collar, and got great results. We learned how to reinforce new and good behavior and to be consistent. We trouble shot difficult situations and came up with solutions that worked. Sara not only helped us change my dog’s behavior, she supported my family as we worked though the challenges. She offered empathy and caring to all of us, and has been beyond a thoughtful, considerate, and well-educated dog trainer. 

-Jean Marie Driskel, Lead Teacher Sunrise Montessori School

After interviewing several dog walkers, we finally found Sara. On meeting, I was immediately impressed with her knowledge and her interaction with my dog. While I’m at work, Koko goes out with Sara and her pack, and I know she is in the best of hands. I have complete peace of mind knowing she is socializing and playing with other dogs in a safe, controlled environment supervised by an educated expert on canine body language and behavior. On her walk days, Koko waits for Sara at the door, and comes back tired, happy and ready for a long nap at the office. Her pack walk day is by far her favorite day of the week! And I like them too! I recommend Sara and Sara Munro Dog Training without hesitation or reservation.

-Julia Hayes, Santa Barbara

I’m 86 and live in a Senior Living Facility and couldn’t be more pleased with Sara Munro Dog Training’s walking services. When we started walking with Sara’s group six years ago, Buddie had a bad habit of going after small white fluffy dogs, so I was afraid to take her out on my own. With Sara’s guidance and redirection, Buddie learned she had other options, and I was able to walk her again. Her three weekly outings give me time to run errands and go to appointments, and when she returns, she is calm and satisfied. Sara has been an important part of our extended family, and we highly recommend her services and her friendship.

-Carol Acquistapace, Val Verde Retirement Center

I was concerned that Chloe wouldn’t get along with other dogs, but she did and made friends! She is calmer and more relaxed after her walks, which relieves me not only because she spends less time being vigilant and barking at things, but also because I know I’m doing something good for her. She always comes home relaxed and burrows into the blankets for the rest of the day. I also appreciate Sara’s support and troubleshooting with various behavioral and care issues. I’m definitely a better dog owner thanks to her insights!

-Jill Freeland