Certified Dog Trainers - Rancho Santa Margarita Team
All Trainers are certified or working towards certification (CCPDT) - the only independent nationally recognized program providing the most up-to-date positive reinforcement training.
Kelly Pettigrew, CPDT-KA
RSM Assistant Training Manager
I joined Wags & Wiggles in 2014 and couldn't be prouder or happier to be a part of such a wonderful team of dog lovers and enthusiasts. While I love all dogs, I'm known for my particular love for Boxers, having had four in my life. My childhood boxer Tug started a lifelong love of the energetic, goofy and smart breed. My next two boxers, Butters and Zak, were the first dogs I trained, with Zak becoming my first working and demo dog at Wags & Wiggles. I recently adopted a 6-year-old female boxer named Zelda which has been a wonderful challenge and joy.
My particular passion is working with dogs that have behavioral issues. It is so rewarding building trust with both the dog and the owners, watching them both find their confidence and teaching them skills to help them cope with life together and form a positive relationship.
I am grateful for the opportunity Wags & Wiggles has given to me to continue learning and working with dogs and owners who just need some guidance. My favorite parts of my job include teaching our Zen Dog class and working with dogs who need some extra guidance in our Board & Train program.
When I'm not obsessing over dogs, I enjoy eating too much food with my family and friends, going on hikes, watching my favorite sports teams, playing video games, and traveling both in and out of the country.
I was born and raised in Europe, in a small but very beautiful country called Lithuania. I actually received my Masters in Law back home and worked as a junior lawyer for a couple of years. However, training animals was my most favorite thing to do, so I left my law office and got into the dog training world!
I started working in the Lithuanian Kennel Club office, and trained dogs independently. I have a smart and active Labrador Retriever, and together we competed in Obedience and Rally competitions. She has been trained in multiple fields, including Obedience, Rally Obedience, confirmation shows, and mantrailing. She is also an animal assisted therapy dog and knows a lot of tricks!
I traveled to and from the United States often and finally moved out here in 2017. I lived in Santa Barbara for over a year and worked at a dog training facility there, then decided that I want to move down to Orange County. That was a great decision, because now I work at Wags and couldn't be happier being part of this team!
I am a long-time owner and lover of dogs! I am a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner Dog Trainer (KPACTP), Certified Dog Trainer and Cat Trainer through the nationally recognized Animal Behavior College (ABCDT), and an Associate Nose Work Instructor (ANWI).
Growing up my family had always taken in dogs that were living on the streets. My grandfather’s house seemed to be a sanctuary for stray dogs, and my aunt and uncle specifically rescued Pit Bulls from the shelters. I learned to love and take care of dogs from a young age, so it seemed only natural that I’d end up working in the animal field in the future.
I started working for Wags & Wiggles in 2014. While I have come and gone a few times to travel abroad, I always seem to find my way back to Wags. I have a lot of love for the dogs, and Wags really is a special place! The opportunity to learn, and the tight-knit family environment of dog enthusiasts is simply an amazing thing to be a part of. This makes waking up to go to work each day something to look forward to, that and who doesn’t want to be covered in slobber of course!
When I’m not at Wags, I’m either hiking one of the national long-distance trails, wandering about some obscure village in another country with the locals, or just sitting and reading a good book.
Growing up, I’ve always had dogs, but it wasn’t until I began working at Wags that I realized It was something I wanted to turn into a career.
I joined Wags and Wiggles in the summer of 2021, thanks to my dog Belle, who did the Board and Train program. Earlier in 2022, we added another dog to our family, Lily, a German Shepherd/Husky mix. When I first began working at Wags, I started on the daycare floor. But eventually, I got the awesome opportunity to join the training team! I couldn’t be happier with the wonderful team of dog lovers like myself.
When I’m not working with animals, I’m either spending time playing video games or going on adventures with my dogs and friends.
I grew up on an island on the west coast of Canada. I left Canada after college and spent time on three continents working and traveling. I came to the US 20 years ago after a life of building restaurants.
Our family has been working with animal rescues for the past five years. During that time, I studied and worked with trainers I met through the rescues. I have fostered and trained 14 dogs to help them prepare for their new homes.
I joined Wags and Wiggles in 2022. This is a special place and offers any dog trainer unique opportunities. I am excited to be here and learn from this amazing team! When I am not working with dogs, I enjoy rock climbing, surfing, or watching hockey games.