Certified Dog Trainers - Tustin Team
All Trainers are certified or working towards certification (CPDT) - the only independent nationally recognized program providing the most up-to-date positive reinforcement training.
Tustin Assistant Training Manager
I have always loved animals and knew I wanted a career involving them in some way. As a child I was never allowed to have a dog, so as soon as I was out on my own I adopted a 6 month old Saint Bernard puppy named Wilfred. He was a big challenge for me, so I understand the trials of being a first time dog owner, and being a little overwhelmed with how much there is to learn. This is what set me on my journey to learn more about the world of training and led me to positive reinforcement.
Wilfred and I have come such a long way together over the course of almost a decade. I now use positive reinforcement both when dog training and on the weekends when I practice falconry with falcons, hawks, and the occasional owl. It’s amazing what positive reinforcement can do!
I started training professionally through an apprentice program at a major dog food retailer, and after gaining some experience, I was lucky enough to be accepted into the Wags and Wiggles family. I couldn't imagine doing anything else!
Gretchen Mavrovouniotis, PhD, CPDT - KA
I got my start in dog training when I volunteered at a local animal shelter in 2001. Around that time, I had heard about clicker training and started using it with both my own dogs and the dogs at the shelter. I joined the Wags & Wiggles Apprenticeship Program in 2007, passed the CPDT-KA exam, and became a trainer at Wags & Wiggles in Tustin when it opened.
I have always been in love with all different kinds of animals ever since I was a little girl! I used to volunteer at the Orange County Animal Shelter with dogs and then I spent 5 years as part of the Orange County Animal Control explorers program. Before I began working at Wags, I worked with horses at a stable for about 4 years. I trained them in different styles, trained kids how to ride, and guided horseback riding trails throughout Irvine park.
I fell in love with training dogs when I became a teacher to my 2 month old Pit Bull puppy, who is now 1 1/2 years old. She helped me learn different dynamics and patience with dogs, including dogs who are reactive and scared of life. Besides training at Wags, I am also a play floor supervisor on the weekends and a bather during the week. My next goals are becoming an animal control officer and training Pit Bull and German Shepherd rescues to be service and barn dogs.
I have had a passion and love for animals for as long as I can remember. I've had a variety of animals throughout my life ranging from horses to dogs to birds and everything in between. Dog agility was always something that intrigued me. At 10 years old, my parents got me an Australian Shepherd named Summer. I took one agility class with my favorite little fluff ball and was instantly hooked! I proceeded to add to my collection of pups throughout my teens with Border Collies Toby and Whisper.
As a graduation present from college, I got my new Border Collie, Mesa. Mesa is now three years old and competing in the masters level in both AKC and USDAA. She has qualified for USDAA Nationals in her first two years of competing and I can't wait to see what the future holds for my special little red girl!
I love training dogs because of the connection you get with these special four-legged creatures. They truly are "Man's Best Friend." While I love working with the dogs one-on-one, teaching a class and seeing the bond between a dog and their owner grow over the course of the session is really what puts a smile on my face. I can't wait to see you and your pups in class!
For the past 8 years I have come home from work proudly covered in dog hair. When I started working at Wags and Wiggles in 2011, I fell in love with the company. Throughout my years at Wags I have done a little bit of everything, but I found that my true niche was working hands on with the dogs. My role at Wags is split between working in our big dog room as Operations Manger, and as a trainer with our behavior and training team.
Whether it’s teaching an excited puppy how to walk with a loose leash, or helping a reactive dog make a progressive breakthrough, Wags’ positive reinforcement methods are enjoyed by the dog, the owner, and the trainer.
My passion for animals is something I was born with, and I have worked with a wide range of species. I spent a few years volunteering at my local wildlife rescue center, traveled to Thailand to work with elephants, and recently returned from an internship at a conservation center working with big cats.
I have loved working with all different types of animals, however, the deeply rooted bond between dogs and humans is incomparable. Dogs are the best!
A few months ago I officially became a dog mom and adopted Frida, a Xoloitzcuintli, from Mexico. Now I spend most of my free time making sure my former street dog is living her best life!