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.
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 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 ten 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 added 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 your connection 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 throughout the session is really what puts a smile on my face. I can't wait to see you and your pups in class!
I have come home from work proudly covered in dog hair for the past eight years. So 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 my true niche was working hands-on with the dogs. As a result, my role at Wags is split between working in our big dog room as Operations Manager and as a trainer with our behavior and training team.
Whether 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. So now I spend most of my free time making sure my former street dog is living her best life!
I grew up in a household full of animals. We had cats, dogs, birds, rats, & more throughout my childhood well into adulthood. So I knew growing up that working with animals made me happy. After high school, I attended California Polytechnic University at Pomona and majored in Biological Sciences. I worked as a Veterinary Technician for four years before starting dog training at a facility in Yorba Linda. There, I found my love of agility and pretty much anything active & engaging with my dogs. I love challenging my dogs and seeing that light bulb moment when everything starts to click.
I am thankful to be a part of the Wags training team. I started at the RSM facility in March 2014 and more recently started working at the Tustin facility in June 2021. I continue to learn each & every day how to be a more effective trainer and communicate better with our training clients.
Outside of work, I can be found on weekdays at the gym before the sun comes up, out on a local hiking trail with two dogs, or doing something fun with my two human kids. I currently have Myth, a 10-year-old Border Collie, and Pedal, a 7-year-old Chiweenie. I no longer compete in agility with my senior dogs, but I have found a new passion for training in Noseworks, Tracking, and Canine Conditioning.
I was always the kid who tried to rescue and bring home every type of animal under the sun, to my parents' exasperation. My love for animals, especially dogs, has always superseded most things.
I got a second job in college as a dog walker and soon realized how much I loved working with dogs. I knew I wanted to make a career out of spending my days with furry friends and eventually found my passion in training.
Wags has made it possible for me to do just this and has bettered me as a trainer in so many ways. I am beyond grateful to have found Wags and be a part of a training team that takes pride in their ability positively impact the lives of dogs and their humans alike!