Valeria Cascaddan


Founder | Certified Dog Trainer & Behavior Consultant | Director of Behavior & Training

dog, dog training, dog trainer, puppy training, pet training, puppy training tips, dog obedience training

Certifications & Education


Why choose me to help your family? I’ve been committed to an ongoing obsession about animal behavior and learning for almost 30 years. I have experience in most facets of the dog care industry and the education to match. Not only do I love teaching dogs, I love teaching people too!


Did you know that dog training is an unregulated industry? Did you know that anybody can call themselves a dog trainer, dog behavior specialist, dog behavior consultant, etc. without any obligation to formal education in the areas of animal training or behavior? There is no certifying body to make sure that dog trainers are behaving in an ethical way or have the knowledge and skills to safely and effectively teach you and your pet. Yes, that’s right, your neighbor down the street can call themselves a dog trainer just because they want to. But, regardless, I chose to go and seek the highest, most rigorous education for teaching animals available. I have immersed myself in the world of animal training, led by some of the leading experts in the field, such as Susan Garrett, Ian Dunbar, Bob Bailey, Sophia Yin and Karen Pryor. 


I started this journey in 1992 when I went to dog grooming school. In 1995, I attended the best dog training school I could find at that time. I continued on to attend college for pre veterinary medicine attaining my Associate of Science in 2007, adding to my handbag of experience. I have always been drawn back to animal behavior and training. In 2015, I attended Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior and became a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP). Every KPA CTP has demonstrated excellent technical knowledge and hands on skills in positive teaching and training of not only dogs, but with other species including people.


Every KPA CTP is


  • Skilled in using positive teaching and training techniques with you and your pet to make training fun.

  • Educated about using science and behavior-based methods to make training more efficient.

  • Can customize a training program specifically designed to help you and your pet communicate and succeed together.

  • Participates in programs for quality assurance and continuing education to ensure the training you receive is based on modern research and technology.

  • Pledges to teach and train using force-free principles so that you and your dog develop a bond built on trust and respect.


In 2019 I became a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Being honored as one of less than three-hundred CBCC's throughout the world! I also hold certifications from many other organizations.

I’ve always had dogs from the time I was a little girl. By the time I was in my late teens I knew that I wanted to work with dogs in some capacity. In the early 90’s my journey began, showing dogs in conformation and obedience. First Rottweilers and then Standard Poodles. Rippy, our Bull Terrier, and Jynx our Manx cat, went through the Karen Pryor Academy course with me. Unfortunately, Rippy passed away in 2017. Jynx is now 20 years old and currently our dog Roo, has participated in agility, lure coursing, dock diving and nose-work and our up and coming prodigy, Dobby is just at the beginning of his journey. I’ve successfully worked with all behavior issues over the last 25 years, from poor manners and inappropriate elimination to aggression.


Finally, after more than 20 years, I’ve come full circle and moved back to where it all began, Northern Michigan. I have taken all my knowledge, experience, education and training and put it all into Drop the Leash Dog Training. An all positive reinforcement training company with undeniable results. Together we’ll teach your dog the behaviors you want them to perform, resulting in complete trust with your canine companion and great behaviors that will stay long after the training is complete. I’ve used this training method with my own dogs and hundreds of clients throughout the years with a high rate of client satisfaction. 


It is my goal here at Drop the Leash Dog Training to turn good dogs into great canine companions, because nothing says GREAT DOG like Drop the Leash Dog Training!!


You can view our remarkable dogs, Rippy and Roo, and many of my students dogs on this website, Facebook page and on the Drop the Leash Dog Training YouTube channel.


Drop the Leash Dog Training provides education for the individual interested in teaching their dog with the most positive, least intrusive teaching methods currently available and backed by available scientific research.


Drop the Leash Dog Training supports effective, reliable, behavior change for the family dog without the use of physical intimidation, fear, pain or discomfort. 


Drop the Leash Dog Training does not use or advocate choke chains, pinch collars, shock (e-collar, stim, etc.) collars, throw cans, water spray, dominance rolls, or throw chains and educates dog owners about the most positive, least intrusive alternatives available.


Drop the Leash Dog Training provides the same teaching quality and education for the human end of the leash as we do for their four-legged companion, giving the human guardian the skills and knowledge needed to be a confident guide for the family dog.


To provide all of the above, Drop the Leash Dog Training continues to pursue education for the most up to date information available on behavior analysis, animal behavior, teaching and learning.

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Rippy in bluebonnets