Since 1984, Kathy Santo Dog Training has been dedicated to helping individuals and families enjoy better relationships with their dogs.

Tens of thousands of dogs and their humans have benefited from our program’s unique and fun-filled approach to training, both online and in person.

Thousands more have gained insights from Kathy’s book, Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense, her articles and her appearances on popular morning TV and radio shows. 

We believe that learning is a lifelong process for both humans and their dogs. So we make sure our program is accessible and convenient for dog lovers throughout Bergen County.

We’re available 24/7, so if you have a problem that needs an immediate answer, you can call, or text us for a solution.

We’re proud of the effectiveness of the Kathy Santo training method, and we’re even prouder of the number of current and former students who keep coming back for more. As a Kathy Santo Dog Training graduate, you become part of our family!

Contact us today to get started on training your dog!

Our Trainers

Kathy Santo


Kathy Santo has developed a fresh, innovative approach to dog training. In the past, training methods were based on a “one size fits all” approach, but with her system, finding out who the dog is at the other end of the leash is the first priority. After that, she customizes the training method to that unique dog, which guarantees the team’s success. She believes that the dogs themselves don’t fail the training; rather it’s the training that failed the dog.

The approach is based on her 30+ years of being a top canine trainer, teaching basic and competitive dog training and solving complex behavioral issues throughout the United States. Every day, she helps dog owners address a wide range of issues, from the simple — “my dog is a picky eater” — to the serious — “my dog was almost hit by a car when he ran into the road” and “how can I get my dog to stop biting?”

In 2005, Kathy began a dog training program for children with autism and their dogs. Initially formed as a way to help the children to teach their companion dogs basic obedience commands, the program has now grown to include agility training, in-school classroom visits, and a social skills/dog training program for adolescents and their dogs. Her goal is to have more programs created across the country and has formed a charity called PAWS FOR AUTISM. A portion of the profits from her products will be donated to organizations that provide dog-based programs for people with autism.

She’s a columnist for the American Kennel Club’s Family Dog Magazine (“Training and Behavior”), and her House Beautiful columns (“Ask The Dog Shrink”) can be read online at www.housebeautiful.com. Her dog training book, Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense was internationally released by Alfred A. Knopf.

On television, Kathy had been a regular on Martha Stewar’s television show, as well as appearing on ABC, TBS, and the CBS Early Show, who interviewed Kathy (and two of her students) about her programs for children with autism and their dogs.

Previously, she founded a training center in Jupiter, Florida, taught competitive dog training camps across the United States, won competitive obedience titles in AKC obedience, spoke at schools in the Martin County, Florida, school system for its Humane Education Program, and led testing and evaluation for the Treasure Coast, Florida, Pet Facilitated Therapy Program.

Additionally, she evaluated the temperament of dogs brought into the Treasure Coast Humane Society to determine their adoptability. Her innate ability to “read” people and dogs helped potential owners unite with dogs that were well suited to their personalities and lifestyles.

Certifications: IACP CDT, CDTA, PDTI, Certified Canine Athlete Specialist (CCAS), AKC CGC/CGCA, Urban Dog, and Trick Evaluator

Nancy Desimone


Nancy has a degree from Elon University in North Carolina.  She has been training and teaching with Kathy for over 7+ years. She’s an IACP Certified Dog Trainer, and a Certified Canine Athlete Advisor for Canine Conditioning. She also holds her CGC/CGCA Evaluator for the AKC.

Lauren Tobin

Assistant FastTrack Manager | TRAINER

Lauren has her Animal Sciences degree from Penn State University. During college, she worked with both domestic and wild animals, and volunteered at a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for 4 years of college and even interned at Central Park Zoo. She is an IACP Certified Dog Trainer and is a Certified Canine Athlete Advisor for Canine Conditioning. She also holds her CGC/CGCA Evaluator for the AKC.

Sarah Bayles


Sarah has been a trainer at the school, but recently moved to Colorado and currently helps to run our social media platforms, online dog training courses, and offers private dog training lessons in the Fort Collins, CO area! Sarah’s training background is in family dog obedience and behavioral issues with a special interest in canine fitness to help dogs live a longer and healthier life. She is a Certified Canine Athlete Advisor and is also working towards her Certified Canine Fitness Trainer from Fitpaws and The University Of Tennessee. 

Nikki Miller


Nikki has her certification from Animal Behaviorism College and has been training at Kathy Santo Dog Training for a year and a half! She has a furry friend at home named Pepper – she’s a cat, but they’ve been working on some tricks, too!

Stacey Samela


Stacey Samela has been involved with dogs for over 20 years. In addition to being a passionate instructor, she’s also achieved numerous American Kennel Club performance awards in conformation, earth dog, tracking, and Rally obedience trials with her beloved, home-bred, wire-haired dachshunds. 

Tori Freymuth


I graduated from SUNY Cobleskill May 2019 with a Bachelors of Technology in Animal Science with a Concentration in Canine Studies which focuses on the training, behavior, health, and nutrition of dogs. This program exposed me to all types of dogs, training methods, and behavioral modification techniques. Previously, I worked as a trainer for Paws and Stripes, a non-profit organization that trains Service Dogs for disabled veterans. I also did an internship at another non-profit organization, Operation at Ease, as a trainer for both their service and therapy dog programs. In addition to my formal training experience, I’ve also trained my dogs for service work – specifically psychiatric and seizure alert.

Sierra Knotts


Sierra began her canine career by raising puppies for the NJ Seeing Eye. She later graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science and went on to work in the Service Dog field – first as the Genetics Technician for the Guide Dog Foundation and then as a Service Dog Trainer at Freedom Service Dogs. She also designed and led basic obedience classes to volunteer handlers at both organizations. Sierra has been training at KSDT since July 2019. She lives near NYC with her husband and her agility wannabe rescue black lab mix, Loki.