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About

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We Train Puppies, Dogs, and Their People.

We train both you and your dog using positive techniques that make learning exciting, fun, and motivating for everyone. Our family-friendly classes are lively and interactive so you understand exactly how your dog learns best.

Play and Learn Together.

Our deep belief is that play is essential for happiness, no matter what species you are. We’ll show you how to engage your dog in learning by turning most anything into a game for him. Then training is no longer a chore–it’s a total delight.

Love Your Dream Dog for Life.

BravoPup’s mission is to build fulfilling and lasting relationships between humans and their four-legged family members. We love dogs, and we love helping people discover ways to understand, communicate with, and appreciate their dogs for a lifetime.

Our entertaining classes have consistently earned us praise, including the Bay Area A-List for Best Pet Training in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, and Bay Woof 2009.

BEST Pet Training

 
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Our Team

Sandi Thompson Bravopup dog trainer and owner.

Sandi Thompson, ctc, CPDT-ka

Sandi Thompson is the founder and owner of Bravo!Pup LLC, which she launched in 2008 to bring state-of-the-art dog training and socialization activities to East Bay dog lovers. BravoPup’s mission is to engage dog owners in positive reinforcement training through group classes that are entertaining, effective, and taught by the most qualified team of instructors in the area.

With over 25 years of training education and experience, Sandi is personally recommended by both veterinarians and leaders in the field of canine behavior. Her dynamic teaching style and easy-to-understand lessons have produced multiple generations of positively trained dogs as well as happy owners. 

Sandi started her animal training career as a 12-year-old volunteer at the Oakland Zoo where she cared for a variety of exotic animals and taught sign language to the chimpanzees. After graduating from college, Sandi began training dogs and puppies professionally for Sirius® Puppy Training where she taught classes for two decades and became their lead trainer.

She is an honors graduate of the San Francisco SPCA’s prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers as well as one of the first trainers in the US to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). She is a charter member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and has coached numerous trainers in the art and science of dog training. In recognition of these and other accomplishments, Sandi was named the APDT National Trainer of the Year in 2006.

Sandi’s media appearances include Animal Planet, CNN, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Amazing Animals in Japan, and Fine Living Network (HGTV). She is also the co-inventor of KongTime, an award winning product designed to reducing anxiety in home-alone dogs.

Sandi resides in the Berkeley hills with her dogs Siam Sam and Turtle. She enjoys hiking, climbing, and adventure travel. Her travels have taken her throughout Southeast Asia to observe wildlife and spend time with tribal people. She has also visited Rwanda, Uganda and Borneo where she fulfilled her childhood dream of trekking with mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans in the wild. In recent years, Sandi completed an internship at the Oakland Zoo and continues to volunteer time, including raising and training the zoo’s ‘ambassador dog’, a Golden Retriever named Lily.


Alyx Banyon Bravopup adminstrative staff

Alyx Banyan

Alyx Banyan is BravoPup’s Administrator. Whenever you contact us, it is Alyx who responds to your message and facilitates answers to your questions. With over 30 years of management and customer service experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, she provides the all-important “glue” that keeps BravoPup functioning smoothly.

A lifelong animal lover, Alyx has worked as a professional pet sitter and as a human caregiver. She recently completed Sonoma State University’s program in patient navigation for human health care systems.


Anna Carlson Bravopoup dog trainer

Anna Carlson, CTC (in progress)

Anna caught the “training bug” at the age of seven, when she discovered Sandi Thompson’s puppy training classes. She attended Sandi’s classes religiously twice a week (without a dog!) from age seven through eleven and continues under Sandi’s mentorship. During that time she also began volunteering at local animal shelters and started a neighborhood dog walking business. Shelter dogs hold a special place in Anna’s heart and she has volunteered at several shelters/rescues including SFSPCA, Berkeley Humane, and BACS. Prior to joining the BravoPup team, Anna worked in the training department at Guide Dogs for the Blind. She has devoured books about dogs and training ever since she was able to read and continues her education as a member of the internationally-renowned Academy for Dog Trainers.

Anna also has a background educating people. She spent five years teaching English as a Foreign Language in Madrid, Spain, and six years as a naturalist/wilderness guide in Alaska. Anna is fascinated by the interspecies relationship held between dogs and humans and our ability to communicate with one another. She loves that pet dog training allows her to work with both dogs AND people- and to be a part of teaching people how to better understand dog behavior and learning. Her teaching philosophy is that learning should be a fun and revelatory process for both humans and dogs, and emphasizes positive, science based methods.

Anna shares her life with her “foster failure” Eeva (a German Shepherd mix), her partner Simmons who is a fly fishing guide, and their newborn daughter Emilia.  She enjoys mountain biking, trail running, backpacking, camping, learning languages, and travel. In addition to two years living in Germany and five years living in Spain, Anna has spent extended periods of time traveling, including 8 months living on a farm in Brazil, and visits to Antarctica, India, Turkey, several countries in South America, and multiple cross country road trips in the US. If you are in one of her classes and speak to her in Spanish or Portuguese you will make her day!


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Katy Becker, CTC

Katy Becker teaches a range of puppy and adult dog classes for Bravo Pup as well as providing private consults. She loves to help her human students gain the skills and confidence to get the behaviors they want from their dogs while also enjoying the unique bond they share with their canine companions.

Katy is a veteran class instructor with over seven years teaching experience at Sirius Puppy and Dog Training. She also spent nine years as a handler and supervisor at Citizen Canine, the East Bay’s premier doggie daycare and boarding facility where she gained experience with dogs of all different shapes, sizes and breeds. She has an extensive knowledge of dog body language, dog-dog interactions, and dog play skills which give her critical insights with her private cases.

In 2005, Katy earned a Certificate in Training and Counseling from the Academy for Dog Trainers at the San Francisco SPCA and knew she had found her life’s passion in dog training. After graduation, she completed an internship in the SPCA’s behavior and training department, where she received continuing education on behavior modification, class teaching, and dog-dog interactions under the tutelage of SPCA trainers Kim Moeller and Gina Phairas.

Katy lives in Oakland with Bodie, a Husky mix and Stuart, a Chihuahua mix.


Maureen Coyle dog trainer at Bravopup.

Maureen Coyle, CTC

Maureen Coyle has been training and handling dogs for over 15 years as a professional trainer, dog walker, and groomer. She specializes in private training for a wide range of obedience skills and behavioral issues including Fear, Anxiety, and Aggression.

Currently, Maureen works one-on-one with BravoPup clients to help them build happy and effective relationships with their dogs. You can see her in action every Thursday night at Bravo’s puppy socials where she supervises the “pre-rowdy” area and helps all the new, small, and/or shy pups have a safe introduction to puppy play.

Maureen is a 2005 honors graduate of the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers with a Certificate in Training & Counseling (CTC), as well as an internship program participant. She has worked as a class instructor for the City of Concord and is a substitute class instructor for BravoPup. She is a professional level member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, a certified professional groomer and she holds a certificate in pet CPR.

By day Maureen is a dog behavior professional; by night she plays the accordion. A self-identified “poodle person”, Maureen shares her life with a curly-coated girl named Gracie and her musician husband, Will.


Jane Orr dog trainer at Bravopup

Holden Svirsky, CTC

Holden Svirsky is a graduate of the Academy for Dog Trainers and a recipient of the 2016 Shelter & Rescue Scholarship. As a member of the Shelter & Rescue Committee of the Pet Professional Guild, Holden has worked full time at three different animal shelters over the last seven years and has visited animal shelters all over the state of California. She currently specializes in fear and aggression issues in rescued dogs. Holden is certified in Pet First Aid. She shares life with her rescued Australian Cattle Dog / Pit Bull mix Pablo and loves sailing the SF Bay.