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About Vivian

I live with my husband and pet companions, George, the dog, and Nino, the cat just outside Boston, MA. I am the primary caretaker for my elderly mother, who turns 94 this year. God bless her right? Helping her has been a blessing on so many levels. It has helped me find the courage to once again shed my skin and change my path in life to focus on writing my book and freelance writing. My mamma reminds us that every day is a precious gift to treasure. She has helped us find gratitude in all of the little things that really matter in Life particularly spending time with our two and four legged loved ones.

 

My Career:

 

Throughout my career with dogs spanning more than two decades, I have dedicated myself to a singular mission which was born from working with rescue dogs---to help people better understand dog behavior and enhance their relationships. As one of the pioneering women in the pet services business in Boston, MA, I am proud to have been an early adopter of a kind training philosophy and dedicated to teaching people and dogs humane training techniques.  My unique approach and extensive experience have earned me a solid reputation as a canine behavior expert with veterinary professionals and clients in the area. 

My Academic Journey:

 

Learning is for Life! and my academic journey has been a testament to my unwavering pursuit of knowledge and expertise in various fields related to rehabilitating dogs. And it would not have been possible to pursue such extensive education without the success of my pet services business. I hold not one, but two master of science degrees-one in communication management and the other in anthrozoology. My professional certifications are also a testament to my commitment to continuous learning and professional development.

  • Certified behavior consultant canine (CBCC)

  • Certified professional dog trainer (CPDT),

  • Certified separation anxiety trainer (CSAT).

  • FearFreePets Certified (FFPC),

I've also completed a range of specialized courses in medical and human psychology including

  • Family Paws Parent Education licensing,

  • Behavior Analysis, Living and Learning with Animals,

  • a Case Based Approach to Applied Clinical Behavioral Medicine,

  • Professional Course in Positive Neuroplasticity through Dr. Rick Hanson's Professional Online Courses.

A Unique Multidisciplinary Approach:

 

Dog training, or teaching a non-verbal, non-human learner, has remained consistent. The principles and science behind it have stayed the same, so it's not the technique but the person and their delivery that varies. There are thousands of reward-centered dog trainers worldwide, all teaching the same things. As a human-dog relationship therapist, I have developed my distinctive approach to teaching people and their dogs based on my studies in anthrozoology. It is multidisciplinary, drawing upon principles from various fields, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, applied behavior analysis, ethology, psychology, mechanical skills, and learning theory. This approach is easy to follow, humane, and grounded in science. I refer to it as "Click Therapy for Dogs (and the people who love them)" and explain to people that "it's similar to talk therapy for people but ...different."

 

Tracking Behavior Change:

If you're a dog behavior geek or veterinarian you're going to love what I'm working on!. This year, with the help of a talented developer, I designed a proprietary online behavior intake and data tracking worksheet to collaborate with clients, monitor behavior change progress, and provide continuous feedback. It has been a game changer! Making collaborating with clients and their veterinarians so easy. I am presently testing the beta version with clients and my plan in the coming year is to make the worksheet available to the public for purchase.

Beyond Professional Endeavors:

 

Helping people and dogs is my life mission, and my dedication to human-animal relations extends beyond my professional endeavors. In my spare time,

  • Produce a Podcast, "Click Therapy for Dogs and the People Who Love Them"

  • Writing contributor for various dog related publications,

  • Volunteer and subject matter expert; with the esteemed team at the Center for Canine Behavior Studies, where I've had the opportunity to contribute to four peer-reviewed published papers.

  • Develop lessons for the CCBS educational initiative, Be BiteSmart. This series of 10 video animation lessons is designed to teach children ages 3 to 5 and their parents how to safely engage with dogs, and to respect their "bubble" thereby reducing the risk of bites and hopefully surrender. The first lesson,  "Paws to Prevent," is now available to the public for FREE, along with accompanying coloring book lessons. You can find these at www.BeBiteSmart.org and while there learn more about sponsorship opportunities for future lessons. 

  • Handcraft essential oil blends for clients with dogs experiencing low level stress.

"What you do makes a difference,
and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."

                                                             — Jane Goodall

Vivian_walkingwithGeorge.jpg

My Team

Writing a book is hard work! I'm grateful for my animal companions and the important roles they serve while I transition from Human Dog Relationship Therapist, to Human Dog Relationship Therapist and author.

Vivian headshot

Vivian Zottola

Author

Nino the cat writing overlord

Nino

Wrting Overlord

George dog team motivator

George

Team Motivator

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