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Pia Silvani
CPDT, CABC
Personal website

Pia's love of teaching began over 30 years ago as a private trainer, dance instructor, and track, field and swimming coach for the Special Olympics. Her academic background was gained through the training of the world-renowned President, CEO and Founder of the famous Cooper Aerobics Center, Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H. In 1968, Dr. Cooper introduced a new word and a new concept to America – “Aerobics.” Today Dr. Cooper, recognized as the leader of the international physical fitness movement and credited with motivating more people in the field, helped Pia learn more about motivational teaching and getting by, through good coaching skills, specifically for people who may not be self-motivated in their pursuit to obtain a goal. As a result, she achieved the highest level of training by becoming a Regional Clinician for the first international aerobics corporation where she trained hundreds of new instructors in the field. She was able to take this education to another level. After 13 years of para-legal/office management work, she decided to make her coaching and teaching background a full-time dream. She combined her love of coaching and teaching people with her other fondness - - dogs.

Pia is Director of Training and Behavior at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center located in Madison, New Jersey. She has developed various courses focusing on positive, reward-based techniques, which are extremely effective in the enhancement of the bond and relationship of the dog and her human companion. The result of her efforts is an astounding 100+ classes per week, which includes 8 levels of pet training classes, specialty courses designed for dogs with extreme behavioral problems and much more. She oversees a staff of 22 trainers and continues to train new trainers in the field. She has written six training manuals, which are being used around the country as a resource guide for other trainers.

When Pia began working at the shelter, she realized that people were relinquishing their dogs to the shelter as a result of behavior problems. At the time, there was very little education for the pet-owning public. Through the research of people such as Dr. Gary Patronek, and many more, Pia was instrumental in developing a behavior department for the shelter. Today the shelter offers pre-adoption and post-adoption education to all adopters. A few years later she developed a canine coach program where volunteers and apprentice trainers work with shelter dogs on a daily basis to help the dogs become more adoptable by achieving and maintaining good manners, as well as offering behavioral wellness while in the shelter. The shelter now uses Gentle Leaders® and Easy Walkers® on all of the shelter dogs, as opposed to the old tools used years ago. Through word of mouth and a good reputation about the behavior department, St. Hubert's now has a very successful private consultation department for pet owners specializing in aggressive and anxiety-related problems for dogs and cats. In 2006, the department saw over 500 behavior cases.

Pia writes behavior articles for the shelter's newsletter and library; as well as contributes articles to many shelter newsletters around the country. She has been written up many times in national and international newspapers and magazines, most recently the largest dog magazine in Japan. She routinely gives guest appearances on television and radio. She has spoken at various conferences and forums internationally (from Belgium to Japan) and routinely consults with various shelters to assist them in improving and expanding their programs.

Her newly published book "Raising Puppies and Kids Together - A Guide for Parents" was voted in the top three parenting books for a Franklin D. Roosevelt Foundation.

Other accomplishments:
- Member of the American Humane Association Task Force for Humane Dog Training
- Business Practice chairperson of the Delta Guidelines for Humane Dog Training
- Past V.P. of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and charter member
- Helped to restructure the training curriculum for over 500 PETsMART stores in North America
- Helped to implement a six-week training curriculum for the PETsMART Area Trainers and conducted the educational program, along with Drs. Suzanne Hetts, Mary Lee Nitschke, Pamela Reid and Terry Ryan and Trish King.
- Senior Staff instructor for the Dogs of Course Instructor Training courses (www.dogsofcourse.com)
- Telecourse instructor for Animal Behavior Associates (www.animalbehaviorassociates.com)
- Past Board Advisor to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters
- Subject Matter Expert in the development of the first national certification program for dog trainers. “Until the creation of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers in 2001, there was no nationally available certification process for dog trainers. Many schools teach dog trainers and offer certification for their specific programs. These certificates, therefore, reflect the teachings and quality of a specific school. Other organizations offer take-home tests for "certification." These tests are not monitored, nor are the testing processes standardized.” (Quoted from www.ccpdt.com)
- Past V.P. of the National Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers

Affiliations:

Charter member of APDT
Member if IAABC
Subject Matter Expert CCPDT

Publications:

- "Raising Puppies and Kids Together: A Guide for Parents" (2005) TFH Publications,
Neptune City, N.J.
- The Dog Trainer's Resource – The APDT Chronicle of the Dog Collection, (2006) Dogwise Publishing, Wenatchee, WA
- The Dog Behavior Answer book – Practical Insights & Proven Solutions for Your Canine Questions – (2006) Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA


Other Projects:
- CD/DVD: Dogs Will Be Dogs, St. Hubert's Giralda, Inc. (2003) (www.sthuberts.org)
- CD/DVD: Fun to Know Dog Training (2004), Millennium Interactive, Inc.
- DVD's: Lecture Tours, Tawzer Videos - www.tawzervideos.com

Pia shares her home with husband, Marty, as well as their 8-year-old Belgian Tervuren, Lance and his 2-year-old daughter, Guinn. Pia competes in Obedience, Rally-O, Agility, and continues to enjoy dancing but now with her dogs!

 

 
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