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Yorktown, VA
(757) 775-7987
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Sydney E. Warner, ABCDT, Dip.CBST

Certified Dog Trainer,
Dip. Canine Behavior Science and Technology

Sydney Warner is a certified dog trainer through Animal Behavior College and also has a diploma in Canine Behavior Science and Technology from Companion Animal Science Institute. Sydney plans to pass examination as a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine - Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) in 2014. She is also planning to complete her bachelor's and then master's degrees in animal behavior in the near future. Sydney began working with Clever Critters in 2012 after our founder and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Ellen Mahurin, recognized Sydney's strengths and invited her to join the team. When Ellen began making plans to move out of the Hampton Roads area, she knew that Sydney would be the perfect person to take over Clever Critters! Sydney is continuously reading about training and canine behavior to add to her knowledge. She has excellent judgment when interacting with dogs and is adept at choosing appropriate, safe and effective training techniques. Sydney is skilled at basic through advanced training for puppies and dogs and can address moderate behavior concerns. She also teaches canine sports including nosework and agility.

Before Clever Critters

Sydney has experience with many professions involving animals including pet photography, shelter work, boarding, and the veterinary field. It was upon adopting her first shelter dog that Sydney discovered her desire to help dogs with behavior "problems". Specifically, Sydney wanted to work with dogs needing rehabilitation due to aggressive behavior and to promote manners in non-aggressive dogs of breeds stereotyped as "aggressive." Sydney met Ellen when she consulted her about her dog-reactive dog, Wesley. Wesley is Sydney's adopted mixed breed and her constant training companion who is always eager to learn. Sydney's other pets are Duchess, a senior Shih Tzu that occasionally accompanies Ellen and Sydney on dog aggression cases due to her calm and non-reactive nature and Luna, a rescued feline who loves to bird watch. back to top

Ellen Ellen and Comet

Ellen J. Mahurin, MA, ACAAB

Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist
Founder, Clever Critters

Ellen Mahurin is board certified by the Animal Behavior Society as an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. Ellen earned her master's degree in experimental psychology/animal behavior from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2006. She owned the pet behavior consulting business, Clever Critters, from 2004 to 2013 in Knoxville, TN and Yorktown, VA.

Ellen keeps her skills sharp by staying up-to-date on scientific research in pet behavior and training. Her training methods effectively treat problem behavior, reduce stress for pets and people alike, foster interspecies communication and support the human-animal bond. More information about board certified behaviorists can be found at

View Ellen Mahurin's vita - current through April 2014

Ellen's Earlier Years

Ellen grew up on a horse farm in east Tennessee where training dogs and horses was a part of daily life. Adults who noticed her love of animals suggested that she become a veterinarian. Ellen set her sights on vet school. Ellen's first paid training experience was at the Knoxville Zoo Bird Show in 1996 where she worked with a variety of species of parrots and birds of prey. While working in Knoxville veterinary clinics in the late 1990s to early 2000s, Ellen began to offer private dog training lessons to clients. She found that she very much enjoyed this work and was able to help improve the lives of dogs and people. She also noticed that the veterinarians with whom she worked did not enjoy addressing behavior problems nor did they have much knowledge of animal behavior. As a result of these experiences, Ellen decided to change her course of study at the University of Tennessee from pre-veterinary medicine to ethology (animal behavior). back to top