Sarah Connor Whitman
Sarah earned her certificate in Dog Training and Behavior through CATCH Canine Trainer’s Academy and is also an Accredited Dog Trainer through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
Prior to joining the Clever Critters Team, Sarah founded and has been running Barks and Rec Dog Training. She started Barks and Rec in September of 2018 as a dog walking and pet-sitting business, and transitioned to solely dog training in 2020. It was during this time she was attending CATCH in pursuit of her dog training certification.
Sarah will be further pursuing continuing education to become a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the IAABC. She also plans to become a Fear Free Certified Professional and obtain her Pet First Aid and CPR certification. Sarah aspires to earn her Feline Consultant certification in the future.
Sarah became interested in dog training due to her family dog, Duke. Duke was six months old when Sarah’s family adopted him on December 31, 2014. He was terrified of everything, and despite his emaciated frame, he was so shut down that he didn’t even want the hot dogs that were offered to him during the shelter visit. Sarah promised Duke that she would do whatever it took to help him learn to love life again. This spurred her journey into researching canine psychology and behavior, and unknown to her at the time, opened the door to a whole new career.
In August 2018 Sarah began attending CATCH Canine Trainer’s Academy. At the same time, she founded Barks and Rec in September 2018 as a dog walking and pet-sitting service for Chesapeake and nearby areas. For several months, she attended both Regent University (for film & theatre) and CATCH as a full-time student for both schools. In January 2019, after feeling dissatisfied with how dogs were being handled at an establishment she was working at, she decided to hit “pause” on her education at Regent University and dedicate all her focus to completing her program with CATCH.
In August 2019, she took a leap and quit her part-time job to pursue running Barks and Rec full-time. She graduated from CATCH Canine Trainer’s Academy in March 2020, with a Certificate in Dog Training and Behavior.
She quickly fell in love with the art and science of training dogs, but soon realized that her education did not equip her to work with more severe behavioral issues. With a strong desire to help the dogs that seemed “hopeless,” Sarah set out looking for another avenue of education to give her the tools she needed to address more complex behavior cases.
In July 2020, she joined the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, and dove headfirst into the wealth of material that was provided to supporting members. Still, she wanted to learn more to test her skills and further her knowledge in the field. She decided to pursue the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)’s accreditation for dog training. After spending a grueling 60 days working on the extensive test, she passed with a score of 98 out of 100 and received her Accredited Dog Trainer (ADT) standing through the IAABC on January 21, 2021.
Now, Sarah continues to further her education and knowledge in the field every day through seminars, conferences, the most up-to-date, science-backed materials, and more. Dog training is her passion, and she owes all of it to her boy, Duke.
On December 16, 2020, Duke crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He began having complications with his prostate in October, and despite all the effort to save him, his health continued to deteriorate. He’s missed more than words can possibly express, but his legacy will live on forever through Barks and Rec and Sarah. It is because of Duke that Sarah has dedicated her life to helping dogs like him.
Sarah's Clever Critters
Nicknames: Stinkerton, Stink-Stank, Rico-Pico, Pico de gallo, Peek-Peek, Ricolas Cage, Cheese
Favorite Things: Parkour! (Think Michael Scott), Badgering his brother, Learning new tricks, Long hikes, Pepperoni
Nicknames: Tibby, Tibby-Tay, Mr. Tibbs, Tie-floofy-us, Tie-Bo, Boba
Favorite Things: BALL!!! Tug-of-war, Chicken jerky, Couch snuggles
*The reason I do what I do*
Gotcha Day: 12/31/2014
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge: 12/16/2020
~19-22 Years Old