The CCPDT is governed by a Board of Directors that consists of no more than twelve and no less than seven directors. Mandatory positions include President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Public Member. All board members have voting privileges.

Because we are a credentialing organization, not a membership organization, board members aren’t elected by the certificants, but rather by the current board. Instead we issue a call for nominations to fill any vacant seats on the board of directors once every year (or more often, if needed). Interested candidates submit a letter indicating why they would like to be considered for a board seat, and include information about their professional background.

All candidates are then interviewed by the CCPDT Executive Director with questions created by the CCPDT Nominations Committee. Finally, the CCPDT board votes on the candidates based on all the available information.

Interested in volunteering?

Look out for the annual call for board members. We announce it in our newsletter, on social media channels, and post it on our website.

But serving on the board is not the only opportunity to get involved with the CCPDT. If you would like to grow your professional network and give back to the profession, we are always looking to expand our energetic team of volunteers. Learn how you can contribute.

CCPDT board members

Ruth LaRocque, CPDT-KA™, CBCC-KA™

Ruth LaRocque

President and Treasurer

Ruth LaRocque is a highly experienced dog trainer and animal behaviorist, specializing in the addressing pet fear and aggression issues in family situations. Ruth hold both the CPDT-KA™ and CBCC-KA™ certifications and joined the CCPDT Board in 2013. She was elected President in 2018 and has served as Treasurer since 2014.

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Amanda Kowalski, CPDT-KA™

Amanda Kowalski

Vice President

Amanda Kowalski is the Research Project and Event Coordinator for the Center for Animals and Public Policy and Center for Shelter Dogs at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

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Carol Hutelmyer, MSN, RN

Secretary & Public Member

Carol Hutelmyer is a Professional Nurse and dog owner. As the owner of a certified therapy dog, she is keenly aware of the value of dog training and of the need for qualified professional dog trainers.

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James Crosby, CBCC-KA ™


James Crosby has professionally trained dogs, taught individual and group obedience classes, and addressed canine behavior problems since 1999. He teaches safe handling, evaluation and rehabilitation of dangerous dogs and the investigation of fatal and serious dog attacks throughout the US, Canada, Italy, the UK, Poland and Australia.

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Yvonne Ferguson, CPDT-KSA™


Yvonne Ferguson is the owner and head trainer of Quinte Canine. She is a Canine Good Neighbour (CGN) Evaluator for the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI) and Certified Stunt Dog Judge with Do More With Your Dog and a Behaviour Consultant and Course Instructor for Canine Foundations.

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Ashley Foster, CBCC-KA™


Ashley Foster is a CBCC-KA™ and Professional Dog Trainer who has been training dogs professionally for over 23 years. She is the founder/owner of Complete K-9, which offers force-free, positive in-home behavior and training consultation and group classes and is the co-author of The Healthy Way to Stretch Your Dog.

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Penelope Milne, CPDT-KSA™, CBCC-KA™


Penelope Milne has been a trainer and behavior consultant for more than 30 years. Penny is the owner of DubDubDog Animal Behavior Services and the Training Director for the Animal Keeper/Pet Suites (a small chain of upscale pet resorts).

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Leigh Sansone, CPDT-KSA™


Leigh Sansone, Esq., CPDT-KSA™, has been training dogs professionally for a decade. After practicing law for 15 years, she shifted focus from special education advocacy to humane animal training. Leigh’s training tips have been published in APDT’s Top Tips from Top Trainers, a compendium of advice from leading trainers and consultants.

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Brad Phifer, CPDT-KSA™, CBCC-KA™

Brad Phifer

Executive Director

Bradley Phifer, owner of Bradley Phifer Dog Training, is an Indianapolis-based dog trainer and behavior consultant who has helped countless owners live happier lives with their pets. Dedicated to the professionalization of dog training, he divides his attention between CCPDT and his dog training clients.

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Public policy documents

We have a public policy page to give certificants and the public a central place to review the documents that underpin our governance. The documents are updated continuously.

CCPDT Public Policies