Stephanie Peters

Stephanie Peters's picture


About Me
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I am a certified dog trainer and owner of Plucky Paws, LLC. I provide private in-home pet training with specializations in behavior modification and family-friendly services. As a certified humane educator with fifteen years of teaching experience, I use the arts to teach kids about important topics like responsible pet ownership, dog-bite prevention, and companion-animal welfare. My two rescue dogs, Marmalade and Butterscotch, visit a variety of community locations as the official Plucky Paws Therapy Dogs.


I hold a bachelor of fine arts degree in acting from the University of Utah, and a master’s degree in theatre education from Emerson College in Boston. As an actor and as a trainer, I carefully observe and thoughtfully interpret behavior. Both fields encourage me to solve problems creatively and to view a given situation from multiple perspectives. Training is a highly physical skill requiring spatial awareness and precision, and my abilities as a dancer prove very useful. 

I have fifteen years of experience working with children in a variety of contexts, including as a private nanny, parent-and-child classes for infants and toddlers, performing-arts classes for ages 3-12, workshops and story times at libraries, theatre summer camps, arts integration in elementary classrooms, and directing, choreographing, and performing in children's productions. In Massachusetts I held a state teaching license as a theatre instructor. My work with children prepared me to apply my knowledge of development and learning theory to the enrichment and education of our canine friends. I am a member of several professional organizations, involved in ongoing continuing education, and currently completing three certifications in dog training and behavior.

Companion animal welfare is my passion; I provide behavior modification for adoptable shelter dogs as a volunteer at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. I spent four months as a Dogtown intern at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in my home state of Utah, where I adopted my sweet cockapoo Butterscotch. Butterscotch and his sister Marmalade are official mascots as the Plucky Paws Therapy Dogs. My therapy visitation with Marmalade inspired me to pursue a career involving dogs and kids.

Services Offered: 

The Plucky Paws logo reflects my practice of planting the seeds of curiosity and knowledge and encouraging growth—so that pets and kids can shine to their fullest potential. As a relationship-based trainer, my training philosophy centers on strengthening and celebrating the bond between pet guardians and their dogs. I use only modern, progressive methods based in behavior science. Compassionate training strategies are enjoyable, effective, and promote a rewarding relationship founded on trust and mutual respect. I take pride in using family-friendly techniques that are safe for everyone in the household to practice, including young children. Training methods that are positive and fun are the only methods that are appropriate for use in a family setting.

Rather than attempting to control canine behavior through pain or intimidation, relationship-based training teaches dogs to make healthy choices for themselves. Dogs trained with positive methods don't respond to our cues simply to earn treats. They love working for rewards because they understand that by changing their own behavior they can affect their environments. These dogs gain an incredible amount of confidence and self-control. In turn, we are gratified when our dogs respond to our requests, and we feel good about achieving amazing results without punishment. With positive training, we listen to our dogs, we respect our dogs, and we acknowledge that the dogs are on a unique path of self discovery, just as we are!

Services Offered Summary: 
I offer Behavior Solutions and Basic, Intermediate, and Continuing Skills packages in coaching and day training formats. I also offer my Plucky Parents training package for expecting and new parents, and my Family Training package for households with older children who participate in the training process.
Contact Information
Phone Number: 
+1 (515) 520-3739
3937 Squaw Road
50014 Ames , IA


Member for
1 year 8 months