Northern VA and MD

Our Northern Virginia and Maryland branch serves Washington DC, Alexandria, Manassas, Leesburg, Woodbridge, Fredricksburg, Frederick MD, Baltimore and all surrounding areas.

Patsy Montowski, Atlas-CTP

Patsy initially taught her family dog, Einstein, many different cues and realized she had a passion for dogs and their ability to learn. Einstein’s success inspired her to gain knowledge of a dog’s abilities to help people heal with knowing they had a constant companion to help them through the day. At one time being somewhat socially awkward, Patsy’s family dog and the dogs that Patsy trained helped her open up to new people.

Patsy started training with a non-profit service dog organization in 2010 after learning that the dogs trained would go to veterans suffering from PTSD and children with disabilities. Watching a good friend struggle with PTSD inspired her to learn and grow with the program while also overcoming her own fears. Patsy became the lead academic and special skills instructor for others that also wanted to learn how to become service dog trainers.

Currently Patsy resides part-time in Chesapeake, VA and part-time in Harpers Ferry, WV with her lab/hound mix Jiggy and her ever supportive, dog-loving boyfriend, Kevin.

Melanie Friedman,KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA

Melanie Friedman was inspired to become a professional dog trainer by her Australian Cattle Dog, Boomer.  When Melanie adopted Boomer, he was fearful, aggressive and reactive, but she was determined to help him without using painful prong or shock collars. Unable to find a qualified positive reinforcement trainer in her area, she studied reward-based training and trained Boomer herself. Excited by the results, Melanie made it her life’s mission to help other dogs be happier using practical, effective and ethical training methods.

Melanie was so impressed with Boomer’s new behavior, that she entered him into Agility, Rally-O, Nosework, Flyball and Lure Coursing. Boomer earned his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and then became a therapy dog. When Melanie’s mother became terminally ill, Boomer went to each visit to help comfort her mom.  Fascinated by the medical improvement her mom made on each Boomer visit, Melanie also saw the need for service dogs that were trained with positive methods.

Melanie temporarily left West Virginia for Alabama to work with the Veterans Administration where she trained and paired dogs for veterans with PTSD. 

While in Alabama, Melanie also has the privilege to train the first courthouse dog in Alabama.  Gabe's job in the Calhoun County courthouse is one of the most important...providing emotional support to help people if they become upset or nervous, particularly with children. Also, in Alabama, Melanie worked with Auburn University on a contract with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to train dogs to have an MRI while fully awake to study how their brains process odorant information. 

Melanie attends multiple seminars and conferences every year to keep current with the newest in dog training and behavior science.Melanie is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the CCPDT, a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Program, an AKC CGC Evaluator  and a Certified Trick Dog Instructor and Stunt Judge with Do More with Your Dog.  She is also working towards Level 1 TAGTeach and studying for Certified Behavior Consultation through CCPDT.


Melanie lives in Harpers Ferry, WV with her husband and 5 dogs.  She enjoys painting, photography, reading, hiking and yoga.


Nationwide Personal Service Dog Training

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