I started my professional training career in 1980 in Washington State as a horse and dog trainer. Over the years, I have been asked to evaluate and work with dogs at shelters, animal control agencies, and for clients of veterinarians. I offer a variety of services as well as private lessons and group classes. Extensive exposure to a wide variety of canine breeds and temperaments has greatly contributed to my success as a trainer and owner satisfaction.

I am always continuing to update and expand my knowledge by working with other trainers, attending seminars, and studying the latest theories and methodologies. From new sources, I select what I believe are positive methods for instruction and add them to my training repertoire. I use five basic rewards: touch, voice, loose leash, treats and play. An emphasis is placed on foundation training, basic to advanced work, and creating a well-balanced companion and/or sport dog.

Professional Experience

  • Big Sky Dog Training, Owner/Trainer – Current. Started in Washington State in1985. Moved to Illinois in April 2006. Teach private lessons and group classes, provide home or kennel board-and-train and provide temperament testing.
  • K9 University Chicago - Head Trainer – 2017
  • Dogs in the Ring in Skokie - Trainer – 2015-2016
  • Playful Paws, Prospect Heights, IL, Head Dog Trainer
  • Follow Your Nose, Head Dog Trainer – 2013-2015
  • Glencoe Park District, Dog Trainer
  • Wilmette IL Parks and Recreation, Dog Trainer – 4 years
  • Petco, Dog Trainer – 4 years
  • Train the Trainer for ABTA and Regional Site Reviewer for Dog Training programs
  • Issaquah WA Parks and Recreation, Dog Trainer – 4+ years
  • Washington State Veterinary School, Technician Assistant
  • Echo Glen Children’s Program (juvenile prison/detention center), Adoption Coordinator for their Canine Connections Program – 2001-2003
  • Volunteer Positions: King County Prosecutors Office, Domestic Violence Advocate, Animals involved in Domestic Violence, Committee Member for development of an Animal Safe House
  • Adolescent Safe House Worker, Seattle WA
  • King County WA Humane Society Volunteer – 1989-1990
  • Emergency Medical Technician – 1983-2003
  • Crisis Clinic Instructor and Phone worker – 1980s


Pet Professionals Guild -
Member since 2014
  • Skokie Animal Control, IL – Canine behavior assessment
  • Evanston Animal Shelter, IL  – Contributor
  • International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP)
  • Animal Behavior and Training Association (ABTA) – Certified Obedience Trainer #2574
  • Association of Professional Humane Educators
  • Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) – Professional Member #72215 – C.L.A.S.S. Certified Instructor and Evaluator
  • American Kennel Club (AKC) – S.T.A.R. Canine Good Citizenship (Basic and Advanced) Certified Evaluator #2927
  • American Dog Owners Association, Inc. – Professional Member
  • Featured Dog Trainer – Dog Breed Info WEB Site – Professional Trainer for Dog Training Advice
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Member (ASPCA)
  • Animal Control
  • D.A.W.G.  (Dog Advisory Work Group – Court Advocate) Animals involved in Domestic Violence, Committee Member for development of an Animal Safe House
  • Seattle/King County Humane Society
  • CCI – Canine Companion For Independence
  • ASPCA – Member

For more information or to schedule a class or session:email Montana or call her at 847.997.4707.

Read Montana's tribute to her buddy Wolfie.