Canine Counselor Inc

Phyllis Smuland, Dog Trainer and Owner - Established 1990


About the Canine Counselor, Phyllis Smuland

Phyllis Smuland of Canine Counselor, Inc. has been training dogs since 1985. Phyllis has amassed experience with all breeds and types of behavior issues and solutions.  Since every dog and client team is an individual, Phyllis customizes her training approach for each dog.  She has success in teaching dog owners how to manage problems such as dog to dog aggression, human aggression, anxiety, and fear.  In her over thirty years of training, Phyllis has dealt with a wide variety of training scenarios from teaching adorable puppies impulse control, housetraining, and leash walking, to training power breeds with resource guarding and aggression problems.  Phyllis believes in upholding the highest standards for her training programs with excellent dog training techniques and teaching her clients how to successfully handle their dogs after the training.  She has an open approach to dog training, meaning that she does not subscribe to a one-program-fits-all training style.  She will use many tools and methods to successfully train and rehabilitate a dog. She has a savant-like, instinctive ability to read dogs from years of observing and training dogs. 

During her teenage years, Phyllis learned a variety of animal behavior and interaction from a friend with exotic animals and packs of dogs.  In 1988, she answered a help wanted ad stating “low pay, hard work, aggressive dogs”  and was hired as a training assistant. Two years later, Phyllis opened her own dog training business, Canine Counselor, Inc., with her mentor’s blessing. During this time she studied dog behavior by solving her own dogs' behavior problems, plus fostering many dogs.   She  learned how to integrate and run a pack of dogs successfully and safely at a young age.  Her training methods involve establishing leadership, achieving a relaxed state of mind, and using the right techniques for the right dog at the right time. 

Two before and after training examples

This video shows two before and after training examples of a 6 year old pit bull and an 11 year old shih tzu mix




Phyllis trains dogs combining the best methods of behavior modification and obedience. Dogs thrive in a calm environment with clear communication and boundaries.  Phyllis trains the dog and coaches the human family on improving the dog/ human relationship.  She teaches the humans how to understand their dog and what their dog needs to thrive.  Phyllis will teach you how to give your dog the confidence, stability, and guidance needed to improve your dog's behavior.


We Can Help With:

We can help with any of the following behaviors:

  • Excitement, jumping, and mouthiness
  • Aggression towards humans, dogs, and cats
  • Fearfulness 
  • Attentiveness and not listening
  • Anxiety and separation anxiety
  • Obedience and off leash recall
  • Loose leash walking manners and reacting on walks
  • Dogs fighting in the home
  • And more



Canine Counselor uses balanced training methods. Phyllis combines behavior modification, leadership, and obedience training to form the perfect trifecta of dog training.  This means we use natural consequences and positive rewards to communicate what behavior is desired.  Setting clear boundaries with your dog will gain trust and respectful behavior.  We train your dog without reliance on treats or food, using a positive relationship with you as the most powerful reward for your dog. We teach you how to be a benevolent leader to your dog.  Our clients have been successful in keeping their former unruly dogs as pleasant, enjoyable companions for over thirty years.

Real Life Training

Phyllis integrates real life into her training.  She has clients and their dogs work around other dogs in their own neighborhood.  She takes training dogs to pet stores, the airport, parks and walks in the woods.  Training dogs get positive exposure to other dogs.  Dogs get practice with doorbells, neighboring cats, woodland creatures, and strangers entering the home.  We even took dogs to the Cherry Blossom Festival.  We work with your entire family including children and any extended household members such as nannies, dog walkers, and house sitters.  Consistency is a key component to success in any dog training program.  

Client's Commitment

Our human clients are a key component to their dog's success.  We guarantee your dog will be trained to his best ability at the end of his training with us. To continue training at the client's home, your dog's training program needs to be followed.  Depending on your dog's behavior concerns, it may be a small change to your previous routine, or a large change.  Without the client's commitment to changing the dog's environment and routine, the dog will regress to the same behavior as before training.  We ask our clients be ready to change their interactions with their dog.  The rewards will be worth it.

CALL US! (703) 906-0479 or



Professional Member of the International Association of Canine Professionals