Our Philosophy 

We believe dogs have innate problem-solving abilities, and encourage their use.

Most mammals, and especially dogs, problem-solve to find food, water, shelter and mates. We use this ability in training, and work to allow dogs the freedom to problem-solve for themselves, when possible. Learning lasts longer, and dogs are mentally challenged and tired when they are permitted to work things out for themselves.

We believe in and apply the tenets of the Humane Hierarchy.

The Humane Hierarchy describes a decision-making process when applying training methodologies and problem-solving to any situation with a dog. The Humane Hierarchy starts with positive reinforcement methods - adding a high value reward to increase the likelihood of an alternative behavior to discourage an unwanted behavior. For example - we use food or toy reinforcers when a dog sits, rather than jumping up on us. This positive reinforcement increases the likelihood that the dog will sit, rather than jump up.

For more information, see: The Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers' position paper on the Humane Hierarchy.

Our Certified Instructors


Beth Ann | Founder, Eastern Shore Dog

Beth Ann has been training dogs professionally since 2006, and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA, CCPDT) and an AKC Canine Good Citizen/STAR Puppy Evaluator. She was an early adopter of K9 Nose Work through the National Association of Canine Scent Work, is a Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI) and has trained K9 Nose Work since 2011. When AKC recognized Scent Work as a performance sport in 2017, Beth Ann was there to train dog-handler teams for competition with this organization, as well.

Beth Ann has Master’s degrees - one in Biology and one in Leadership & Liberal Studies. She recently retired from a 35-year federal career working with scientific, law enforcement and compliance agencies. She and her husband live in Cherrystone, Virginia with five dogs and one very patient Siamese cat, who has trained many puppies and rescue dogs to be cat-respectful.



Anna has been grooming and training dogs since 1992. She is a certified Fear Free groomer, an Associate Nose Work Instructor (ANWI) through the National Association of Canine Scent Work, and a certified Pro Dog Trainer through Absolute Dogs training course. A believer in continuing education, she graduated from the Nash Academy of Animal Arts in Lexington, Kentucky in 2006.

Anna’s commitment to training with positive reinforcement methods has informed her approach to improving the lives of dogs. She is the developer of our Brain Games class, which uses games and reward-based training to strengthen the bond between dogs and their humans.

 Anna lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her husband and three sons. She balances the sex-ratio in her house with her two female dogs, Neko and June. The girls are absolute stars at nose work, obedience and games, and willing “guinea pigs” for anything Anna throws at them.



Michelle joined Eastern Shore Dog as an instructor in 2017, and was recruited after she successfully saw two of her dogs through our Canine Good Citizen and Nose Work programs. Her teaching skills come from 25 years of working with equine students on groundwork, equitation and horsemanship, which has given her insight to working with ESD students of all ages.

 Michelle has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a SHRM-SCP certification in Human Resources, and is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. She and her husband live on the Eastern Shore with three dogs – two that live to please her and one aged beagle, Daisey, who is deaf to Michelle’s instructions and does what she wants.

Where We Train

Since 2010, Eastern Shore Dog has found a home at The Eastern Shore of Virginia Barrier Islands Center. On the grounds, and in these historic buildings, we have trained group classes in nose work and companion obedience. In addition, the Barrier Islands Center and Eastern Shore Dog have hosted special events for dogs and their people, including Dog Socials, Kids’ Dog Camp and advanced search dog workshops.

In addition, our instructors provide in-home training when appropriate, private lessons at the Barrier Islands Center, and workshops for AKC and other groups off-site.