Clarissa & Anny

Clarissa Bergeman, CPDT-KA, CTDI — Rally and basic manners instruction                  

ARCHEX UCD URO1 Wakefield Adventure Anny CD TD RL1X3 RL2X2 RL3X RLVX RE Schutzhund BH TDIA CGC — DVD demos

George Bergeman — DVD video production

     Round Hill, VA


Clarissa Bergeman —

Clarissa is an enthusiastic rally competitor and instructor.  She and her corgi, Anny, have earned numerous rally titles in APDT, AKC, and UKC including the ARCHEX from APDT and the RE from the AKC.  Clarissa and Anny have also earned traditional obedience titles, a tracking title, a therapy dog title, and Shutzhund BH title.

As a retired special-education teacher, Clarissa does not come to her approach to dog-and-handler instruction by accident.  For over twenty years she taught students with moderate retardation using a variety of positive reinforcement techniques.  Her dedication and creative approach resulted in her being named Virginia Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Association for Retarded Citizens. 

Prior to teaching special education in Virginia, Clarissa taught special education in Iowa, taught elementary school for two fascinating years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa, and taught English as a second language in Virginia.

Clarissa was honored to receive the 2006 Good Sportsman award from her training club. National recognition includes an article profiling her in the September/October, 2009 issue of The Chronicle of the Dog published by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

Clarissa is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a Certified Trick Dog Instructor, a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, a professional member fo the Pet Professional Guild, and is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.

CPDT      Pet Professional Guild

Private Obedience and Rally Training in the Northern Virginia/Loudoun/Clarke County Area

Clarissa Bergeman, CPDT-KA

In Canine Company, LLC

Since her retirement from special education teaching in 1997, Clarissa has focused on dog training and has enjoyed teaching rally and basic obedience.

Clarissa has earned the CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer--Knowledge Assessed) endorsement from the Council For Professional Dog Trainers.  The Certification Council for  Professional Dog Trainers is the only dog training and canine behavior certification program to earn accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).    

She regularly participates in seminars and conferences to stay abreast of current training methodologies and is an honors graduate of the Trainer Intern Academy conducted by foremost author and trainer Pat Miller, CPDT-KA, CDBC-KA. Additionally, in 2013 Clarissa became a Certified Trick Dog Instructor.

Through in-home training, Clarissa provides instruction in puppy and basic family dog manners as well as changing undesirable behaviors such as jumping up, excessive barking, and destructive chewing. She also offers private and group instruction in Rally Obedience.

Clarissa is committed to teaching people how to train their dogs using gentle, force-free techniques that are effective and enjoyable for both themselves and their canine companions.

Here are some comments from people with whom Clarissa has worked:

“Clarissa is amazing in her knowledge of dog training (and “their people” training!). She is a delight to work with in terms of her professionalism, positive attitude, and methods

“I had worked with dog trainers in the past and read various training books. She explained that training is different now in terms of its positive nature and the benefits. She always arrived with a plan and afterwards discussed in detail what we did so that the (detailed!) homework she gave us would make sense when working on our own and building on our accomplishments.

“I was very impressed with her communication skills and the fact that she could read my puppy and react to him in such a kind and effective way. Her training ability seemed to truly be second nature to her. She reads a situation quickly and is so upbeat in her approach that our lessons flowed well, and we were left wondering where the time had gone afterwards!

“ I am so grateful to have worked with her and would have continued to but for our move to another state. I have recommended her to others and would highly recommend her to anyone who is looking to work with a true professional -- she is the best!”

- Mary Anne,  Atlanta, GA

“You are amazing!  It was great how you geared the lesson to the goals and special needs of our family, and most especially how respectful and positive you were with [our young daughter].  We thought [she] did great, too, and she now has lots of positive work to do with Cookie, as do the rest of us.  I learned many helpful tips, especially about not scolding Cookie for growling, how to offer him a trade, and a strategy to help him overcome his fear of big dogs.   We all feel enthusiastic about getting going with clicker training, and the house rules you wrote were most helpful, too.  ...

“We feel extremely lucky to have you on our team!”

- Mary C.,  Great Falls, VA

"I can't begin to tell you how thrilled Tom and I are with the individual training you did for us with Jake.  Even though he had passed Puppy Kindergarten with flying colors, there were still some behaviors we felt could be best addressed with individual attention in our home. Calling you was the best decision we could have made. ...

"Jake wouldn't walk on a leash when you met him.  He now LOVES going on walks, even when on a leash.  I had never heard of clicker training before, but I would highly recommend that to every new dog owner now.  Jake responded incredibly well to you and learned more from you in three sessions than he could possibly have learned in another 6-week class.  ...  You were always extremely well organized, very clear with your explanations, and always fun to have around!  In addition to showing us new ways to use things like the tug Jake had received in his group class, you also introduced us to new toys Jake now thoroughly enjoys.  It's so helpful to have professional guidance when there are so many training tools and puppy toys on the market. ...

"Thanks again, Clarissa, for bringing your expertise and your love for dogs into our home and working with Jake, Tom and me.  We are all better for our time spent with you."

- Bobbie Wilkinson,   Hamilton, VA   

"We’ve owned our adorable Tassie (an Aussie) since he was 10 weeks old. I wanted to get a head start on training this highly intelligent breed as we own 3 acres and I wanted to set some boundaries and prevent a few issues from occurring. We hired “Mrs. B” when Tassie was about 4 months old. She was terrific. She taught us the fundamentals of positive reinforcement when learning obedience and tricks. She encouraged my 10 year old to train as well and was greeted with great excitement when she entered the house from all of us. Tassie really took to her, and by then end of our 4 sessions, Tassie was doing clever tricks even before going to obedience class.

"Mrs. B. always came to the house with a plan for what we’d cover that day and always followed up with homework and to check on how we were going. I’ll definitely call on her again if we ever have any concerns regarding our dogs’ behavior.

"Thank you Clarissa!!"

- Belinda B,   Waterford, VA    

“Finley and I were so fortunate to have met Clarissa and to be the beneficiaries of her training. She knew exactly how to work with a dog that is a bit cautious around strangers AND with an owner, who worried about doing it "right." We both looked forward to her sessions. I totally would recommend Clarissa and her training for all dog owners who truly want to be the best they can be.”

- Nancy Sutton,  Leesburg, VA

“Our dog came from a rescue with significant behavioral issues.  In just a few short sessions, Clarissa was able to identify our dog's issues and train us on positive techniques that we could use.  Thanks to Clarissa, we've been able to make our dog and our home compatible and happy.”

- Rich and Denise,  Round Hill, VA

“Clarissa started working with my dog right after he completed his CGC and TDI certifications. She took his training to the next level, and in only a few private lessons (of course, with assigned homework) had my dog and me ready to compete in novice rally, confident we could get through a course with a qualifying score. She is innovative in her training methods, always positive, and makes training fun. I have nothing but positive things to say!”

- Jamie Lahy,  Falls Church, VA

"We had recently adopted a rescue mix, Oliver, when we decided to have Clarissa help us with his training.  Being a younger dog, he still nipped a lot, would jump on people, and was having some house-training problems.  

"With four children, we decided to do in-home training so we could all get an idea of how to work with Oliver in his natural environment.  Clarissa did an excellent job, not only with Oliver, but with our children as well.  With ages ranging from 4-12, that's not always easy.  Clarissa presented a true education on how best to work with Oliver and provided hands-on training for him and our family.  

"Clarissa went the extra step and brought educational materials each day which she would spend time discussing with the children at the end of each session.  She made sure that all the kids understood what she was talking about.  These materials were helpful and provided us with something to refer to after she left (which the kids often did).  Oliver's behavior did progress with Clarissa's guidance.  He greatly improved on simple things such as sitting, not jumping, and much of the nipping problems we were dealing with decreased.  Clarissa's patience working with Oliver and the guidance she provided our family were exceptional.  Our family would definitely recommend her to any family!"

- Alison B., Leesburg, VA

"I wanted to send along a little note to thank you for spending time with us training our puppies. Annabelle and Lexi have learned so much with your gentle and persuasive way! You have such a unique ability to adjust to each of the puppies personalities and get them to tune into you and pay attention. I was amazed...after our four weeks with your classes, my husband and I felt well in command and able to move forward thanks to your guidance!

"We appreciated all the informative guidelines you left for us, also!

"Thank you again and again, Clarissa!"

- KS, Purcellville, VA

"I met Clarissa after a former student of hers recommended her to me. I was glad for the referral and have since recommended her to others. I called Clarissa after my two year old Boxer rescue, Baxter, who, although not in the least aggressive, had gone through puppy kindergarten twice (while others had been promoted). Mid-way through the third class he was asked to seek private classes since he was "immature" and "being impolite" to other dogs. While in class he was lunging at other dogs and in our home he was jumping on visitors. Also, when I walked him on leash, he would nearly pull me over if he wanted to go in a direction of his choosing.

"For the initial lessons Clarissa came to our house to train me, my husband, and Baxter. Before the first lesson, however, Clarissa made certain to learn our expectations and to let us know her methods and her philosophy of training. Once that was established, I felt that Clarissa would be a good match for us. We quickly saw that Clarissa is perceptive about dogs and people and has remedies for the various behaviors we wanted to address.

"Above all I respect that Clarissa will not tolerate methods that intimidate a dog or cause discomfort. Everything she teaches is geared to having a dog willing and eager to display a requested behavior. Baxter responded well to her methods and eventually we trained in public places so as to give Baxter exposure to environments less familiar than our home..

"Mike, Baxter, and I loved our experience with Clarissa, and I would recommend her to anyone."

- Jeanne Roush, Leesburg, VA

Clarissa is licensed and insured.  To inquire about training, please call 540.554.8738 or e-mail Clarissa at


Partial list of conferences and seminars attended:

"Living and Learning with Animals (LLA)," by Dr Susan G. Friedman, two-day seminar, Exton, PA, June 2016.

"The Force-Free Summit -- Reaching a Higher Standard," two-day conference, Tampa, FL, November 2015.

"Fenzi Dog Sports Academy Conference," five-day conference, Colmar, PA, May 2015.

"Dog-Human Behaviors: Sociability & Aggression. Mouthing-Resource Guarding: Aggression & Safe Handling," two-day seminar by Sue Sternberg, Burke, VA, May 2015.

"Canine Conditioning," seminar by Lisa Bonker, Silver Spring, MD, February 2015.

"Buidling Drive and Motivation," two-day seminar, Westminster, MD, December 2014.

"T-Touch," web-based seminar, October 2014.

"ClickerExpo," three-day seminar, Norfolk, VA, March 2014.

"Certified Trick Dog Instructor Certification Workshop," two-day seminar by Cindy Briggs, Richmond, VA, December 2013.

"Motivating Your Dog," two-day seminar by Bridget Carlson, Richmond, VA, October 2013.

"Dog-Dog Group Dynamics" and "Bite-O-Meter," two-day seminar and one-day workshop by Sue Sternberg, Richmond, VA, December 2012.

“Improve Your 'I-Cue': Learn the Science of Signals," workshop by Kathy Sdao, MA, ACAAB, Columbia, MD, November 2012.

“National Association Of Canine Scent Work,” two-day seminar by Jill Marie O'Brian, Richmond, VA, July, 2011.

“Obedience Fundamentals,” seminar by Hanna Branigan, CPDT-KA KPA-CTP, Falling Waters, WV, September, 2011.

“Annual Association of Pet Dog Trainers Educational Conference,” five-day convention, Atlanta, GA, October, 2010.

“St. Hubert's Companion Dog Sports Program,”  seminar by Joan Klinger, Blue Ridge Summit, PA, October, 2010.

“Dog Behavior and Training,” seminar by world renowned veterinarian, behaviorist, and author Dr. Ian Dunbar, Fairfax,VA, May, 2010.

“Attention Games,” seminar by Linda Sperco, Falling Waters, WV, April, 2010.

“Sanctioned APDT Rally,” seminar by Linda Sperco, Horsham,PA, February,  2010.

“Control Unleashed,” seminar by Leslie McDevitt, MLA, CDBC, CPDT, Frederick, MD, April, 2008.

“A Day with Pat Miller,” problem solving seminar by world renowned trainer and author Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, Leesburg, VA, July, 2007.

“Clicker Skills,” two-day workshop with Pat Miller, CPDT-KA, CDBC-KA, Silver Spring, MD, March, 2007.

“Using Motivation Exercises Presented As Games,”  two-day seminar with world renowned trainer and author Terry Ryan, CPDT-KA, Mebane, NC, October, 2004.

“Canine Language, Communication, and Aggression,” two-day seminar by Dr. John Wright and Pia Silvani CPDT-KA, Woodbridge, VA, March, 2005.

“Competition Obedience,” two-day seminar by Jeannine Rash, Blue Ridge Summit, PA, August, 2003.

“Aggression in Dogs,” two-day seminar by author Brenda Aloff, Blue Ridge Summit, PA, October, 2001.


Note: The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) is an independent international testing and certification organization for professional dog trainers. The CCPDT certification program is based on effective, humane training practices and the latest scientific knowledge related to dog training. Trainers who have earned the CPDT-KA designation do so through rigorous testing and by meeting ongoing re-certification requitements.


Anny Bergeman —

ARCHEX  UCD  URO1 Wakefield Adventure Anny  CD  TD  RL1X3  RL2X2  RL3X  RLVX  RE  Schutzhund BH  TDIA  CGC.

Anny is a thirteen-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi who has been a wonderful rally partner.  She enjoys working on her rally skills both for the reinforcement (especially treats) and for the opportunity to be a working, active dog sharing and communicating with her human collaborator.    

In 2006 Anny and Clarissa were the 14th ranked team nationally in overall points in APDT Rally competition, and in 2007 they were ranked in the top 20 for teams earning the ARCHEX title. 

In addition to competition, Anny has also partnered with Clarissa to give volunteer trick shows at senior-citizen venues, the local animal shelter, town events and in other settings.  Her website ( provides a look at her competition and trick-show endeavors and also shows one of her paintings.  Sales of her paintings have gone to benefit corgi rescue efforts.

George Bergeman —

George is a frequent member of the pit crew in support of Clarissa and Anny at their various performance events, and he handled the video taping, editing and production on this project as well as creation of the Ready to Rally! website.

Like Clarissa, his professional career began in instruction. As a Peace Corps volunteer, he taught math and physics at a small college in West Africa from 1973 to 1975, and he continued teaching at a community college outside of Washington, D.C. after he and Clarissa returned to the states.

In the early 1980s, George began developing instructional software for collegiate mathematics and eventually transitioned to full-time software development. As an independent developer/author, he and the small team he put together created software packages for publishers that accompanied over one hundred editions of various collegiate math textbooks. More recently he took over authorship of a textbook for which he had previously provided software support and has continued in that role for several editions.

Happily, some of these projects also involved video and editing components, and, thus, the collaboration with Clarissa and Anny on the Ready to Rally! project was a natural extension of both professional and (more importantly!) family interests.

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clarissa@bergeman.comReady to Rally! video content, rally instruction and workshops, basic dog training

george@bergeman.comVideo production and this website

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