Dianna L. Santos
Owner and Lead Instructor
AKC Scent Work Judge
USCSS Judge and CSD
AKC CGC Evaluator
C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator and Instructor
Dianna is first and foremost an animal lover. Her first career was working with horses and she earned a B.S. in Animal Science. Always intrigued by animal behavior, Dianna loves to watch and learn from the animals themselves. Over the years, she has learned that by combining positive reinforcement and reward-based training with patience and good humor, you can get some pretty outstanding results!
Professionally training dogs since 2011, Dianna has been incredibly fortunate to work with and learn from some of the top names in the dog training world. Two of her mentors whom she owes so much are Leslie Nelson of Tails-U-Win! Canine Center, LLC in Manchester, CT and Emma Parsons, the author of Click to Calm and Teaching the Reactive Dog Class.
However, the best teachers anyone can ever have are the dogs themselves. Dianna will be forever grateful for the countless shelter and behavior unit dogs she worked with over the years who helped her hone her craft.
Dianna's forray into Scent Work began when she was trying to find an activity for her aggressive dog, Zeus, who is the reasn why she became a dog trainer in the first place! Once she began diving into the details of Scent Work, and witnessed the benefits it was awarding her own dog, she was hooked!
Dianna jumped in with both feet to learn all she could about Scent Work. She enrolled in and graduated from the NACSW CNWI program and attended as many Scent Work-specific workshops, symposiums, webinars and seminars as she possiblt could. Dianna was also privileged to work under several instructors, assisting in their classes and eventually inheriting those Scent Work classes as her own.
Upon moving to Southern CA, Dianna had the honor and privilege of becoming a part of United States Canine Scent Sports when it was first formed. An approved Judge and CSD, Dianna officiated some of the first USCSS trials and traveled the United States helping to approve trial officials and spread the popularity of USCSS. Dianna is also thrilled to be a fully-approved AKC Scent Work Judge and rejoices at there being more opportunities for dogs to play the sniffing game!
By early 2016, Dianna had a thriving private dog training business, where she was contracted out to teach group classes with several training facilities in Southern CA, as well as teaching her own private and day training clients. Additionally, Dianna was honored to be a staff member for Camp Gone to the Dogs which hosts two dog training camps twice a year in picturesque VT. At Camp, Dianna would teach a variety of dog training classes, including CGC/TDI Prep, Loose Leash Walking and Scent Fun.
All of this came to a swift end when Dianna suffered a serious neck and back injury which forced her to retire from offering in-person dog training services.
Not one to quit, Dianna decided instead of abandoning her passion, she would rework it. She would create a virtual online learning experience where she could help her clients, who were now on both coasts of United States. With that decision, Scent Work University was born.
It took over a year for Dianna to perfect the necessary technology to ensure the online services offered were up to her standards, but SWU was officially launched in 2017. Since then, an amazing group of instructors have joined the team, clients from the around the globe have enrolled and more dogs are sniffing worldwide!
Seeing how successful Scent Work University had become, Dianna ventured into creating two additional online dog training platforms:
Dog Sport University is focused on providing online courses, seminars and webinars covering all sorts of dog sports such as agility, barn hunt, competition obedience, disc dog, rally, scent hurdles, treibball, tricks and more!
Pet Dog U provides online dog training services designed to help dogs become the best family canine companions they could possibly be.
Dianna is forever grateful for everything her dogs have taught her over the years, especially her sweet Sir Valor who showed her the value of keeping everything FUN. While Valor may be gone, his lessons live on and have helped make Dianna that much better of trainer. Thank you Little Dog, the mama loves you and misses you very much.
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Check out the other instructors we fortunate enough to have part of our team!