Besides having grehounds of her own, Devene has fostered many retired racers and galgos. She has been active with Grehound and Galgo rescue for many years, and has also fostered for Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue.
She obtained a BA in Jounalism from Michigan State University in 1995, and spent several years working in marketing and graphic design. However, when she adopted her first greyhound (who came with some behavior challenges) and began researching ways to modify her problem behavior - she found the help she and her hound needed at Trainers Academy. From there, she became a volunteer assistant, and eventually quit her marketing job to work full time in the dog traiing world. She apprenticed with several TA instructors, including Trainers Academy President, Lisa Patrona, for four years and worked as her Assistant Instructor for two of those years before becoing a Group Class Instructor, and Behavior Consultant.
Devene was nominated for a "Social Training Excellence" through the International Positive Dog Trainers Association in 2008, and continues her studies by attending professional seminars and educational events.
She conducts private in-home lessons, and teaches Puppy and Intermediate classes regularly. She also instructs the Greyhounds Only and CGC proofing class. Her articles have been published in The Association of Pet Dog Trainers book Top Tips from Top Trainers as well as in Walk About Magazine and on national websites such as greyhoundsupport.org, WOOFology.com and ConnectingNeighbors.com
Devene lives in Royal Oak with her husband, Mark, and their three kids. They are owned by Sprky, CGC, a Spanish Greyhound, Sunny, CGC, TDI, a retired racing Greyhound, and Hayley, their Siamese cat.
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Read what Devene's students say:
"If I had questions, even if they were not in the curriculum, Devene always answered them and offered her knowledge/expertise."
~Danielle and Travis wtith Oreo
"Devene and the volunteers were amazing and ALWAYS willing to answer questions."
~Sheila Buchman with Berkeley
"I can't stress enough how much I enjoy your training classes!! The very first dog training class I took was a puppy class at your Orchard Lake/Keego Harbor facility over 11 years ago with our first dog. I applied what I learned there in every class I've taken since as I trained him to compete at agility trials. When I started out with our new pup, I considered myself a fairly experienced trainer, but he turned out to be a different kind of training challenge than our first dog, and one that I soon felt unprepared for. Devene took the time to send me very helpful information to address issues I was dealing with that fell outside what was being covered in class. And she, along with the volunteer coaches, were very supportive and encouraging regarding the progress that we made in class. I learned so much from all of them, I'm hoping you offer an Advanced Class soon so we can come back and learn some more!"
~Jane Cardillo with Jake
We left yesterday, with Alice, for an adventure to Puerto Rico.
Since we left yesterday to now, there have been so many firsts for our puppy...2 commercial airline flights (staying calmly in her 'den' under the seat in front of me), a flight on an 8 person jet (this she did not enjoy...but was a real trooper) and lunch at an open aired restaurant, where she laid next to my chair until released....even the stray dog on the street didn't distract her.
Alice has been a star....and much of it due to the motivation we learned by taking your class! We've all seen those well behaved dogs walking nicely on city streets, laying next to their people at open aired restaurants, greeting strangers calmly, etc. I never dreamed it would be our Alice!!
We have so much work to do....but, the work we've done so far and the training that you've taught us has made this trip possible.
~Jennifer and Alice"
"Hello Devene and trainers!
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you and update you on how Monster has been since you last knew. Training with Monster hasn't stopped, we continue to work around distractions and in an ideal environment he will respond to over twenty words! In long chains too. Thank you all so much for all you have done for us, and I look forward to doing a class in the future."
~ Cameron Luchtel with Monster
"I loved the experience I had at Trainers Academy's Intermediate class. Devene was an amazing teacher. She made the class fun for me and my dog Chopper. I can't believe how far Chopper has come since the first day of class. He is a two year old boxer who was dog aggressive and didn't listen to me very well. Now after the six week class, I can have him in a room with other dogs and he is relaxed and not being aggressive at all. Plus at home he is a great boy and listens so much better. I recommend Trainers Academy to anyone at any level with their pets."
~ Jennifer Ross with Chopper
You are such a gentle teacher and so positive for the least bit of improvement and your keen dog sense is amazing.....your intuitive nature seems one with each dog!!! So cool!
~ Jennifer Schwarb and Jack
"Devene- Just a note to let you know that Sluggo is doing very well. He is no longer using the crate and has been blocked in the kitchen with Cassidy all day when we are at work. We have been doing this for over a month and have not had an issue. He still won’t go potty for our neighbor but holds it all day until we get home. He also hasn’t had an accident in the house for a couple of months. I really think the big difference was getting him over his fear of the grass.
Sluggo really is a great dog (Ok, it does helps he is madly in love with me), and I can’t believe he was a rescue, all he needed was a little (ok a lot) of patience and understanding. I can’t thank you enough for all of your help in getting him over this potty-training hurdle.
I have learned a lot from you and Trainers Academy. I have recommended Trainers Academy in the past but am even more passionate about it now. You guys are great and are really in tune with the ways dogs operate and think.Thanks again for your help and all you have done."
~ Roberta Krupp with Sluggo
"I've been extremely pleased with the whole experience. It was fun and very helpful. This was money well spent and I have a happier new greyhound family member. I think having a class of greyhounds only is a fabulous way to begin. My older grey, Mazie, age 11, has learned much of what I've practiced with Mac, and has gained loads of treats just for standing around and being pretty when I click for Mac. She is also a happier pup! I have much more confidence in working with my dogs now. I still need to practice and get better with timing for clicking and treating and shaping behaviors that I want, and would like more examples and demos and practice with what is possible. Intellectually understanding how to shape behavior with rewards (I teach it my psych classes!) is one thing, but getting the coordination and actually doing it is an exciting new adventure. Thanks again for your excellent program!"
~ Greyhound Only class graduates Ilenya Marrin with Mac
"Devene has the knack of drawing in her clients with her fun personality and making the class feel like a bonded and cohesive little family. Everyone is sad when her class sessions comes to an end."
~ Puppy Class graduates Kristi Nickel with Jordie
"I really enjoyed the entire class. Devene is very knowledgeable and made the class very interesting to attend. I could have asked her a ton of questions that I know she would have helped me with, however we only had so much time! I am hoping to sign Gibbs up for the advanced class if it fits with my schedule. Thanks again for offering such a wonderful experience for me and my puppy!"
~ Puppy Class graduates Lori Bean with Gibbs
"Devene was excellent listening to what difficulties I was having and providing suggestions that would work for Nyah. Devene was a wonderful instructor and the volunteers were very helpful. I greatly appreciated everyone's advice, time, and concern for Nyah. I hope that we are able to make gains with our training so that she grows into a well-mannered dog in order to participate in pet therapy and agility trials. I would recommend the puppy class to anyone and wish Nyah and I would have been able to take the intermediate class with Devene as well, however, with a hour and a half drive and daycare ending at 6:30 we had to take a Saturday class."
~ Puppy Class graduates Jennifer Kunst with Nyah
"I thought the program was wonderful and my dog is now a social butterfly rather than the wallflower she was. Thanks sooooooooooo much"
~ Intermediate Class graduates Mary Lucy with Corky
"I found the class very helpful in teaching me and Chewie training techniques. Devene did an excellent job and in addition, was very personable making the class even more enjoyable."
~ Intermediate Class graduates Laura Grandon with Chewie
"Trainer’s Academy is very well organized and structured so that one skill builds upon another. The trainers were great listeners and were very helpful with each problem. Our dog presented some unique issues and we were very concerned. They helped us work through things and taught us ways to work through the issues. They showed compassion for each dog and wanted the training to be successful."
- Puppy & Intermediate Class graduates Nancy Gorga with Lucy
"Devene was especially helpful with our housebreaking challenge. She called me a couple of times and just her concern and reinforcement helped so much. It was her encouragement of getting Sophie checked again for the UTI that really helped. She told us to make sure we rule out any physical reasons that Sophie was doing what she was doing. Poor Sophie had suffered an additional 3 weeks with this. In spite of the vet telling us she was fine earlier, we had her checked again. Lo and behold the results showed a UTI with a very neg. PH that resulted in burning for her and her necessity to relieve that burning every time she felt it. The meds are working! Devene, we ALL thank you SO much---we've all stopped 'suffering'.
Thanks to the entire staff."
- Linda and Mark Mathews with Sophie
"Over the years I have owned several dogs and have been to different puppy classes. Trainers Academy has been the best puppy class I have ever been to....by far. The things that you expose the puppies to, like the barrel obstacles, really teach them self confidence in unfamiliar situations. I couldn't have been more impressed. Devene was wonderful and my puppy really liked her!"
- Renee Kirkpatrick with Oliver
"Thank you. Your thorough planning, teaching, and communicating the class lessons by email was extremely helpful. We can't believe how well Casey's behavior is now. We didn't think six weeks could have changed her for the better, so quickly! Thank you! We can tell that all of you just love dogs and your jobs. This was a great experience and we'll be taking the Advanced Class soon!"
- Grant Miller with Casey
"Devene seems to genuinely enjoy the dogs and has a fun sense of humor. She is patient with the people."
- Karen Kulman with Ripley
"We chose to attend Farmington Hills (Trainers Academy location) because Devene was teaching and we had her for puppy class with our (now 2-year-old) Westie, Quinn. She is excellent. We drove 120 miles round trip to attend the program, which is wonderful."
- Mary Gaffney with Conor
"I jumped at the chance to get into the Greyhounds-only class. It's wonderful to see a groups of these dogs working and interacting. Lucy spooks easily and Devene spotted this immediately and showed me how to work with her."
- Nancy Sherman with Lucy
"Everyone is so positive - even the dogs! It has been a pleasure."
-Anna Pietrzak with Lacey
"I don’t think words can ever express how grateful I am that Trainer’s Academy, and especially Devene, came into my life. My story is lengthy, but very worth reading.
Last December I became a member of GEM (Greythounds of Eastern Michigan) and made my home available as a foster home. Little did I know how much my life was about to change. I was asked to take a greyhound for a week because his foster family was taking a vacation. I then found out, that because of his behavior, his foster family had no intentions of taking him back after vacation. Not a big deal? Maybe not for your typical foster, but Hardie wasn’t typical, nor was the life he’d had thus far. Hardie wasn’t quite 2 when he first came to GEM. He was placed within 3 months of his arrival and 2 weeks later a brindle female was placed in that same home. He stayed in that home about 4 ½ years with the last 18 months being miserable for him. He and the brindle female, for reasons we’ll probably never know, were banished to a garage with no real human intervention. Those 18 months changed Hardie, and not in a good way. He came back to GEM January 26, 2006 and stayed in a few different foster homes and then was finally placed in my home as a foster January 5, 2008. That next day I took him to a Meet & Greet just to see how he acted around other greyhounds. I needed to see for myself if he was really as bad as I had been told he was. Well, words can’t describe the fear in his eyes and the defensive behavior he had if another greyhound just made eye contact with him. All I can say is “thank God for muzzles” or there would have been bloodshed. I immediately wanted to get this boy help. I began calling everywhere ... and I do mean EVERYWHERE. I had trainers tell me that Hardie couldn’t be helped without even evaluating him. Well that wasn’t good enough for me. I’ve worked with other dogs that had issues and I knew in my heart that I could help Hardie with the right trainer. Trainer’s Academy was the first training facility that was recommended to me. When Lisa returned my call and I told her Hardie’s story, she recommended that he attend Devene’s “Greyhounds - ONLY” class. There was one beginning in 2 weeks and there was 1 opening left, so I took it. That first class Hardie had to be pulled through the door. Just the sight of other greyhounds made him shake uncontrollably. We went through 2 of Devene’s 6 week courses with Hardie. Devene and her “Greyhounds – ONLY” class has changed his life. He has learned to make right choices. Now when he’s uncomfortable in a situation, he leaves it instead of lashing out. Last night I started my volunteer work with Trainer’s Academy. Two other GEM’s were going to be in the class so we decided to car pool. Everyone was to meet at my house. When Helen arrived with her greyhound Dollar, we decided to see how Hardie would react to Dollar through the fence. He was excited to see Dollar, even did a half hearted play bow, jumped in the air, barked, tail wagging, as if to say “come play with me”. That is a total “about face” from where he was 4 ½ months ago.
May 10, I decided I didn’t want Hardie to ever leave my home and I signed the papers to adopt him. Because of Trainer’s Academy and Devene, Hardie has gone from being a scared, defensive greyhound, into a loving, happy, and sociable greyhound. Thank you Devene for saving this sweet boy!!"
Hardie (Thanks Devene for believing in me - slurp, slurp!!)