About Lani Butcher Smith

Lani and her dog, RuffLani has always had a passion for animals. As a child, she was always bringing animals home to care for, both domestic and wild. Her family would not be complete without her many pets, all of whom have come from shelters or were rescued directly from the street.

After graduating from Binghamton University, Lani’s interest in learning turned into a 25-year corporate career where she developed training courses for Pacific Telephone and wrote technical manuals for Xerox Corporation.

After retiring, she was able to turn her attention to her first love—working with animals. While volunteering together, a long-time dog trainer invited her to become his apprentice. She eagerly accepted and has been happily training family pet dogs for over 10 years. She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and a certified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator for the American Kennel Club.

For the past 3 years, Lani has volunteered at a local animal shelter, working with dogs who are waiting to be adopted. Two years ago, she assumed a lead position in the dog-walking program. Her work with the shelter dogs has been one of her most rewarding experiences and has expanded her insights into canine behavior.

Lani believes strongly that training is a vital part of caring for a dog, along with exercise, nutrition, affection, and medical care. Training enriches a dog’s life in countless ways. A trained dog is happier and healthier, enjoying freedom to participate in family activities rather than being relegated to the backyard. Lani uses positive reinforcement training methods that increase the communication between dogs and their owners, build a bond based on cooperation and trust, and develop the dog’s learning potential. By receiving rewards for desired behaviors, dogs learn how to choose to do the right thing rather than to avoid doing the wrong thing.

Lani currently resides in Poway, CA with her husband, Gary, and their Bearded Collie mixed-breed dog, Ruff.