Smartypaws owner and trainer, Debra L. Murray, is the only Kansas City area dog trainer specializing in kid safety and K9 manners. As a licensed Educator for Family Paws Parent Education, Debra offers positive reinforcement training for the whole family! Additionally, she is an AKC Canine Good Citizen and S.T.A.R. Puppy Evaluator, professional member of Heartland Positive Dog Training Alliance, and presenter for Good Dog in a Box Dog Smart Education.
As a valedictorian graduate from Michigan State University with a BS in Education, Debra has been teaching people and training pups for decades. Her passion for dog training was ignited in 1998 after moving to Kansas City.
It started with two golden boys, Jake and Jesse. Both were golden retrievers, but they had completely different temperaments, abilities, personalities, and energy levels. Debra dove into everything from basic obedience to agility, therapy training, rally-O, and doggie freestyle (that’s doggie dancing) in order to find activities that each pup enjoyed and excelled at. She realized that focusing on the individual characteristics and personality of each dog optimized their training, successfully taught them the desired behaviors, and was enjoyable for all participants. This experience and understanding is what allows Debra to offer her clients unique, customized solutions that work.
Debra spent almost 10 years as a trainer at a local pet store while staying involved in continuing education training courses and activities. That environment provided the opportunity to train thousands of dogs in just about every breed and size, including many blind and deaf dogs. Then, she moved on to focus on animal therapy work and became an Evaluator and Program Director for a local non-profit pet therapy organization. Her beloved rescue golden Emma was an AKC Canine Good Citizen, certified therapy and R.E.A.D dog, and they volunteered many hours of service to visiting nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and other care facilities.
Now, Debra is committed to promoting safety and creating harmony between dogs and their families. She currently has a rescued Great Pyrenees Border Collie mix named Dolly, a husband of 20 years, and 3 beautiful children. She is also a homeschooling mom and volunteers training services and foster care with different animal rescue groups in the Kansas City area.