Awesome Dawgs is owned and operated by Mary Jo Carabello and Steve Smith, husband and wife, who are both certified dog trainers. Mary Jo and Steve are experienced in group training classes and private dog training and are members of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT).

Mary Jo holds a BA from the Catholic University of America, graduated with honors from Animal Behavior College and is Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CCPDT).

Mary Jo is an approved Therapy Dogs International, Inc. (TDI) evaluator and offers therapy dog testing at the Awesome Dawgs training facility.

Steve is a graduate of Canine Training & Management Program at Kutztown University. Steve is an expert in teaching people how to work their dogs effectively in public. He runs a Level Four class (invitation only) that consists of outings to various local venues, the aim of which is socialization and raising the bar on handling skills.

Because of his difficult role monitoring play in The Dawg Park, he has been dubbed ‘Dawg Park Sheriff’ and has a badge to prove it!


Jennifer, a graduate of Albright College, is the Canine Behavior and Education Development Director for Awesome Dawgs Dog Training. Prior to joining the Dawg Team, Jen worked for over eight years at the Humane Society of Berks County. She is a graduate and Certified Training Partner of the Karen Pryor Clicker Academy for Animal Training and Behavior (KPA) and is a certified professional dog trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). Jen is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and the Behavior Education Network (BEN).

Jen specializes in working with impulsive, reactive, fearful and behaviorally challenged canine clients. She has shared her home with many rescued animals and knows firsthand how emotionally, physically and often times financially draining it can be living with a pet that has behavioral troubles. Jen teaches people how to understand, communicate with, and manage their pets in addition to teaching or modifying behaviors with force-free, positive reinforcement techniques. Building a healthy, balanced and communicative relationship between an owner and their pet is critical to improve the day-to-day living for both ends of the leash.


Steve is a graduate of the Animal Behavior College, Maryland University, and a retired Army 1st Sergeant. He has attended workshops with leaders in the field of dog training and behavior including: Dr. Ian Dunbar, Leslie McDevitt, Patricia McConnell, Steve White, and Kevin Kocker. Steve is an Instructor for the International Bloodhound Training Institute for the state of Pennsylvania. He is also a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.

Steve is trained in tracking/training and is currently active in his local Search and Rescue team and the locale law-enforcement with his Labradoodle Jaxon which they are “Trailing” Level 1 certified. Steve has held the AKC “TD” Tracking Dog certification and the AKC “SAR-W” Wilderness title and the “Man Trailing” level 1 certification through the Pennsylvania Police Canine Association. Steve also participates in group training as well as individual training with Awesome Dawgs.


Linda has been training dogs since 1976, starting in the breed ring with her first American Kennel Club (AKC) registered Labrador Retriever and continuing with her next two Labs up until about 1990. In 2002 she got her first field-bred Lab Tucker, a very high energy and smart dog that needed a “job”.  She was interested in competition obedience, but was not a fan of the training methods available at that time. After attending her first clicker seminar in 2003 with Sue Ailsby, she was hooked on positive training.  From there, she progressed to competing in agility, then rally, and continued competing and putting titles on her next 5 dogs, including a rescue Portuguese Water Dog and two rescue Bull Terriers.  She now competes in obedience, rally, agility and barn hunt. Linda keeps learning new and better ways to train through lessons with those who are at the top of their game and attending seminars with the likes of Ken Rameriz, Susan McConnell and others. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT).

Her first rescue dog, Mitchell, was very reactive, but because of him she became obsessed with dog behavior – why do they do what they do and how do we help those dogs who can’t easily deal with the environment. She feels every dog that has come into her life was there for a reason, and she is eager to share her knowledge with those who might struggle with their own dog.

She currently shares her life with husband Michael, chocolate Lab (Tanner) and a young Border Terrier (TajiMo). Tanner competes in obedience and Taji is competing in agility and rally, with plans for other sports in her future. First and foremost, though, all of Linda’s dogs are cherished family members.


Matt is a graduate of Alvernia University with a degree in Computer Information Systems.  In his non-canine “day job,” Matt is an Information Technology professional.  His most recent career roles have involved managing, training and mentoring technical engineers.  Much to Matt’s surprise, he greatly enjoys this type of work and has transferred this technical approach to dog training.  He graduated from the Animal Behavior College and mentored with Mary Jo Carabello.

Matt has shared his adult life with 11 wonderful Australian Shepherds (our current pack is six dogs). and is an active competitor in the world of Canine Disc.  He has been fortunate enough to qualify for the World Championships 10 years in a row and has had several top 10 finishes including a personal best finish of 3rd with his first competitive disc dog Rocky.  Matt has taught several clinics specific to disc and has been fortunate to have learned from some of the best disc dog players in the world.

Matt’s approach to training involves observation of the canine/human dynamic and setting up both sides of that partnership for success.  Just as every human learns differently, so do dogs.  We should appreciate those differences and work with them rather than trying to force a predetermined set of expectations upon our dogs.


Cheryl has a lifelong appreciation of dogs and their amazing ability to learn and adapt to co-existing with humans.  She recently completed Pat Miller’s Peaceable Paws Canine Behavior and Training Academy.   She has attended workshops and seminars presented by dog training and behavior experts, such as Ian Dunbar, Michael Shikashio & Grisha Stewart.

Cheryl is an assistant instructor with International Bloodhound Training Institute for the state of Pennsylvania.

Her current rescue dogs, Mya and Kylie, lead her to Awesome Dawgs where they attended all levels of manners classes and she was introduced to tracking/trailing.  Cheryl has been teaching and training canines in tracking and trailing for many years.  She is active with Middle Creek Search and Rescue and attained Level 1 Scent Discriminant Trailing Certification with her dog Kylie.


Alyssa has been a dog trainer for about 3 years, and was certified in 2019 as a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner.

She started her business Pawz 4 Training LLC in 2019 as a private in home dog trainer, and works at Awesome Dawgs since April 2021 as a dog trainer.


Sue is a retired chief of Middle Creek Search and Rescue. She brings almost 20 years of experience in managing and training dogs for search work. She has taken in-depth courses in evaluating and selecting working canines, scent theory and canine search methods. She also brings a solid background in dog agility. Where her 2 personal search dogs attained competitive status.

She shares her home with her currant search dog “Anna” (German Shorthaired Pointer) who is certified in Air-Scent level 1 and her Border Terrier “Kenzie”. Both have successfully competed in agility. With Anna reaching and achieving a championship in her category.

Sue enjoys watching dogs take their inherent skills and using them to work in a multitude of activities. “I am always amazed at what dogs can do, if given the right encouragement. They are just bursting at the seams to please their people!” Sue wants people to learn how to have fun with their dogs. Teaching good, clear communication skills, methods of behavior shaping and positive reinforcement for lifelong learning. Happy dogs. Happy handler!