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 every three months.

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, PhD; and Steve White. Steve is an Assistant Instructor for the International Bloodhound Training Institute for the state of Pennsylvania.  He is also a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT).

Steve is trained in tracking/trailing and is currently active in his local Search and Rescue team with his yellow Labrador Retriever, Tanner which they are “Trailing” Level 1 certified. Steve and Tanner currently hold the AKC “TD” Tracking Dog certification, the AKC “SAR-W” Wilderness title and has “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.


Stephanie is a graduate from Alvernia University with a degree in Psychology. She enjoys using her knowledge of human psychology to help people and their dogs. Stephanie has always been a dog lover but when she rescued her fearful dog, Steve, she decided she wanted to do more than just love dogs: she wanted to help train them. Because of her time nuturing Steve to be more confident, she understands how patience, compassion and positive reinforcement training is critical for improving the life of a fearful dog.

Stephanie is taking her education to the next level and will be pursuing a dog training certification at the Karen Pryor Academy for dog trainers. In addition to training, Stephanie helps out in the Dawg Store and processes all of the training registrations.


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, rescue bull terrier Louie, and young Border Terrier pup TajiMo.