About Us

A Dog's World is based in Fairfax ,VA and has been happily serving clients since 2002. We offer positive reinforcement based training methods trying to make training fun for both people and their pets. We also offer mid-day dog walking and many options of pet care for vacationing clients. We believe that pets are family too and should be treated as such. Our overnights services include "host" families so that your dog can enjoy a loving home environment for his/her "stay-cations."

Consistency is key so we try to maintain that with both of our dog training and pet care providers.  We love our jobs here and enjoy any and all time that we are able to spend with your pets. Thank you for the opportunity to love and care for them one dog at a time.

Our Trainers





Teresa Hanula, CPDT

Certified Pet Dog Trainer, is the owner and head trainer at A Dog’s World Dog Training & Pet Care, Inc. Like many pet care professionals her love of animals has been a lifelong passion. As a child her family dog performed many tricks and even landed 2 commercials as well as being featured in several newspaper articles. Her philosophy on dog training is to use positive methods that will be fun for both the owner and pet. Training is about teaching the dog rather than controlling it. A well mannered dog is a pleasure to live with and can have more freedom in society.

Teresa holds a undergraduate degree in classical languages and a Master's degree in Latin but her true passions lie with A Dog’s World Dog Training & Pet Care, Inc which was established in September 2000. Teresa is a proud member of the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainer's) and PSI (Pet Sitter International.) She is also an evaluator for Canine Good Citizen Testing and loves to host dog friendly events. She has attended Jean Donaldson’s San Francisco Academy for dog Trainers, Bob Bailey’s Operant Conditioning Camp in Arkansas to train chickens and continually tries to increase her education through attending professional workshops and seminars.

She is proud mama to her Border Collie,Leroy, who has made TV appearances on David Letterman, Planet's Funniest Animals and Animal Planet's Pet Star. He continues to do promotional work for dog product companies. No unemployed dogs here! She has made a commitment to the profession and has dedicated herself to helping dogs and their owners find positive ways of communicating and adding to each other’s lives

Carla Pacalo, Ph.D.

Must love…well, you know the rest…DOGS of course! Carla grew up with German Shepherd’s and the desire to know all the neighborhood dogs and even bring home a stray or two on occasion. Her journey into training began when she adopted a collie hound mix (aka mutt).  While sweet and loving, her new pup quickly showed signs of resource guarding and other problem behaviors. Perplexed, she spoke with her vet who referred her to Teresa and A Dog’s World.  She worked with Teresa on all levels…private lessons, board and train and reinforcement skills on midday walks to gain an understanding of how to deal with her dog’s issues.  Before long, her dog was improving and she was reading piles of dog training books and going to training seminars up and down the east coast.  She started assisting Teresa with her classes while taking a second residence in Ohio and working with Jim Akenhead at Signature K-9. She also spent an entire summer as a full-time volunteer at Angel’s for Animals shelter in Canfield, Ohio.  Her learning also included seminars from some of the word leaders in dog training: Ian Dunbar, Sue Sternberg, Pat Miller, Terry Ryan and a semester long university course.  With the most amusing being “Cinco de Mayo Chicken Camp in Ohio” where she learned the skills of classical and operant conditioning by working with a partner to train a chicken. Did you know you could teach a chicken to decipher color and weave in and out of obstacles. In 2013, Carla began working on her Ph.D. thesis and by then she was so invested in the dog world, she wanted to incorporate the topic into her Dissertation.  She graduated from Virginia Tech in May of 2014 with a Ph.D. in Adult Learning and Human Resource Development with her research involving learning style and small business entrepreneurship. The small business… a dog training organization.  While her first profession started in HR, talent development, coaching and learning in the Fortune 500 world, Carla hopes her new career will include more of the same in both the university and dog world.

Kelly Stevens Benedicto

Has been training dogs professionally with A Dog's World for the past several years.  Dogs and dog behavior have been a passion in her life ever since childhood.  She has worked with difficult dog behavior cases both personally and professionally, including dogs with medical issues and rescue cases.  She also supports local rescue organizations and has always adopted rescue dogs, wanting to ensure every dog has the very best home. Kelly is working on becoming a certified member of the Council for Professional Dog Trainers, and is also in the process of attaining her Masters Degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution; even bringing her conflict re-framing and resolution models to the training field with the focus of inter-species analysis. Because of this she dedicated to making sure that every dog owner has the absolute best relationship with their pet; no matter the breed, age or history." Kelly conducts our behavior consultations, conducts private lessons, teaches group classes and also helps in planning our dog friendly events.

Lauren Girard

"Ever since Lauren was a child, she has had a passion for animals. She graduated with an Undergraduate degree in biochemistry and a Master’s degree in chemistry from American University in Washington, DC. She discovered her love for dog training when she brought home her border collie, Paige, as a 10 week old puppy. As her passion grew, she adopted her second dog, Dexter.

Lauren participates with Paige and Dexter in numerous competitive dog sports: obedience, rally-o, agility, flyball, and freestyle. There’s nothing she loves more than being with her dogs and strengthening their bond through all the fun activities they do together! Lauren has also gained media spot-light with her two amazing pups. She began producing trick videos of her dogs which have been posted to YouTube. Her popular videos have given rise to large media opportunities such as being published in Reader’s Digest, appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman, and gaining national spotlight in many commercials such as the 1800-PetMed advertisements.

When training, Lauren uses positive reinforcement along with clicker training. This method of training allows dogs to think about and process their behavior as opposed to them being forced into certain actions. By using this method, any dog can flourish and learn new behaviors."



"A Dog's World is a Human companion's dream! I feel such a sense of of peace when Tess is left in Teresa's care. I have even dropped Tess off on the way to the hospital when I delivered both of my children. I knew that I wouldn't be able to concentrate unless Tess was taken care of. Teresa understands that people's dogs are members of their family, not just pets. Without A Dog's World, I don't think that I would have the social freedom that I enjoy now."

     --- Debbie Checco


"When we first met Teresa over two years ago we were the proud owners of Bella, an 8 week old Labrador Retriever. Our goal with Bella was to make sure we did everything correctly to properly socialize her and allow her to enjoy her full potential. Teresa suggested that we enroll Bella in her puppy kindergarten class. This proved to be so helpful for our dog and for us that we subsequently enrolled Bella in the basic obedience and advanced obedience classes. In fact, when we decided to adopt a second lab, Daisy, we knew that with Teresa’s help our new family member would also reach her full potential. Teresa was with us every step of the way as we worked through Daisy’s “issues” and Daisy is now a wonderful dog. Teresa is a professional and her love of dogs and her profession is apparent the first time you meet her. Her methodology works and we highly recommend A Dog’s World to every dog lover. A Dog’s World is the Ivy League of dog training and education.

     --- Kevin and Michelle Henry


"A Dog's World is the best! The services are topnotch--responsible and timely. It's the special interest and sincere care and love for dogs that gives me the comfort level, whether it's a walk or an overnight stay"

     --- Sylvia Lukpetris


"Simply the best. I never have to worry about my dog not being loved for during daily walks. Overnights are great - if you are on vacation you know your dog is enjoying him/herself also. Classes are fun & informative."

     --- Nicole Augone



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