Mary Lee Nitschke PhD, CPDT-KA, CAAB

Dr. Nitschke’s lifelong focus on behavioral observation of other species is the foundation of her identity. She was exhilarated to discover this passion could be grounded in the study of Animal Behavior and Psychology as she became educated in the systematic foundation of science. Dr. Nitschke continues to seek a better understanding of the most effective ways to communicate with other species as well as educate her own.

Mary Lee is a Professor of Psychology, practicing as an Animal Behavior Therapist. She directs the OTIS (Owner Trained Individualized Service) Dog program, and consults nationally on training programs, pet product development, and research in animal behavior and litigation involving companion pet-human interactions. She continues an active career contributing to professional, scientific, and membership societies by writing, speaking and serving these organizations in various capacities.

Mary Lee served on the APDT board of directors as well as the Certification Council for the CCPDT. She holds invited professional-level memberships in the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, American Psychological Society, Interdisciplinary Forum of Applied Animal Behavior and Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. She is also a council member for the Western Psychological Association and belongs to numerous other pet associated organizations.

Throughout her career she has observed many attempts to train animals (of all species) that appeared to be based on questionable methods, poor application of theory and little empirical support for efficacy. When she first introduced the application of Learning Theory and scientific analysis into pet training classes and Animal Schools, others laughingly called her a “cookie trainer” who “used food”. She has proved that a science-based application of Learning Theory, and critical analysis, is the empirical foundation for effective, gentle teaching. Dr. Nitschke believes that competency in gentle teaching is a required ethical choice for any person who influences, or has power over another – of any species.