Marsha Robbins is a positive reinforcement-based instructor at Western PA Humane Society (WPHS) with more than 30 years of educational background. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology and a Masters in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her post-graduate work at Pennsylvania State University in Animal-Human Interaction. After retiring from a 32-year career as a Special Education teacher, she began training dogs professionally. Her career with the Western PA Humane Society began in 1996, when she became a volunteer at the shelter.
Marsha is a Senior Trainer with the GETSMART! Training and Education Center where she is an instructor of puppy-specific courses including Puppy Pre-School; I’m a Big Pup Now; Advanced Puppy; Super Puppy; and Advanced Super Puppy. She is also an instructor for advanced level courses such as Canine Good Citizen, Therapy Dog International (CGC/TDI), and Dynamic Dogs (a practicum course for TDI certified dogs and their handlers). She is certified as an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator. Marsha is also an advisor to the Director of Training Services at WPHS and was instrumental in developing the continuum of courses leading to the Therapy Dogs International (TDI) certification test.
Marsha leads the weekly “College Canine” program, which brings TDI dogs certified via WPHS to help students at the University of Pittsburgh relieve stress. The project’s success has earned it coverage by several major news outlets in Pittsburgh.
Since 2005, Marsha has been the Director of Humane Education at WPHS, she was instrumental in developing a Dog Safety program for the U.S. Postal Service. She also provides programs to local schools offering presentations on dog safety, pet care, living with bunnies, and careers with animals. Marsha certified her first dog as a TDI therapy dog in 1999; she is the proud leader of what she calls her “pack” of seven rescued dogs; two are retired, but the rest are active in the community as licensed therapy dogs.
In addition, Marsha and her therapy dogs touch the lives of young children through her dog safety story time presentations at the Carnegie Children’s Library every year.
Marsha continues her training at professional conferences and symposia on positive-reinforcement training, and animal behavior. She is also a voracious reader of animal behavior and training literature, averaging at least three books and four periodicals each month.