Private In-Home, Outdoor & Group Training available In-Person or Virtual  Staten Island NY & Beyond (646) 596-6706

Private In-Home, Outdoor & Group Training available In-Person or Virtual  Staten Island NY & Beyond (646) 596-6706

Alice Marino
Holistic Certified Dog Trainer/Coach/Nutritionist
Behavior Specialist Educator 30+yrs

Originally Published at

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – FORT WADSWORTH – No parking spaces remained in the parking lot at Von Briesen Park on the afternoon of April 10. The reason? Doggie Boot Camp, the creation of Arrochar resident Alice Marino, a certified master dog trainer and animal behavior specialist who has lived on Staten Island for three decades.

The damp weather and gray skies did not discourage 27 people who gathered in the park with 30 dogs of every size and shape – from Bentley, an 8-month-old Yorkshire terrier to Sofie, a green-eyed Weimaraner, 2 years old.

Many of the owners reported that they learned about the camp, which launched on April 3, from flyers that Ms. Marino dropped off in local veterinary offices and pet stores. Many said they were intrigued by the invitation to “socialize” their pets, and “receive an introduction to some of the techniques needed to unleash your dog’s unwanted behaviors and lead them to a balanced life.”

The three-hour camp – from 1 to 4 p.m. – starts with an initial lively hour of socialization between the dogs, and friendly conversations among the owners, at the park’s entrance. This is followed by more serious business that takes place up the hill as Ms. Marino teaches and drills dogs to learn commands and owners to make the necessary corrections.


Paul Lavis of Annadale came with Penny, a 3-year-old long-haired dachshund, and his daughter, Krista, who lives in St. George. He has a 9-year-old golden retriever at home, too, but “Penny needs help,” he confessed. She is “afraid of strangers,” and protectively barks nonstop in unfamiliar situations.

Duke, a 106-pound, 2-year-old boxer, is “perfect,” reported his owners, Rich and Jane Carlo of Grymes Hill. “He’s very, very sharp, and terrific with our grandchildren,” Carlo said. “He’s with me 24/7, but he does play rough with other dogs.”

Grasmere residents Ted and Mary Casey attended the camp for a similar reason. Their 3-year-old Kerry Blue terrier, Ruari , “is very friendly, but comes on too strong with smaller dogs,” said Mrs. Casey. “And sometimes he pulls” when he’s on leash, she added.

Sharon Mahon of New Dorp and her son, Richie, 13, came with two dogs – Champ, a 6-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, and Mugs, a black Lab, age 5. Mugs is a “jumper,” Mrs. Mahon explained. “He’s very strong, and sometimes it’s hard to walk him.”

Diminutive Bentley, the Yorkshire terrier, was there “to socialize, and get the doggie experience,” said his owner, Inna Malysheva of Great Kills.

Jordan Yourth of Midland Beach came with Shelby, a 4-month-old American Staffordshire terrier mix, whom he rescued. “This is my first time,” he said. “I saw the flyer in my pet store.”

April 10 was the second session for Sofie, the Weimaraner who will turn 3-years-old in June, and is a “bad puller,” admitted Robin Amore of New Dorp, whose daughter, Heather, accompanied her. “Sofie warmed up to other dogs last week. This is great – there are so many dogs!”


Alice Marino describes herself as “New York’s first Certified Personal Trainer for People and Pets,” and encourages anyone who is interested in the Sunday camp to phone or e-mail her.

She has three dogs of her own at home: Mico Monster, a 15-year-old Shih Tzu; Valentino Villain, an 8-year-old Yorkshire terrier; and Roxi Bear, 7-years-old – her first Rottweiler.

Canines of all breeds, sizes, and ages are welcome at Doggie Boot Camp but reservations are required.

Sessions will be held every Sunday through Nov. 20, except on seven upcoming holiday weekends, including Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day, May 8. Sessions are not held when it rains, or the temperature rises above 90 degrees or dips below 40 degrees.

Ms. Marino had nothing but praise for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which facilitated her request for a permit to use Von Briesen Park.

The camp is free, although a $10 donation per session is suggested. Participants were happy to donate last Sunday. To reserve a spot, call Alice Marino at 646-596-6706, or contact her via her website:

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