Provides Opinion & Testimony In:
Pet Trainer, Behaviorist, Behavioral Consulting, Professional Apprentice Training, Pet Evaluation, Pet Training, Competition Training, Protection Training, Scent Detection Training, Behavior Modification, Aggression Reduction, Anxiety Reduction, Hyperactivity Reduction, Electronic Collar Training, Obedience, Problem Solving, Assistance Dog Training Puppy Testing, CGC Testing, Media Interviews
Expert witness services; Consulting; Behavioral consulting; Professional/Apprentice training; Pet evaluation; Pet training (obedience, household manners); Competition training (obedience, agility, tracking, protection); Protection training, Scent detection training (tracking, trailing, area search, narcotics search, scent discrimination), Behavior modification (aggression reduction, anxiety reduction, hyperactivity reduction); Electronic collar training (obedience, problem solving); Assistance dog training (wheelchair bound, hearing impaired, emotional assistance, autism, et al.); Puppy testing; CGC testing; Media interviews; and Academic, grant-funded, government contracted, and private-funded research on canine cognition and behavior.
Expert, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley, has trained pets professionally since 1992. He has grown his company, Comprehensive Pet Therapy (CPT), from a one-person practice to a company of 12 elite trainers who have become the most respected group of pet trainers in the Atlanta area. Over 80 Atlanta area veterinary clinics recommend CPT for the improvement of pet obedience, household manners, and behavioral problems. In the process, Mark has trained or managed the training of over 50,000 dogs- and approximately 100 cats. He has served as “The Pet Expert” on the Channel 11 Saturday Morning News, has appeared as a behavioral expert locally and nationally on several network stations, successfully consulted in legal cases as an expert witness, won numerous competitions, and coached many students to competition titles and first place finishes.
In addition, in partnership with Emory University Professor Gregory Berns, Mark is co-owner of Dog Star Technologies, a company that engages in academic, grant-funded, government contracted, and private-funded research that focuses on canine cognition, emotions, sensory perception, receptive communication, and inhibitory control and that plans to commercialize several products, including products that accurately predict the future success of service dog candidates and products that measure and alleviate canine anxiety. Mark’s work in Dog Star has resulted in the publication of multiple noteworthy academic papers that have received local, national, and even international media attention.
Titles Won and Notable Accomplishments
SchH BH, SchH I, SchH II, SchH III, SchH FH, AKC-CD; AKC- CDX; ASCA- CD.
1998 Southeastern Regional Schutzhund III champion.
Three time qualifier for the USA Schutzhund National Championship.
Three time qualifier for the USA Schutzhund. North American Championship.
Multiple High-In-Trial Winner.
Multiple High-In-Event Winner in Obedience, Tracking, and Protection.
Participant in the 1997 KNPV Nationals.
Trained dogs who participated in four feature films and several television commercials.
Coached numerous students who have achieved AKC competition titles through the Utility (U.D.) level, including multiple placements, first place ribbons, and high-in-trial.
Coached the Georgia Force Black and Blue Team, the nation’s first professional football mascots who retrieved the kicking tee during games.
Founded the first professional animal-assisted therapy program used in the state of Georgia.
Served as an officer for the non-profit organization Happy Tails Pet Therapy.
As a consultant for the Emory University Canine Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, developed the protocols and functioned as a project leader for the world’s first research team of dogs that without sedation or restraints provided quality fMRI images. The project and its results have been covered by Nova, 60 Minutes, ABC World New Tonight, CBS News This Morning, the LA Times, Time Magazine, Psychology Today, and other notable media outlets. In addition, Mark has been a co-author of 15 peer reviewed academic journal articles.
Pet Expert on the WXIA- Channel 11 Saturday Morning News (1997).
Interviewed multiple times for feature stories on WGCL- Channel 46, WAGA- Channel 5, WSB- Channel 2, and CNN. Story subjects included canine behavior, canine aggression, service dog training, fake service dogs, pet therapy applications, behavior modification training, and canine neuroscience research.
Appeared in the Nova program “Inside Animal Minds” broadcast on BBC 2 during January 2014 and in the USA on PBS on April 16, 2014. Also, featured prominently in the “sneak peek” promo for the show.
Appeared in multiple segments of the Nat Geo-Wild series “Puppy Days” broadcast during the fall of 2016. The series covers the behavioral ontology of a puppy and the training processes ideal for producing optimal emotional development in a young pet canine.
Interviewed by Anderson Cooper for a (September 2014) “60 Minutes” segment focusing on canine cognition. Unfortunately, only the interview with research partner Greg Berns survived the final edit.
Scheduled for extensive interviews and demonstrations for the PBS documentary “Your Fantastic Mind.” Filming is scheduled for Nov 2019.
Performed agility demonstrations for Fox Sports Net.
Interviewed for programs broadcast on 99-X Radio, B-98.5 Radio and WGST Radio 640 AM.
Featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Neighbor Newspapers, the Sandy Springs Reporter, and the Savannah Morning News.
Film and Commercial Work
Letters From a Wayward Son- 1998 (Harry Connick, Jr., Peter Postlethwaite and Rebecca Carlson)- Provided 2 trained German Shepherds that performed in the film, performed on-set training, and acted in the film.
Run Ronny Run- 2001 (David Cross)- Provided a trained German Shepherd that performed in the film and performed as an on-set trainer and handling coach for the actor that worked with the dog.
The Clearing- 2001 (Robert Redford)- Trained a Golden Retriever that performed in the film.
In My Life- 2002- Provided 3 trained dogs (2 German Shepherds and a Doberman), performed on-set training and handler coaching, and acted in the film.
2001 Maniacs- 2003 (Robert Englund, Eli Roth)- Provided a trained German Shepherd, performed on-set preparatory training for a new behavior, and conducted handler coaching.
Television Commercials for Citizens Bank, InDemand.com, and Invisible Fence.
Music video for Ceelo- Provided trained dogs and performed on-set training and coaching.
President/Owner of a highly respected pet training company.
Participated directly or indirectly in the training of over 50,000 client dogs.
Trained more than 20 persons who have become professional pet trainers.
Grew CPT from scratch to a company of 12 trainers who service the Atlanta-metro area with group classes, private instruction, and board training and service the Eugene, OR area with private instruction and board training.
Recommended by more than 80 Atlanta area veterinary clinics.
Opened a satellite location in Eugene, Oregon in June 2018.
Developed novel professional pet therapy programs used by Shepherd Spinal Center, Dekalb Medical Center, and Egleston Children’s Hospital.
Trained the Georgia Force Black and Blue Team that retrieved the kicking tee during Arena Football League games.
Trained and continues to train puppy raisers and service dogs in training for the Atlanta Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).
Trained and continues to train service dogs for private clients from throughout the United States and Canada.
Former officer for Happy Tails Pet Therapy (a local nonprofit organization).
Continues to function as a contracted consultant to the Emory Canine Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory.
Performed as a qualified expert witness in more than 20 cases. Has experience as both a plaintiff and defense expert in civil matters and as a defense expert in criminal matters. Has experience strategizing, consulting, researching, interviewing, authoring affidavits, and testifying.
Co-founder, Member, and Principal Investigator of a company that conducts leading edge MRI, fMRI and field research on canine cognition and behavior and that is developing products that will benefit the service dog industry, the military, and pet owners.
Dog Star completed $1.7 million of contract work for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). An initial $100K contract and subsequent $1 million contract funded a two-year study to create an fMRI biomarker model for accurately predicting the future success of service dog candidates. A follow-up $500K contract funded research for creating a genetic assay that accurately predicts the success or failure of potential service dog candidates. Phase 1 identified 24 genetic markers, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), key to identifying whether a dog genetically possesses traits applicable to service dog success. The project, currently in Phase 2, is a collaboration with an animal genetics company based in North Carolina. An additional $100K contract studied mammalian brain evolution using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
Dog Star, in conjunction with GA Tech University’s Animal-Computer Interaction Laboratory, has designed and tested prototype performance evaluation products that enhance the predictability of the above referenced fMRI methodology.
Dog Star has had technical and business negotiations with a major international manufacturer of pet food flavorants and a major international manufacturer of high- quality pet food products regarding the companies incorporating Dog Star’s proprietary awake, nonrestrained fMRI technology for product development and neuromarketing. Dog Star has a provisional patent on its proprietary process for using fMRI technology for the gustatory testing of dogs for the pet food industry.
Dog Star also has or had several other products in various stages of development. The products include an aromatherapy formula that reduces canine anxiety, an aromatherapy product that interrupts high arousal reactive canine behavior, a biomedical device that measures the emotional state of an animal, and an imaging service that provides full-body structural MRI imaging of awake animals in less than 5 minutes, which improves health monitoring for senior dogs, dogs at high risk of developing cancer, and dogs undergoing neoplasia suppression treatment. The products are geared to the military, veterinary, pet services, and consumer markets.
Available on Full CV
B.S., University of Pennsylvania (1982)
M.B.A., University of California, Berkeley (1988)
Completed pet training, competition training, and behavioral seminars from Dr. Ian Dunbar, Nancy Patton, Dean Calderon, Gary Hanrahan, Jan Kockx, Dieter Meyer, Jan Timmeran, Brian McGovern, Amy Ammen, Suzanne Clothier, Dr. John Wright, Gerri Ann Darnell, Appi Kamps, and Jacy Kelly.
Attended 3 CLE seminars on Animal Law presented at the Atlanta Bar Association. Also audited 2 additional animal law seminars.
Attended the January 2019 conference “K9 Handler Intensive Training” held at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, GA. Attendees received 8 Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) credit hours.
Co-speaker at DOD 2014 Canine Science and Technology Conference. Attended International Canine Science Conference at Arizona State University, Oct 2017 and October 2019. Attended PennVet Working Dog Conference at Univ. of Pennsylvania, May 2018. Attended AKC USA Detection Dog Conference, August 2019.
Memberships and Associations
Member of the Association of Psychological Science (APS)
Available on request
Areas of Expertise
Dog- human aggression
Dog behavior modification
Service dog training
Methodologies, equipment, and applied behavioral psychology pertinent to pet training and pet behavior modification.
Canine/K9 scent detection and scent discrimination
Police dog applications and protocols