The What

Solutions for thinking animals.

Dogs can make us laugh out loud one minute and tear our hair out the next. We love them and they make us crazy. We don't want to quash their amazing, goofy, mischievous spirits - we just want a little less stress and more peace! If you're wondering whether you can create more harmony in your life without hurting or scaring your dog, the answer is yes. At its best, training builds a bridge that joins your understanding with your dog's. Whether you'd like that bridge to be simple or soaring, BDT will help you make it sound. 

The Why

There has never been another dog quite like your dog.

And there will never be another connection quite like the one you share. Good training isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. BDT's small classes (four dogs tops!) allow for plenty of individual attention and guidance that's tailored to your goals and your dog's gifts.


Training can be a lot like play.

All BDT methods are reward-based, chosen for their demonstrated power to promote trust and joy along with learning. Why not have a good time on your way to good behavior?


You don't need much time to do it.

Here's reason to celebrate: studies show that training is often most effective in short bursts, with lots of breaks in between. At BDT you'll learn not only how to make the most of brief formal training sessions but also how to weave training into daily life, expending small effort for big results.


The How

Learn to read your dog's mind... least as well as your dog reads yours. Dogs, like small children, are natural-born psychologists and amazingly adept at getting what they want from us. BDT will help you turn those gifts to your advantage and ally your dog's desires with your own.


Find a common language.

When communication breaks down, so does behavior. At BDT you'll learn powerful methods for letting your dog know just what you like and why it's worth his while to do it. 


Teach your dog to be her own boss.

It’s exhausting to have to tell another creature what to do all the time. Dogs need our help navigating the weird world of humans, but they can learn to make good choices on their own. With greater self-control comes greater confidence, and more calm for everyone.



The Who

Gretchen Icenogle, CPDT-KA (who sometimes consorts with cats)

Hello, and welcome to BDT. Those letters by my name mean that I'm a certified professional dog trainer, but once upon a time I taught only people. After earning a B.A. in English from Brown University and a Ph.D. in theater from UC Santa Barbara, I spent many years engaging college students in the fine arts of connection, including writing, acting, and directing. In 2009, I left academia to pursue my passion for dialogue beyond the human realm. Early experiences working with "behaviorally challenged" dogs at the Oregon Humane Society confirmed my love of independent-minded animals and my hope that they could be trained without pain or fear. In 2010, with the enthusiastic help of our charmingly contrary husky-mix, Barley, I graduated from the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior. I later founded Bridgetown Dog Training with the purpose of forging happy partnerships between people and dogs who share my impatience with the phrase "because I said so." If you choose to train with BDT, I promise that you and your dog will find your strengths and limitations honored and your intelligence respected.


The Where

Portland, Oregon.

Bridgetown Dog Training makes its home in SW Portland. All classes are taught at the Multnomah Village branch of Healthy Pets Northwest, convenient to Hillsdale, NW Portland, Burlingame, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Tigard, Sellwood, Eastmoreland, and Westmoreland.


The When


See current offerings on the Small Group Classes page.