Tara's School for Dogs


Humans and Dogs in Partnership. Let us show you how!

Strictly Following Covid-19 Prevention Protocols. Dogs do not have to wear a mask but humans do! Tara is setting a good example for humans. Plus, a dog can't eat treats with a mask on!

Saturday and Sunday Private In Training Facility

All Lessons are Private or Semi - Private


Puppy and Adult Obedience, Manners & Problem Solving

Rates That Support Our Pet Owning Community

Out-Door, In-Home or Remote Zoom Lessons* 

* Due to the pandemic remote lessons are especially encouraged. There are advantages to training remotely. Use the contact form to set up a time to chat with us for 15 minutes about the benefits and effectiveness of remote lessons. 

Spring Training in the Park has Started More Info
Private lessons mean you can start training with us immediately!
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Lesson Offerings

  • Puppy Obedience, Manners

  • Effective Puppy Socialization​ Alternatives

  • Welcome Home Puppy Set-Up

  • Adult Dog Obedience and Manners

  • Transition Help for Rescue Dogs

  • Adult Dogs and Puppies Problem Solving 

Private lessons customized to your individual training needs

Schedule at your convenience Weekdays and Weekends

Locations: Outdoors Park, In-Home, Remote Zoom 


Serving Manhattan Upper West Side, Upper East Side & Midtown

Combo Location Lessons are Encouraged. Ask us why! 

Social Distancing Guidelines Strictly Followed.

Humans must wear a mask for the duration of the lesson.

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Coronavirus Precautions 


Remote Live Zoom Classes Available

E-mail using the contact page for scheduling and answers to your questions. 


Humans and Dogs in Partnership

Let Us Show You How

Mary Paranicas BA, CCDT, CPDT-KA

Founder & Owner

Positive Reinforcement  is the most effective and bond building training method available. When using positive reinforcement to train your dog the behaviors you want are rewarded and behaviors you don't want are ignored.

Mary is a professional dog trainer with certification from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy (CCDT) and from Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA). She is a member of The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, certified in pet first aid by the American Red Cross, an American Kennel Club (AKC) Evaluator and a supporting member of IAABC. Mary avidly pursues continuing education by attending conferences and staying current on dog training literature. She has also volunteered at a number of dog rescue organizations and been a therapy team with her dog, Tara at New York Therapy Animals.


You’ll find that Mary is committed to positive reinforcement dog training and providing the most effective training methods to meet her clients’ dog training needs. She will help you build a lifetime bond with your dog through informative and fun classes. Teaching children, ages 7 to 12, is a specialty class Mary offers as an after school activity. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself and your dog laughing and smiling in class as you learn together!


Retiring from a professional ballet career and after a 25 year career as a clinical research specialist at Weill Cornell Medical College, Mary has become a professional dog trainer. She brings with her a sophisticated understanding of scientific principles and a true love of of people and dogs. She is life-long resident of Manhattan and lives with her human and animal family that includes a Sphynx cat, a Chinese Crested dog and a 19-year-old turtle.


Tara's School for Dogs is named after Mary's Chinese Crested named Tara. She's an expert on dogs!




Lessons & Description of Services

Scroll Down for Full List


Lessons will be customized to your specific training needs in a way that best fits the way you and your dog learn. There is no better way to start life with a new puppy than with the guidance of a professional trainer that can help you raise your puppy into the best dog possible. If you have a senior or disabled dog, training can be tailored to their needs. Let me show you how to teach an old dog new tricks!


Join us for Puppy Level 1, Puppy Level 2 or Individualized Adult Classes.

American Kennel Club  Certificates are now offered for Puppies and Dogs. 

AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Advance AKC Urban CGC 

Location! Location! Location!

Locations have become all important during the pandemic and it's easy to understand why. We are offering lessons either Dog Facility, In-Home, Out-Doors or Remote on  Zoom. Each location offers it's unique benefits in terms of the environment it affords your dog and you. When you purchase a package of classes you may use a different location for classes. We will discuss and decide which is best for you and your dog or puppy. Regardless of location humans must wear a mask and maintain a distance of 6 feet. Of course no masks on Zoom where we can all see each other's smiling faces! Remember at Tara's School for Dogs having fun and enjoying the human animal bond is required!

At Tara's School for Dogs we take the utmost precautions for the prevention of Covid-19.

Group Class
Only by Request Limited 3 Participants

During the pandemic we are doing group lessons when a group of 2 or 3 people ask for a lesson together. This is what we are offering during the pandemic in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19. Our Group lessons offer individualized attention and the benefit of watching others as they learn. This is very helpful in learning how to do the training exercises and avoiding common mistakes.

Socialization is an important for all dog, especially puppies. Group classes are a great way for puppies to socialize however, during the pandemic it's important to remember it's only one way and there are many others. We go over this extensively with all our puppy owners.

Group Family class will offer the opportunity to work as a team in training your dog. Not only will you  enhance the human - animal bond between your family and your dog, it will give you a happier, well behaved dog that you can do more with. All household members impact the dogs behavior, make that a positive experience by training the family dog as a team. Please note that currently group classes are only offered outdoors or on Zoom.

After School Class
Suspended Until Further Notice

Open to grade school children 7 years and older. This program takes place in your home, with your child and  the family dog (child caregiver must be at home). It's fun and educational. Children will learn about the science behind positive reinforcement dog training. Children will have an opportunity to practice both as a student themselves and as a teacher for the dog. Training classes help build confidence and leadership skills in children. 

Click for more  

Running Dog


Private Lessons are tailored to the individual needs of students, both canine and human! At the first class we'll set up a plan with goals for both you and your dog. 

Group Lessons only by special request for up to 3 participants. All group lessons are outdoors.

Puppy Foundations 1
  • Socialization *

  • AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy

  • Handling & Manners

  • House Training

  • Sit, Down, Stand

  • Targeting

  • ​And more

Just like a human infant your puppy's brain and body are in an accelerated period of growth during this early stage of their life. Training at this time will set them up to be amazing adult dogs. At around 5 to 16 weeks of age, puppies are primed for bonding to animals and individuals, for learning that objects, people, and environments are safe and for learning what the body cues and signals of others mean. Besides socialization your puppy is mature enough to begin basic training. This not only teaches them basic obedience and manners but also how to learn. Introducing Positive Reinforcement Teaching Methods to your puppy will help them have learning in this paradigm become second nature. 

Puppy Foundations 2
  • Leash Walking

  • Stay Advanced

  • Advanced Manners

  • Leave It & Release 

  • Tricks​

  • AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy

  • AKC Canine Good Citizen

  • And more

This important second level of your puppy's training includes continued improvements on all the Level 1 behaviors. Let's face it, your puppy is still young and goofy. It's important to continue working on the Level 1 behaviors or they will fade away due to the natural process of behavioral extinction. After your first class of Level 2 you and your puppy will be eligible to take AKC's S.T.A.R. Puppy Test. Your puppy will also learn lots of new behaviors in Level 2 along including some Tricks. At Tara's School for Dogs tricks are an important part of training because the dog gets lots of treats and smiles!

Adult Dogs
  • AKC Canine Good Citizen

  • Adult Rescue Dog

  • Transition to New Home

  • Sit, Down, Come, Stay

  • Leash Walking​

  • Behavior Problems

  • And more


If you adopted an adult dog or just want to train your adult dog you have come to the right place. At Tara's School for Dogs we are firm believers in old dogs learning new tricks! Your dog can learn obedience and manners or address problem behaviors. Lessons are individualized so you'll focus only on the things you want to learn. We do specialize in working with blind dogs. Have a look at the videos for more information. If you are continuing with your puppy's education onto adult levels and want to take the AKC Canine Good Citizenship test this Adult Level offers all that you need to qualify and take the test.

Puppy & Adult
Problem Solving and Behavior Modification

Problems in puppies and adults can come up in response to changes in the environment, daily routines or physical illness. It may be important to first rule out any underlying medical issues with a visit to the veterinarian.

Common problems include: Barking, Separation Anxiety, Chewing, Leash Pulling, Nipping, Resource Guarding, Jumping, House Accidents,etc. First we'll determine the underlying causes of your puppy or dog's issues and then decide on the best management and training methods to address them.


* Puppy Socialization in a Pandemic

Socialization especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic requires some creativity. It's important that socialization occurs during this critical period of development which ends between 13 to 16 weeks of age. There is no substitution for intensive and ongoing socialization for your puppy during the critical socialization period. Puppy socialization can be fun and easy even during the pandemic. It's not just about meeting other dogs and people. Think about puppy socialization as a process of experiencing new things and enjoying enrichment activities. At Tara's School for dogs we help make puppy socialization easy, fun and effective.  Puppy Stages of Development on AKC website


Private Classes

In-Home   Outdoors   Training Facility

Cancellations 3 hours in advance free

Absent without cancellation forfeit lesson

Group Classes (6 Week Series) 

Indoors Suspended

Location 84th and York Avenue

Dogs must be vaccinated according to their age and have documentation from a veterinarian. Titers are acceptable proof of immunity, rabies as per New York State Law.  Please see resources and Protect the Pets for more information about vaccines and immunity.


Click on a dog below to see our Google Reviews


These position statements were developed through the cooperation of the members of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) and reflect the opinion of this association on a variety of topics related to the field of animal behavior. At Tara's School for Dogs we adhere to these postions.

The Primary and most important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life.1, 2 During this time puppies should be exposed to as many new people, animals, stimuli and environments as can be achieved safely and without causing over-stimulation manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior. For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated
Choosing a dog trainer can be one of the most important decisions that you make in your dog’s life. The techniques that a trainer uses can strongly affect how you interact with your dog for years to come. Therefore, it is very important to choose your trainer wisely. Look for these characteristics among others:
  • Reward-based training
  • Good teacher
  • Continual education
  • Respectful

To Spay or to Neuter, That is the Question

Dr. Becker: The Truth About Spaying and Neutering

Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative veterinarian,

discusses neutering or spaying pets. To watch Dr. Becker's

discussion click the dog!

Peeping Dog
Click on TEDEd to watch a video

Dogs see with their noses!


You may have heard the expression that dogs ‘see with their noses.’ But these creature’s amazing nasal architecture actually reveals a whole world beyond what we can see. Alexandra Horowitz illustrates how the dog’s nose can smell the past, the future and even things that can’t be seen at all. 

Links to more Resources

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. In addition to maintaining its pedigree registry there's loads of helpful information for pet owners of any dog, mixed breed or purebreed. Click AKC Logo for more.

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Vaccines are necessary to protect your pet against deadly diseases. Please click the logo to learn more about Titer Testing. It's a test which can determine if your dog still has immunity from a past vaccine before giving a booster. Click for the scientific literature.  

When vaccines are needed consider a dose based on the weight of the pet.

Click here for more information about correct dosing. 

Titers are very affordable. Click here to learn more about labs and costs.

Kids and Dogs

Whole Dog Journal 2019

These days, it seems that every time someone posts a picture on social media of a child with a dog it is immediately followed by a spate of posts expressing horror at the anticipated savage attack likely to follow. Click for more 



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Contact Us

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Pandemic Rules: Humans wear a mask and practice social distancing. If you travel or are with people not in your regular group (pod) then we'll go to virtual real time lessons. Or wait a couple of weeks then resume as normal. Same goes for if you are not feeling well or around someone who is diagnosed with Covid-19. These precautions work to keep us all safe. Clients must promise to adhere to these rules while working with Tara's School for Dogs.