Introducing: Praiseworthy Pets

A trainer who does all the work for you? We’re intrigued… And putting our own dog to the test!

If you’re busy with a challenging dog, Naomi Rotenberg is like a dream come true: she’ll teach your pet everything he needs to know, and then show you how to handle him from here on out. No classes, no hassles. Naomi trains your pooch right at home and in your neighborhood while you’re away at work or otherwise occupied.

How does this even work? Our reactive rescue Ducky makes an excellent guinea pig for Praiseworthy Pets, a new training option for East Falls and nearby neighborhoods.

Though Ducky was a pretty agreeable puppy, as she’s gotten older she’s grown reactive around other dogs, some humans, and lately even our house cats! We’ve taken Obedience classes, private lessons, we’ve even tried nose work and tricks, hoping to find a solution.

“Sometimes, a dog fails to respond to trained behaviors (like sit or down) because something’s setting her off emotionally,” Naomi explained. She tells clients like us to imagine we’re good at math but terrified of spiders. “How well do you think you could do long division if I throw a bucket of spiders on you?”

That’s Ducky, she said, when we’re trying to give her commands while she’s freaking out. The good news is, Naomi’s skilled in behavioral modification techniques that can help us figure out Ducky’s triggers and help adjust her gut reactions so she can focus on what we’re asking of her.

Our next step, now: Naomi’s coming out to the Pack Walk this Sunday, to watch Ducky interact with the crew and then she’ll follow us home to observe her with the cats.

Meanwhile, we’re excited to profile Naomi as a neighbor from nearby Wissahickon:

Naomi Rotenberg, Praiseworthy Pets (est Oct 2017).

Quick bio:

My family includes my husband, 17 month old daughter, a rescue kitty and a mini American Eskimo dog (also rescued). I’m originally from right outside DC, in Maryland. I went to college in RI, then moved to New Haven, then down to NYC, then to Philly (just making my way down the coast :D)

What’s Praiseworthy Pets about? 

My goal is to improve your and your family’s life with your dog by offering convenience (in-home, private training customized to your training goals, where I do the training for you), expertise (certifications and hands-on experience), and results (happy clients and dogs both in New York and Philly).

Reason you’re in the business/industry you are now?

I started out in basic developmental psychology research, investigating children’s social- cognitive development. I really loved working with kids and figuring out how they think, and I wanted a career where I could make more immediate impact with people one-on-one.

But I have always loved animals, too, so I started volunteering at a shelter in CT and working at a doggie daycare. When we moved to NYC, I enrolled in the Masters in Animal Behavior and Conservation at Hunter and started my dog training apprenticeship with Amanda Gagnon Dog Training, and the rest is history.

Noteworthy Accomplishments?

Graduated with distinction from the Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner Intensive certification course. Also, my Masters Thesis was featured in Psychology Today, in an article entitled, “Should Trainers Tell Dogs When Their Behavior is Wrong?” (My research proved no!)

But my happiest day was when one of my clients sent me an email letting me know that their dog’s behavior had improved dramatically to the point that euthanasia was off the table and that everyone was happily co-existing. I cried.

One thing that makes you excited about going to work every day:

I love the transfer sessions after I’ve worked with a dog, I show the owners how to handle him and it’s always so cool when a dog’s immediately responding exactly as we’ve practiced together. Every time that happens I can feel myself grinning ear-to-ear, I love seeing that I have made difference! It’s great to see dogs gain more confidence, and clients enjoy such better relationships with their pets.

One thing that makes you glad to go home at night:

My daughter’s smile when I walk through the door, my dog’s excited “mom’s home” routine, my husband’s hug and questions about how my sessions went.

How did you find this area?

When we asked for recommendations for areas in Philly to live, EVERYONE said we would love this area. Close to Center City for my husband’s job, but quiet enough to have some space, maybe a patch of grass… it has been wonderful and we love it here.

Local happy places?

Fairmount Park — lots of stuff to do with kids and great options for dog walks. And Forbidden Drive is magical when the weather is nice. I also enjoy taking my daughter to Smith Playground.

Favorite lunch spot?

I usually cook at home for lunch, but I am a sucker for Han Dynasty.

Top choice for a celebration?

Trattoria Moma was amazing on my birthday. (I LOVE Italian food.)

Hobbies or special talents?

I love to crochet (although having a baby and cat in the house makes it difficult to get anything done with yarn). I have also recently started making my own bread which is fun 🙂

Praiseworthy Pets
Naomi Rotenberg (MA, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA) comes to your home & works with your pet one-on-one over a series of weeks — then transfers your dog’s new skills to you. Serves Main Line, Center City, and NW Philly neighborhoods (including East Falls, of course)

Follow our Realtime Review series here on East Falls Local, where we document our progress with Ducky as Naomi undertakes a behavior modification plan to improve her interactions with our cats and other dogs. See what happens this Sunday at McMichael Park, and read the next update here.


  1. I went to Trottoria Moma because of this article, and I just wanted to second Naomi’s pick. The food is absolutely amazing. Probably my new favorite restaurant. Good luck with the pups.

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