Hi there! I’m Nina Esmery, dog and cat trainer!

I’ve been working with animals since 2015, and in canine and feline behavior since 2017. I work on all kinds of cases, but my specialty is canine reactivity. Helping reactive dogs and their humans stabilise and improve their quality of life is my #1 goal as reactivity specialist. I’m also trained in cat behavior: kittens sometimes need help too!

My approach to education

Like a lot of dog trainers, I started out with a reactive dog and no idea how to properly approach this issue. It was only after the 4th trainer I hired that I finally started to make progress with my dog… that’s when I decided to become a trainer. When I found out that I was not alone in this situation and that it was actually possible to help these dogs, I knew I had to help others obtain that success!

My goal as a trainer is to offer viable short, medium and long term solutions that each family will be able to apply. With reactivity, we’re constantly juggling between the dog’s mental and physical health, the family’s energy and time left after working all day, and the reality of the environment in which everyone lives. My goal is to offer a plan that takes all of this information into account, while remaining realistic, in order to:

  • Stabilize the situation: we want things to stop getting worse!
  • Improve everyone’s quality of life : if the people and the dog are unhappy, nothing gets done…
  • Work on reactivity: once the foundations are solid, we can get started on a training plan.

Throughout all of this, I have a no-judgement approach. Any “bad choice” you think you might have made, I probably did myself back before I became a trainer. I will always be honest with you when an idea isn’t great, and I’ll explain why. Most importantly, I’ll always be glad you asked. Positive training isn’t just for dogs!

Crédit photo : Chantal Levesque Photo

My professional journey

I was initially working in Biology and Biotechnology, doing laboratory work. I worked a few years on fertility projects. I think this background in science has helped me approach behavior in a more analytic and concrete manner.

In 2015, I started volunteering at a shelter for MAPAQ seizures. One month later, I was hired there. I’ve been in working with animals ever since!

In 2017, I joined the Éducatheur team and, a few months later, De Main de Maître (now Évolution Canine). That is also the year I started my class at the Academy for Dog Trainers.

I launched La Patte Blanche in 2019, which then merged to become the Centre Canin De la Main à la Patte, of which I was co-owner.

From 2022 to 2024, I was also a member of the Ivy League Dogs team.

Finally, I joined Stephen under the banner of A Lick of Sense in 2022!

I am also a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG).

My education

I graduated from the Academy in 2018, and have since then stayed up to date on the advances of behavioral science, maintaining a focus on reactivity.

  • Life Skills for Puppies – Dr. Helen Zulch MRCVS
  • Pet Professional Guild‘s Summit: Transitionning Pets Into Their New Homes – 5 jours d’ateliers et conférences – Arizona Humane Society, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Expedite your learning: Don’t fight extinction – Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz
  • Pitfalls in Socialization: When the best Intentions Miss the Mark – Dr. Christopher Pachel
  • Play Way! for Reactivity and Aggression Challenges! – Dr Amy Cook, PhD, CDBC, CPDT-KA
  • Formation intensive sur la réactivité et l’agression – De Main de Maître
  • Outils d’intervention complémentaires essentiels pour la réactivité et l’agression – De Main de Maître
  • Séminaire sur le Jeu chez le chien – De Main de Maître
  • Free dog, stray dog, village dog: the quintessential canine – Marco Adda
  • TOCS & conséquences de la vie en milieu domestique – Lara Joseph
  • Canine Separation Anxiety : Mission Possible – Malena DeMartini et Casey McGee
  • Pet Professional Guild‘s Multi-species and Sheltering workshop/seminar – 5 jours d’ateliers et conférences par les plus grands vétérinaires, éducateurs et comportementalistes – Kanab, Utah
  • Chatcadémies 1, 2 et 3 – Éduchateur
  • The Academy for Dog Trainers – Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) – 2017-2018
  • Behavior Medications: What are they, and how can they help? – Dr Jennifer Summerfield
  • Éduchateur : formation interne
  • Séminaire sur la tenue de consultation – De Main De Maître
  • Baccalauréat (ou Licence Professionnelle) en Biotechnologies, option Génie Biologique, Microscopie et Qualité – Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis

Reviews from my clients

Worked with Nina from A Lick of Sense on reactivity with my dog, it was the best investment. Before we started the training, my dog was lunging at anything that moved on the sidewalk and walks were extremely stressful. With Nina’s help, my dog and I now have a management system in place, when my dog sees a trigger, instead of lunging and reacting, he turns to me and our walks are much more pleasant and less unpredictable. Couldn’t have done it without you Nina, Merci Merci!
Lisa pour Bear
(Avis Google)
Nina a été Fantastique. Son expertise avec les chats nous a beaucoup aidés. Nous avons vu des résultats positifs dès les premières journées. Merci Nina pour ton professionnalisme, ton écoute et le suivi que tu prodigues. 5 étoiles c’est bien peu pour la valeur réelle du service que A Lick of Sense nous a rendu. Merci beaucoup!
Méridick pour Sissi
(Avis Google)
I met with Nina to help with our new 10 weeks old puppy. We were feeling overwhelmed with his arrival and him being our first puppy. She came to our house and was very professional. You can tell that she loves dogs. We really appreciated her approach which is a positive approach. There is no negative reinforcement. She took the time to explain things to us in the most details possible. And sent us a very detailed email with a recap from our meeting, which was so useful because we got bombarded with information. Definitely recommend 🙂
Élodie Bouchard pour Argo
(Avis Google)
Contact us right away to book an appointment

A little bit more about me

I have a 4 year old Golden Retriever called Ori. I adopted him when he was 3 months old, because his intense resource guarding brought his family to re-home him. Imagine a tiny ball of yellow fur that bites everyone… It took us a a few months of training and a new routine, but Ori is now the happiest dog in the world!

Before Ori, I had herding breeds for years: a Border Collie and a German Shepherd. I think my heart will always belong to herding dogs, I just love their intense nature (cough*neurotic*cough). I think I have a bit of a herding side myself: I’m always doing something!

In my free time, I spend a lot of time training Ori. We’ve gotten a few titles in Rally-Obedience, and we’re working on his Trick Dog titles as well! I also do a lot of pulling sports with him: canicross, kickbike, sledding… We’re terrible at it, but boy do we have fun! I also (sometimes) do non-dog related things by opening a fantasy novel, playing some games or singing karoke.

And finally, I’ve also been a volunteer and/or foster home for many shelters such as SPCA, Proanima, and the Refuge pour Chats de Verdun. I am trained for orphan kitten care from birth to weaning.

Crédit photo : Daniel T Photo