Pawsitive Change Program Trainers

When the supervisory staff at our CDCR California City contacted us about possibly starting a prison training program, Marley's Mutts was ready. Lisa Porter, our Program Director and Head Trainer, took the point position and worked tirelessly on assembling a training team, and the other components necessary for a successful program. Lisa, who also works at Cesar Millan's Dog Psychology Center, recruited Lia Marques, Kim Erickson and Samantha Johnson to join the team. With Lisa at the helm, we set out to create a list of essential supplies, requirements for entry, a timeline and finally a teaching curriculum for the program we named Pawsitive Change. The Pawsitive Change curriculum that Lisa and Lia created is a phenomenal guide to understanding energy and emotion-both human and canine, and the tools to successfully manage that energy and those emotions. It provides valuable vocational training but also allows and promotes spiritual betterment.

Head Trainer
Lisa Porter – K9 Behavior College
In 2005, Lisa adopted Stitch, a blue pitbull that changed her life. Working with Stitch led her to a career training professionally in Oahu, HI, concentrating on rehabilitating aggressive/fearful dogs. Lisa moved back to CA in 2010 to focus on working with rescue dogs, and soon after was hired as the Head Trainer for Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue, where she is also the Pawsitive Change Program Director. In the fall of 2014 Lisa was hired up at Cesar Millan's Dog Psychology Center as a Training Cesar's Way Courses Trainer, teaching their Mastering the Walk and Socialization classes and in 2015 she was invited to be an Assistant Trainer for Cesar's world famous Fundamentals Course. She is also an AKC Approved Evaluator, able to certify dogs in AKC S.T.A.R. PUPPY, CANINE GOOD CITIZEN, COMMUNITY CANINE and URBAN CANINE GOOD CITIZEN.

Head Trainer
Lia Marques – A Dog’s Life with Lia
Lia Marques started working with dogs in 2003. She was hired at the Dog Psychology Center in 2013 as a senior dog trainer. By working side by side with one of world’s most renowned dog behaviorists, her knowledge of dog psychology became second to none. Lia became the Dog Psychology Center Facilities Manager in 2014. That meant that besides coming up with training schedules for the various dogs, Lia also worked with the other animals at the ranch, helping to integrate many livestock animals like sheep, goats, horses and pigs with the dogs. In 2016 Lia started working with Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue and as one of the Head Trainers at the Pawsitive Change Program. She currently works with owners and rescue organizations.


Assistant Trainer
Kim Erickson – The Canine Republic

Having the unique perspective of starting as a client needing help with her own reactive dogs, Kim works hard to incorporate her past experiences as a student with her knowledge and training to teach now. She believes that the transformation one can go through to be a leader for their dog can equip them with the same tools needed to lead a healthy and happy life. Kim is the owner of "The Canine Republic" dog training services as well as the co-founder/co-owner of "SCV Packwalking" service in Santa Clarita. She works on the training team with Marley's Mutts and as a PC Assistant Trainer. Kim is a certified trainer through Animal Behavior College and is a Courses trainer at the Santa Clarita Dog Psychology Center.

Assistant Trainer
Samantha Johnson - Pack Life L.A.

In 2013, Samantha adopted Lily. Lily was very reactive and training her completely changed Samantha’s life. Samantha loved learning dog psychology and rehabilitating Lily so much she changed her career and now does “everything dog!” She got her dog training certification through Animal Behavior College and owns her own dog walking /training business - Pack Life LA. For more than a year, Samantha has been an assistant trainer at Cesar Milan’s Dog Psychology Center and is the foster coordinator for our Pawsitive Change program. Samantha is dedicated to helping people become strong pack leaders so their dogs can enjoy a happy and balanced pack life.