tv dog trainer. traveler. doggy mom.
animal trainer. horse mom. totoro fan
Hi, I’m Nicole
I’m Nicole Ellis a celebrity dog trainer based in Los Angeles. I’ve trained everything from bears to tigers to leopards as well as household dogs and cats. Maggie who started it all was adopted from a city shelter and now appears in films and commercials, works at hospitals, nursing homes, and more alongside her brother Rossi Bear.
I’m a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), Fear Free Certified, American Kennel Club CGC-evaluator, author of Working Like a Dog, APDT trainer, Rover.com celebrity dog trainer, one of a handful of KONG ambassadors in the United States, and expert dog trainer on Amazon Prime’s The Pack.
Using positive reinforcement methods I have trained thousands of animals from basic behavior and puppy manners, to trick training, therapy work, and service dog training. I believe with love and positive reinforcement we can train any dog.
I always knew my destiny was to work with animals. I grew up riding horses, bonding with family pets and I was always the fearless kid in the class who volunteered to hold the giant boa constrictor or pet the cheetah (didn’t every kid want to pet a cheetah?). I went on to study animal training with top trainers, learning to work with everything from exotics like bears and big cats to household pets like dogs and cats (and am still learning everyday).
Somewhere along the way, I realized that my mission as a trainer was actually to train other humans to strengthen their bonds with their pets through positive training and mutual understanding. Happier owners mean happier pets, and then hopefully fewer unwanted pets will end up on the streets and in city shelters – that was my thinking anyway. My own dog, Maggie, came from one of those shelters and became my animal training ambassador. In addition to working in commercials and movies, Maggie knows over one hundred behaviors and performs at hospitals, charity fundraisers and on TV. And at the end of the day she and Rossi truly are my best friends.
Growing up while training and playing with animals, I was lucky enough to have had a modeling career that’s taken me all over the world and introduced me to many interesting people.
I love to travel, more than most, see new places, ride naughty ponies, and try to change the world with Maggie & Rossi at my feet.
Photo by Brandy Yi Photography
Nicole Ellis Credentials
- Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
- Fear Free Certified Professional Dog Trainer
- American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
- American Kennel Club Trick Dog Evaluator Level 2
- KONG Ambassador
- Association of Professional Dog Trainers member
- International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants member
- Pet Health Expo speaker 2023
- Pet Summit Speaker 2020, 2021
- Varsity Tutors Speaker
- Good Dog! service companions graduation keynote speaker
- The International Dog Trainers Winter Summit 2020 speaker
- Skid Rover charity presenter and demonstration
Maggie and Rossi’s titles
- AKC CGC
- Trick titles
- Scent work
- Fast CAT
- Multiple print and production jobs
As seen on
- Good Morning America
- The Today Show
- The Pack on Prime
- and more.
The latest on Youtube:
dog actor. model. super hero. lover
best friend. therapy dog. activist.
Maggie is from North Central Animal Shelter in Los Angeles. She rescued me and furever changed my life that day. Maggie is a Bichon, Mini Poodle mix with a few other breeds mixed in too. I may be a bit biased but I think she’s pretty great. Maggie poses for the camera, tells jokes, does cartwheels and updates her Facebook page. Okay, that’s not all true, but she really does have a fantastic personality and a Facebook page with more friends than me. I’ve trained everything from bears to whales but my favorite of all of them is Maggie, after all she is THE reason I wanted to help others train and bond with their dogs.
Maggie is also a retired therapy dog, working production dog, my best friend, heart and soul of Working Like A Dog – Coffee Table Book a multimedia project to educate people on dogs with jobs, and an inspiration for many, which is pretty amazing for a pup that was shaking and scared in the shelter. Maggie was trained with positive reinforcement methods, meaning it’s always fun. Maggie would rather work on a movie set or put on a show than play with other dogs even in her reitrement, which seems to fit my lifestyle very well.
But our favorite use of her tricks is performing to educate others on dog training and pet ownership. We have a very unique bond that has brought us across the United States to perform at hospitals and children’s camps. Because of Maggie’s trust in me and our bond we are able to teach almost anything, from playing the piano to skateboarding. Imagine if we could educate more people on the amazing things animals could do and in the end hopefully less dogs end up in shelters like the one I got Maggie from. Join Maggie and I on our adventures from paddle boarding in the ocean to hiking and I hope we can share in some of your adventures with your furry friends too.
I love this doodle from the tufts of fur between her toes to her ever-changing pink nose. I can’t bear to think that she won’t always be here, but in the meantime, this dog and I have a lot more places to go, smiles to bring, flights to catch, books to put out and families to educate about dogs and pets. At the end of the day she loves to skateboard and give high 5’s, like a lot of dogs she can’t wait to go hiking, chase birds, and bark at some bikes.
dog model. actor. treat enthusiast.
shoe lover. little brother. master licker.
My favorite little bear
Rossi Bear is a Cavapoochon (a Cavalier Poodle Bichon mix). Rossi loves to learn, eat and show off his skills and hamming it up on set. But most of all he loves his sister Maggie, licking faces and napping on shoes.
Rossi joined our family as a puppy with the intention to be a working dog. By 9 months old he did multiple photoshoots and even filmed a feature film, Think Like A Dog. Rossi loves being involved in everything and is a complete joy to be around. He’s full of energy and Rossi Bear kisses. He’s one the sweetest boys you’ll ever meet. He truly makes any day better.
He’s been an absolutely wonderful addition to our family. We look forward to many new adventures with him and the lessons he will teach us.
Big dog. super jumper. food lover
Best friend. cookie tester. model
Our largest family member
California Cadence aka Cali Bear is our newest and largest addition to the family. More than anything Cali loves to eat, he is currently looking for a food sponsorship. He has indulged on everything from cat food to roses but we prefer feeding him teff hay and horse cookies.
Cali loves splashing in the water, his best friend Teddy Bear, sniffing Rossi Bear and going fast (and bucking too). Cali loves to jump and doing horse clicker training. I am grateful for our land hippo everyday!