Dawn Prentiss Wasicek is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, owner and operator of Austin City Dogs. Dawn is also the Lead Agility Instructor at Austin Dog Alliance, where she teaches agility and Control Unleashed classes. Dawn has been training dogs full-time since 2001. In July 2011, Dawn moved to Austin, Texas from Brooklyn, New York where she ran Semper Fido, a dog training business based in Brooklyn.

Dawn Wasicek and Shasta at their first agility trial together.

Dawn Wasicek and Shasta at their first agility trial together.

Dawn is a former manager in the film and television industry. Since 1989 she worked for such companies as Miramax and October Films. In November of 2001 she left her job at sports broadcasting staple IMG/TWI to pursue her passion of training dogs and their owners. Dawn got her start teaching dog training classes on Staten Island for PETsMART and opened Semper Fido in 2001 where she taught classes in a church basement. In February 2007, Dawn opened Semper Fido’s Dog Training School in Prospect Heights/Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn and then announced a move to Park Slope location in February 2008. The school was the only dedicated family dog training spaces in New York City. The expanded services, in addition to puppy and obedience classes, included agility, Control Unleashed, trick training and classes in Spanish.

In addition to running her Brooklyn business, Dawn trained dogs for The Good Dog Foundation, an animal assisted therapy organization. She volunteered at Animal Care and Control and was a trainer for The Mayor’s Alliance for New York City Animals. Dawn also trained and competed in the sport of dog agility with her sheltie, Whisper, MX, MXJ, AD and border collie, Shasta, OA, OAJ. She assisted and co-taught agility classes with Frankie Joiris at Morris K9 Campus in New Jersey.

When Dawn first moved to Austin, Dawn worked in the Customer Service and Behavior Departments at Austin Animal Center. Her work at the shelter was very fulfilling and has given her a new perspective on dog and human behavior. She plans to continue to volunteer and foster for AAC. However, she is excited to return to her passion of teaching dogs and their owners.

Dawn writes and offers training tips on the subject of dog training. Dawn’s first article for international publication, “It’s Not Easy Being Green” chronicles the first year raising Whisper, her first agility dog.  The article was published in January 2007 in Clean Run magazine. She and Whisper are featured in the Leslie McDevitt’s Control Unleashed book and videos. Dawn has also written and contributed for articles for The Mayor’s Alliance, Pregnancy and New Born Magazine, Scholastic Books, DOGS USA, vetstreet.com and Pet Airways.

Dawn believes that an early education for dogs and puppies can make all the difference in having a well-mannered pet dog. She stresses rules and structure for 
dogs and families as routine, implemented in a non-confrontational way. She believes training and having a dog should be fun. Dawn’s classes and private lessons are tailored to the specific needs of the dog and family. Her training is incorporated into daily routine so training can be easily accomplished. Dawn goes beyond the basics, develops comprehensive training programs to help you develop a great relationship with your dog. Dawn frequently attends seminars and conferences, to further her education in the dog-training field.

Dawn Wasicek with Whisper, winning a dog agility award for having the most fun and the best team work at the CATS trail in New Hampshire.

Dawn Wasicek with Whisper, winning a dog agility award for having the most fun and the best team work at the CATS trail in New Hampshire.

Dawn currently shares her life with her husband, Bill and three dogs. Puppy Merrel, an Austin Animal Center adoptee, is learning to overcome fear issues that were developed as a result of being born in the shelter. HastaBShasta “Shasta”, OA, OAJ, AD her border collie that came to her as ‘un-trainable’, who now enjoys tricks and agility. Mikamar Best Kept Secret “Whisper” MX, MXJ, AD, CGC, the ‘un-confident’ one that helped Dawn become the trainer she is today.


Dog bios can be seen by clicking the following links:

Whisper's Page

Shasta's Page

Merrel's Page