Central Mass Dog Training & Pet Services is owned and operated by Michael Nappari and is located in Athol, Massachusetts. We are fully licensed and insured.
Biography: Michael Nappari
I grew up in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. I was born with a dog in my life. My parents got “Lady” shortly before I was born, and I grew up with her. By the time I was ten I was part of a pack of dogs. Each day all the neighborhood dogs would gather at my house(there weren’t any leash laws back then). All the kids in the neighborhood called me “the dog man of Fitchburg”. Even at that young age I was the “alpha” of the pack. By observing a pack of dogs on a daily basis, I learned a lot about dog behavior. I learned how dogs communicate and was able to use that to control and maintain order in the pack.
My life with dogs continued until I graduated high school. At that time I decided to follow my other passion, wildlife. I enrolled at University of Massachusetts majoring in wildlife biology. After 2 1/2 years I took a summer job working at a high-end landscape construction company (working to build the landscapes at mansions). At that time I met people who had similar degrees who could not find work in their field and had ended up in the landscaping field. I decided to stay in landscaping and see where it took me. In 25 years I went from a laborer who had never done a day of landscaping to running the company. The problem was that I had gotten into the field to help design and build these beautiful landscapes and now I was working in the office working 14-16 hour days. I was miserable. One day I decided I did not want to spend the rest of my life doing something I hated and decided to go back to my true passion – dogs.
I really never left my true passion. In 1992 I got my first Great Pyrenees, Blizzard, and fell in love with the breed. Shortly after that I got my first rescue Pyr. “Heather” had been a kennel dog for the first four years of her life before we got her. She knew very little of the outside world or being in a house (she was not house trained). Stairs, floors, lights, tv’s, radios, crates, ceiling fans, refrigerators, collars, leashes all terrified her. With other dogs she had no fear. She was the queen. People, on the other hand, terrified her. With my own knowledge that came from living with dogs and my own research, I began her rehabilitation. Over the course of the next two years she came to accept most of the things that had terrified her and became a well- adjusted, happy, obedient dog. After feeling the satisfaction of turning a dog’s life around, I joined Northeast Pyr rescue. I did training, socialization, fostering, home evaluations, transport and anything else I could do to help.
From Pyr rescue I went on to adopt Beowulf (1997), Abby (2000), Loki (2007), Babyface (2009), Bruin (2017) and Buddy (2023). Buddy is my current dog. Some of them had very sad stories(abuse and neglect), and all of them had major behavioral issues. Although it took great patience, I managed to turn each one into a happy, healthy, obedient dog.
In 2011 I enrolled in Animal Behavior College. The next eight months were spent learning every facet of dogs, dog training and dog behavior. I got to work with a mentor-trainer and helped teach 12 of her classes. After my obligation ended I was asked to continue volunteering to teach her classes. I also volunteered to work with two other top trainers trying to gain as much knowledge and experience as I could. I also got experience in the different training techniques trainers use, giving me a well-balanced outlook on training. I went on to volunteer at the Monadnock Humane Society and the Winchendon Animal Shelter helping to train and socialize the dogs to help make them more adoptable. I am now the official trainer at the Winchendon Animal Shelter. At the same time I took time to get certified in pet CPR and first-aid to help round out my experience with all pets.
After graduation it was time to think of what kind of company I wanted to start. I did not have the facilities to have group classes, so I chose to concentrate on individual, in-home training. I already knew that individual training was what worked best. Obedience training is much easier and faster if you can start without distractions (distractions abound in group classes). Problem behaviors are usually home-specific (they occur in/at the home) and need to be resolved at the home. Through the years I have been asked many times to pet/house sit for different people and always loved it and was always asked to do it again. I really wanted to make that a part of my company, so I went back to Animal Behavior College and took classes in pet sitting and dog walking. After getting to the point where I was extremely confident with my skills and knowledge and had the proper experience, it was time to put everything into practice. I started Central Mass Dog Training and Pet Services and have never regretted it. It has been a joy and an honor to be able to work with animal lovers and their pets.
Training and Certificates
I attended Animal Behavior College and have taken certificate courses including:
- Graduate of ABC Animal Behavior College
- ABC Continuing Education Courses
- Pet CPR and First Aid Certification
Associations & Memberships
I am a member or volunteer at the following groups: