The Clever Canine, LLC                Intelligent, gentle dog training.
About Valissa
Click to Hear a Radio Interview with Valissa.


Helping Dog Owners

The Clever Canine was formed in 2003 by Valissa Willwerth out of a combined desire to help people and a love for training dogs.  Valissa's teaching and training styles are characterized by a friendly and articulate demeanor, and an ability to adapt her approach to the needs of the owner.

Valissa's experience and skills in training a wide range of dog breeds, ages, and issues come from temperament testing and training shelter dogs, teaching shelter volunteers, studying the techniques of some of the most successful trainers in the tri-state area, attending seminars, training and competing in dog agility, training dogs for television and advertising, and studying the most respected literature on training and canine behavioral psychology.

Training Dogs with Jobs

As a professional trainer, Valissa worked with her dear friend and adopted collie, Tristan (right), in television and advertising venues in New York.  His success as a canine actor included appearances on Saturday Night Live, CBS Sunday Morning, and in various advertising venues. Tristan was a successful competitor in the sport of dog agility, having achieved his first two titles in only ten days of competition.  Sadly, he passed away in October of 2010.

Congratulations Gala - for winning 3 of her 4 classes at her first agility competition!  

Gala, Valissa's young golden retriever (right), is trained in agility, rally obedience, tracking, and media work.  She has appeared on Saturday Night Live, a commercial for PureProtein sports drinks, and photo shoots for companies such as Organix Dog Food.

Tizzy, an adopted Australian shepherd/ Standard Poodle mix  puppy (right) is  in training for agility, media work and herding.  She's extremely bright, sweet, and kind of like a muppet on wheels!

Handsome Blue is the newest member of our family, coming all the way from Tacoma, WA to join us. He is truly an "old soul" who is in training for sheep herding and will be starting agility very soon.

Click photo to see Tristan on CBS Sunday Morning.  (Tristan appears 0:44 into the clip next to Charles Osgood)

My beloved friend and partner,

Click to See Gala on
Saturday Night Live


CH Marko's Tried to B Blue ("Blue")



"Dr. Willwerth", Violinist 

Valissa is also a professional violinist, holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in violin, and has performed frequently with the Philadelphia Orchestra for 10 years.  As a teacher Dr. Willwerth is an Adjunct Faculty member of Temple University and has taught violin privately for over 20 years.  This experience serves her well when teaching dog owners, as training dogs is largely about teaching people.  She not only has a solid understanding of dog behavior and training, but is also patient, organized, and eager to help you.


          The Clever Canine Crew:
Angelo, NA NAJ; Tristan, OA OAJ; 
and Gala (posing at 5 months)

In Memory

Lila                                                                       Toby

In addition to adopting dogs for various training pursuits, Valissa has also adopted dogs in the past who were old and difficult to place.  Toby and Lila were two such dogs whose only "job" was to be comfortable and to enjoy their last days in a caring home where they were dearly loved.  The current Clever Canine household is full at the moment, but you can be sure that one day there will again be a "newly" adopted "old" dog lounging around.




Valissa Willwerth, Trainer/Behavior Consultant

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