About the Trainer

Alfhild Winder, owner of Come When Called Dog Training, has been training dogs since 1996.


I train dogs and change behavior using methods based on the most recent science of animal learning, which shows that reward-based training is the most effective training method, builds trust, and has none of the potential fall-outs of force-based training. I do not use coercive methods or equipment the dog finds aversive.

Mutts In Germany

Animals have always been part of my life. I grew up in rural post-WWII Germany in the company of cats, chickens, rabbits, a parade of assorted mutts, and the family’s beloved German Shepherd Dog. In the U.S., I adopted a series of shelter dogs, including an irresistible puppy with a raccoon’s mask, who to my great surprise ballooned into a 150-pound adult, and Geisha, a  sweet German Shepherd who became my heart dog. None of those dogs got more than rudimentary training, but all were marvelous creatures nonetheless.
One summer, I saw dogs perform in an outdoor obedience trial and instantly knew I wanted to train a dog to that level.

Dog Wins Out Over Piano

Fast forward to 1996, I sold my piano and used the money to buy a GSD puppy from a breeder.   Training Tristan at Capital Dog Training Club, near Washington, D.C., became an addiction. There was so much to learn. Going against the established training methods of that time, I soon traded the choke collar for the clicker and newer positive training methods. Seminars and workshops by top trainers followed—Jean Donaldson, Pamela Reid, Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, Ken Ramirez, Bobbi Anderson, Pat Miller, Susan Garrett, Suzanne Clothier, Kathy Sdao, Trish McConnell, Leslie Nelson, Suzanne Hetts, Dan Eastep, Sue Sternberg, Amy Herot, Jill Marie O’Brien, and Bob Bailey. 
From Jean Donaldson at the San Francisco SPCA, I earned the Counseling Certificate for Behavior Problems and later returned for a rigorous course on training reactive dogs. Pia Silvani’s Consulting and Problem Solving opened a world of ideas, as did the five-day Silvani/Sternberg Instructor Training Course and a week of honing my training skills with Susan Garrett in Ontario, Canada,

Learning From the Best

Each of these exceptional trainers contributed unique pieces to my training philosophy, but the pivotal change came from world-renowned animal trainer, Bob Bailey, who was a pioneer in applying the principles of B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning to commercial animal training. Studying with Bailey in several week-long Chicken Workshops was life-changing. Topics included Discrimination, Cueing, Criteria, Chaining, and the toughest of all–Teaching, where you guided another person to train your chicken. The principles and techniques learned from Bailey are the foundation of my training approach.

Here and Now

I am a nationally certified professional dog trainer with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, which requires a rigorous exam to demonstrate mastery of humane, science-based dog training practices and animal husbandry. I am also an AKC Canine Good Citizen Test and Tricks Title evaluator.

As the owner of Come When Called Dog Training & Behavior Counseling, I am knowledgeable about a variety of dog training methods; however, I use only those that rely on science-based learning theory.   My mantra is “Positive but Not Permissive.”  I love to see a dog think and make good choices that I can reinforce. My most gratifying experience is working one-on-one with dog parents to resolve problem behaviors. I also enjoy teaching classes, particularly the highly successful, three-level puppy program at the Olney-Sandy Spring Veterinary Hospital in Olney, Md.  I have coached numerous students to AKC obedience, CGC, and Rally titles through my Obedience Skills class at Your Dog’s Friend in Rockville, Md. From a training space in my home, I teach puppy classes, an advanced class for reactive dogs, and a CGC Prep class.  I am a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the Pet Professional Guild, and the Behavior Education Network.

I live in Bethesda, Md., with my husband, Jim, and GSD Inka.  Inka has been trained in obedience, rally, agility, nose work, and many tricks and games.

Al and Jean Donaldson at Growly Dog class in San Francisco.
Al and Feisty, the White Leghorn, at Bailey discrimination workshop in Sequim, Wash.

Training Philosophy

We are committed to teaching you to train your dog or puppy using modern, reward-based training and behavior modification techniques that work quickly and effectively.

We use only gentle, positive reinforcement techniques that are people- and dog-friendly in addition to being fun and easy to learn for you and your dog.

Our methods are based in proven scientific learning principles – not in tradition.

You will learn how to communicate with your dog, and clear communication means successful training and good behavior – with no need for force or coercion.

We specialize in helping you turn your untrained or challenging dog into a well-behaved companion and good neighborhood citizen.