Kelley McAtee, Owner

Master Dog Trainer, Behavior Specialist & Mentor

"DHARMA is the law that upholds, supports and maintains the order of the universe.  It is also our one true purpose in life."


I have spent the twenty years of my life studying, learning from, living with and building relationships my own dogs as well as my clients dogs to understand their needs. It is through this journey that I have come to learn processes, methods, and philosophies to help even the most troubled dogs and owners in need.   We ensure the dogs are well physically, mentally and of course address their behavior issues. However I discovered the most important part of dog training is how we actually work with the humans and help them see and feel differently about how they interact with their dogs. 


My passion for animals was sparked in college, and I focused my studies on animals in society.  After graduation I found it hard to find jobs working with animals, so I volunteered with local animal rescue groups and started my own non-profit and delved into the world of animal welfare.  During this time I also struggled with my own dogs serious behavior issues. I contacted trainers, rescues, and behaviorists who unfortunately could not help me or my dogs.   I was left feeling hopeless and frustrated and I feel as though those dogs were failed by a system and because I did not have the tools to help them. 


After my pet sitting career I felt I had tools and knowledge I wanted to share in order to help animals and their humans on a deeper level with dog training and rehabilitation.  I was determined to figure out how to help dogs with serious behavior issues that were facing death if training failed them.  Such issues as human aggression,  dog aggression, in-pack fighting, resource guarding issues, etc.  So I traveled around the country working with the top balanced dog trainers and studied their systems, combining my knowledge of cognitive therapy, yoga and 12 step programs to create the Dharma "Life Changing Dog Training" Program.  


I was the first trainer to bring this style of training to the Omaha Metro area, and once I started successfully rehabilitating dogs, I also began to make a name for myself in our community as the go to for anyone wanting to start a career in the animal industry. Because of that, Dharma created a year long Apprentice Program so that other people that want to help animals can learn how we do what we do to achieve the highest rates of success.  We are so proud to have created a network of dedicated, pet professionals with a knowledge and skill set above and beyond what was previously available to dog owners in our area. 


Dogs have the amazing ability to be mirrors for us; sometimes we may not like what we see, but sometimes we might.   Regardless they help us see where we need to work in our lives, what needs attending to, adjusted and healed.  They have the ability to communicate things with us and also teach us so much and about ourselves if we are willing to listen.  That's why I have dedicated my life to these wonderful creatures we call dogs.


This is not just a job for me...this is my life and my Dharma.  


Kelley McAtee,

aka @DharmaDogMother




Our vision is that one day the status of dogs will change in our society. Everyday pets are relinquished in our country,  relinquished, re-homed and euthanized due to behavior issues.  Our vision is that one day pets will not be given up on, dumped at shelters and rescues, and met with a tragic end.   1.5 million animals are adopted each year in our country, but unfortunately half of them are returned and the number one reason is behavior issues.


So rather than a pet overpopulation problem, we believe we have a pet relinquishment problem. Roughly 5,500 dogs a day are euthanized in our country, so we believe our systems are broken. However most behavior problems can be solved and we are here to tell you that there is help out there and we specialize in rehabilitating rescue dogs.  Our hope for our future is that we put an end to the mass killings that are happening in our country, by empowering people with tools and knowledge they will have for dogs for the rest of their lives.  


We all have issues, but if we are brave enough to face them with our dogs and help them work through them, we may just become better people and dog owners because of it, and help ourselves in the process of helping our dogs.  We are building a tribe, community and a larger pack to work together  to help more animals, because it takes a village.  Until the end of our days, we plan to teach, educate and advocate for these animals in our community and around the world.




2002 Graduated from Creighton University, BA in Sociology, focusing studies on animals in society.


  • Animal Assisted Therapy; benefits to humans

  • Animals' Roles in Society; zoos, pets, animal testing & research

  • Pet Overpopulation; locally and nationally

  • Independent Research Project on our local Council Bluffs Animal Shelter

2004 Became active in our local animal welfare community with rescue and shelters.


  • Founded a non-profit called Midwest Animal Welfare Society; focusing on humane education and animal rescue.  

  • Partnered with the Pottawattamie County Animal Shelter; coordinating their volunteer program & off-site adoptions.

  •  Started a grassroots campaign SWIA Humane Society that evolved into the Midlands Humane Society in Council Bluffs, IA.

  • Founded of Iowans Against Breed Specific Legislation; educating our citizens & law-makers on the negative affects of this legislation while promoting dangerous dog laws. 

2007  Started PAWfect Pet Services a successful dog walking and pet sitting company gaining 10k hours of leash handling.


  • President of the Omaha Pet Sitters Association for 3 years

  • Won the Dotty Shantz Scholarship from Pet Sitters International in 2009

  • Volunteered at Nebraska Humane Society walking dogs, and in their training classes

  • Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers, attended conference in Cincinatti, OH in 2012 

  • Internship w/ Lee Charles Kelley, New York author of PTSD in dogs in Psychology Today 

  • Studied Kevin Behan's Natural Dog Training Method 


2014 Founded Dharma Dog Training and brought balanced training to the Greater Omaha Nebraska and Southwest Iowa Area to help dogs and owners in need.


  • Member of International Association of Canine Professionals, connecting with trainers around the country

  • Developed Pit Bull Adoption Protocol at Midlands Humane Society to adopt pit bulls outside city limits.

  • Completed "Conversational Leash Work & Dogmanship" Workshop with Tyler Muto, K9 Connection, Buffalo, NY

  • Completed "Leash Handling for Rehabilitation & Faith in Handler Workshop" with Jay Jack, Next Level Dogs, Auburn, ME

  • Attended "Horsemanship Clinic" with Buck Brannaman, star of "BUCK" (the movie), Sheridan, WY

  • Completed "Dealing with Difficult Dogs" and "Socializing" with Heather Beck, K9 Lifeline, Draper, UT

  • Attended "Large Field Socialization" Workshop with Jason Vasconi, Transform My Dog, Houston, TX

  • Attended "Pack to Basics" Workshop focused on canine socialization with Chad Mackin, Chicago, IL 

  • Developed first year long Apprentice Program in our area teaching other pet professionals how to help animals in our industry. 


Thanks for taking the time to read about me, we look forward to working together to help your dogs on a journey toward a more peaceful and balanced life together!