This picture shows Doogie, my Shetland Sheepdog, after he earned his first title, a CD (Companion Dog, or Novice title). He went on to earn his CDX (Companion Dog Excellent, or Open title). It's not clear what type of progress we will make at the next level, which is Utility. However, we have started doing some Rally competition. Doogie also works as a Therapy Dog and has his TDIA designation (Therapy Dog International Active).
None of this was planned when we got Doogie in 2004. He was our first dog. I took the Beginner class at K-9 OTC to develop some basic obedience skills. Doogie and I both enjoyed it so much that we just continued taking classes at K-9 OTC and became members of the club. Entering competitions was not part of my original plan, but it then came naturally as Doogie and I progressed. K-9's members were extremely supportive, as I had no background in dog training. While the K-9 members don't recall it, I remember being told at one point that I was one of the "worst handlers they had ever seen". The intent was to point out that this was not a natural trait of mine, and hence what needed to be worked on. It obviously worked and I'm pleased to have reached somewhere into the realm of being an adequate dog handler.
Maisie has joined the family as our second Sheltie. As I begin her obedience training, I'll see how much of my original training knowledge I've retained. But I know that I have my club members to help me out and remind me of what I've forgotten.
My decision to find an obedience class was made on a mid-June Sunday morning several years ago. It was on that day that I suddenly became the owner of two Great Pyrenees, Adelaide and Colby. I was working with a breeder and planned on acquiring two puppies later that summer. However the breeder called me that Sunday and asked if I might be interested in 16 month old Adelaide and 7 month old Colby. As I had lost two beloved (but untrained) Pyrs during the previous year and so missed the companionship and love dogs provide, I responded yes, I would be interested in Adelaide and Colby. I was quickly overwhelmed. Adelaide and Colby were wonderfully loving dogs but they were kennel dogs (I was naive and had no idea what this meant). Neither had ever been in a house, neither had ever encountered stairs, and neither were leash trained. I realized if I did not find help, my house and I might implode.
Our beloved, late long time K-9 member and former Board member, Marianna West, provided me with the direction I needed. Marianna was a volunteer at my work place. When she saw me coming into work haggard, she advised that I might want to investigate dog obedience training classes offered by K-9. Here I found the training my dogs and I needed. Pyrs have many wonderful traits – obedience training is not one of them. However, the instructors and my fellow class members provided me with the advice and the support I needed. I am proud to say both Adelaide and Colby have earned their obedience Novice titles, their Rally Excellent titles, and both have been certified by two different therapy dog organizations.
Life has become more complicated. In a moment of weakness, I agreed to take in a 3rd Pyr, Sasha, for what was supposed to be three months. Sasha is my special needs pup. Because of the progress Adelaide and Colby have made, the breeder thought I might be able to help socialize Sasha. Sasha is a beautiful Pyr who was spooked when she was nine months. Well, the three months has expanded to nearly three years. If you come to class, you may get to meet Sasha. She has made enormous progress, is much more confident, is able to execute many of the exercises, and yes, maybe she might even let you pet her.
I knew nothing about Obedience when I joined K-9. When members spoke of “trials”, “legs”, “OTCH”, I had no idea as to what they were referring to – I still do not understand all the terminology. What I have learned is what matters to me – how to walk nearly 300 pounds of dogs and remain in control (at least most of the time). In addition, I value the friendships I have gained through my association with K-9 Obedience Club.
I've been a member of K9 OTC for 12 years, having served two terms as President. I am presently a member of the Training Committee and have taught classes for K9. My professional career in dogs started in 1974, when I opened Lenore’s Canine Clippery, a grooming salon which I still operate. In the past, I also offered obedience training. I started professionally showing my Borzoi in 1984 in breed competition and then decided to show in competition obedience in 1989 with my first blue merle collie, Gus. Fella was my second blue collie and I had the greatest honor when he was invited two years in a row to the National Obedience Invitational. Both of these dogs finished their AKC and UKC Utility titles. I now have Trey and the newest addition, Cyrano, both blue merles collies also. Trey has one qualifying score to go to finish his AKC UD and two to finish his UKC UD. Cyrano is being campaigned in the breed ring, learning to track and working Novice/Open level obedience. Herding is on the horizon. My "people" family consists of husband Mark, son Richie, daughters Ariel and Sherry. Oh, and there's also Lefty, my horse and Cal, my Oriole.
As you can see by my profile, I have over 37 years collective experience in training and handling dogs. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with novice trainers and sincerely try my best to help them attain their personal goals with their own dogs.
My love affair with dog training began in 1993 when I moved to Wayne, NJ with my husband, Art and son, Chris. Shortly after we moved in, we made good on a promise we had made to Chris and acquired our first dog together, a Rottweiler who we named Molli. In due course, two things became apparent: First, the love affair with Molli would not last long unless we got some training into her and second, Chris and Art were not going to do the training!
Barbara Nagy of Patience Unlimited was our first trainer, who I credit with both starting me off on the right foot with Molli and introducing me to the larger world of advanced obedience training. In the following years, Molli earned her AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Companion Dog (CD) and Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) degrees. She also participated in Agility and Tracking and was working toward her Utility Dog title when age and health concerns made retirement a wiser choice.
Much of my progress with Molli was made possible by my membership in, and association with, K-9 OTC, and my ongoing association with Patience Unlimited, with whom I understudied and eventually taught group classes and provided in-home private training and kennel training at Hal Wheeler’s in Cedar Grove, NJ. I have also had the good fortune to train under some of America’s top obedience trainers, including Jack & Wendy Volhard and Martha McCluskey.
Today, I am a Certified CGC Evaluator and a member of the American Dog Owners Association. This year, I will be assisting in the Beginner classes at K-9 OTC and teaching some of the Open classes. I will also be hard at training with Luka, my 8 year old Labrador Retriever, who earned his Utility Dog title and was lucky enough to earn one UDX leg, 2 OTCH points and a High Combined score at the Palisades Kennel Club show in October 2010. He has since gone on to earn 3 more UDX legs bringing his total to 4. He also earned another High Combined and 2 more OTCH points making his total 4. Ace, my 2 year old Lab, is full of energy and shows great potential for the obedience ring and for field trials. He has earned his Rally Novice title and is getting ready for the Novice obedience ring. Luka has earned his UKC CDX and is also a certified Therapy Dog and visits the children in the pediatric unit of St. Barnabas Hospital once a month. We also participate in the ROCK (Reading Out Loud Creates Knowledge) program at the Banyan School in Fairfield where Luka gets read to several times a month.
I continue to live in Wayne, where in my “spare time” I am the Office Manager for a video tripod importer and where I play viola (my other passion) in two community orchestras.
I have been training and competing in Obedience, Rally and Agility since 2002. My current partners are a 9½ year old American Cocker Spaniel named “Maggie”, (V.C.’s Maggie May Flowers CD RAE OA MXJ NAP NJP NF) and 7½ year old American Cocker Spaniel named “Zoe” (Zestfully Over Easy RE MX MXJ XF) and 5½ year old American Cocker Spaniel named “Ema”, (Every Moment Agility CD RE MX MXJ XF).
I joined K-9 OTC in January 2006. After serving as a Board member since May 2006, I was then President of the club for two terms during the club years 2008 to 2010.
Maggie is retired from competing due to illness, but still joins me at K-9 OTC for some classes. Ema and Zoe are currently competing in agility and are working towards their Master Agility Champion (MACH) title in AKC. Ema is currently training in AKC Open A Obedience at K-9 OTC.
Growing up in in New York City I was unaware of dogs, cats and other animals. Just tall buildings and an occasional squirrel caught my eye. My parents were not animal lovers and had no reason to even suggest buying a pet. We did have a parakeet for a few months and goldfish, but that's about it.
I discovered the world of obedience when I happened across an obedience trial in East Orange NJ, early in 1979. Even though I had a reasonably well-behaved pet, I had never seen the likes of obedience competition and I was immediately hooked. Lady, my “puppy mill” collie, and I joined The K-9 Obedience Training Club in April of that year and the rest, as they say, is history. Lady earned her CD in June of 1980 and she died in July of that year of a brain tumor. Since then, I have matured as a trainer and my collies and I have earned many obedience and rally titles. I have also dabbled in breed showing, but my first love is obedience.
My association with K-9 OTC has also matured over the years. I went from wide-eyed novice, to Secretary of the club, to Board member, to President, and finally to Training Director.