K-9 Obedience Training Club of Essex County, NJ

Trained dogs are better companions

Mary Gallagher

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. 

Lenore Vizzone

     I've been a member of K9 OTC since 1998, having served two terms as President.  I am presently a member of the Training Committee and teach classes for K9 and for other clubs. My professional career in dogs started in 1974, when I opened Lenore’s Canine Clippery, a grooming salon. 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 collie, Gus.  Fella was my second and I had the greatest honor when he was invited two years in a row to the National Obedience Invitational.  Trey was my next obedience dog. I'm presently showing Cyrano and Jekyll. All of these dogs are blue merle collies.

     My human family consists of three adult children, two daughters and a son, all who inherited my love of dogs. Both my daughters are also trainer/exhibitors. One daughter, a Marine Corps dog handler, now runs her own business training dogs from pet obedience to police work and everything in between.

     I've put numerous titles on each dog, including titles from Obedience, Rally, and Conformation in both AKC, UKC and CDSP. We're working on herding and tracking titles.  I have over 43 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 training philosophy is to find the best way to HAVE FUN while teaching your dog what he/she needs to know in order to go into the competition ring and do well!

Diane Kramer
     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, a Rottweiler named Molli.  In due course, two things became apparent: First, the love affair with Molli would not last long unless we did some training with 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 K-9 OTC, and my ongoing association with Patience Unlimited.  With Patience Unlimited I understudied, 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 and STAR puppy evaluator. I will assist in the beginner classes at K-9 OTC and also teach some of the other classes as needed. I am also hard at training Ace, my 7 year old Labrador Retriever, who has earned his Utility Dog title along with 17 OTCH points and 3 High In Trial placements throughout his career. He currently has 3 UDX legs along with his Rally Excellent and Novice Agility titles. Ace is also a certified Therapy Dog participating in the ROCK (Reading Out Loud Creates
Knowledge) program at the Banyan School in Fairfield where he gets read to several times a month by children with reading and language disabilities. Sophie, my 2 year old lab, is full of energy and shows great potential for the obedience ring, agility, and for field trials. She has earned her Rally Novice and Beginner Novice obedience titles. My previous lab, Luka, who taught me so much, earned his Utility Dog Excellent and his Obedience Master titles before he retired.
     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
Joni Primas

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.