My interest in dogs began at an early age, and my first dog which my family acquired from the dog shelter in 1981 placed in the top five three times at the Ohio State Fair during my years competing as a youth in 4H. Looking forward, I had settled on the German Shepherd breed by the time I was in 7th grade in 1987. While attending a dog show with a friend in high school, I noticed the dogs in the obedience ring and was fascinated: a love of the sport was born. While it was several years before I acquired my first competition dog and ventured into the obedience ring, the time between was spent learning, experimenting in other dog show venues and preparing for that day. The first time my dog Jaz and I entered the Novice A ring we not only won our class but earned the second highest score in the entire trial; the second day, we won the High in Trial award. There was no turning back! Since then I have competed at hundreds of shows including the German Shepherd National (winning classes, having a tie score for High in Trial, and earning the High Combined score for the highest total from the two uppermost classes) and the National Obedience Invitational (earning the designation of top scoring German Shepherd and in the top 10 of Herding Group dogs). Many other accomplishments can be seen on the "Awards" tab. I also enjoy other sports with my dogs such as barn hunt, agility, nosework and others - our dogs are so versatile!
In order to provide you with the most up-to-date methods and techniques in training, I attend various training workshops. I have worked with some of the top trainers in both the US and Canada, including Laura Romanik (2009 National Obedience Dog of the Year) in 2011 and 2015, Fred Hulme (who represented the USA at the International World Cup in England at Crufts and whose latest dog earned more High in Trial awards than any Golden Retriever in history) in 2013, Ward Falkner (ranked the top team in Canada multiple times, 2x winner of National Obedience Championship in the USA, Hall of Fame member) in 2013, and Connie Cleveland (first Golden to earn both an obedience and field championship and owner of The Dog Trainers Workshop) in 2015, to name a few. In 2017 I traveled to North Carolina to work with Petra Ford, a 2x National Obedience Champion and and the first American team to win the Obedience World Cup. In 2019 I took a week trip for several seminars by top national competitors and AKC judges such as Celeste Meade, David Maurer, Kim Hicks, Brenda Riemer, and Matthew Twitty. Most recently, in 2022, I had the long-awaited opportunity to work with highly respected behaviorist Brenda Aloff at a clinic in Columbus; there was so much to learn about canine body language, how dogs communicate, and how we can improve our communication with them.
I travel to obedience trials several times a year - while I realize that most of our clients are not interested in competing, I believe that they deserve a trainer who has the ability and confidence in their training to have their skills objectively evaluated in a challenging environment. As the old saying goes, "the proof is in the pudding!"
My training experience has ranged from working with youth in 4-H programs to retirees and everything in between, a variety of breeds and training levels from puppy to advanced. I have also volunteered in various capacities with the local humane society since 1990.
Athens Dog Training is located in southeast Ohio - just a short distance from Parkersburg, WV, Logan, OH, and Lancaster, OH.