Born, raised and educated on the East Coast, my future husband and I moved to California in the mid 80’s. For more than 30 years I worked as a regulator, managing the Hazardous Materials Program for the City and County of San Francisco. I’ve been blissfully retired since 2014 and have been a member of MDDTC since then. I am a past Vice president of MDDTC and in 2020 I was named Training Director for the Club. I am also a member of the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northern California.
We acquired our first Shetland Sheepdog in 1985 but it wasn’t until 2001 that I began agility training and quickly became hooked. In all, 8 Shelties have been part of my family and I brought my mother’s Shih Tzu from Florida to join the pack a few years ago.
I began teaching the Tricks Agility and More class at MDDTC in 2017, then joined the Saturday rotation for Puppy, Beginners and Novice a couple years later. In 2019 I began to teach Scent Work classes. Recognizing that not all students are interested in competition dog sports, as Training Director, I have developed several new classes for the Club including Family Dog 1 and 2 and Scent Work Fun, a non-competition class where dogs and handlers are introduced to the sport.
Through the years I have learned that each dog is different and there is always more than one way to successfully train a behavior. It is the handler’s job to find the best way for the dog that is by their side ON THAT DAY. My training methods are reward-based and my “recipe” for dog training includes lots of positive reinforcement, well placed re-direction when necessary and mutual respect between dog and handler. Add to that a huge amount of FUN and you have the makings for a truly rewarding, life-long relationship with your dog, whether or not you take it to the competition ring.
My current dogs include:
Trip Sheltie; 10 yrs
Penelanes Time Traveler CDX BN RAE SWA SCE SBE SHDA CGCA TKI
Actively competing at the Utility level in Obedience and the Masters level in Scent Work
Declan Sheltie; 6 years
Homewood Catching Fire CD BN RE NA NAJ OF SWN SCA SIA SEA SHDA CGCA TKI Actively competing at the Open level in Obedience, the Masters level in Rally and the Excellent level in Scent Work
Shine Sheltie; 7 months
Wedgewood Little Light of Mine
Just getting started – preparing for Obedience, Rally and Conformation
Sheba Shih Tzu; 11 years
Lap Warmer par excellence!
My Shelties who have gone to the Bridge were also titled in several dog sports including Obedience and Rally as well as multiple AKC Agility championships.
I have been a member of the Mount Diablo Dog Training Club for nearly twenty years. I have grown up primarily in Contra Costa County and I have been an elementary school teacher for 22 years.
I grew up with dogs as a young child. My love of training was fostered by my step-mother who took me to shows as I was growing up. I adopted my first Sheltie in 2002 with the goal of going as far in obedience as possible. I became a member of MDDTC and soon took on many roles at the club. I have been the registration secretary practically since joining. Part of that job
is to return phone calls and often give puppy training advice over the phone, as well as, discuss the most appropriate class.
Soon after, I also became an assistant trainer in puppy through advanced obedience classes, which naturally led to becoming a trainer.
My philosophy of training is the use of positive rewards. We cannot correct a dog until we truly know that they understand what we are asking of them. Training should be fun for the dog and the handler.
I am also a member of the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northern Claifornia.
Oliver - BN, GN, CD, CDX, RN, RA, RE, CGC
Nick - BN, CD, RN, RA, TKN, CGC, CGCA
Kyte - 4.5 years - TKN, CGC, CGCA, RN, RI, BN
Dylan - 2.5 years - working toward a BN
I was born and raised in California and grew up in a small town 30 miles from Sacramento. My family always had animals. We had dogs, cats, a lamb, canaries, parakeets, hamsters, and I think that’s it. We didn’t have them all at the same time, but I’ve always loved being around animals.
I went to Sacramento State, with the thought that I might major in some type of biology. That didn’t happen. I met my husband there I went to work as a stenographer for the State of California. My husband Neal, is a Mechanical Piping Detailer. We had our daughter 3 years after we were married. I then was fortunate to become a stay-at-home mom. Our son was born 2 years later.
When our children were old enough, I went back to college and became a pre-school teacher. I taught pre-school for 5 years. During this time, I enrolled in a sign language class, thinking that this would be really fun to teach the preschoolers. My instructor, educated us about the deaf, and also introduced us to the fascinating world of sign language interpreting! This was what I wanted to do! I took many sign language classes, went through a pilot program at San Jose State that was specifically focused on Educational Interpreting, and became a Certified Sign Language Interpreter for the Mount Diablo Unified School District. I spent the next 29 years as a Sign Language Interpreter. I interpreted for students from pre-school to 12th grade. In 2020, the District offered me the “Golden Handshake” and I retired. I still substitute for the District.
We had a few dogs through the years, but we got our first Bulldog in 2010. Her name was Sweet Bailey’s Irish Creame. She was the color of Bailey’s Irish Cream. We needed training. In 2013, we signed up for an obedience class with Mount Diablo Dog Training Club, and we immediately saw an improvement. I was the one that needed the training! We began to compete in the obedience ring. In 2013 we also became members of MDDTC. I became the secretary of the Club and continued until 2020.
I left the position of Secretary so that I could devote more time to a therapy dog organization named LAPS – Loving Animals Providing Smiles. This organization is located in Napa. I am currently a Board member for this organization. We have been members since 2015 when Bailey became certified. Bailey did regular visits to Memory Care facilities, Assisted Living facilities, and the Maritime Academy. Sadly, Bailey crossed the rainbow bridge in 2018.
Benson (Sir Benson Wiggle Bottoms) who we got in 2016, is also a certified Therapy Dog. He does regular visits to Memory Care, Assisted Living, the Maritime Academy, and he also participates in the CAPERS program at the Cordelia library, where children read to him. Benson has also made appearances at public events such as parades and walkathons. He loves people and the crowds! Our newest addition to our family is Little Princess Bloomie. We got Bloomie in 2018. She is currently in training to also become a Therapy Dog. We continue to take classes. Benson is working on Open, and Princess Bloomie is working on Beginner Novice.
We have been members in good standing with the Bulldog Club of Northern California since 2010. Neal and I organize and run the Run Throughs for the MDDTC. We have been doing this since 2014. We also have been ring stewards at AKC Trials. I have been an assistant trainer for the MDDTC Beginner Obedience classes from 2018-2020.
Dogs have been a passion of mine since I was a young child, being raised with them all of my life in the Bay Area/Northern California.
I started training my own dogs when I was 12 years old through training books at my local library, before computers. My 1st dog was a Boxer/German Shepherd mix. He was my constant companion for 10 years. Since then, I have raised & trained my own dogs including a German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, and a German Shepherd, Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog mix. All of them rescues.
Throughout the years, I have continued taking dog training classes, online classes, webinars, and seminars, reading books to strengthen my knowledge in dogs and using reward-based training. As I retired as a Custom Dance Competition costumer after 35 years, I knew where passion had led me. It was to become a dog trainer to help their owners realize the joy and companionship their pet can bring.
Currently, I am a member and serve on the Board of Directors as their Treasurer at the Mt. Diablo Dog Training Club. I have also volunteered at a few of their matches, learning even more.
At Mt. Diablo Dog Training Club, I was the Tricks, Agility & More Instructor & currently the Family Dog 1 & 2 Instructor & Puppy Head Start Instructor.
I rescued my current dog, Zoee, a German Shepherd, Border Collie, American Cattle Dog Mix a few years back from certain death. She came with extreme fear reactivity to anything that moved. Through patience, lots of tears, researching, love, and understanding, I am proud to say, she is the best companion that I have ever had. We have a bond like no other. Her reactivity, a thing of the past.
Zoee is registered with AKC Canine Partners, NASDA, NACSW, & Barn Hunt Assoc.
We are currently training and competing in Barn Hunt, Nose work (Scent Work), Rally, Tricks, Urban Locating, Trailing & Locating, and Lost Item Recovery. Zoee also trained in Bio-Detection.
Zoee currently holds Titles in:
AKC Virtual Home Manners
AKC Rally Intermediate
AKC Barn Hunt - Open
AKC Scent Work Handler Discrimination Excellent
AKC Scent Work Advanced (all Elements)
AKC Scent Work Excellent Interior
AKC Scent Work Excellent Container
She has Legs in AKC Scent Work Excellent Buried & Exterior, and Master’s level Interior & Containers
NASDA: Virtual Lost Item Recovery Title – Level 1
Urban Locating, Level 2 Title
Lost Item Recovery Level 2 Title
Ranked #3 in Nation for Lost Item Recovery Level 3
Trailing & Locating Level 2
I have been training and competing with my Brittanys in Obedience since 1996, and in Rally since its inception. Teaching has been my lifelong passion.
I received my Master’s Degree in French and taught French in Junior High School. I then taught Women’s Studies to adults. Prior to teaching the dog sports of Obedience and Rally I taught Horseback Riding to children and adults.
I am a member of 4 Bay Area Obedience clubs: Mount Diablo
DTC, Oakland DTC, San Mateo DTC, and Vallejo DTC. I currently teach Obedience and/or Rally for 3 of these clubs. I have conducted Obedience, Rally and Canine Freestyle workshops for my breed club.
I love teaching and helping others to achieve their goals, no matter what the discipline. I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement and I encourage my students to use verbal and physical rewards, as well as treats and toys, in their training.
I have put CDX Obedience titles on two of my Brittanys, a CD title on one, and BN titles on two. In Rally, I have put RAE titles on two of my Brittanys and RAE4 on one. I have competed at the Rally Nationals three times. I competed with my older Brittany at the RAE level in 2013 and 2016, and with my younger Brittany at the Intermediate level in 2019.