Novice obedience class trainer, Linda Greco, has worked with all sizes and temperaments of dogs from the small toy breeds to the largest, including her family Irish Wolfhound. She has also trained the shyest, timid dogs as well as aggressive canines. She can help new or experienced trainers learn to train their own dog, regardless of size or temperament.
Linda has been training dogs professionally since 1975 (although she started training with her own dogs as a teenager). She studied with trainers teaching police dogs, later running an obedience class for Explorer Scouts training police dogs in San Diego. She spent five years specializing in dogs with behavior problems and basic obedience, as well as running her own obedience classes.
Linda loves to work with large classes and encourage trainers in the proper way to walk with their dogs as they learn how to teach their dogs by placing them in position and rewarding them with lavish praise. From there she moves them into practicing the right commands and positions, as the dogs start to try to please their handlers. Eventually, when the dogs understand what they should be doing and have demonstrated they can do the exercise, Linda teaches the handlers how to cope with teaching the dogs the consequences of choosing not to follow commands
When not training dogs or working at her day job, Linda loves to train her horse as a Mounted Assistance Unit to help patrol local parks. She also can often be found showing her own dogs in the confirmation ring at dog shows.
Advanced Novice Obedience trainer Sherron Corner has lots of experience in the obedience ring, as well as in agility and in the conformation ring. Sherron has put a variety of titles on her dogs from CD, CDX, UD to Rally and Agility titles. She has earned the Well Judy Award (for dogs that have earned a 195 or higher out of 200 points in the ring three times in a row) several times. She has had several of her West Highland White Terriers place in the top 25 for Terriers in obedience, as well as Agility, with one dog ranked as the number one Westie for three years in a row.
The Advanced Novice class includes everything from sharpening the handler and dog’s Obedience, Rally and Agility skills, teaching you to teach your dog to focus on you. Sherron helps handlers prep themselves and their dogs for competing. She wants the class to be fun and interesting for the handlers and the dogs.
Sherron finds teaching class fun and a challenge because she wants her students to go on to show their dogs. “I teach the class with the hopes that every student will learn to bond and grow more with their dog as a team. My goal is that they walk away with four or five things that they have accomplished with their dogs and have a more attentive dog.” It is not unusual after completing her class for students to enter their first obedience or agility class.
aren Saunders has always had dogs. She was brought up with a Beagle and a German Shepherd, but didn’t start taking her dogs to obedience classes until she was an adult. In 1986, she began competing with her first Doberman in obedience and met the members of HDOC. She joined and hasn’t looked back. Her dogs have earned various obedience titles. While training dogs, Karen wanted to instill a love of volunteering in her sons, so she applied to raise guide dog puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. in San Rafael (GDB). GDB required strict puppy training, so Karen learned a new type of training for service dogs.
Eventually the Saunders’ family raised two puppies for GDB, but sadly enough neither made it as guides (less than 50 percent make the cut). So they returned to the Saunders’ home. But both dogs felt they were being punished because they could no longer go all the places a service dog in training could visit. Karen began to educate herself about therapy dogs. This journey is what committed her to training her own dogs so they could pass the evaluations and become registered therapy dogs.
“I have been involved with therapy dogs since 2004,” she says. “I am now working with our third and four therapy dogs.” Karen has personally had a Golden Retriever, German Shepherd and two Dobermans as registered dogs with Therapy Dogs International.
This class is geared to prepare a handler and dog to pass any therapy dog group’s test. The therapy dog class (four sessions) meets in different locations. “Since you never really know where you will be with your therapy dog, you need to be ready for any environment and distraction. I try to help you and your dog be prepared by the locations where we hold class.” Classes are held at a park, a restaurant with al fresco dining (with the dog learning leave it and basic dining etiquette), and a crowded shopping area.
Karen is one of our AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluators, our Therapy Dog Class trainer in addition to being a Therapy Dog International evaluator. She also occasionally substitutes for the novice obedience trainer.
To learn more about the therapy dog class or register for it, contact Karen Saunders at Finessa@jksfamily.org or call 818-244-1376.
Ann de Toth
Ann de Toth has been training dogs since 1986, starting with Alex, a red Doberman. The beginning of her training experience was centered on obedience (there was no such thing as rally at that time) and she had to be adept since her first dog moved into their studio apartment with her and her husband and they were not permitted to have dogs there.
Ann has trained dogs in novice, open and utility obedience, as well as tracking, rally and therapy dog. Her dogs have earned the titles of Companion Dog, Companion Dog Excellent, Therapy Dog, and Rally Excellent. (She did earn a leg towards a Utility title with a dog before the dog was diagnosed with hip dysplasia.) Although Ann loves owning large dogs, she is just as adept at helping trainers with small dogs. “I have found rally an excellent way of introducing dogs to the sport of competitive obedience,” she says. “Handlers are more relaxed and interact better with their dogs, who enjoy the experience in the ring and learn to focus on their handlers throughout the course. That interaction is essential and strengthens the bond between dog and handler – whether or not they plan to show formally in the future.”
Bill Marquardt’s puppy class helps your puppy with the big new world that he or she is facing. He uses positive methods in the training which means that HDOC rewards correct behaviors with such things as praise, treats, toys or life rewards such as getting to go for a walk. He wants both you and your dog to have fun learning. He teaches basic behaviors such as sit, down, come, stay, leave it and walk without pulling. He also works on getting your puppy accustomed to noises and movement. Putting these things together will build their confidence in themselves and their confidence and trust in you. Socializing your puppy with other dogs and people is a major part of puppy class so your pup can be an active happy member of your family wherever you may take them. All classes are ended with are there any questions or problems. Answering for one often helps many.
Bill has been training dogs since 2000. His first dog, Ike, was a challenge, an Amstaff pup his daughter brought with her when she moved back home. He was extremely dog aggressive so Bill sought help with training and discovered HDOC. With work, Ike became the model of what an Amstaff can be with proper training and love. Bill has learned from trainers at HDOC and studied with Paul Owens. In 2014 L.A. Magazine gave Bill an award for Best Puppy Class in L.A. They did this by secretly having someone take several different classes and then choosing the one that they felt was the best.
"In my class, I do not just try to teach people how to get their dog to sit or lie down,“ he explains. “I try to teach them basic techniques that they can use for any behavior that they want, even after they have completed the class. I believe that it is every bit as important for a person to read their dog and understand what your dog is trying to tell you as it is for your dog to understand what you want. Every dog is different, and I try to help the people learn to understand their puppy so that they can adjust their efforts to help their puppy become successful.”
CCPDT-KA certified Matt Harrington rescued Jack Russell terrier mix, Buddy, from the streets of Eagle Rock in 2011, just a month after moving to the neighborhood with his Pitbull, Bentley, and terrier mix, Scruffs. No collar, no chip, Buddy was a bit of a “terrible terrier” with aggression and escape artist issues. Neighbor and HDOC member Lora Martinolich recommended some training and so Matt’s relationship with HDOC began.
Matt has been around dogs his entire life. Growing up in the West Country (UK), he would walk the family dogs in the English countryside through the farmers’ fields, avoiding the bullocks and being sure not to worry any sheep. Upon moving to Washington, DC, for university, Matt was (strangely) dogless for a few years, and not feeling totally, ’complete,’ before Bentley picked him to be his dad. Being a pit, Matt wanted to ensure that Bentley was well socialized and trained from an early age with both people and dogs. Working with, and learning from, Bentley made Matt a better dog dad. Matt served two terms on the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, where he formed “Dogs of the Rock” and was instrumental in securing support and funds for the first off-leash dog park to be built in Los Angeles in over a decade.
After continuing with the HDOC for a couple of years, the opportunity arose to help out Bill Marquardt with the puppy class. To this day, Matt considers his time teaching puppy class to be one of the highlights of his week. While Buddy has improved greatly in temperament, we do not know how he happened to be on the streets or what happened to him. Had he been properly socialized as a pup he would have been less of a challenge, but no less lovable. Matt seeks to make bonding with and teaching you pup a good and rewarding experience. His teaching mantra is “energy and enthusiasm.” A happy, healthy, fun loving pup makes for a happy home.
“I like getting dogs started in tracking and I love helping a dog ‘discover’ it’s nose and the power that nose has,” states Pia who is a tracking trainer as well as a judge. She started tracking in 2008 with her own dog. She fell in love with the sport. “My own dog got her tracking dog title and her excellent title on her first try.” But she knows that doesn’t happen for everyone. “I have made it a point to train different breeds to learn their tracking styles since not all dogs look like Bloodhounds.” She also focuses on teaching the dog’s owner how to handle a dog when tracking and to learn to read the subtle clues the dogs give while following a scent. Training her own dog, attending tracking seminars all over the United States and volunteering at tracking tests gave Pia the skills to become a tracking judge.
Pia is qualified with the AKC to judge tracking, tracking excellent, urban tracking, variable surface tracking and earthdog. In just the few years since starting, Pia has helped other trainers earn their tracking titles as well as excelled to earn her own judging titles. She has also worked to have her dog become a Champion Tracker (earning the titles TD, TDX and VST), the first of her breed, Lakeland Terrier, to earn this title. “I get great satisfaction at seeing dogs thrive while doing something they love, and I am in awe every time a dog shows me something new about scent.” she says. “And I still get chills every time any dog gets a tracking title.”
Pia trains in the Malibu/Camarillo area.
Susan has trained her Beagle to earn the title of Tracking Dog and Tracking Dog Excellent. Susan’s patience, besides working with a Beagle, may come from also being a professional piano teacher. About three years ago, she began working with many different breeds and their owners to help them learn about the sport of tracking. “I started watching the other dogs in the classes we were in, and I tried to see what was motiving them. I have worked as many tests as I could and have read as much as possible to learn more about tracking,” she says.
Several of the dogs she has worked with are now titled in tracking. “We love tracking,” she states, “and are eager to help anyone who wants to get started. Also, I have worked as a kind of trouble shooter for several people whose dogs were ready to title,” she added.
“I have worked with all sorts of dogs; different sizes, ages and nose shapes! My Beagle is a scent hound, of course, but I have also worked with Boxers, Pugs and many other breeds, from a brilliant mini Dachshund to a gifted Retriever mix. It is a great intellectual challenge for dogs, and it is fascinating to see how they handle their own problem solving then they are using this innate gift.”
Susan prefers to work with small groups and individuals, usually on the west side of Los Angeles.