Carrie Alongi | Jane Aten | Anni Black | Darlene Blackman | Kathleen Call | Sally Connell | Yuching Desch | Ann Glascock-Ryan | Virginia Grainger | Joan Green | Annie Humphrey | Heather Johnson | Dawn Kovell | Chloe MacBean | Betsy McGee | Amy McPherson | Nancy Mimms | Sarah Owings | Alissa Porter | Helen Rigg | Karen Schuerholz | Karen Schwartz | Paula Skelton | Dev Sperber | Annette Thomason | Ali Vorhies | Beth Weil
Carrie Alongi attended the Marin Humane Canine Behavior Academy and volunteered as a dog training assistant prior to becoming an instructor. She believes that positive, choice-based training is the best method to produce good behavior and a confident, happy family dog.
A lifelong lover of animals, Carrie focused on a pre-veterinary/agriculture program in high school and went on to work as a veterinary technician before joining the corporate world. She is excited to return to working with dogs and continues to attend workshops, seminars, and online courses to expand her dog behavior knowledge and training skills.
Carrie began taking nosework classes at Marin Humane to build her young dog’s confidence and manage his reactivity, and now actively trains and competes in K9 Nose Work. Carrie shares her home with Tobee, a French bulldog, and Oliver, an Entlebucher mountain dog.
Jane Aten is the Behavior & Training Canine Volunteer Coordinator at Marin Humane. She began teaching dog training classes at Marin Humane following the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home orders. In addition to teaching classes and working with Marin Humane’s 250+ Behavior & Training volunteers, she also evaluates shelter dogs and leads playgroups. Before joining the Marin Humane Behavior & Training team, she worked at an animal rescue organization in Walnut Creek as an Intake & Behavior Specialist and Kitten Kindergarten instructor.
Jane’s interest in animal behavior started when she adopted Albie, an 8lb terrier-poodle-mix with a slew of issues including leash reactivity and severe separation anxiety. Her love and dedication to Albie lead her to discover positive dog training methods. Jane’s goal in life is to help animals and the humans that love them live happier lives together.
Anni Jay Black, CBA I & II, CTDI, is a dog training instructor, Pen Pals of San Quentin instructor, and shelter cat evaluator with more than 15 years’ experience. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and a canine conditioning coach and trick dog instructor through the Do More With Your Dog program.
Anni’s current focus is on small dogs. She enjoys showing people how to have fun with their small dogs while still expecting and maintaining good manners. She truly enjoys helping people find joy with both their dogs and cats. Drawing on her extensive expertise with multiple species, Anni developed and delivers special cross species workshops including cat-dog harmony workshops and horse-dog trail sharing workshops. At home and beyond Anni trains agility with her Husky, in between teaching new tricks to keep everyone smiling!
Darlene Blackman has worked in animal welfare for nearly 40 years. She is a dog training instructor as a part of her role as the director of community engagement, where she manages the Pet Care Assistance, Pet Safety Net, Animal-Assisted Programs, and Share a Book programs as well as Humane Education. Darlene is well known in the industry for having created the Your Dog to Share and the Share a Book animal assisted therapy dog programs. She presents workshops at many local and national conferences featuring the work of Marin Humane community engagement programs and the human-companion animal bond. During her tenure at Marin Humane she has also held positions in education, adoptions and the behavior and training departments.
Before joining the team at Marin Humane, Darlene worked for 10 years at the Massachusetts SPCA in animal care, humane education and volunteer coordination. She also worked at the Massachusetts Audubon Society, a farm education center, and at a livestock auction where she worked to create a safer, more humane place for the animals.
Darlene graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst where she studied animal science/veterinary medicine.
Kathleen Call, CNWI, CBA I & II, AKC CGC Evaluator, has been a professional trainer since 2009. A lifelong animal lover, she began her in-depth education into behavior modification and training when she adopted a dog with aggression issues. Her journey led her to discover the power of K9 Nose Work and its ability to transform reactive dogs. Kathleen completed specialized training through the National Association of Canine Scent Work and earned her CNWI in 2018. Kathleen also teaches Marin Humane’s rewarding Train-to-Adopt and Shelter Scents classes for the shelter dogs, in which volunteers bring adoption dogs to class to learn basic obedience, scent work and some cute tricks.
Kathleen’s specialty is teaching people how to “read their dog.” She believes that with a better awareness of dog body language and behavior, all human/canine relationships can improve in amazing ways. She enjoys seeing dogs and their people become more confident and comfortable through training. Kathleen lives with her husband and multiple mixed breed dogs in Muir Beach, CA. She actively trains and competes in K9 Nose Work.
Sally Connell is an agility instructor who has been a lifelong animal lover. Born and raised in Wisconsin, as a child Sally trained and competed with horses in hunters/jumpers and dressage. A close friend inspired her to try agility, so she started with her first agility dog, an Australian Shepherd in 2000. Discovering positive reward training and the exhilaration of running a course with her dog, agility became her focus. In 2009 her first Border Collie pup arrived, and serious training began.
Since then she has focused on International handling and competition, traveling to Europe for two European Open Teams in 2018 and 2019. She has also traveled to the Hungarian Open and trained with the famous Tamas Traj as well as USA World Team Coach Nancy Gyes. Recently Sally won a spot representing Team USA at the World Agility Open (WAO) in the Netherlands in 2020.
Sharing a home with her husband and three Border Collies, and spending time with her three grown children, Sally also loves to hike with her dogs in the mountains and run at the beach. She looks forward to giving back and helping people of all walks of life to play and have fun with their dogs on the agility field.
Yuching Desch, CPDT-KA, CTDI, CNWI, teaches Family Dog 1-3, Tricks, Nosework and other game workshops. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Stunt Dog Judge, AKC CGC & Tricks Evaluator, AKC ATT Judge and a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.
Yuching specializes in training and working with fearful dogs using fun and confidence building activities such as tricks, games and nosework. Because of her own shy and fearful dog, Yuching strives to learn about dogs as much as possible. She has completed Marin Humane’s Canine Behavior Academy and continues to attend workshops and seminars with internationally renowned trainers.
Yuching enjoys sharing her knowledge and helping people discover the talents of their dogs. When not working with client dogs, Yuching enjoys baking (dog treats), knitting (dog sweaters), reading (about dogs) and hiking (with her fearful but very cute dog).
Ann Glascock-Ryan, CBA 1 & 2, has been passionate about dogs since she was a child and her first job, as a 10-year-old, was training her neighbor’s new puppy Spot at a Marin Humane class. An avid dog enthusiast, she spent time participating in obedience trials and then gravitated towards working with service dogs. She was a puppy raising leader for Guide Dogs for the Blind for 10 years, helping families during the 18-month commitment to socialize, train, and love these dogs before they move into service.
Ann has managed dog boarding and day care facilities in the past 10 years and understands families’ passion to create happy lives for their pets. Ann’s goals in dog training is to find what will work best for both dogs and their families to increase the enjoyment for all.
Ann enjoys spending time with extended family at the beach, hiking, live music, and relaxing at home. Her family shares its home and time with Hula and Guava from Canine Companions for Independence and her first little dog, Whimsy, who is expanding her knowledge of training and stretching her skills, and a Marin Humane alum, a kitty named Panda.
Virginia Grainger found her way to positive reinforcement dog training like many people, because she had a challenging dog. A consultation with Dawn Kovell quickly led to Virginia becoming a volunteer with Marin Humane in 2001. Shortly thereafter she was training all the volunteers in the Behavior Department. As time went on Virginia joined the staff and became an Instructor, Volunteer Coordinator, Evaluator, Consultant and a few more positions.
Some of the many initials Virginia can put after her name include, B.A, J.D., CPDT-KA, CBA I & II. Virginia is the Marin Humane Shelter Behavior Manager and oversees canine evaluations, adoption dog consultations and is also teaching classes and doing private consultations.
Virginia currently shares her home with her husband Jason and her 100% Marin Humane dog pack, which currently is made up of one Old English Sheepdog/German Shepherd mix, two Australian Shepherds and one 7 pound Chihuahua, who really runs the show.
Joan Green is an agility instructor and has been training and competing in the sport for 15 years. Prior to agility she devoted her time to dog obedience and herding. With her second agility dog, Joan achieved her dream of competing and being a semi-finalist at the USDAA Cynosports World Games in both 2012 and 2014. Her third agility dog is in training and beginning his competitive career.
Joan began teaching agility at Marin Humane in 2016 and strives to make the sport of agility a fun activity for all dogs and their human handlers. As a teacher she enjoys fostering teamwork and watching confidence and ability grow. She enjoys showing students that the technical sport of agility is actually a fun bunch of tricks involving jumps and tunnels and things to climb over. No matter the dog sport she is training, Joan’s primary focus is always to have a household of happy, healthy, well-mannered dogs.
Annie Humphrey, MSW, CPDT-KA, CBA I & II, and AKC CGC Evaluator, is professional trainer with more than 20 years’ experience working with companion animals in veterinary, shelter and private settings. She brings her background in psychology and social work, including many years serving at-risk children and their families, to her current focus on therapy dog training. She co-teaches the Your Dog to Share and Share a Book classes. She also teaches Rally Obedience.
Annie has loved and lived with animals her entire life. As a kid growing up in Novato, she rode her pony to do her paper route and a few years later earned ribbons showing her horse, a Thoroughbred/Arab cross. Annie lives with an adorable Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Scout. In addition to therapy dog work she has trained her dogs (past and present) in Rally Obedience and Agility.
Heather Johnson has been playing flyball since 1999 and teaching it since 2005. Teams coached by Heather have won multiple North American Flyball Association Regional Championships in both the Regular and Multibreed divisions. While flyball is her first passion, over the years Heather and her dogs have trained, competed, and titled in multiple other sports, including agility, regular and rally obedience, dock jumping, and lure racing.
Heather’s primary focus when training is to create confident flyball dogs and handlers who understand and love the game. She uses positive reinforcement and lots of different games to build enjoyment and teach the skills needed for successful flyball racing.
Heather currently loves, spoils, and plays flyball, agility, dock jumping and lure racing with Xena (Parson Russell Terrier) and Xoom (Border Collie-Whippet mix).
Dawn Kovell, KPA-CTP, CBA I & II, is the director of the Behavior & Training Department at Marin Humane. A member of the Behavior & Training staff since 2000, she has developed in-depth training and behavior modification skills through hands on experience working with thousands of dogs and people over the past two decades. In addition to her animal-related skills, she utilizes her extensive education, including an MBA from UC Berkeley, and her early career in business and finance to keep the Behavior & Training Department of more than 300 staff and volunteers running smoothly. Dawn is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Professional Dog Training Academy.
Dawn’s responsibilities, in addition to designing and teaching classes, include extensive rehabilitative work with shelter dogs. She created the B Team, an internal behavior modification team, in response to the many behavioral needs seen in the shelter population, devised specialized kennel enrichment protocols for shelter dogs and personally performs behavior triage when needed in the case of natural disasters and emergencies.
Dawn’s training specialty and passion is in sport dog training including building motivation and advanced obedience. She has titled numerous dogs in flyball and obedience, done agility at the master’s level and dabbled in schutzhund, dock diving and tracking. Dawn enjoys the particular challenge of finding techniques to address unusual problematic behaviors. Having grown up on a dairy farm in Ohio, she is also adept at addressing multi-species co-habitation issues. Dawn lives with her daughter and houseful of dogs and cats and actively trains and competes in flyball.
Chloe MacBean is currently earning her ABD and CPDT-KA certifications. Her lifelong love of animals brought her to Marin Humane, first joining as a Dog Training Assistant, and now as an Instructor. Chloe strives to expand her education in positive reinforcement and choice based training to bring new, practical training techniques to her classes.
Chloe’s training goals are to always empower pet parents to create a strong relationships with their dogs, based on clear communication, deep-rooted connection, and cooperation. She believes that this allows the dog to become a mindful thinker; making training fun and enjoyable for pet parent and canine alike!
Currently, Chloe shares her home with her husband, black Labrador, Jack; Leonberger, Takoda; and Lily the cat. In her free time, you’ll find Chloe exploring the best hiking trails in the North Bay, or at the beach with her fur babes.
Betsy McGee has decades of experience as a dog training instructor and has helped hundreds of teams learn the basics of obedience over the years. She discovered her passion for behavior and training when she enrolled her own dogs in Marin Humane classes back in 1985. Time flies when you love what you are doing because Betsy has now worked in the Behavior & Training Department for more than 30 years. What she enjoys most is working personally with clients and their dogs so that both can live harmoniously together.
While her roles have varied during her long tenure she is currently focused on helping Marin County senior citizens with their animals. Drawing on her decades of experience she helped develop and teaches a special obedience class for seniors and makes in home visits to Marin seniors who need assistance with their dogs’ behavior. She is also a critical member of the Marin Humane dog and cat behavior evaluation teams.
Betsy shares her home with her husband, two MH feline alumni, and a 45-mile-an-hour couch potato, also known as a rescued greyhound, who passes her time sleeping upside down on the couch.
Amy McPherson began her professional dog training career as an assistance dog trainer for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). During her 12 year tenure with CCI she was immersed in all aspects of assistance dog training and found the detailed work of training dogs to become high functioning partners for members of the disabled community to be thrilling on many levels. After she become a mother, Amy joined the teaching staff at Marin Humane, bringing with her the precision and techniques used to train service dogs to the highest levels to the Marin Humane Family Dog classes.
Amy teaches every class using modern dog training techniques where she emphasizes putting each skill into every day, practical use. Amy’s focus is on helping people develop a relationship with the family dog based on trust, understanding, kindness and common sense application. She strives to make the experience of living with a dog better for both human and canine alike.
Nancy Mimms, APDT, CBA I & II, is a dog training instructor. She has been a volunteer Dog Training Assistant at Marin Humane for nearly a decade. For the past twenty years, Nancy has also served as a Puppy Socializer and Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind which gave her exposure to the critical importance of early training and socialization on creating a stable companion dog.
Nancy has 35 years of experience coaching people as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. Passionate and inspiring, Nancy brings the skills she developed guiding people to reach their goals to the process of training dogs. Her focus is on developing and enriching the relationship people have with their dogs as the foundation for all training. Currently Nancy teaches Beginning Puppy, Family Dog 1 and Family Dog 2.
Sarah Owings is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, faculty emeritus for Karen Pryor Academy, and an advisor to the Glendale Humane Society in Los Angeles. She is passionate about transforming the lives of fearful, shut down, and over-the-top dogs, following learner-centric, science-based principles. As an international speaker and regular contributor to online training forums, she is known for her innovative approaches to tough behavior problems and her compassionate and insightful teaching. Sarah is a member of the ClickerExpo faculty, an instructor for Cyber Scent, and is a tutor and curriculum designer for Tromplo.com. Sarah teaches a specialty nosework clinic for Marin Humane, and engages in weekly consults with their behavior department.
Sarah is an avid nose work competitor, currently competing at the Elite level with her rescue Labrador, Tucker. Tucker was the recipient of the Harry Award in 2015, and has the distinction of titling at each level of NACSW (ORT—NW3 Elite) without a single miss. Sarah recently made the move from Los Angeles to San Rafael. She shares her life with Tucker, two senior house-rabbits, a beloved, 14 year old Pittie-mix-princess named Zoë, and her stupendously supportive husband, Fred.
Alissa Porter is an agility instructor and has competed in dog and horse sports since she was young. Her dog sport career started with a large enthusiastic golden retriever who needed a job to do. Since then, she has competed in both obedience and agility with her dogs. Alissa thought she was done with competitive dog sports, until she and her husband adopted a very energetic labradoodle named Oliver, and she knew he needed an outlet for all that extra energy, so off to the Marin Humane agility classes they went.
Alissa began teaching obedience and family dog classes for her local dog training club in Salt Lake City. She also worked as a Humane Educator for an Animal Control agency teaching dog safety and bite prevention to children and adults. She is excited to be teaching at an organization that also focuses on animal welfare with the ultimate goal of making all lives happy. Alissa specializes in teaching beginning agility teams the complex “art “of agility and breaking it down so every team is successful and has fun.
Helen Rigg, CATCH Certified Dog Trainer (CCDT), is a dog training instructor. She grew up in England, emigrated to Australia, and now lives in Marin where she is continuing her dream of working with animals.
Helen is a passionate animal lover, drawn to both dogs and horses from an early age. When she is not at the shelter, she can be found riding, jumping, and taking care of her friends’ horses in Petaluma. In Australia, whenever she could escape her former career as a food stylist, she worked as a horse riding instructor, teaching beginner riders the fundamentals of good horsemanship and safe riding. Through this, she learned the importance of patience and understanding in inspiring confidence in her pupils to help them achieve their goals, and she always aims to use these same skills and principles in her dog training classes.
Helen’s journey at Marin Humane began as a dog training assistant before being recruited into the dog behavior team where she assists with behavior consults and queries from the general public. Helen can also be seen walking the extra-care pet pal dogs, and is a member of the screen team.
Karen Schuerholz, CBA I & II, AKC CGC and Trick Evaluator, has been a key contributor to Marin Humane since 1998. Currently a professional dog training instructor and behavior consultant, Karen is also a critical member of the team in the Behavior & Training Department that screens dogs prior to being evaluated. Previously Karen was an adoption counselor, where she got an up close view of what successful dog-canine partnerships look like. Karen feels lucky to have turned her life’s passion into her dream job.
Karen’s passion is helping people learn to read dog body language, training companion dog obedience, and working with reactive dogs. Helping each student understand and clearly communicate with their dog is at the core of her classes. Her training methods are based on the fundamental belief that patience and relationship is key to solving and understanding many problems with pet dogs. She primarily teaches in Corte Madera and Mill Valley but also at San Quentin as part of the Pen Pals program and regularly fosters dogs. In addition to attending canine seminars and workshops every year to keep her knowledge up-to-date, Karen has two dogs that motivate her to keep current on training techniques.
Karen Schwartz, CPDT-KA, CBA I & II, has worked as a professional and volunteer trainer throughout Marin and Sonoma Counties over the past six years. She is an active professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and has served as an adjunct professor at Bergin University for Canine Studies.
Karen has been involved in training animals for the past 15 years. She previously trained and competed horses but was bitten by the dog training bug when she adopted a high energy hound mix named Darwin and started in classes at Marin Humane. As an instructor she enjoys the opportunity to combine her love of the outdoors with working with animals and their humans. Karen’s strengths include helping shy dogs build confidence and excitable dogs find focus. She builds success by bringing training out of the classroom and into the real world of the streets and trails.
Karen regularly attends dog training seminars and workshops to enhance her skills and actively trains and competes her own dogs in K9 Nose Work and Agility at the Masters level.
Paul Skelton, CBA I & II, is a dog class instructor with an expertise in both dogs and cats. She has a background in veterinary medicine, dog grooming and dog training. She has worked as a registered veterinary technician for more than 35 years and attended the SFSPCA’s well respected dog grooming school before pursuing her passion for rescue and rehabilitation in animal shelters. She has been teaching pet dog classes and making people and pets happy together for 15 years.
She has rescued and fostered many dogs and puppies over the years and for the past decade has taken a particular interest in feline behavior. In 10 years, Paula has rescued, tamed, and placed hundreds of rehabilitated feral kittens in new homes. Today, she shares her home with three small rescue dogs who are excellent canine ambassadors and share their home with many feline friends.
Dev Sperber became hooked on agility in 2013 after adopting a super high energy two-year-old Australian terrier. Jake needed a job and on the advice of a behaviorist, Dev signed him up for a beginning agility class at a local shelter. She realized how dog training can create clearer, deeper two-way communication between dogs and people. Within a couple of years, Jake evolved from being the class clown to successfully competing in the sport of agility.
Fast forward to 2020 and Dev’s passion for dog training and agility is greater than ever. She continues to expand her knowledge by attending seminars with top national and international agility handlers, but her most influential teachers continue to be the dogs in her life. In addition to teaching agility at Marin Humane during Covid-19’s SIP, Dev created OCEAN, an online class that teaches people how to develop better communication with their dogs so they can enjoy happier, more satisfying training experiences, improved performance, and a deeper connection.
She is currently competing at the masters/elite level with her Australian terrier, Lil, and her border collie, Takoda. Lil’s accomplishments include winning two national championship events, two regional events, and competing in the big distance division at NADAC Championships twice. Takoda’s career is off to a great start. He is currently competing at the regional and national level and has already achieved three championship titles.
In addition to being insanely passionate about dogs and dog training, Dev has had a successful international art career spanning 30+ years. www.devorahsperber.com
Annette Thomason has been training dogs since she was 15, when she dabbled in obedience and herding with her first Australian Shepherd. Annette and her second Aussie, Sydney, discovered agility in 2001 and she was quickly bitten by the bug and has enjoyed being a student of the sport ever since. She currently competes both locally and nationally in UKI, AKC, and USDAA with her border collie, Savvy, who is the best merlie girlie in the universe.
One of the things she loves most about agility is the incredible bond and partnership you create with your canine teammate. Annette loves training, attending seminars, and learning all she can about the best methods to use to train the behaviors needed to make them the most efficient team possible. Her focus is on the use of verbal cues in conjunction with motion and positional cues that helps teams create the fastest lines for the dog. When she is not obsessing about dog training and agility, Annette teaches high school chemistry at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa.
Ali Vorhies, CBA I & II, is a professional trainer and dog behavior consultant. She teaches family dog obedience, Rally obedience and Nose Work classes with an emphasis on keeping training fun and practical for all involved. She was fortunate to have learned from some wonderful mentors and teachers early on in her career and continues to improve and expand her dog training and behavior knowledge through seminars, online education courses, and reading respected authors in the field.
Ali’s strength is in helping students and dogs develop a stronger relationship through respectful training and in finding positive new approaches to any behavior issue. A lifelong dog lover, Ali has trained and competed her own dogs in Rally Obedience, scent work, agility, and water performance sports, earning Rally Obedience Novice, NW2, and Apprentice Water Dog titles with her Portuguese water dog, Magic.
Beth Weil is the Feline Behavior Coordinator. She developed and teaches many of the classes and workshops Marin Humane offers for cat lovers. She draws on her background in Zoology and Biology from UC Davis in her role as shelter cat evaluator and private feline behavior consultant. Beth grew up with cats, dogs and horses but found her passion in cat rescue and behavior after her 20-year-old kitty passed away. She spent 10 years improving the lives of rescue cats before starting to volunteer at Marin Humane. In 2012, Beth retired from her role as an academic biology librarian at a University and joined the Marin Humane Behavior & Training team as the resident feline expert.
Beth specializes in improving people’s relationship with their cats. She firmly believes that training cats is a great way to improve the relationship between people and cats by helping them speak the same language. Her expertise runs the gamut but includes strategies and techniques for the most common feline problems including litter box issues, aggression and helping guardians understand a cat’s perspective when integrating a new dog into the house. She lives with two well trained kitties who will do high fives and don’t wake her up in the morning.