Anni Black | Darlene Blackman | Kathleen Call | Yuching Desch | Donell Ellingson | Joan Green | Kristin Herrera | Annie Humphrey | Dawn Kovell | Betsy McGee | Amy McPherson | Nancy Mimms | Helen Rigg | Katie Rogers | Karen Schuerholz | Karen Schwartz | Paula Skelton | Michelle Stern | Robin Terry | Ali Vorhies | Beth Weil | Kirsten Wojcik
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, 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. She lives with her husband, daughter, cat Snowy and amazing therapy dog Duncan.
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.
Yuching Desch, CPDT-KA, CBA I & II, CTDI, CCAC, is the client services supervisor in the Behavior & Training Department at Marin Humane. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Stunt Dog Judge, AKC CGC & Tricks Evaluator and a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.
Yuching specializes in puppy socialization, tricks, basic obedience training and working with fearful dogs using fun and confidence building activities. 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).
Donell Ellingson, CBA I & II, is a dog training instructor and a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and has taught classes for more than a decade. She began her partnership with Marin Humane as a volunteer in the Behavior & Training Department fifteen years ago, assisting in both dog training classes and behavior consultations. Today, with assistance from her rescue dog from Madera County, Donell teaches a wide variety of companion dog classes and is one of Marin Humane’s most engaging instructors.
Donell’s passion is teaching Family Dog 1 because she enjoys introducing people to the training process and making it both fun and effective. To keep it interesting, she is well known for incorporating tricks into her Family Dog 1 classes because, as she says, “it’s impossible not to have fun when teaching tricks to your dog!” When she is not teaching classes, you might find Donell hiking the trails of Marin with her dog.
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.
Kristin Herrera, CBA I & II, AKC CGC Evaluator, has been training dogs for 20 years. As the Marin Humane dog sports program supervisor and a behavior consultant she is responsible for developing and delivering the agility, flyball and scent work programs. Prior to leading the Dog Sports Program, Kristin held positions in both Marketing and Behavior & Training since she joined Marin Humane in 2003.
Kristin draws on her many years of experience to help her clients and their dogs live fulfilling lives and find their passions in the world of dog sports. Early in her career, Kristin volunteered as a Pet Pal, agility class assistant and canine evaluator. She is a committed professional dog trainer who is endlessly fascinated with dog behavior so she stays abreast of the latest in the field through in-depth seminars with national and international training and dog sport experts.
Kristin lives with her husband, two Corgis, a Border Collie, and two cats. She currently competes and has put titles in both agility and K9 Nose Work on multiple 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.
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.
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, 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.
Helen Rigg, is a dog training instructor, currently in the process of getting her ABD certification from the Academy of Dog Behavior. 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.
Katie Rogers, KPA-CTP, trained her first dog at the age of 7 when she came to a Marin Humane training class with her parents and the family dog. Lucky to find her calling early, Katie is now a certified professional trainer through the Karen Pryor Academy and also a certified dog walker through DogTec. Katie’s professional work with animals began in 2011 after she received her degree in psychology, giving her a mastery of learning theory and behavioral sciences applicable to all species. Committed to learning, Katie spends her days and nights studying behavior and training by attending classes, seminars and workshops with national and international experts in various canine disciplines.
Katie believes wholeheartedly in the power of reward based learning. Her focus, whether actually using a clicker or not, is to help her students and their dogs learn the rules of the training game so that both will win. While teaching practical skills or silly tricks, she enjoys seeing the fun her students and their dogs have learning to work together as a team. Katie herself has loved and lived with many animals over the years ranging from dogs and cats to rats, parakeets, bunnies, and a snake. Currently, Katie lives with a well-trained cat and an even better trained Smooth Collie. Katie actively trains her dog in obedience, agility and disc dog.
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.
Michelle Stern, ADB Certified, CCBC, is a dog training instructor specializing in helping families with dogs and young children. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and a licensed instructor with Family Paws Parent Education.
Michelle got her start with dogs when she attended summer camp at Marin Humane when she was a child. After teaching high school biology and running a cooking school for children for 16 years combined, she has returned to her first true love – dogs. As an educator, she uses empathy and compassion to help her students enhance their relationship with the family dog. She especially loves to support families with newborns, babies, toddlers and young children as they learn to navigate life with their dog.
Michelle shares her home with her husband, two teens, her dog Barley, 4 chickens…and the occasional foster dog or service puppy.
Robin Terry is an advanced agility instructor. She has loved training animals since her first dog, an English Springer Spaniel named Casey. Today she competes at the national level in agility with her dog Cassie. Robin’s focus is on teaching dogs to critically think, using clicker training in agility, and building focus and drive. She stays current on training and agility through seminars and workshops with top international and national handlers. Robin’s profession is biomedical engineering, but her passion is teaching motion-based handling for the fast paced sport of agility.
Ali Vorhies, CBA I & II, is a professional trainer and dog behavior consultant. She teaches a wide variety of 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 today 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 a positive new approach to any behavior issue. A lifelong dog lover, Ali has trained or competed her own dogs in obedience, scent work, agility and water performance sports. Ali is a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.
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.
Kirsten Wojcik, ADB Certified, CCBC, CTDI, is a dog training instructor and dog behavior evaluator for Marin Humane with a passion for helping people strengthen their relationships with their dogs through training and play. She is a Certified Canine Behavior Counselor and has a particular interest in understanding the motives of dog behavior, which helps her in building connections, problem solving and developing behavior improvement plans.
Kirsten has been a teacher and coach for over 23 years and knows that people and dogs learn better when they have positive relationships and have fun! She worked at a social group dog kennel and owned her own small dog boarding business, where she learned a great deal about how dogs socialize and speak to each other. She believes so much of dog training is being able to correctly understand each individual dog’s needs so she can communicate in a way that enables dogs and people to be successful. Her goal of every class is to help create a stronger bond between dogs and their people.
Kirsten is currently a dog mama to her own 5 very different dogs, and she loves training them and coming up with new games to keep them mentally stimulated and active.