Companion Dog Instructors
Julie has more than two decades of experience training dogs. She has worked with thousands of shelter dogs at the Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS), where she has been a volunteer since 2006. Throughout her tenure at SAS, she co-authored the first positive, reward based dog training and handling handbook and was instrumental in successfully moving the shelter’s staff and volunteers to use these methods. She taught classes to volunteers and foster parents on dog handling and manners. She is also a serial foster parent and has successfully fostered some of the most behaviorally challenged dogs to come through the doors at SAS; safely fostered many long-term court case dogs; and has fostered dozens and dozens of puppies. She is a former president and board member of the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation, raising awareness and money for many of the progressive programs at SAS, including the comprehensive behavioral program.
Julie has been a dog agility competitor since 2010 and has successfully competed with her four very different dogs. Nola, the environmentally sensitive adopted Catahoula Leopard Dog. Kili, the puppet master Papillon. Pip, the rescued Border Collie with some ‘tude. And Street, the loveable Border Collie dork. This eclectic bunch has earned a combined 10 agility championships in 3 different organizations (USDAA, AKC and CPE).
Julie is AKC CGC Evaluator and is also a former board member and president of the Rainier Agility Team - one of the Pacific Northwest's largest agility clubs. She and her dogs have dabbled in herding, nosework, truffle dog, disc dog and dock diving. Way back when, Julie earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology at Humboldt State University and spent many successful years in the corporate world.
Kathy's teaching philosophy is based on concern for each dog and handler's unique needs. She believes training challenges should be addressed by considering the dog's physical and emotional wellbeing, prior training history and its relationship to its handler. When training new skills or solving a training challenge, Kathy’s approach is to work on foundation first, then gradually increase challenges.
For over 40 years Kathy has shared her practical knowledge and enthusiasm for a variety of dog activities, including obedience, rally-o, nose work, tricks, games, parkour, freestyle and Rally Freestyle Elements. She stays abreast of advances in training methods by attending seminars and workshops instructed by internationally recognized canine behaviorists and trainers.
Currently, Kathy focuses on teaching K9 Nose Work and Canine Parkour because both activities help to build a strong human-canine relationship and taps into dogs’ innate abilities. Nose Work because dogs “see” the world through their sense of smell. Canine Parkour because it builds confidence in a variety of environments and fosters teamwork between the dog and its human.
As an instructor, Kathy’s primary goals are to strengthen the bond students have with their dogs and to help them achieve their goals. She challenges students to be creative in their training and, most importantly, to enjoy working with their dogs. She believes it is vital for students to be consistent and provide clear communication with their dogs.
Kathy’s dogs have earned multiple AKC obedience and rally titles, World Canine Freestyle Organization (WCFO) championships in Musical Freestyle and Heel-to-Music, Rally Freestyle Elements Grand Championship, herding trials championships, trick dog championships, parkour dog title, and numerous placements in NACSW and UKC nose work trials.
She has trained and competed with Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds and Belgian Tervuren. Kathy is currently competing with her Jack Russell Terrier and Belgian Tervuren in Nose Work. Her 6-year-old terrier is competing at the Elite level in NACSW and her 2-year-old Tervuren at the NW2 level.
Kathy’s motto is “Every day and every training session should be a good time for you and your canine.”
Sarah has been a dog lover since she was a young child, and took an interest in training when she got her first dog, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, at the age of 8. After finishing college and pursuing a corporate job in the field of her degree, she returned to her true passion of dog training due to her adopted Thai dog, Pixel, who came to her with lots of issues including dog aggression and reactivity. Diving into the theory of positive reinforcement training at length in order to help Pixel with reactivity and other problem behaviors, she realized dog training was her true calling. Pixel now competes in barn hunt and lure coursing and helps other reactive dogs alongside Sarah by working as a "trigger dog" during training sessions.
After working through Pixel's behavior problems, Sarah became
interested in the world of dog sports, namely dog agility. She added two Border Collies, Quest and Arrow, to her crew. Quest actively competes in AKC and USDAA agility and AKC Fast CAT, and is preparing to trial soon in Rally, Barn Hunt, and Scent Work. Arrow is still a puppy, but she is focusing on learning foundations for Agility, Rally, Obedience, and Scent Work.
Sarah has been training dogs professionally since 2016, and is an AKC CGC and Trick Dog Evaluator. Her goal is to help dogs and people both understand each other more clearly for a better relationship. She has worked with student dogs from nearly every breed, and is very flexible about making sure the training style she uses is a good fit for the dogs she’s working with.