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  • Maureen Patin CPDT-KA  Head Trainer
    Maureen Patin CPDT-KA Head Trainer
    Maureen Patin CPDT-KA  Head Trainer

    Founder / Head Trainer

    Maureen Patin CPDT-KA Head Trainer

    Maureen Patin CPDT-KA founded What a Great Dog! Training Center in 2007. She is the Head Trainer for both WAGD locations and the online learning division, Great Dog Online. Maureen earned her certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. She keeps current on the latest evidence-based, positive training techniques through online courses and attending seminars.

    Maureen utilizes positive, reward-based training methods to help people achieve fabulous results with their dogs. She firmly believes that making training fun for the dog AND the person will net the best results. The thousands of happy WAGD clients are a great testament to that philosophy!

  • Sharon Lacaze – Operations Mgr / Trainer
    Sharon Lacaze – Operations Mgr / Trainer
    Sharon Lacaze – Operations Mgr / Trainer

    Co-owner / Head of Operations

    Sharon Lacaze – Operations Mgr / Trainer

    Sharon Lacaze joined What a Great Dog! in January 2016. She is the Head of Operations and a Co-owner of What a Great Dog! She also teaches Pet Manners classes. Sharon utilizes positive, reward-based training where owners can have fun and their dogs enjoy working.

    Sharon has taken hundreds of classes with her dogs at WAGD since 2011. Sharon has attended several dog training seminars and online courses such as those offered by Susan Garrett. She is an AKC certified CGC evaluator. Sharon has also titled dogs in many sports including agility, rally (AKC and Cynosport), herding and barn hunt. Recently, she showed her Belgian Malinois, “Ripley”, to Grand Champion, start to finish in AKC owner-handled conformation.

    Sharon graduated with a Business degree from the University of Oklahoma and a Master’s in Business from Southern Methodist University and has many years’ experience in the corporate world. But her true dream was to one day work with dogs every day, all day. She is excited that this dream is finally coming true! Sharon currently has two dogs, “Misty”, a Standard Schnauzer and “Ripley”, a Belgian Malinois, who are quite the “characters” and keep her very busy. Her current training endeavors with her girls are agility, sheep herding, rally, barn hunting and dock diving.

  • Kenna Sloan – Director of Business Services
    Kenna Sloan – Director of Business Services
    Kenna Sloan – Director of Business Services

    Co-owner / Head of Operations

    Kenna Sloan – Director of Business Services

    Kenna joined the What a Great Dog team as the Business Manager back in 2011 when WAGD was just a single, small facility in Prosper. She put some skin in the game in 2016 when she joined the ownership team. Kenna is responsible for procuring the great products you find in both our retail locations. She enjoys attending educational seminars to stay up with industry trends. An annual trip to Global Pet Expo always yields exciting new products to add to the WAGD stable of unique, high quality items.

    Kenna has a bachelor’s degree in management, a master’s degree in journalism and a background working in both corporate finance and public relations. She loves working with her sister, Maureen Patin and being able to “play with puppies” daily!
  • Brittany Wingfield ADT, FDM, General Mgr / Trainer
    Brittany Wingfield ADT, FDM, General Mgr / Trainer
    Brittany Wingfield ADT, FDM, General Mgr / Trainer

    General Manager of WAGD and Nose Work Trainer

    Brittany Wingfield ADT, FDM, General Mgr / Trainer

    Brittany joined the What a Great Dog! Team in January 2017. She is the General Manager for our Frisco location.  She also teaches Nose Work and Pet Manners. She enjoys teaching pet owners all about positive training, building relationships, and better communication between pups and their owners. Brittany Wingfield  is an Accredited Dog Trainer and a Certified Family Dog Mediator (FDM).

    Brittany shares her home with Valkyrie the Dutch Shepherd and Turk the Pug. Turk has played in any sport that involves snacks but Nose Work is their true passion. Brittany and Turk have competed in every level of UKC Nose Work and take great pride in his many ribbons! Turk is two legs away from his Master title and has legs towards his Elite title, making him the most decorated Pug in UKC Scentwork. Valkyrie has also started training in Nose Work. Brittany has spent years studying under Bob Rodriguez and Ellen Heavner as well as researching on her own through other seminars and workshops. She has also developed her own Nose Work seminars that she hosts at WAGD. Brittany believes that having fun and trusting in your dog is the key to success that she likes to share with her students.

    Brittany has her Bachelor of Sciences in Biology from the University of Louisville and got hooked on positive reinforcement training while volunteering at the Louisville Zoo in 2010! This started her passion for training and helping clients build trusting and fun relationships with their dogs. Prior to taking her full-time role with WAGD, she was a Senior Zoologist with Carnivores at the Dallas Zoo.

  • Our Training Team ➡️
    Our Training Team ➡️
    Our Training Team ➡️

    Our Training Team ➡️

  • Adrian Phillips
    Adrian Phillips
    Adrian Phillips

    Adrian Phillips

    Adrian joined WAGD in 2022 as a Pet Manners and Conformation Handling trainer.  They have been involved in the world of show dogs for over 10 years, handling multiple breeds in the conformation ring. They got their first show dog, an Icelandic Sheepdog named Andi, in 2014.  Adrian and Andi have some very impressive accomplishments in the breed ring. They have won multiple Owner Handled Best in Shows, multiple Group Firsts, and have been ranked #1 Owner Handled Icelandic Sheepdog, and Top 5 in the breed. Adrian has competed at the Westminster Kennel Club shows multiple times, earning multiple awards!

    Adrian enjoys working with all species. She once trained a goat kid to its Trick Dog Novice title! Before moving to Texas, Adrian lived in Connecticut where they taught private lessons and group classes in Pet Manners and taught breed handling classes. Adrian currently has two dogs, Andi and Nyx, and a snake, Jeffrey. When they are not training or competing, Adrian enjoys photography, hiking, and reading.

  • Ashley Dickerson
    Ashley Dickerson
    Ashley Dickerson

    Ashley Dickerson

    Ashley Dickerson joined What a Great Dog in 2014. She is a Pet Manners trainer, who currently leverages her passion for puppy development by specializing in the Great Puppy Day School program. Ashley loves helping families build communication skills with their dogs successfully by developing strategies and plans that benefit everyone in the household. She is an avid advocate for creating fun activities for dogs and their families to do together to shape positive relationships. Ashley understands that living with a dog is not always easy, and can be frustrating, and strives to bring compassion and understanding to the human end of the leash.

    Ashley started in her dog training journey in 2010 as an apprentice trainer at Dog City Training Center. She also previously worked at a veterinary practice and a boarding facility, learning many components of the pet care industry. Soon after joining WAGD, she took on the role of an assistant manager with a focus on WAGD’s retail store. She was a very early advocate for the power of using enrichment to improve dogs’ behavior and quality of life. She created WAGD’s first enrichment seminar and drove the inclusion of a wide assortment of enrichment products in our stores.

    In Ashley’s free time she enjoys spending time out in nature with her dog, Jasper. She also enjoys photography, video editing, video gaming and going out with her friends.

    Jasper: ARCH Jasparagus Wigglesworth CGCA, CGCU, TKA, NW3-V, NW3-E, RL3-AOE, SN

  • Ashton Gray IAABC-ADT FDM
    Ashton Gray IAABC-ADT FDM
    Ashton Gray IAABC-ADT FDM

    Pet Manners Trainer

    Ashton Gray IAABC-ADT FDM

    Ashton Gray joined the What a Great Dog! team in 2017. They are an Accredited Dog Trainer through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a Certified Family Dog Mediator through Kim Brophey’s Applied Ethology LEGS Course, and an AKC CGC Evaluator. They studied under Michael Shikashio CDBC and completed his Aggression in Dogs Master Course in 2022. They teach a variety of classes at WAGD such as Manners, Trick Dog, and Nose Work. They also do one-on-one lessons with clients to work on an assortment of issues they may be experiencing, including fear, aggression, and more.

    Ashton’s story starts as many dog trainer’s do: with a dog that presented behavioral challenges. Potter, a Treeing Walker Coonhound mix with big feelings and an explosive personality, was Ashton’s introduction to the world of behavior modification. Working with Potter and helping him learn how to navigate a world that overwhelmed him sparked a deep passion in Ashton, pushing them to learn as much as they could about dog behavior. Ashton now uses that knowledge to help others strengthen their relationships with their dogs by helping them understand each other and how to navigate the world together. Ashton puts an emphasis on clear communication, compassion for handler and dog, and having fun in training. They believe in looking at the whole picture for both humans and dogs to help them live their best lives together.

    Ashton currently has two dogs: Potter the Treeing Walker Coonhound mix and Lazuli the Silken Windhound. Although Potter is mostly living the retired life now, he has spent his life doing a combination of adventuring, demo work for classes, nose work, and tricks. Lazuli can often be found at WAGD prancing through the hallways with Ashton, doing agility, and helping with classes and lessons. More than anything else, Ashton, Potter, and Lazuli enjoy nature walks with Ashon’s partner Lyndis. When Ashton isn’t working with dogs or learning more about them, they enjoy photography and an assortment of video games.

  • Cindy Dalton
    Cindy Dalton
    Cindy Dalton

    Flyball Trainer

    Cindy Dalton

    Cindy Dalton has been competing in flyball since early 2008, starting with her rescue cattle dog Bentley. The club she competes on, BreakThrough, is the 5th fastest team in U-FLI flyball in 2022, and 8th fastest all time. BreakThrough travels to the U-FLI Tournament of Champions and in 2022 placed second in Division 1. She currently has four border collie/whippet mixes and a border collie.

    Cindy started teaching flyball classes at Dog Quest in Lewisville in 2014 and started at WAGD in early 2017. Her philosophy is for dog and handler to have fun together and deepen their bond and learn to work as a team. She has worked with a wide variety of dog breeds, some not often seen in flyball including French bulldogs and a Xoloitzcuintli! Her retired flyball border collie, Myles, assists with training advanced dogs in class.

    Before working as a flyball trainer, Cindy worked for American Airlines for 19 years and graduated from University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

  • Devin Turk
    Devin Turk
    Devin Turk

    Nose Work Trainer

    Devin Turk

    Devin Turk joined the What A Great Dog team in 2019. He and his wife, Ash-Leah, have been involved in dog shows, sports, and training for twelve years. They have been involved in everything from Rally, Obedience, Conformation, Agility, Lure Coursing, Fast CAT, Nose Work, Barn Hunt, Dock Diving, as well as K9 Search and Rescue, Tracking, and K9 Scent Detection.
    Devin teaches Nose Work 101 at What a Great Dog and has been involved in Nose Work competitions and trials with his Great Dane, Gemma, for nearly three years. He has trained in nose work with many expert trainers, such as: Victor Borras, Caroline Oldham, Bob Rodriguez, Mickey Shufman, Ellen Heavner, and Robin Cameron.
    Devin is also a public school teacher, having taught as a band director and science teacher for twelve years. His philosophy is that anyone can learn anything from anyone with the proper support system and with consistent constructive feedback. His main goal for his students is for them to strengthen their bond and working relationships with their dogs and to have fun “playing the game” together.
  • Diane Cocchiara CPDT-KA
    Diane Cocchiara CPDT-KA
    Diane Cocchiara CPDT-KA

    Pet Manners Trainer

    Diane Cocchiara CPDT-KA

    Diane Cocchiara joined WAGD in 2018. She teaches Pet Manners, Puppy Preschools and Private Lessons. She completed her Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Foundations course in 2018 and WAGD Trainer Education Program in 2019. She now is certified through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers and an AKC Evaluator.

    Diane has two dogs of her own, Eugene a Lab/Hound mix and Arnold a feisty little Pembroke Welsh Corgi. They enjoy a variety of sports together including agility, rally, dock diving and tricks.

    Diane graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Oklahoma (Boomer!) and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University. Soon after graduation a foster puppy fell into her arms, dog training became a new passion and life never was the same since!

    Eugene: Rally – RL1X, RL2, FL1   Tricks – TKI

    Arnold: Agility: ACT1J, P1J    Dock Diving: GNJCH    Rally: RL1    Tricks: TKI

  • Ellen Heavner
    Ellen Heavner
    Ellen Heavner

    Ellen Heavner

    Ellen is Director of the nosework program at WAGD, and joined the team in 2020. She teaches at all levels of nosework/scentwork and is designing the curricula used by the other nosework instructors at WAGD.

    Ellen started training dogs in obedience when she was 14 in 4-H. She has dabbled in most dog sports over the years, but in 2014 she discovered Nosework and found her true passion.

    She has been teaching nosework for the last 7 years, competes in four nosework venues, and is a judge for UKC, AKC and USCSS. Ellen was one of the judges at the first AKC Regional Scent  Work Competition in 2022, and writes a blog: sniffingaroundscentwork.com

    Ellen competes with two dogs in nosework/scentwork, both Lagotto Romagnolos, and has a third dog, (Riley the Chihuahua), who is retired from nosework after being the 19th dog in the US to earn the UKC Elite Nosework title. Astra, her senior dog, has her Elite Nosework title (UKC) Nosework Champion (UKC), Scent Work Master, Scent Work Detective (AKC), and Elite 2 (NACSW). Astra has won many placements and High in Trial Awards. Yeti, her younger dog, has recently finished his first year of competition with his Scent Work Advanced title, and three High in Trial awards.

    In addition to Nosework, Ellen works as a full time Research Analyst at a global law firm.

  • Gabi Vannini CPDT-KA
    Gabi Vannini CPDT-KA
    Gabi Vannini CPDT-KA

    Specialty & Pet Manners Trainer

    Gabi Vannini CPDT-KA

    Gabi Vannini CPDT-KA joined the WAGD staff in fall 2018. She teaches barn hunt, agility, conformation, rally and manners. She is an AKC CGC, trick, ACT test, temperament test and farm dog evaluator. Gabi competes in a variety of dog sports with her own dogs and has titled in obedience, agility, rally, conformation, lure coursing, dock diving, barn hunt, tricks and herding. She has a particular fondness for rare breeds and has titled multiple “off” breeds in various dog sports, including Icelandic Sheepdogs, Norrbottenspets, Great Pyrenees and mixed breeds. She is heavily involved with her two rare breeds, as the president of the American Norrbottenspets Association and a board member of the Icelandic Sheepdog Association of America and the National Icelandic Sheepdog Rescue Alliance. Her Icelandic Sheepdog, Link, has been among the top ranked in his breed in agility, obedience, rally, conformation, coursing, barn hunt and dock diving. He has won High in Trials, competed at Westminster, the AKC Rally National Championship, AKC Obedience Classic and AKC Agility Invitational. She has a degree in Journalism from Michigan State University, and has worked in marketing for various animal shelters. Most recently, she managed the equine adoption program at the SPCA of Texas. She and her husband Chris have fostered more than 400 animals in the last few years. When she’s not competing or hanging out with her dogs, she enjoys traveling and trying unique new foods.

  • Jean May CPDT-KA
    Jean May CPDT-KA
    Jean May CPDT-KA

    Senior Pet Manners Trainer

    Jean May CPDT-KA

    Jean is a Senior Trainer who joined What a Great Dog! in April of 2017. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) who teaches Pet Manners classes and privates lessons at both locations. Jean has always had a passion for dogs and the desire to work with them. She has a degree in Emergency Management and retired from the emergency responder world after 20 years. She joined the staff of WAGD to fulfill her dream of working with canines. She had been a long-time WAGD client and completed the WAGD Trainer Education Program in 2017. She continues her education through seminars and working with mentors.

    Jean believes good training starts with building a bond with your dog, positive training, and equivalent trust. She has a Belgian Malinois, Stevie, and three German Shepherds, Casanova and Zeus.  She also has three horses that occupy her time away from work.

  • Jessica Ibarra
    Jessica Ibarra
    Jessica Ibarra

    Jessica Ibarra

    Jessica began attending agility classes at What a Great Dog! in 2018. She quickly developed a passion for agility and for understanding the applied behavior analysis behind positive reinforcement training in order to be a better handler.

    During the day you will find her working as a Senior Payroll Manager. Jessica has her Juris Doctor from Texas A&M School of Law and even though she doesn’t practice law, is a licensed attorney.


    She trains her dog, Oliver, a Chihuahua /Cocker Spaniel /Dachshund mix, Tricks and Rally, and competes in Agility and Barn Hunt. In her free time you will catch her attending agility workshops or listening to dog training podcasts to improve her understanding.

    Jessica hopes to help her students strengthen the bond with their dogs and build strong agility foundations to help them be successful and have fun as a team.
  • Katie Sharp
    Katie Sharp
    Katie Sharp

    Agility Trainer

    Katie Sharp

    Katie Sharp, PhD, has her doctorate degree in clinical psychology and has always been passionate about dogs and dog training. During her undergraduate years, she spent time in an animal learning lab clicker-training shelter dogs to help make them more adoptable and was heavily involved in fostering for the Nebraska Humane Society.

    Katie has always loved the sport of dog agility, watching it on television when she was a little girl. However, she wasn’t able to start training a dog in the sport until 2017 when she and her husband bought a puppy together. Katie and her first agility dog, Louie, have been on a wild ride in the sport ever since their first competition together. Since Louie has been playing AKC agility, he has held his spot as the #1 fastest cocker spaniel in his jump height. Additionally, he won High in Trial at his very first Cocker Nationals in 2019 at just 2 years-old. Later that year, Katie and Louie also won “Rookie of the Year” Award at their very first UKI Open. Louie has one UKI championship and two championships through AKC. In 2020, Louie placed third at AKC Invitationals in Orlando Florida, a national event. He ran clean in all of his runs at his first AKC Nationals and placed third in the ISC class (international style course). Earlier this year, Katie and Louie were invited to AKC’s 2nd Annual Premier Cup and made it to finals. Katie’s up and coming little agility star is just under 2 years-old, and he has already earned multiple agility titles.

    Katie is also involved in other activities with her dogs as well, and is especially passionate about trick training. All of her dogs have trick titles, and Louie was honored with the cocker spaniel in 2020 with the highest scoring trick routine for the National Trick Dog Competition. She has dabbled in freestyle with him, too, and is currently putting together a dance routine for next year’s national trick dog competition! Katie has also done Fast CAT, and Louie was invited to AKC’s Invitational this year for being the fastest cocker spaniel in AKC Fast CAT. She has also done some Rally, and her youngest has his Rally Novice title.

    Katie is passionate about using reinforcement-based training strategies and building a solid relationship with each of her dogs. They include a 12-year-old cocker named Sammy, who was her graduate school, internship, and post-doc companion; her 5-year-old heart dog Louie; a 4-year-old rescue named Winston; and last but not least, her almost 2-year-old up and coming agility start, Ollie. They are all cocker spaniels.

    Ollie: Skiboo’s Javalin Oliver Twist Of Fate, RN, OA, OAJ, NF, TKA
    Winston (Winnie): ResQ’s Win Tin Tin AX OAJ NF ACT2 TKI
    Louie: MACH2 Louie Winston Clumberstein MXS PAD MJG PJD MFB TQX T2B TKE

  • Kim Cameron
    Kim Cameron
    Kim Cameron

    Kim Cameron

    Kim Cameron joined WAGD in 2023. Kim’s journey into the world of dog therapy work began almost 20 years ago with a rescue Great Dane, Gandalf. His gentle nature and amazing abilities as a friend and partner compelled Kim to search for a way to share her dog with
    others. Kim continues today to follow her passion for therapy work with her 4th and 5th therapy dog partners, Great Danes Rita and Orion.

    Kim is associated with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs where she has been a member for 16 years and a Tester/Observer certifying and onboarding new members and their dogs for 12 years.

    Kim is a CGC and Trick Dog evaluator. She, along with her dogs, participate in Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Nose Work, Fast Cat, and Trick Dog.

    In her spare time, Kim likes to read, visit friends and family and take long walks.

  • Kristi Bass CPDT-KA
    Kristi Bass CPDT-KA
    Kristi Bass CPDT-KA

    Senior Pet Manners Trainer

    Kristi Bass CPDT-KA

    Kristi joined the What a Great Dog! team in 2016. She is a Senior Trainer, teaching Pet Manners in both group classes and private lessons at our Frisco location.

    While working with dog playgroups in the daycare setting, she became fascinated by canine behavior. After 8 years in banking, she decided it was time to change careers.  She completed the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Foundations course in 2016, and the WAGD Trainer Education Program in 2017.  In 2019 Kristi earned her CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer).  Kristi is an AKC Tricks and CGC evaluator, as well as a member of the Pet Professional Guild.

    Kristi enjoys teaching people to use positive training methods to teach their dogs to better fit into their families. She believes that training should be fun for the dog as well as the human.  Kristi and her husband, Robert, currently have 3 Boston Terriers named Joey, Chandler, and Doctor Geller, as well as a deaf Boxer named Gunther.

  • Laura Arasmith Wilson CPDT-KA
    Laura Arasmith Wilson CPDT-KA
    Laura Arasmith Wilson CPDT-KA

    Pet Manners Trainer

    Laura Arasmith Wilson CPDT-KA

    Laura Arasmith Wilson is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. She joined the What a Great Dog! team in 2018. She teaches Pet Manners in both group classes and private lessons at our Frisco location. She also teaches our Enrichment Seminar: Beyond Squeaky Toys!

    In 2013, Laura graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She has since interned with the Oakland Zoo and worked as a Veterinary Technician and Kennel Assistant for several vets and shelters. She completed the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Foundations course and the WAGD Trainer Education Program in 2019.

    Laura enjoys using positive training methods and enrichment to help build strong connections between dogs and their families. Laura and her husband, Jacob, have three wonderful dogs. Loki is a Lab mix rescued in 2015 and Baldur is a Greyhound mix rescued in 2017. Their newest addition to the family, Fenrir, is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi born in May of 2019. Fenrir is Laura’s sport prospect and has already started foundations training for Agility and Nose Work.

  • Macy Holdrich
    Macy Holdrich
    Macy Holdrich

    Pet Manners Trainer

    Macy Holdrich

    Macy joined What a Great Dog! in August of 2019. She completed the WAGD Trainer Education Program in 2020 and teaches Pet Manners at our Richardson location. She enjoys teaching clients how to build a relationship with their dogs using positive reinforcement training so that they can experience the joy of training together!

    Macy has a passion for positive, reward-based dog training and continues to learn though attending workshops and working closely with other WAGD trainers. She is also working on her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at the University of Texas at Dallas and aspires to be a CPA.

    She trains with her dog Atticus, a border collie mix, in Nose Work and Tricks, with a focus on building his confidence in new places. Her biggest goal in training is to make sure her dog is having fun!

  • Mads Mathias CPDT-KA
    Mads Mathias CPDT-KA
    Mads Mathias CPDT-KA

    Mads Mathias CPDT-KA

    Mads Mathias, CPDT-KA joined What a Great Dog! in 2022. They completed the WAGD Trainer Education Program and teach Pet Manners at our Frisco and Richardson locations. They love helping humans build a relationship with their pets using positive reinforcement and patience!

    Mads began their dog training career in New York City. They were a musical theatre actor and walked dogs on the side. As Mads walked several reactive dogs in the city, they developed a passion for understanding and communicating with dogs. They enrolled in the Masters Programs at CATCH Canine Trainer’s Academy, and assisted group classes around the city. They are also a Certified Yoga Instructor and taught “Dog Yoga/Mindfulness” classes as fundraisers for various rescue organizations in NYC, including Safe & Sound Satos and the ASPCA. Before moving to Texas in 2022, Mads was a full time trainer at Instinct Dog Training.

    Mads lives in Dallas with their wife, Gracen, and their silly rescue mutt, Gambit. Their goal in training is to provide an enriching learning environment for both humans and dogs!

  • Matt Henry
    Matt Henry
    Matt Henry

    Matt Henry

    Matt joined the What a Great Dog! Team in March of 2022. He completed the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Foundations course in the fall of 2022, is currently finishing the WAGD Trainer Education Program, and will be teaching Pet Manners classes at the Richardson location.

    Matt was raised in upstate New York, but he has called Texas home since 1997. He holds a master’s degree in English and a doctorate in Humanities and is currently a faculty member at Dallas College, where he teaches courses in composition and literature. His experience as an instructor has prepared him well for teaching at WAGD and helping clients learn how to build stronger relationships with their beloved dogs.

    While an undergraduate student, Matt followed his lifelong love of animals as he worked part-time jobs at a veterinary clinic and at local pet stores. Over the years he has provided a loving home to a variety of rescued cats and dogs. Most recently Matt has served as a foster for the Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas, and he adopted his current dog, Bella, from GRRNT in April of 2022. Matt and Bella are working toward becoming a certified Therapy Dog team.

  • Meagan Johnson FDM, CPDT-KA
    Meagan Johnson FDM, CPDT-KA
    Meagan Johnson FDM, CPDT-KA

    Agility & Senior Pet Manners Trainer

    Meagan Johnson FDM, CPDT-KA

    Meagan Johnson is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (Knowledge Assessed)  through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and a Certified Family Dog Mediator (FDM). Meagan joined the WAGD staff in 2018. Meagan has worked with families and their dogs around North Texas and virtually since 2012. She teaches Agility, Tricks, Rally, and Pet Manners classes, while also working one on one with families and their dogs addressing a myriad of behavioral issues like fear, frustration, anxiety, and over arousal.

    Meagan dove deep into learning the science of force free training as she trained her first dog, Twig. Twig went on to become her first competitive agility dog in 2012. She has been passionate about the sport of dog agility ever since. Meagan has attended many seminars and webinars with the top agility handlers from around the world, taking new knowledge and fusing it together for training that’s always fun, energetic, and progressive. Meagan provides instruction that is engaging for students and their dogs. When it comes to agility, she believes it’s not just about the dog completing an obstacle, but how much they enjoy doing it and understand their job. Clarity brings confidence, and a good time for everyone!

    Meagan’s current dogs include Brix, a socially awkward and fear reactive Border Collie that loves trick training, competes in Rally and Nosework, and is Meagan’s wingman in many of her classes and private lessons. She also competed nationally in Agility prior to retiring last year – and taught Meagan and others that just because it’s a Border Collie, doesn’t mean it’s easy! Tia is an Australian Shepherd that dabbles in Agility, Tricks, and Nosework. And finally, Coney Dog is a Chihuahua/Shih-Tzu mix rescued at the beginning of the pandemic who is getting ready to kick off his own Agility and Rally career, having earned his first couple of titles in both! You’ll see these guys around quite a bit, virtually and in person!

    Brix: Agility: IND, SSN, AAD Tricks: TKP Rally: RL1X

    Tia: Agility: BID, SSB Tricks: TKA

    Coney: Tricks: TKI Rally: RL1

  • Michael Roderick ABCDT
    Michael Roderick ABCDT
    Michael Roderick ABCDT

    Michael Roderick ABCDT

    Roderick is a WAGD Pet Manners trainer, teaching group classes, private lessons and Great Puppy Day School.  He joined WAGD and completed our Trainer Education Program in 2022. He graduated from the Animal Behavior College Dog Training Program, while working as a dog walker.
    Roderick has a deep passion for helping people build a better relationship with their dogs. He was working as an internet installation technician in San Antonio when he saw that many, many families struggle with behavior issues.  He saw these issues negatively impacting the quality of life for both the dogs and people in the family.  He was greatly impacted by that experience and decided to pursue a career in dog behavior and training.
  • Mickey Schufman
    Mickey Schufman
    Mickey Schufman

    Nose Work Trainer

    Mickey Schufman

    Mickey has been involved with dogs for over 40 years and has competed in conformation, obedience, rally and agility. She started an in-home training business (Four Paws Training School) in 2002 and worked with owners using reward based training. Some of the trainers who have influenced her most are: Susan Garrett, Bob Bailey, Pat Miller, Kathy Sdao, Jean Donaldson, and Ken Ramirez.

    An owner and fan of big dogs for most of her life, she has now downsized to a couple of little guys: Micah (terrier mix), and Harper Lee (Papillon). In 2012 she went to a seminar to learn about K9 Nose Work, a new dog sport, and it quickly became her passion. She has been teaching nosework at What A Great Dog! in Frisco since opening in 2012, and has several classes each week. Her favorite venues to compete in are NACSW (National Assoc of Canine Scent Work) and USCSS (United States Canine Scent Sports). Above all, she believes that competition needs to be a great experience between you and your dog, and that success is completely secondary.

  • Olivia Connatser, CPDT-KA
    Olivia Connatser, CPDT-KA
    Olivia Connatser, CPDT-KA

    Olivia Connatser, CPDT-KA

    Olivia Connatser, CPDT-KA  joined the What a Great Dog! team in May 2021, and she completed the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Foundations course and the WAGD Trainer Education Program in 2021. Olivia graduated with a degree in Animal Science from the University of Arkansas in 2021 just before joining WAGD.

    Olivia has always been an animal lover, and grew up working with horses for many years at a horse camp in Michigan. She started taking classes at WAGD in 2013 with her Golden Retriever, Sadie, then again in 2019 with her Cattle Dog mix, Samoa.  In 2020, she interned with the Dallas Zoo Wildlife Show where she worked with species like Macaws, Capybara, Beavers and Birds of Prey; this is where she discovered her passion for positive, reward based training.

    In her free time, Olivia volunteers at a local animal shelter, enjoys playing golf, going on hikes and artwork/drawing. She also loves training with her newest dog, a Great Pyrenees mix named Sylvie who loves Nose Work, Tricks, and Manners!

  • Pam Opanowitz
    Pam Opanowitz
    Pam Opanowitz

    Barn Hunt Trainer

    Pam Opanowitz

    Pam joined the WAGD team in 2019, bringing extensive knowledge of both training and competing in Barn Hunt. She has been an integral part of launching Barn Hunt at WAGD. She is teaching all levels of Barn Hunt at WAGD

    Pam began training and competing in dog sports with her miniature schnauzer Lucy in 2012. Lucy has earned numerous titles in various agility venues including 2 championships in TDAA agility. Pam has also trained, competed and titled Lucy in Nose Work and earned her CGCA and Intermediate Trick Dog titles.  Pam started in the sport of Barn Hunt at the sport’s inception. She is co-founder of North Texas Barnhunters, the local barn hunt club and has served on the board for the past 6 yrs as well as serving on the National committee for the 3 yrs that the club hosted the Barn Hunt National. Pam was a National Judge for the first National held in Mo in 2014 and was recently a National Judge for the 2019 Barn Hunt National.

    Pam has been a Barn Hunt judge since 2014 and has traveled across the country to judge in various clubs. She’s also a club and judge mentor for the BHA. She has been teaching barn hunt classes since 2015 and has developed training methods aimed at enhancing the dog’s natural hunting as well as teaching handlers how to read their dog’s indicators. All dogs hunt differently in Barn Hunt and Pam adapts her classes to fulfill each dog’s individual needs.

    She currently competes in Barn Hunt with her three dogs. Lucy and Katniss are miniature schnauzers and Ante is a Russell Terrier. Lucy currently has earned her RATCHX3 which is 4 Barn Hunt championships and is over halfway to her RATCHX4. She’s also earned her CZ8PS title with is 3000 Crazy 8s points. Katniss has her Open title. Ante came to live with Pam, Lucy and Katniss at the end of April 2019. While working on teamwork with Ante she has been competing in Open B and has earned her RATOX title. In her spare time she’s begun running Ante in Earthdog and Lure Coursing.

    When she’s not working with dogs Pam is an Account Manager at an electrical enclosure manufacturer. She has 3 grown children as well as a 3 yr old granddaughter.

  • Paige Varvel
    Paige Varvel
    Paige Varvel

    Paige Varvel

    Paige Varvel joined the WAGD staff in January 2023 as an agility instructor.

    Paige had a passion for animals from a very young age, and has built her career in various areas of the animal care and rescue fields. She has her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Texas A&M University, and had the honor of working with Glen Highland Farm Border Collie rescue for several years. During the day, Paige works at Operation Kindness as a Senior Operations Manager.

    Paige finds her joy in teaching sports foundations and agility by helping handlers and their dogs find their way to an open, flowing communication between themselves. She loves watching the “lightbulb” click on between teams, and seeing their confidence grow! Paige has a passion for clear foundations for both dog and handler, and really enjoys training the small details.

    Paige shares her life with a rescue Border Collie and Border Collie mix – Trip and Tunie. Tunie is an incredibly driven and dynamic Border Collie mix that Paige adopted as a puppy while working at Glen Highland Farm.  She is Paige’s first competition dog, and is currently trialing at the Masters/Senior Level in USDAA and UKI. Trip is Paige’s senior Border Collie, who is blind due to a previous illness that cut his sports career short. He has taught Paige so many incredible lessons about dog training through the years, and really enjoys playing in Barn Hunt each week.

    In Paige’s down time, you will most likely find her walking Trip and Tunie on nature trails through DFW.

    Tunie – MAD, TKA, RN, CGC
    Trip – SSA, TKA, CGC
  • Rhea Northcut CPDT-KA ABCDT CSAT
    Rhea Northcut CPDT-KA ABCDT CSAT
    Rhea Northcut CPDT-KA ABCDT CSAT

    Separation Anxiety, Nose Work & Senior Pet Manners Trainer

    Rhea Northcut CPDT-KA ABCDT CSAT

    Rhea Northcut, CPDT-KA ABCDT CSAT is a Senior Trainer with What a Great Dog! She joined the WAGD family in 2016. Rhea teaches Pet Manners and Nose Work in both group classes and private lessons. She also provides a training program aimed at resolving issue with Separation Anxiety.

    Rhea is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and an Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer. Additionally, she has earned the Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer designation through extensive coursework with the global expert on this issue, Malena DeMartini.  She enjoys teaching owners how to better communicate with their canine companions. She has a special place in her heart for rescues and shelter dogs, having spent a large portion of her free time volunteering at animal shelters.

    Rhea also has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas Tech University. While at Tech, she started her first volunteer work with shelter dogs at The Haven Animal Care Shelter in Lubbock, Texas and also took a course on Human-Animal Interaction. This is what initially sparked her interest in dog training. She started her Masters in Counseling at the University of North Texas with the goal of doing pet therapy. She quickly realized that it was the dogs’ training she was most interested in and was more than willing to give up her spot in the counseling program to fully commit her education efforts to dog training.

    Rhea spends her free time volunteering with Collin County Animal Services in McKinney and spending time with her husband, daughters, and her dog Lizzie, an Icelandic Sheepdog. Rhea enjoys trail running, hiking, and training and competing in Nose Work.

  • Ryan Shaw CPDT-KA
    Ryan Shaw CPDT-KA
    Ryan Shaw CPDT-KA

    Agility Trainer

    Ryan Shaw CPDT-KA

    Ryan joined WAGD in May of 2011, teaching Agility and Pet Manners classes. Ryan worked in the commercial construction industry for 22 years.

    When she earned her CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer)  in 2013, Ryan left the corporate world to pursue her dream of working with and training dogs as a full-time profession. Ryan’s utilizes positive reinforcement training methods, including clicker training and free shaping. She has a reputation of running classes that are as fun for the people as they are for the dogs!

    Ryan lives in Allen with two dogs; Australian Shepherd, Ping and Border Terrier, Bunker. Both of the dogs currently run in agility and Bunker is on his way to his conformation championship. All of her dogs have always had golf-themed names. Previous dogs were named Divot, Bogey, Driver and Caddyshack.

  • Stephanie Schwanke
    Stephanie Schwanke
    Stephanie Schwanke

    Stephanie Schwanke

    Stephanie joined What a Great Dog! in August of 2020.  She is a shift manager and Pet Manners trainer in our Frisco location.  If you have visited our retail store you may know her as “Aunt Stephanie”.  All the pups know she’s always ready to give some extra love and treats, for good behavior of course.  

    Before joining What a Great Dog!, Stephanie managed a pet boarding, daycare and grooming facility in McKinney for 12 years.  She has shown her dogs in conformation and obedience for over 25 years. Stephanie and her dog, Brooke, took manners and CGC classes from Maureen in her barn in Prosper 13 years ago.  She was taught and loved the positive reinforcement training that Maureen coached her and all of us on since she has started.  

    Since Stephanie has been active in working with dogs, she has had Siberian Huskies, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and German Shepherds.  Currently she and her husband share their home with Stella, a 3-year-old German Shepherd rescue that they adopted just weeks before the Covid lockdown.  She is her “work in progress”. 

    Stephanie hopes with her experience to provide our WAGD families with helpful advice and guidance to assist them in having lifelong GREAT DOG family members.

  • Victoria Johnson
    Victoria Johnson
    Victoria Johnson

    Victoria Johnson

    Victoria is a trainer for Manners classes, Puppy Preschool, Barn Hunt and private lessons at our Richardson location.  After joining the WAGD team in 2020, she completed WAGD’s Trainer Education Program and the Karen Pryor Academy Foundations course.  Absolute Dogs’ Pro Dog Trainer and Pro Dog Trainer Geek programs were completed in 2021 and she is enrolled in their ongoing Training Academy and PDT Club focusing on positive games-based concept training.

    Victoria discovered WAGD in 2017, where she worked her rescue Chi/Terrier, Audrey, through Manners, Agility, and Tricks classes and attained several tricks titles.  She currently works with Audrey and her other Chi/Terrier rescue, River, in Barn Hunt, Tricks, and Freestyle.  River, too, has earned multiple Tricks titles.

    Exposure and hands-on experience in dog conformation, breeding, and training of Standard Schnauzers during her early years kicked off her love of working with animals.  Numerous dogs (rescues, mixed breeds, and purebreds) have been owned, trained, and cared for.  In over a decade of equine riding, training, and competing, Victoria developed an affinity for working with “hard case” horses using natural horsemanship methods.  This desire to work with animals who have challenges naturally spilled over to dogs.

    While completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech—Language Pathology and Audiology at UT-Dallas, she worked at a doggie daycare/boarding facility that also assisted in temporary fostering for a rescue group.  She had many opportunities to observe dog behaviors in group settings and help dogs overcome struggles they were facing such as fear and anxiety.  Through both formal and informal studying and experiences, Victoria has acquired a particular fondness for working to build confidence and optimism in dogs through utilizing rewards-based methods within a concept framework to build solid relationships between owners, their dogs, and the world around them.