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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!
  • Ashton Gray  WAGD-R General Manager / Trainer
    Ashton Gray WAGD-R General Manager / Trainer
    Ashton Gray  WAGD-R General Manager / Trainer

    General Manager of WAGD-Richardson

    Ashton Gray WAGD-R General Manager / Trainer

    Ashton Gray has been a member of the What a Great Dog! team since September 2017. They teach Trick Dog classes, Manners classes, and they’re the General Manager at the Richardson location. Ashton completed the WAGD Trainer Education program in 2017 and is an AKC CGC Evaluator. Their greatest joy is helping owners build stronger relationships with their dogs through force free training.

    Ashton was introduced to the world of behavior modification and clicker training when they adopted their first dog Potter, a Coonhound mix. In their journey with Potter to help him overcome his fears, Ashton saw the changes clicker training had with him. Spending time shaping tricks and giving Potter choices helped him grow in confidence and trust, taking their relationship to a deeper level. Ashton strives to help students build similar relationships with their own dogs based on trust, clear communication, and fun!

    Ashton dedicates their free time to continuing their education on dog behavior through seminars, online courses like Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, as well as any book they can get their hands on. They also train Potter in Nose Work and their Silken Windhound Lazuli in Agility. Outside of the dog world, Ashton spends their time hiking and studying photography.

  • Brittany Wingfield WAGD-F General Manager / Trainer
    Brittany Wingfield WAGD-F General Manager / Trainer
    Brittany Wingfield WAGD-F General Manager / Trainer

    General Manager of WAGD-Frisco and Nose Work Trainer

    Brittany Wingfield WAGD-F General Manager / 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 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 ➡️

  • 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.

  • Rhea Northcut CPDT-KA ABCDT
    Rhea Northcut CPDT-KA ABCDT
    Rhea Northcut CPDT-KA ABCDT

    Nose Work & Senior Pet Manners Trainer

    Rhea Northcut CPDT-KA ABCDT

    Rhea Northcut, CPDT-KA, ABCDT 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.

    Rhea is an Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. 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.

  • Sarah Owen CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA
    Sarah Owen CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA
    Sarah Owen CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

    Senior Pet Manners & Rally Trainer

    Sarah Owen CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

    Sarah Owen, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA joined the WAGD staff as a Senior Trainer in summer 2021. In addition to being a certified dog behavior consultant and a certified dog trainer, she is also a Canine Good Citizen and Trick Dog evaluator. Sarah has worked as a service dog trainer and has titled her own dogs in AKC Rally and Tricks, but her passion is working with shy, over-aroused or growly dogs. She has a special interest in puppy and adolescent development and in dogs who exhibit resource guarding and dog-directed aggression. Before moving to Texas to begin the Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program at UNT, she specialized in working with fearful and aggressive dogs at a nationally renowned training facility in Seattle, Wash. Sarah has an undergraduate degree in journalism from Arizona State University and worked in marketing for Fenzi Dog Sports Academy before moving to Texas. When she isn’t training or studying, she enjoys hiking and kayaking.
    Here’s a little more information on the certification itself:  The Certified Behavior Consultant Canine – Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) designation is an advanced certification for dog trainers who offer behavior modification. Certified behavior consultants have passed a rigorous exam and have a minimum of 300 hours’ experience in behavior consulting on issues including fear, phobias, compulsive behaviors, anxiety, and aggression.
  • Meagan Johnson CPDT-KA
    Meagan Johnson CPDT-KA
    Meagan Johnson CPDT-KA

    Agility & Senior Pet Manners Trainer

    Meagan Johnson CPDT-KA

    Meagan Johnson is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer who joined the WAGD staff in 2018. Meagan has worked with families and their dogs since 2012. She teaches Agility, Tricks and Pet Manners, as well as helps families help their dogs with a variety of behavioral issues.

    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 fun and engaging for students – with an emphasis on fun! When it comes to agility, she believes it’s not just about the dog completing an obstacle, but how much they enjoy doing it.

    Meagan’s current dogs include Brix, a reactive Border Collie who has come a long way with her own brand of “spicy” to be an awesome agility teammate and partner helping other dogs with reactivity issues. There is also Tia, a lovely Australian Shepherd who is just getting started on her Nose Work adventure! And finally, the newest family member is Coney Dog the rescue chihuahua mix adopted during the early days of the pandemic.

    Brix: IND, SSN, AAD, TKP, RL1X

    Tia: SSB, TKA

    Coney: TKI

  • 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.

  • Clemmie Jones KPA-CTP
    Clemmie Jones KPA-CTP
    Clemmie Jones KPA-CTP

    Pet Manners Trainer

    Clemmie Jones KPA-CTP

    Clemmie Jones, KPA-CTP, joined What a Great Dog in 2019. She is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, and she completed the WAGD Trainer Education Program in 2020. Clemmie first started working with dogs as a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), an assistance dog organization, in 2013. She went to work in the CCI kennels to get more hands-on experience in 2015 and also volunteered at the SPCA of Texas before joining WAGD.

    Clemmie has two dogs of her own, Maxwell, a Golden Retriever/Lab Cross, and Lulu, a Labrador. In addition to training in Manners, Tricks, Agility, and Nosework, Clemmie loves hiking and playing with her dogs, and snuggling on the couch.

    Clemmie loves using the latest science-based training techniques to help people train their dogs, and to build great relationships based on clear communication between dog and person. She keeps up with new developments in the dog training world through courses, seminars, conferences and workshops, mostly through the Karen Pryor Academy and the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. Clemmie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Cambridge in England. She moved to the USA in 2011, and has the leftovers of a British accent.

  • 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.

    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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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, Sure Shots, is the 6th fastest team in U-FLI flyball. Sure Shots travel to the U-FLI Championship tournament at Purina Farms each year and placed third in Division 2 in 2017. She currently has three border collie/whippet mixes (Ember, Bazinga! and Blaze) competing actively in flyball.

    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.

  • Dan Bohun
    Dan Bohun
    Dan Bohun

    Pet Manners Trainer

    Dan Bohun

    Dan teaches Pet Manners classes, Puppy Preschools, and private lessons at our Frisco location. Dan has been an avid dog lover from a young age; growing up with multiple dogs and later having his own. He previously worked in the healthcare field, specifically in hospital management with over 20 years in the materials department. In 2018, Dan and his wife adopted their first rescue dog, Koda Bear, a Labrador/Great Pyrenees mix. Dan felt training would be beneficial and found What a Great Dog! In training Koda Bear, Dan found his true calling and decided it was time for a career change.

    Dan joined the team at What a Great Dog! in September 2019, and completed the WAGD Trainer Education Program in 2020. He continues his education through working with mentors, participating in seminars and training groups, and continuing classes with both Koda Bear, and their newest rescue, Freckles, an Australian Cattle Dog/Great Pyrenees mix. You will often find him working with his dogs as he believes consistent, positive training, truly cements a healthy, satisfying relationship between dog and owner. String cheese and boiled chicken goes a long way too!

  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Nicole Birnbaum
    Nicole Birnbaum
    Nicole Birnbaum

    Barn Hunt Trainer

    Nicole Birnbaum

    In 2021, Nicole joined the What A Great Dog team as a Barn Hunt trainer. She has a solid background in training and competing in Barn Hunt and is able to teach all levels. 

    Nicole is a member of North Texas Barnhunters. She has served on NTB’s Board since 2019 and was on NTB’s National committee in 2018 and 2019. During a NTB trial, when she is not the Judge of Record, you will find Nicole as the Trial Chair, Trial Secretary or Volunteer Coordinator.

    Nicole has been competing in Barn Hunt since 2017 and a Barn Hunt judge since 2020. She enjoys traveling to judge for different clubs. She has been assisting with Barn Hunt training classes since 2018. Her main goal for her students is for them to have fun with their dog. This is achieved through encouraging dogs to hunt independently by developing and refining their natural hunting instincts. Additionally, she teaches handlers to recognize the signals their dog is giving them. Allowing them to strengthen their bond and become a successful team. She likes to remind herself and her students that at the end of the day, you are taking home the bestest dog in the whole world. Simply because you are willing to spend the time to train and have fun. 

    Nicole and Naga compete in Barn Hunt at least once a month, frequently more. Naga has earned several Barn Hunt titles. Naga also enjoys Nose Work, CAT and FastCAT (she has a bit of a reputation at these), all of which she has earned titles in as well. Naga also has earned CGC and Trick Dog Advanced titles and has recently started Agility training. In September 2021, after almost 2 years of having one dog, Nicole welcomed another Shiba Inu into her life. Stark is currently very busy being a puppy and doing puppy things. In the future, Nicole hopes to get Stark involved in all the same activities as Naga, as well as conformation. 

    When not running a trial, judging, trialing or working with her dogs, Nicole is a GIS Specialist, specializing in Local Government and Utilities (this is a fancy way to say she makes maps). She also is the trainer for all new employees on her team, meaning she really enjoys teaching.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Sue Geller
    Sue Geller
    Sue Geller

    Therapy Dog Instructor

    Sue Geller

    Sue draws on her 9 years of very active therapy work to instruct budding therapy dog teams. Her Therapy Dog Prep class teaches ways to enrich your visits, handle challenges and problems, use your dog’s strengths to the best advantage and prepare for the certification tests.

    Sue is the proud owner of three certified Therapy Dogs, all Bichon Frises. The three have radically different personalities. But, all three are talented, busy therapy dogs. Sue’s background is in Dance and Theater. She owned one of the largest dance studios in Northern California. Her dancers toured Australia, performing at the Sydney Opera House and Italy, performing at the Olympic Village. Sue made sure that her dancers also did “Community Give Back.” They performed monthly at nursing homes, children’s hospitals and various charity events.

    Sue has always had dogs, but after she sold her dance studio in California and retired to Dallas, she decided she wanted to try to find a way to channel her dance and theater skills into something with her dogs. In addition to her dog therapy work, Sue participates in Rally obedience and tricks training.

  • Victoria Johnson
    Victoria Johnson
    Victoria Johnson

    Victoria Johnson

    Victoria is a shift manager and trainer for Manners classes, Puppy Preschool, 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.

  • Arynn Copeland
    Arynn Copeland
    Arynn Copeland

    Pet Manners Trainer

    Arynn Copeland

    Arynn joined the What a Great Dog! team in 2019 and completed the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Foundations and WAGD’s Trainer Education Program in 2020. She teaches Pet Manners at the Richardson location.

    Arynn has always had a passion for dogs, having grown up in a family that competed with dogs in conformation, agility, and competitive obedience. She also participated in junior handling as a teenager. In 2016, Arynn was involved in a dog attack that left her with a traumatic brain injury but that did not dissuade her from her passion in dogs. Instead, it fueled  a greater passion for behavior modification based on positive reinforcement. After attending her first class at WAGD with her Doberman Duncan, Arynn quickly decided that this was where she wanted to pursue a dog training career.

    Arynn now has two dogs: a Doberman Pinscher named Duncan and a Whippet named Egg. She trains her dogs with a focus on building a strong relationship with them and having fun, and strives to help her students achieve this as well.

  • Olivia Smith
    Olivia Smith
    Olivia Smith

    Olivia Smith

    Olivia Smith 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!

  • Catherine Wagner
    Catherine Wagner
    Catherine Wagner

    Catherine Wagner

    Catherine joined the What a Great Dog! team in 2020 and completed the WAGD Trainer Education Program in 2021. She teaches Pet Manners in both group classes and private lessons at our Frisco and Richardson locations. She is an AKC CGC & Tricks Evaluator and is  currently working on her certification through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers.

    Before joining What a Great Dog, Catherine graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Special Education. She went on to work as a behavioral Special Education Teacher in Plano and Frisco ISD for 5 years. During her time teaching, she developed a love of studying and understanding the applied behavior analysis behind positive reinforcement and interventions.

    Catherine has 3 dogs. Sutton is a 6 year old St. Bernard/Poodle mix who is a Therapy Dog at Baylor Scott and White, competes in Agility, and has titles for CGCA, CGCU, and Trick Dog Intermediate. Rascal is a 2 year old  labrador mix that has titles for CGC and Trick Dog Performer and competes in Nosework. Pidge is a 2 year chihuahua/papillon mix who is working on manners and tricks.

    Catherine enjoys teaching clients to use positive training methods to help them teach their dogs. Her goal is to help people feel bonded with their dogs and have fun!