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Board of Directors

2017 Board of Directors

Robin Bennett, CPDT-KA | APDT Chair

Robin Bennett, CPDT-KA

APDT Chair

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Robin Bennett, CPDT-KA | APDT Chair

Off-leash play can be both a wonderful outlet for a dog and a dangerous environment for a dog. There are some real benefits dogs can receive from playing with other dogs, but not all playgroups are created equal. Robin Bennett is committed to raising the bar of safety in off-leash play to help keep the dogs safe. Her philosophy is that if you are going to be around dogs, especially if you are in the pet care industry caring for dogs, they should leave you and your facility behaviorally better (and certainly not worse!) than when they came to you. Robin will help you learn the best practices for off-leash play that will provide you with better staff training, lower payroll, and ultimately the safest possible environment for all the dogs in your care.

Robin Bennett is an author and consultant for pet care facilities on the subjects of dog daycare, training, and off-leash dog play. Her book All About Dog Daycare: A Blueprint for Success is the number one reference on owning a daycare, and her book, Off-Leash Dog Play, co-authored by Susan Briggs is the key reference on supervising dogs in playgroups.

Robin has a passion for educating pet care facility owners on safe handling techniques and canine body language with the Staff Training Program she developed with Susan Briggs called Knowing Dogs. Together Robin and Susan (better known as "The Dog Gurus") have recently launched the best resource for off-leash play at www.TheDogGurus.com.

Robin is an active member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and has a B.A. degree from Roanoke College. She regularly attends dog training seminars and has earned certification through the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the first national certification for dog trainers.

Robin is a retired Colonel, United States Marine Corps Reserves, and is married with two children. She lives in Stafford, Virginia.

Megan Armstrong, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA | APDT Vice-Chair

Megan Armstrong, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

APDT Vice-Chair

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Megan Armstrong, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA | APDT Vice-Chair

Megan Armstrong, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, owner of Dogma Training & Pet Services Inc. in Calgary, Canada, has joined the board of trustees of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT).

Armstrong was appointed by the board of trustees to fill a vacancy on the Board until the completion of a special election in the fall.

Dogma is a canine education center that offers daycare, training and retail services with a team over twenty between two facilities.

Dogma is an innovative canine center that specializes in modifying complex behaviors and offers full range programs to integrate dogs back in with their canine companions and the urban world. Through Dogma, Megan developed a unique and comprehensive dog training apprenticeship program that is one of a kind in Canada. The first session began in November 2009, and to date, there have been over 50 successful graduates.

Megan started as a professional dog trainer with The Calgary Humane Society where she held the position of Internal Canine Behavior coordinator for a year and a half before starting Dogma. Megan was also a founding member and President of the Board for a local animal rescue organization, pause4change Rescue Foundation, and served on the board for the Animal Rescue Foundation. She was the designated trainer for the Alberta Rescue Foundation (ARF) and a consultant for Cochrane Humane Society, transitioning both of these organizations to become leaders in training. She has also been a certified mentor trainer for Animal Behavior College.

Megan has over 10 years as a professional dog trainer and education is the core of her business. She recognizes the strong need for regulation in the pet care industry and has set the standard for dog training and daycare in Calgary through Dogma. She provides education through her business, free online resources to dog owners and trainers and through speaking engagements, such as the APDT Conference. Most recently, Megan launched www.everydoghasitsdayblog.com to create a community of support and sharing for entrepreneurs. She believes life is too short to not do what we love, and strives to inspire and encourage others to follow their dreams.

Nick Hof, KPA-CTP | APDT Secretary/Treasurer

Nick Hof, KPA-CTP

APDT Secretary/Treasurer

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Nick Hof, KPA-CTP | APDT Secretary/Treasurer

Nick Hof is a dog trainer in Cincinnati, OH and is the owner and trainer of Paws Look Listen, LLC which is about to celebrate it's fifth year next month offering training services. Nick is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed, Karen Pryor Academy-Certified Training Partner, a licensed presenter for Family Paws, and a Professional Premium Member of the APDT.

Nick believes that having a good relationship with other trainers, both in his area and from afar is an integral component of his business. He often networks with other trainers bouncing ideas off of them, requesting assistance or referring out cases that he does not have the skills to properly help. Nick works closely with both veterinarians and other animal professionals to ensure that his clients receive the best service possible.

Lisa McCluskey, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA | APDT Director

Lisa McCluskey, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

APDT Director

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Lisa McCluskey, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA | APDT Director

Lisa McCluskey enthusiastically strives to teach others about humane training and behavior practices in the complete care and needs of pet dogs. Her background of working with dogs most of her life was the force that drove her to register at her first APDT annual conference in 1997 and has kept her involved with the organization as a professional member for almost 20 years.

For more than five years she also served the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) board as: an inaugural certificant, an exam committee volunteer, their secretary, a director and/or the
CPDT exam chair. Additionally, McCluskey regularly offers her time pro-bono to conduct AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluations and teach various workshops for volunteers, shelter staff and trainers in our industry.

McCluskey, husband and son reside in Seattle, Washington’s Queen Anne neighborhood with their cat, Punkin’ Kitty, and dog, June (her two horses, CC and Tuff, live in the Kent/Covington region). Lisa's community-based curriculums have been featured at numerous APDT conferences and she looks forward to continuing her work on creating universally available public-access canine education programs internationally.

Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KA, CNWI | APDT Director

Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KA, CNWI

APDT Director

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Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KA, CNWI | APDT Director

Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KA, CNWI is an attorney focusing on animal law and the pet care industry. She serves on the boards of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. Heidi has her CPDT-KSA and CNWI certifications and teaches general manners and K9 Nose Work™ with Fur-Get Me Not and Canine Copilots in Northern Virginia. She shares the company of a beautiful German Shepherd mix, Sophie, who has made great strides with reactivity and confidence issues. Heidi lives in Alexandria, Va., with Sophie, her boyfriend Bill, and Bill's adorable black lab, Boomer, who earned his NW3 title in 2015.

Jill-Marie O'Brien, CNWI, CPDT-KA | APDT Director

Jill-Marie O'Brien, CNWI, CPDT-KA

APDT Director

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Jill-Marie O'Brien, CNWI, CPDT-KA | APDT Director

As a CPDT-KA and long time member of the APDT (since 1997), long-time facilitator for the Southern California Dog Trainers Forum & Co-founder of K9 Nose Work® and National Association of Canine Scent Work, LLC® I have had the opportunity to work with many outstanding people with varying personalities and training styles. This experience lends itself to the unique nature of serving the diverse membership of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

For fourteen of my twenty year career working with and training dogs I had the privilege to hold the position of Director of Animal Behavior and Training Services for spcaLA; one of the largest sheltering organizations in the country. During my time at spcaLA I was responsible for the creation and on-going management of that agency’s first Animal Behavior and Training Department since the agency’s inception in 1877.

Along with my partners Amy Herot and Ron Gaunt, we developed K9 Nose Work® and formed the National Association of Canine Scent Work, LLC®. My training philosophy is one of building strong working relationships between dogs and their handlers using positive, fun and motivational techniques. My strong belief that education for the human is as important as education for our canine companions pushes me to find new and innovative ways to build avenues for better understanding of the human/canine bond. I believe that my personal mission is closely aligned with that of the Association and I look forward to assisting APDT with their mission of education and advocating dog friendly training principles.

Khara Schuetzner, MA, CPDT-KSA CNWI | APDT Director

Khara Schuetzner, MA, CPDT-KSA CNWI

APDT Director

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Khara Schuetzner, MA, CPDT-KSA CNWI | APDT Director

Khara Schuetzner, MA, CPDT-KSA CNWI, has worked with animals most of her life. As a teenage, she helped train herding dogs and horses on the family farm. Khara earned a bachelors of science in Zoology; during college she did an internship working as biologist at Disney World. In graduate school she worked on a master of science in aquaculture and fisheries in Arkansas. Khara moved to Chicago, where she started volunteering with the Anti-Cruelty Society, while working on her masters of arts in teaching. She furthered her expertise by graduating from the Anti-Cruelty Society School of Dog Training. While in Chicago, Khara work on various science committees and won awards for teaching. After living in Argentina and picking up a street dog, Francisco, Khara moved back to her home state of Oklahoma to take care of her family, continue in the science field and start her private training business in 2010.

Khara left the science field to pursue her passion for educating other in animal behavior. She opened The Doggie Spot, which was the first training facility in Shawnee. Khara was the first CPDT-KSA and Canine Nose Work Instructor in the State of Oklahoma. She conducts behavior evaluations and does private lessons for those dogs that need extra attention. Khara serves as a behavioral consultant for local shelters, a first animal responder during Tornado Recovery Efforts, and host educational and nosework events. She gives talks to the public regarding multiple dog households, housetraining, dog and kids safety, and dog language.

Khara is a certified AKC CGC Evaluator and an American Red Cross Pet CPR Instructor. She is a member of the Animal Behavior Society, International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, and American Chemical Society. Khara's household includes: eight rescue dogs, 1 HRD dog, three rescue cats, one donkey, Bunny, flock of ducks, chickens, three goats, Manny, Larry, Ketchup, two paint horses, Spartacus and Freya, and herd of Dorper sheep, and a patient husband, Gabriel. Khara has two strong beliefs in life, "Live in the moment, but don't forget to make a moment, and humans need to listen more to what the animals are telling us and learn to work with them not against them."

Amber Burckhalter, CNWI, CDBC | APDT Immediate Past Chair

Amber Burckhalter, CNWI, CDBC

APDT Immediate Past Chair

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Amber Burckhalter, CNWI, CDBC | APDT Immediate Past Chair

Amber Burckhalter, CNWI, CDBC is a renowned expert in canine obedience and behavior modification. She has spent 20 years working with all types of dogs on pack mentality, behavior modification and all levels of obedience.

She is considered an expert in the canine aggression field, using positive training methods and, in addition to being the Owner and directing all K-9 Coach training activities, this is now her professional focus.

Amber has served as an expert witness in court proceedings and has been featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and other newspapers, both for her expert opinion and her call to action for other trainers.

She has appeared in Women's Day, Parents Magazine, The APDT Chronicle of the Dog, CNN.com and numerous other publications. Amber has also appeared on local television programs including Good Day Atlanta and in a WSB-TV Channel 2 exposé that profiled Norred and Associates and Amber's work with busting dog fighting rings and rehabilitating former fighting pitbull dogs.

In 2008, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) named Amber 'Head Trainer' for the End Dog Fighting Campaign in Atlanta and she went on to co-design the curriculum for the nationwide HSUS program and log over 400 hours training and instructing at risk youth and their pit bulls in obedience, agility and behavior modification. She has appeared on National Public Radio and several other radio talk shows as a canine expert and is sought after by numerous organizations for her help using positive training methods to successfully train and rehab dogs.

She is proud to act as a mentor to other trainers and regularly hosts CEU approved educational conferences with world-renowned trainers.

Read The Board of Directors Strategic Plan

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Board Meetings

All APDT members are welcome to attend the Board meetings – we just ask that you notify us ten days in advance so that we can arrange for an appropriate-sized room for the meeting. Please contact the President and CEO to announce your intent to attend the meeting.

Interested in Serving on the Board of Directors?

Interested candidates should contact the Nomination Committee at nominatingchair@apdt.com for more information.

Suggestions?

Contact the board at board@apdt.com. Your message will be received and responded by the board of trustees.

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