Jim has over 26 years of dog training experience and has achieved his CPDT-KA certification. He started out training his dogs in obedience first with CGC, TDI, then on to competitive obedience in AKC and UKC. After some quick success in the obedience ring, putting advanced obedience titles on his dogs, he was hooked! Obedience led to other dog sports such as Flyball (his team took 1st place in the Flyball region), Earthdog (Wire Fox Terrier titles on Earthdog), Conformation (Breed champion on his Giant Schnauzer), and Agility.
Agility quickly became his favorite and in the year 2000 he titled the first MACH wire fox terrier. The same year showing in AKC, his giant schnauzer, wire fox terrier, and miniature schnauzer received the Top Agility Dog Award in their breed. He has since put agility championships on multiple dogs of different breeds in both AKC and USDAA and qualified and attended Nationals since 2000. The most recent accomplishment was in 2014 winning the 26” division at AKC Nationals with his talented dog Pressure earning the coveted NAC (National Agility Champion) title.
Jim leads our entire talented Training team at Urban Pooch and will be teaching all levels of obedience and manners, flyball, and agility. Not only is Jim an accomplished trainer, but he is also personable, pleasant and patient – you and your pooch will LOVE working with him!
Karen Okura, CPDT-KASenior Trainer & Curriculum Development Manager
Karen has over 30 years experience in training and animal behavior. She worked at The Anti-Cruelty Society of 30 years in roles ranging from Adoption Counselor to Humane Educator with her most recent role there being Manager of Behavior and Training.
While at Anti-Cruelty, Karen developed and grew the Behavior Hotline, crafted many of the training manuals and behavior policies and assisted adopters with behavior issues. She also contributed to the Anti-Cruelty publications as the pet behavior expert, acted as spokesperson on radio and TV and contribute to many print articles in publications such as The Chicago Tribune and Dog Fancy Magazine.
Most recently, Karen was Senior Dog Trainer at Collins Canine where she focused on dogs with behavioral issues, puppies and obedience training. “I gained an enormous amount of experience and knowledge in the private sector of animal welfare. I also found my passion in work – helping people help their companion animals, both dog and cat,” says Karen.
Karen will be leading all of our training programs at Montrose Dog Beach and will be in charge of developing new curriculum and training procedures for the company alongside Head Trainer, Jim Bahr.
Pamela Davis, CPDT-KA Obedience Trainer
Pamela comes from a theatre and education background, and her approach to dog training is very much informed by those fields. A lifelong animal lover whose earliest ambition was to be an entomologist, Pamela began her journey as a “serious” dog trainer when she adopted the world’s best bad dog, a reactive pit mix named Bea Arfur, and became active in Chicago’s rescue and rehabilitation community.
The more she studied dog behavior and learning, the more she realized how many of the tools used in teaching and theatre-making applied! She now structures her training around empathy (to understand the dog’s point of view), communication (making clear requests and “listening” closely to the responses), and follow-through (being patient and consistent, day in and day out). Pamela’s classes are positive-reinforcement, force-free, dynamic, and equally focused on human and canine learning. Come play! Pamela is a CGC Evaluator and has her CPDT-KA certification.
Shannon Lynne Sullivan, CPDT-KAObedience Trainer
Shannon understands how a great human-canine relationship can increase the quality of life for both the pet and pet parent. Her own journey rehabilitating her reactive Mountain Cur rescue, Virginia, encouraged Shannon to transform her personal passion into a professional career.
Shannon’s approach to training is relationship-centered and reward-based, and she works hard to bring her personal values of deep listening and respect to every class.
Animal training began for Shannon at 8 years old when she began showing American Quarter Horses. She progressed to win a Reserve World Championship before taking a break to study chemistry in college. Shannon later
re-entered the animal training world by adopting her first Mountain Cur, Abby.
Around that same time, Shannon began teaching humans in multiple roles from ski/snowboard instructor, college chemistry instructor, and practitioner of somatic (body-based) education modalities including the Feldenkrais Method. Shannon’s diversity of experience enables her to break-down difficult situations into simple pathways to success.
Shannon knows that no single approach is right for every human or dog, so she continues to study and perfect her ability to adapt to the needs of each dog-human team she works with. She has shadowed numerous trainers, completed certificate programs with Michael Ellis and Ian Dunbar, and is currently preparing for independent certification.
Shannon believes in the importance of strong foundation and shares this passion every day with her Urban Pooch clients in Levels Obedience Classes and Puppy Social Playtime.
Marty CaldenAgility Trainer
Marty Calden is an agility addict first competing in 2002 with a Portuguese Water Dog and later a Border Terrier and Miniature Poodles. Her poodle Kit was a 3 time AKC National Agility Finalist. A retired physician, Marty enjoys the analytic side of dog agility, always looking for ways to improve her skills and find better ways to communicate the course direction to her dogs. She gets chills when she sees a dog and handler running a course as one, in perfect harmony.
Marty has studied with many of the world’s top handlers and loves sharing her knowledge with others. She believes dog training requires an open mind and willingness to change our behavior so that the dog can change his behavior and untap his full potential. Her goal is to help students train in a positive, dog friendly way that improves the well-being of dogs and the bond between dog and owner. She enjoys teaching students at every level and her favorite moment is when the student says, “wow, that really works!”
A lifelong athlete, Marty was the first woman to receive a basketball scholarship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and trained with the 1976 US Olympic Volleyball team. Her day job is teaching medical students and other than training her dogs her favorite way to relax is practicing the guitar and ‘ukelele.
Sue SentowskiCertified Nose Work Trainer
Sue is our Nose Work Instructor and brings her experience and great knowledge of the fun and exciting sport of Nose Work. She has trained her own dogs competing in a variety of dog sports – agility, rally, dock diving, and of course, Nose Work. Sue is a Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI) with the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) and competes with her dogs Splash and C.J., both of whom are currently at the NW3 level.
Sue believes that a positive training program with your dog is the best way to achieve the goals you wish to accomplish with them all the while building the relationship between human and dog.
In addition to teaching, Sue is the owner of Sue & Crew H2O, a dog swimming facility in Wood Dale, IL. Sue also does therapy work with her dog Bobber thru Pet Partners. Sue lives in Chicago with her family and their 4 dogs C.J., Stella, Bobber and Splash.
Whitney LambersonAgility Instructor
Whitney Lamberson has loved dogs since childhood and after training neighbors’ dogs for years, finally got her own dog in 1991. Whitney competed in obedience when she was young and first discovered agility in 2004 and has been addicted to it ever since. Over the years, she has participated in agility competitions ranging from local trials to regional and national events.
Whitney has won multiple USDAA Regional Championships and has been a Finalist at the AKC Nationals, USDAA World Cynosport Championships and the UKI US Open Championship. Whitney wants to help make each dog/handler team the best that they can be and help them reach their individual goals through positive methods. Agility is a wonderful activity that will improve confidence and the bond between you and your canine partner regardless of age, size, breed, etc.
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