2008 Agility Camp
Sugar Bush Farm, Stephentown NY
Camp Instructor Biographies
Mary Jo Lavin
Mary Jo Lavin, BA is a seasoned national competitor whose strengths as an instructor come from her success and the hurdles she has overcome. As the co-owner of Homestead Farm Agility, Mary Jo has 15 years of teaching agility to students with all breeds. Mary Jo carries a full toolbox of techniques, tips and strategies. Her skill lies in detecting the minute details of handling and helping handlers be more precise. Mary Jo is a master at developing potential into proficiency and getting results beyond her students’ expectations. Mary Jo’s strength is teaching others how to build and train strong foundation skills in their budding agility dogs. She has an analytical approach and a gift for breaking down complex concepts into understandable lessons. Her training is based on positive, motivational methods for both dogs and handlers.
Jo started agility in 1989 with her rescue Tibetan Terrier ADCH Scamp CDX MX MXJ
and remembers when agility trials had a total of 30 runs for the whole trial!
Scamp and Mary Jo were one of
Mary Jo is married and a mother of two adolescent
daughters; so like many agility instructors and competitors she is always
balancing her business, and competitive interests with her home life. She has a
Eleven years ago Val was bitten by the agility bug while looking for something she and her Border Collie Piper could enjoy together. Piper retired at 14 years of age having earned advanced titles in 3 different agility organizations. During the past 11 years, Val has taught all levels of agility, attended many seminars and workshops, and competed with 2 other dogs. She is also a judge for USDAA, CPE and TDAA. Her current agility dog is Zoe, a 7 year old rescue American Eskimo Dog who is competing at the highest level in 3 different organizations. Zoe recently earned her second championship title in CPE.
Having trained and competed with 3
very different dogs, Val is very aware that each dog and handler team comes with
different abilities and strengths.
Her goal as an instructor is to bring out the best
in each of these unique teams using positive training methods, so that they may
enjoy agility to the fullest.
Many of her current and former
students are now competing successfully throughout
Terri Cesarek became addicted to agility after experiencing the confidence it gave her All-American Mandy, a rescue dog found wandering on a highway. Together they learned how much fun the sport of agility was. Mandy took Terri on quite an amazing journey and she will be forever in Terri’s heart. Along came Border Collie Chase who is even more addicted to agility than Terri. His speed and responsiveness have taught Terri the importance of being a consistent handler. Together Terri and Chase have worked hard to accomplish his USDAA ADCH, Tournament Master Platinum, Gamblers and Snooker Champion Silver. He also has qualified for and competed at the USDAA Grand Prix of Dog Agility World Championships the last 4 years. Youngster Shine, a Border Collie, is following in Chase’s paw prints showing he loves playing agility. He has had the benefit of all Terri learned with Chase. He recently started competing and already has his USDAA MAD, Jumpers Master, Relay Master, Gamblers Champion and Tournament Master Bronze. He competed for the first time in the semi-final round at the USDAA Grand Prix of Dog Agility World Championships this past November. Terri’s dogs are wonderful teachers helping her understand the importance of the relationship between dog and handler. It is a key element in her training, as she helps her students realize the joy of playing the game of agility with their canine companions. She has as much fun training her dogs as she does competing with them. Terri’s method of training is to create a dog that is eager to learn. Through the use of play and well timed rewards she coaches people on how to train their dogs in a positive manner. When working her own dogs she displays a good example of what true teamwork is. Leaving the ring knowing both she and her dog had fun together is more important than qualifying. For Terri the titles are just there for her to remember the journey she and her dogs took to earn them.
Ray Wheeler has been involved in the agility scene on many levels since being introduced to agility in 1992. Ray is a competitor, as well as an instructor, mentor, organizer, and agility judge. With a homebase in Springfield, MA and a “day job” with Mass. Mutual Life Insurance Co,. Ray is also President of ACE Agility Club in central MA, and an agility instructor for ACE in Palmer MA and for Paws’n’Effect training center in Hamden, CT. Ray currently has three dogs: two Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Majel (ADCH, NATCH, MACH, CATCH ), and Imzadi (CATCH) and a young border collie, Natira (NA, OAJ, CL2). Ray is recognized as a fun and fair Judge for three venues: NADAC, CPE, and TDAA. He is well known for his generosity in sharing his considerable experience in course design, course analysis, and course handling with competitors and numerous clubs he’s already presented training workshops with. Ray believes in positive training methods and making agility fun for all dogs..
Trisha Stall is the owner of AgileDogs Agility Training. She has been training, teaching, and competing in dog agility since 1995.
began training my first dog in agility 12 years ago, since then I have become a
top competitor in the sport and have altered my life to be involved with dog
agility full time. An Engineer for
13 years, I quit that career in 2000 to become a full time agility instructor.
I have three dogs, two of them mixed breeds, and am competing at the top
levels of the sport with all of my dogs.
You may even have seen my dog
Jart, the newest addition to my canine family, is a 6 year old All-American (perhaps a mini-aussie, perhaps a Border Collie/Papillion mix). He spent the first year of his life in a “collector home” with 70 other dogs until he was rescued. He’s scared of strangers, but loves other dogs and life in general, and took to agility the moment he was introduced to it. He already has his USDAA PI Gamblers, Snooker and Jumpers titles, and is in levels 4 and 5 in CPE. He has gained tons of confidence and now attacks agility courses with abandon!