Instructor Profiles

Marilyn Manning

I have been a member of LTDTC for 33 years. I’ve been instructing for 31 years. During those 31 years, I have taught Novice, Open and Utility obedience classes. I’m currently teaching Open and Utility classes. I am a Lifetime Member of LTDTC.

Dogs are not the only animal I’ve trained. I’ve trained horses to do square dancing. I got involved in dog training as I wanted to have well behaved dogs at home. I’ve trained Papillions and West Highland Terriers. I’ve trained various breeds and mix breeds belonging to my students.

I’m currently trialing my Papillion in Utility. Over the years, I have achieved 8 Novice titles, 8 Open titles, 7 Utility titles, and 1 Utility Dog Excellent title with my dogs.

The training advice I give to my students is to stay focused on your goal whether it is obedience, rally, agility, etc.

Marie Starsiak

I have been a member and instructor of LTDTC for so long that I can’t recall the exact year of either one. Over the years I have taught Agility, Agility Foundations, Rally, Basic 1 and Basic 2 Obedience classes. I’m currently teaching Basic 2 Obedience.

I got involved with dog training as I always wanted to have a dog and when I got married, my husband wanted a hunting dog. I’ve owned 7 Brittany Spaniels.

Currently I have 2 Brittany Spaniels that I’m training and showing in conformation, obedience, hunt tests, and take to therapy work visits.

I’m a member of LaSalle Brittany Club where I’ve taught dog training classes. I’ve also taught dog training classes for Willowbrook High School. My dogs and I are proud members of LTDTC’S Ben Friends therapy dog group.

Over the years I have achieved the Champion, Grand Champion, Beginner Novice, Companion Dog, Companion Dog Excellent, Canine Good Citizen, Trick Dog Novice, Therapy Dog, Junior Hunter, Barn Hunt Novice, Open and Senior, Novice Agility, Novice Jumps with Weaves, Open Agility, Open Jumps with Weaves, Excellent Agility, Excellent Jumps with Weaves, Novice Fast, Rally Novice, Rally Advanced, Rally Excellent, Rally Advanced Excellent, and Rally Master titles with my dogs.

The training advice I give to my students is to make it fun and keep it simple.

Anne Baker

I have been a member of LTDTC since 1994 and an instructor since 1998. I have taught obedience – puppy class through competition Novice. I’ve also taught Agility levels 1, 2 and 3. I am teaching both puppy and basic obedience classes for the Oak Lawn Park District.

I got involved with dog training when I was seeking socialization and obedience training for my first rescued Chinese Shar-Pei, who was dog aggressive. She progressed so well, we were bitten by the training bug. I have owned (or been owned by) Chinese Shar-Pei since 1992.

I am a member of the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America. I am currently working with my Shar-Pei, Biscuit, on Fast CAT trials (100 yard dash).  I would love to get back into other performance sports, but his heart isn’t in it.

Over the years I have achieved titles with 3 of my rescue dogs:

  • Sweetie: CD, NA, NAJ, VSPX, CGC, TDI
  • Jessie: NA, NAJ, CGC
  • Biscuit: BN, RN, NA, NAJ, OF, CAX, DCAT, CGCA

The advice I give to my students is to come to class with a smile on your face!  Your dog will sense when you are having a bad day, so leave it behind and enjoy the time you are spending with your dog.

Mary Simpson

I have been a member of LTDTC since 2002. I have been teaching since 2012. During this time, I have taught Rally and Basic 2 Obedience classes. I’m currently teaching the Basic 2 Obedience class with a focus on preparing students for the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

Dogs are not the only animal I’ve trained or shown. I had shown cats in cat shows and horses in equitation. I decided to get involved with dog training years ago as I had dogs of my own and wanted to train them. I’ve owned Greyhounds and English Pointers. I’ve shown a German Shepherd in obedience, Italian Greyhounds in obedience and rally, Greyhounds in obedience, rally and freestyle, and a Yorkshire Terrier in obedience and rally.

Along with being a member of LTDTC, I’m also a member of Glenbard All Breed Obedience Club where I teach Rally Obedience.

While I’m not currently trialing any dogs of my own, I am an AKC Rally judge.  Over the years I have achieved the Companion Dog (CD), Companion Dog Excellent (CDX), Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) and Canine Good Citizen (CGC) titles with my dogs.

The training advice I give to my students is to practice.

Betty Smith

I have been a member of LTDTC for 40 years and an instructor for about 30 years. Before agility existed I taught Novice, Open, and Utility obedience classes. In agility, I’ve taught all levels − including competition level. I developed the curriculum for the club’s Agility Foundations 1 and 2 classes for dogs that are just beginning in agility. I currently teach the Foundations 1 and 2 classes. I am a Lifetime Member of LTDTC.

I got involved in dog training because of my parents. I grew up with Dalmatians and had a Labrador Retriever. My parents began training and showing our family’s Dalmatians when I was a child. I trained and showed one of them to a CDX as a teenager. When my husband and I got our first dog, I enrolled him in training classes as a puppy and have been training and showing dogs ever since then.

I have had Golden Retrievers for many years. I belong to Glenbard All Breed Dog Training Club, the Golden Retriever Club of Illinois, and the Golden Retriever Club of America. I currently train and trial my two Goldens in both obedience and agility.

Over the years, I have achieved the following titles:

  • Canine Good Citizen (CGC) on 3 dogs
  • Therapy Dog (TDI) on 2 dogs
  • CDX on 1 Dalmatian and 9 Golden Retrievers – including 6 CDXs and 4 UDs
  • Rally Novice (RN) titles on 3 Golden Retrievers
  • Agility titles on 6 Golden Retrievers – several with Master Agility Standard (MX) and Master Agility Jumps with Weaves (MXJ) and 1 Preferred Agility Excellent (PAX)
  • Tracking title (TD) on 1 Golden Retriever

The advice I give to my students is to remember that in training your dog to work with you in most dog sports, he or she is doing what YOU want, not what the dog would choose to do (except to please you). Be positive and acknowledge the little and big strides. Reward behavior you want and (as much as possible) ignore what you don’t want.

Clara Luke

I have been a member of LTDTC on/off for 25 years. I have been instructor for two years. I have taught puppy class and currently teach the Basic 2 obedience class.

I got involved with dog training as I was raised with obedience-trained dogs. I have always believed in training my dogs. A well behaved dog can go many places with you. I have owned and trained Boxers and Chihuahua mixes, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Labradors, a Golden Retriever, a Giant Schnauzer plus a few more. Over the years I have achieved the following titles: CD, CDX, CGC, SchH2/VPG2 BSZS and IWPA.

I am currently training and trialing my Boxer in Open Obedience and training in Canine Nose Work and Rally.

I have taught obedience at Hillside and Stone Park Park Districts, Badger State AKC Club and For Your K9 obedience and specialty classes. I am a member of Glenbard Obedience Club and Midwest Boxer Club.

I like to ask my students on the first night of class if they have any other interests for them and their dog. It helps me to understand their goals. The advice I give to my students is if a dog can’t listen on leash, he/she won’t listen to you off leash. Training takes time, patience and practice.

Dave Crawford

I have been a member of LTDTC since 2005 and instructor since 2007. I’ve taught Advanced Beginners for several years and puppy classes for several more. I’ve taught Rally and filled in as an instructor for every class level the club offers. Currently, I’m teaching the Basic 2 Obedience class.

Over the years, I’ve owned a Beagle, a Dachshund, and a Cocker Spaniel. I got involved with dog training as the breeder that we got one of our Bassets from sold her to us with the condition that we take her to training at LTDTC. She excelled in her training and I started competing with her. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to help others experience the bond that I developed with my girl.

I now own Basset Hounds and have competed and trained them in obedience, rally, tracking, scent work, agility, and conformation. I’m currently showing my one girl in conformation, obedience, rally and tracking. My other girl is showing in rally and scent work.

I am a member of Fort Dearborn Basset Hound Club, Glenbard All Breed Obedience Club, and Basset Hound Club of America. I have evaluated a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test for the Fort Dearborn Basset Hound Club.

I have achieved many titles with my dogs. My first Basset girl that I trained earned her CDX, RAE3, and won High in Trial in obedience 4 times at the Basset Hound Nationals. My second Basset girl earned a CD, RAE and a TD. One of my current Bassets has her CD, RI, BN, CH and TD. She also has won High in Trial in obedience at the Basset Hound Nationals. My other Basset girl has an RN and SWN title.

The advice I give to my students is this: Everyone starts training their dog because they enjoy training and they want to spend time with their dog. Don’t lose sight of that. It’s easy to get caught up in the titles. Remember to have fun with your dog. Also, do what your dog enjoys, not what you enjoy doing.

Deborah Sazma

I have been a member of LTDTC for 19 years and an instructor for 17 years. I am currently the Club Secretary. I’m proud to say that I introduced the club to agility when the sport first started. I was the very first agility instructor and agility trial chairperson for the club. I have taught agility and obedience. I currently teach the Rally class.

In the past, I have assisted my sister with her cats in cat shows. I got involved with dog training when my mom decided she wanted to show dogs. I thought I would be good at it. So we started with obedience and I did a little conformation and a lot of agility, obedience and rally along the way. That was 21 years ago. Over the years, I have owned 9 American Cocker Spaniels. We do Obedience, Rally and Agility.

I am a 20-year member of the Skyline Cocker Club and serve as show secretary and club secretary. I am a 12-year member of Glenbard All Breed Obedience Club where I also have taught Rally for the last 3 years. I have been a member for the last 20 years of Chicago Agility where I assist in agility classes. As a 20-year member of the American Spaniel Club, I have served as Agility Trial Chair.

Over the years, I have achieved the following titles with my dogs:

  • 7 CDs
  • Numerous Rally titles
  • 5 RAEs
  • Numerous Agility titles, including a Master Bronze Jumpers and Master Jumpers, and Master Standard and Master Fast on several dogs
  • Assisted in obtaining the Conformation titles of Grand Champion and Champion on two different Cocker Spaniels

The training advice I give to my students is to be consistent with your training, don’t get discouraged, be upbeat and positive. Go back to basics. Sometimes you need to refresh you and your dog’s skills. Find what your dog likes to do and continue with it. They may not like to do one thing but excel at another.