Family Manners Instructors
What do initials after an instructor's name mean? Click here to find out.
Cindy Rubin - Training Director
Cindy believes that every dog and handler can find joy and satisfaction in training.
Cindy started teaching for PCOTC in 2000 and had taught for the Kaeley Obedience School in prior years. Her career in dogs started in 1977 when she was employed as a licensed veterinary technician. After working in private practices, she retired from the position of chief surgical nurse for Surgical Animal Welfare League of Westchester County Spay Neuter Clinic in 1979.
Cindy started training in competitive obedience with her English Cocker Spaniel, Muffin, in 1988. She went on to be a CH UD, and at the same time Cindy was training Willie, the first UDX dog in the breed's history. Guy came along and remains the breed's only CH UD MX MXJ. Yes, Cindy has branched out into the world of agility, but she remains committed to obedience. Her Border Collie has a CDX as well as agility titles.
Cindy prides herself at being able to accurately "read" dogs of all breeds and adapt her training methods to best help that dog and handler team. She believes in upbeat, positive methods and her students have gone on to earn over 50 obedience titles. Aside from titles, she wants her students to be happy members of their families and communities.
Cindy takes great joy in recently helping an "untrainable" dog become a happy canine citizen (oh yes, she is also a CGC TDI RE ARCHX ARCHEX CDX-H). She will work through any problem in a consistent, reassuring way, both for the dog and the owner.
Cindy can be reached at email@example.com
Virginia Dare, CTP
Virginia Dare's training career began in 1981. She is a nationally recognized positive reinforcement trainer and seminar presenter, and co-producer of clicker training DVDs that are sold worldwide throughwww.takeabowwow.com. Virginia was a contributing writer for Karen Pryor's Academy of Animal Training & Behavior curriculum, and also a faculty member of Karen Pryor's Clicker Expos for six years.
From 2007-2015, Virginia was head trainer for a pet/prison program called Pixie's Pen Pals, working in numerous prisons in the central VA area. Hard-to-adopt shelter dogs are placed with qualified inmates, living at the prison 24/7, until trained and ready to be adopted out to the public. From 2016-2017, she also worked as an executive trainer for a therapy dog organization
Virginia was part of an army research project where they worked on an automated system for scent detection training in rats. Her own dogs have been involved in animal acting, herding, agility, and pet therapy visits. The current group consists of a sheltie mix, chihuahua, and one agouti (a large South American rodent).
Nancy Field, CPDT-KA
Nancy Field is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and an Approved Evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. She began instructing Family Manners classes in 2005.
Her lifelong passion for animals has led to a unique combination of education and experience. During her college years, while completing a B.A. in Biology, Nancy spent summers working for the Children’s Zoo at the Bronx Zoo, and worked with horses as a groom at Finger Lakes Racetrack and at boarding stables in Westchester. She began working professionally with dogs in 1994, after completing a six-month dog training apprenticeship with the ASPCA’s Behavior Department.
Nancy is committed to force-free, reward-based training methods; her goal is to foster and enhance the human/canine relationship while building willing compliance. She continues to expand her knowledge of the latest training methods by attending numerous seminars and workshops covering a wide range of training topics.
She competes in obedience and rally with her Labrador Retriever, Emma (Legacy's Mrs. Peel, RL2) and is currently training Emma for agility competition. She previously competed with her dog Nigel (Matego Nigel CGC, RN, RL3), who was titled to the third (highest) level in APDT rally, and earned an award of excellence and a top-20 national ranking in 2005.
Nancy also offers private training and pet behavior problem-solving in New York City, Westchester, and southern Fairfield, under the name of Harmony Dog Training.
You can reach Nancy via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Sabine Hellge, CPDT-KA
Sabine teaches a course for the "Grumpy Growler" who is reactive when encountering strange dogs. The course aims to improve the relationship between the dog and owner, giving the owner the tools to manage critical situations and change the perception of the dog to strange dogs.
Since 2001, Sabine has provided in-home training for pet dogs, specializing in solving problems related to aggression and fear. She is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and a Professional Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Originally from Germany, she provided group training lessons for pet dogs and shelter dogs there.
Sabine also trains in K9 Search and Rescue; she and her Otterhound are a certified mantrailing-team with North Pocono Search Rescue and Recovery. She has trained and titled her Otterhound in Rally Obedience, as well. She has attended numerous workshop, classes and seminars with dog trainers such as Suzanne Clothier, Ian Dunbar, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Pam Dennison, Sassie Joiris, Dr. Ray Coppinger, Kathy Sdao, Pat Miller, Pia Silvani, Turid Rugaas, Trish King, and Jean Donaldson.
Sabine has a PhD in Chemistry from the Technical University Hamburg, Germany. She enjoys traveling, especially in an RV, and observing animals and analyzing their behavior.
You can reach Dr. Hellge at email@example.com
Misa Martin, CPDT-KA
Misa Martin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. After being invited to come along to Agility practice by a fellow Brooklynite, Misa and her first dog Flop caught the "agility bug" and studied with Tracy Sklenar, Chris Ott, and Mary Lou Hanlon. Years of attending agility seminars, workshops and camps with her first dog led to the beginning of her professional dog training career as a PetSmart Trainer in 2008.
In addition to joining PCOTC's Family Manners program, Misa is a staff trainer at the Mount Vernon Humane Society and Pet Rescue. Misa owns Hudson Valley Dog Trainer, providing reward-based training to private clients.
Through her knowledge, experience, and sense of humor, Misa encourages students to approach dog training as a team effort, where students learn as much from their dogs as dogs learn from their "parents," making training fun for humans and dogs alike!
"My greatest satisfaction since becoming a dog trainer has been seeing my students 'click' with their dogs and be proud of what they've learned together," says Misa.
Misa has competed in NADAC, USDAA, and CPE agility at the Elite and Masters level with her rescued rat terrier Flop. Her newest family member, Jambo, is also training in agility.
Misa is an avid photographer and is currently working on a documentary about dogs adopted from rescues and shelters. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie McKay, CPDT-KSA
Jamie's early training experience was gained in a shelter, enhancing the adoptability of homeless pets through training and behavioral modification, and training new volunteers to safely handle, train and decipher canine body language. Since 2003, her involvement with the New Rochelle Humane Society's Train-To-Adopt program has afforded her the opportunity to work with both a diverse group of people and a large assortment of breeds and temperaments. Jamie is also very active with Tristate Shetland Sheepdog Rescue.
Jamie is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA), an evaluator for the AKC's Canine Good Citizen program, and a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She is the editor of Ask the Trainer: Solutions for Classroom Challenges in the APDT's Chronicles of the Dog, and a contributor to Clean Run magazine.
Jamie regularly attends seminars and is especially interested in learning theory and behavior modification. She believes that a solid training foundation leads to a strong bond, develops the dog's focus and work ethic, and ultimately leads to success regardless of what goals each team aspires to.
Jamie trains her dogs in rally obedience and agility. While she enjoys the titles and ribbons her dogs have achieved, she first and foremost treasures the relationship she has with her dogs.
Jamie and her husband Stephen, who is also a Certified Professional Trainer (CPDT-KSA) and fellow PCOTC instructor, own McKay9 Dog Training LLC. Jamie and Stephen are owned by two Shetland Sheepdogs, a West Highland White Terrier, a Golden Retriever and a Border Collie.
Jamie can be reached at email@example.com
Betsy Schwartz, CPDT-KA
Betsy Schwartz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed and an evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, the Pet Professional Guild and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She is committed to only positive, force-free, dog-friendly training methods, which create a bond of trust and foster teamwork. Training is all about relationships and clear, two-way communication between handler and dog. Betsy believes that training should always be enjoyable for both human and animal alike, and she interjects humor and fun into all her classes.
A lifelong animal lover, Betsy has taught pet training classes in Stamford, CT since 2003. She was Training Coordinator and Assistant Trainer for The Good Dog Foundation for Fairfield and Westchester Counties from 1999-2002, and is currently an administrator of the Pet Therapy Program at Kids in Crisis in Cos Cos, CT.
Betsy, along with her husband, Will and son, James, are the guardians of two Old English Sheepdogs, Rigby and Eleanor (a.k.a. Ellie Belly), two rescued feral cats, Maizey and KitKat, and a clicker-trainer horse named Sundance.
Betsy teaches Family Manners and specialty classes, and does in-home private lessons. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
An experienced trainer since 1987 and the owner of Joyful Canine Training, Mary-Elizabeth Simpson (APTD, IACP) has worked with various training schools and with professional trainers over the years. She is an AKC CGC evaluator. Mary-Elizabeth teaches both obedience and breed handling at Port Chester Obedience Training Club.
Mary Elizabeth is an active competitor in Obedience, Agility and breed competitions with her Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Australian Shepherd and Border Collies. All of her dogs are titled in one or more of those areas. Some have even attained their Canine Good Citizen's Certificate and have attended nursing homes. Not only has Mary-Elizabeth competed her dogs, but she has also done obedience and agility demos, appeared on Channel 12 news in both CT and NY, appeared in the Stamford Advocate and Times as well as Greenwich Times newspapers documenting her training accomplishments. In addition to running her dogs in performance she has also handled other people's dogs in agility and breed and has done very well, placing at the Westminster dog show and even qualifying for Crufts twice.
Mary Elizabeth is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, International Association of Canine Professionals and various breed clubs. Mary-Elizabeth works on a private basis with dogs who have behavioral problems or need basic training or re-training, as well as working with people who are serious competitors in agility and obedience. She does Pembroke Welsh Corgi rescue and has retrained and re-homed many Corgis as well as mixes successfully.
Mary Elizabeth can be reached at Simcorgi@aol.com.