Instructors

Agility


Stefanie Rainer - Training Director, Agility

Stefanie Rainer is an accomplished dog agility handler and teacher. She is also a judge for the American Kennel Club. With 15 years of experience, she has been competing and achieving new goals since she was seven years old. Stefanie has earned many titles on multiple breeds including a Papillon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and three Border Collies. Stefanie actively competes in AKC, USDAA, and UKI events with her Border Collies Spree and Nike.

Stefanie's list of achievements include:

• Competed in seven AKC National and four USDAA national competitions

• 2011 Grand Prix Finalist, Cynosport World Games

• 2012 Eastern Canadian Regional Steeplechase Champion

• 2012 New England Regional Grand Prix silver medalist

• 2013 North Central Regional Steeplechase bronze medalist

• 2015 AKC NAC 20" finalist, 7th place

• 2015 Mid-Atlantic Regional Performance Speed Jumping Champion

• 2015 Mid-Atlantic Regional Performance Grand Prix Champion

• 2015 New England Regional Performance Speed Jumping Champion

• 2015 New England Regional Performance Grand Prix silver medalist

• Three-time AKC/USA European Open large dog team member

Stefanie has developed her own style of teaching with the guidance and expertise of her mother Renee. She honed her teaching style under the mentorship of renowned dog trainer, Diane Bauman. Stefanie frequently attends seminars to stay current on the latest agility trends. Her latest adventure took her and Nike to Finland for a week working with One Mind Dog agility coaches. Stefanie doesn't believe in any one system and she adapts her methodology to the most effective style based on her assessment of the handler and dog team.


Mary Champagne

Mary Champagne first got involved in agility in 1994 because she thought it "looked fun" and has since trained a variety of dogs of all sizes, breeds and mixes thereof. She began teaching for her local agility club, SNEAK, and now runs her own training school, The Agility Facility, in Southeastern Connecticut. Mary's dogs have competed extensively in the Northeast earning the sport's top titles, and have also been semi-finalists at multiple championship events and ranked in the Agility Top Ten national standings. An advocate of strong foundation training for agility and not rushing her dogs, Mary believes that "it is a journey from the time dogs begin their puppy fundamentals until they retire." Mary is a fun, knowledgable, experienced and very approachable instructor. She says she enjoys teaching new teams and loves the diversity of breeds of dogs. She loves seeing teams come together and being able to share in their journeys.


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 misa212@gmail.com


Stephen McKay, CPDT-KSA

Stephen has been involved in agility since 1998. A recurring national qualifier, he has earned six AKC Master Agility Championships (MACH) as well as over eight dozen additional agility titles in three agility venues. Past and current teammates include a Golden Retriever, two Shetland Sheepdogs and a West Highland White Terrier. His upcoming teammate, a Border Collie, will complete his pursuit of competition in almost every jump height. Positive reinforcement training philosophies, games, play and operant conditioning are used by Stephen to benevolently build the solid foundation skills and advanced competition skills necessary for teams to be successful. 

Stephen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA). In addition to agility, canine behavior is a primary interest to him. Education is a constant priority with regular seminar attendance, books and instructional DVDs utilized to expand his knowledge of behavior, learning theory, training and coaching skills. Stephen was instrumental in the development and implementation of PCOTC's Family Manners Program, is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and runs McKay9 Dog Training LLC with his wife Jamie, who is also a Certified Professional Trainer (CDPT-KSA) and fellow PCOTC instructor.

As a volunteer trainer at the New Rochelle Humane Society, Stephen and his wife Jamie apply their skills to the training of new shelter volunteers and the behavioral modification of shelter dogs. Stephen and Jamie are currently owned and loved by their two Shelties, a Westie, a Golden Retriever and a Border Collie. Stephen can be reached at goweave@optonline.net


Rick Pisani, CPDT-KA

Rick Pisani has been training dogs since 1987, teaching competition obedience classes as well as puppy kindergarten, basic manners and Canine Good Citizen classes. His students have obtained all level of AKC obedience titles, ranging from Novice Obedience through UDX and OTCH, as well as rally titles. He has been a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) since 2005.

Rick attended the Instructors Training Course in 2004 hosted by Rondout Valley for Adoption and Dogs of Course, and was awarded the "Inspiration Award" at the ITC by his fellow classmates.

Rick has an outstanding record of accomplishments with his dogs, including Obedience Trial Championships (OTCH) on three different breeds, as well as multiple High in Trial and High Combined awards.

Rick took Shetland Sheep Dog NOC OTCH Sir Malcolm MacDuff UDX4 from Novice A to an Obedience Trial Championship, winning the Gaines-Cycle Super Dog award in 1995. MacDuff became AKC National Obedience Champion in 1996.

Rick's Golden Retriever CH-OTCH Wingmaster's Ounce of Gold UDX5 VCX WC, Can CD, was the 15th dog in the history of Golden Retrievers to obtain the dual championship designation, and was the Gaines-Cycle Open Class winner in 1994.

Rick's Border Collie OTCH Shoreland's Wild Thing UFX RA OA OAJ earned Multiple High in Trial and High Combined awards along with numerous placements in local and National Obedience tournaments.

Rick also competes in agility. His adopted shelter dog, Australian Shepherd Nani, who was born deaf, recently completed her USDAA Agility Dog Champion (ADCH).

His newest dog, Smooth Coated Border Collie Disco, is being trained for obedience and agility.


Kim Seiter

Kim has been involved in many aspects of dog training and competitive dog sports for the last 30 years. She brings a unique behavioral approach to training dog agility. She started training basic Obedience with her German Shepherd Dogs at a young age, then progressed to Competitive Obedience and Conformation show handling with her Pomeranians.

Kim has obtained over 200 individual agility titles with eleven of her dogs and competes on a national level in USDAA, AKC and UKI. Kim has multiple Agility Championship titles in AKC and USDAA. Her Hungarian Mudi "Nyalka" was the first Mudi to earn many USDAA titles. He earned all AKC qualifying runs novice – masters with 1st Place scores. He was also ranked AKC Top Five Mudi competing at the AKC Invitational 2012-2014. Kim has years of hands-on experience training multiple rescued dogs, unique breeds and working with all levels of agility teams. Kim's goal with her own dogs is to train each dog to their individual potential, to be good companions and also to be top performance dogs; either way, they are all happy and balanced in life.

Kim's training approach is based on building a strong relationship and clear communication skills. She trains with positive reinforcement and play-based methods. Kim truly enjoys the process of teaching both humans and animals. She is highly skilled at building "teamwork" and strengthening the human animal bond. Kim also specializes in working with difficult rescue dogs, evaluating and designing a training program that suits their particular need.

Kim has been instructing Agility fulll time for the past 14 years at six different training clubs and schools in the Northeast. She has presented numerous seminars on all aspects of Dog Agility. She was the Agility Training Director at Morris K9 Campus. Kim has also worked as a Veterinary Technician at three different Veterinary hospitals. Kim has he BFA as a Photographer/Designer but decided to pursue a career with animals and training dogs. Kim is now the owner-operator of "Kim Seiter Dog Agility" in Lake Hopatcong, NJ. She has over 90 students enrolled in classes each session.

Kim can be reached at kimseiter@aol.com or ksdogagility@yahoo.com.


Lisa Topol

Lisa has been competing in agility for ten years, and in that time she has excelled with dogs of multiple breeds and sizes at the highest levels of competition. She is especially proud that she has found her success with rescue dogs. 

Competing primarily in USDAA and UKI, as well as AKC, Lisa’s cattle dog mix “Schmutzy” has medaled in several major competitions including a gold medal at the Cynosport World Games, silver and bronze at the CCOA/IFCS tryouts. She was the Canadian Regional Biathlon champion, and the silver medalist in Grand Prix at the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Regionals.

Her newest addition is a little mix (best guess: half rat, half boy) named “Plop.” While she has only had him for a year, he has already brought home the silver in biathlon at the 2016 New England Regionals. 

In terms of her own training, Lisa’s biggest influence is Kris Seiter, with whom she continues to train. She has also trained extensively with Mary Ellen Barry, Rachel Sanders, Jen Pinder, Val Henry, as well as the Finnish One Mind team. She has also worked with Linda Mecklenburg and Jennifer Crank. 

As such, while Lisa is fluent in the most popular systems used today, she is not beholden to one training system and strongly believes in supporting whatever methods work best for a particular team. In the end, Lisa believes it really comes down to a strong happy relationship, and building a great foundation that can grow and strengthen throughout a dog’s career.