Michael Wiesman - Facility Manager
Dori Swain - Assistant Instructor
Amata Hinkle - Instructor
Alisa has been a group class Instructor for more than 15 years and is a member of APDT and PPG. She believes dog training should be fun for everyone and strives to incorporate humor and lighthearted learning techniques into all classes. One of her favorite moments happens when the dog surprises the owner by doing something previously thought impossible. Alisa can typically be found teaching Playground class early Saturday mornings.
Jennifer brought her dog Marley to Reactive Dog Class. They were able to move into a regular group Foundations class with time and patience. Jennifer assists in Family Manners, Puppy Foundations class, as well as with Service Dog Training. She has two Labrador Retrievers at home.
Mimi Bynum - Administrative Support
Kay has been an Instructor for more than 9 years.
She has completed the K9 Nosework Instructor certification classes and is a member of APDT and PPG. Kay has 4 rescue dogs and supports various pet rescue organizations. When she's not training dogs you'll find her photographing people, places and pets wherever she goes. Her skills cover many avenues, but her favorite classes to teach may be "Reindeer Games' and Sensitive Dog Classes.
Island Dog Training in Huntsville
Island Dog dog training for dogs and their people in Huntsville
Island Dog dog training group and private classes
dog group and private classes in Huntsville
Dog obedience training
obedience dog training
service dog training
Michael custom designed our facility for dog training and maintains the equipment used in our facility. His gentle way with animals has allowed him to meet fabulous dogs all over the world. His sailing adventures and meeting dogs on Caribbean Islands led to the name Island Dog for the training center.
Julie has two dogs in her family. Annie is pictured and the latest edition is Holly who came to her as a little black lab puppy that she raised for a Florida guide dog school. As a puppy raiser she learned the importance of exposing Holly to a variety of people and places. Clicker training was invaluable in teaching Holly the essentials of becoming a polite dog in society in a fun and rewarding way! She enjoys assisting, especially for our Gymtastic Tricks classes!
MariBeth started off training her first dog using traditional obedience training but after becoming a therapy dog handler, she quickly learned the value of clicker training. Both of her therapy dogs went deaf while they were still working and the hand signals she taught them through clicker training were what allowed her to continue working with them. She believes that many behavioral issues can be solved with positive motivational training and knows first hand that it is a confidence booster for many dogs. She has taken a wide variety of classes with her dogs since they think "school" is great fun! Playground is a favorite class to teach. Koda was a working Therapy dog . He worked for 9 years, 8 of them at HarborChase. Skout is her husband's personal therapy dog. Luca, the cat, rules the roost and has learned a few tricks watching the dogs earn treats. MariBeth is Facilities Coordinator with Heart to Heart Pet Therapy.
Karen loves being as assistant! After 4 years she says she likes to provide one-one-one guidance to help you learn how to train your dog. She has Yorkshire Terriers and is our resident "small dog expert" with lots of tips on the special training of small dogs. Sadie, is a registered Pet Partners Therapy Dog working at HarborChase of Huntsville and Beemer is a retired Therapy Pets Unlimited Therapy Dog. Sadie works with Heart to Heart Pet Therapy, Inc. Karen is the immediate past Executive Director of Heart to Heart Pet Therapy.
Mimi brings to Island Dog a rich combination of administrative experience as well as 40 years of experience teaching dogs and their guardians. She is a co-founder of Therapy Partners, Inc. as well as co-founding Kind Hearts Behavior Center with Margie. She says she can't remember a time she hasn't has a dog in her life. Over the last two decades, Mimi has shared her life with a variety of 'doglets' - Natchez, a chocolate lab, was her first therapy partner, followed by a gentle German Shepherd, Tess and a pair of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Lilly and Abbey. And home companions Spenser and Sally. One of the greatest joys in her life has been the opportunity to work with like-minded folks to honor and deepen the human-animal bond. Luka, a Shih Tzu rescue, is a registered Pet Partner Therapy Dog working with Heart to Heart Pet Therapy, Inc. Mimi is the Executive Director of Heart to Heart Pet Therapy.
Margie Wiesman - Founder and Instructor
Margie is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizenship and S.T.A.R Puppy Instructor/Evaluator and an Evaluator for Therapy Pets, Unlimited. She is the Team Evaluator for Heart to Heart Pet Therapy. She was a founder of Kind Hearts Behavior Center and is past Executive Director of Therapy Partners, Inc. Margie completed Service Dogs Inc.'s' Assistance Dog Training for Professionals in Dripping Springs, Texas, and Paws and Stripes Key Elements to Training Service Dogs. She has been an instructor for more than 19 years. Her passion is gentle, motivational training of dogs and their people. She has a yellow lab, named Happy. Happy is the epitome of a dog in training. Happy was an owner turn in at Huntsville's Animal Services. She was digging in their yard with her tail wagging when Margie spotted her. That very day Margie took her to the vet, had her spayed and later took her home. She wasn't house trained and Margie suspects she was kept in a crate or small kennel from a puppy through the time she was bred. Margie met the challenge of house training by creating some new methods, a process that took almost 2 months. Though Happy loved people she wasn't sure about other dogs. Happy was hand shy, ducked at quick movements and refused to go into the yard. Time and patience have helped Happy live up to her name. And she is now the neutral dog for reactive dog group and private classes.
Karen Rouse - Instructor
Beth Andrada - Instructor
Alisa Spray - Instructor
Scott Haas - Assistant
MariBeth Morgan - Instructor
Scott and Marianne have two Australian Shepherds, Tilly and Molly. Scott came to us with his sensitive dog Tilly. Based on the successes that had with her, Scott decided to join us to help others experience the same success! Scott assists in our Reactive Dog and Playground classes.
Karen has 3 wonderful but very different youngest , Jake and Jesse, have attended numerous classes at Island Dog with fantastic results. However it was "sensitive dog" Jesse that initially caused Karen to jump down the dog training rabbit hole. She realized that in order to help Jesse overcome her obstacles, she would really have to be able to read and speak "dog". As a result of this experience, she has a real heart for dogs who are sensitive or otherwise challenged, and for their owners who may need help understanding the language of dog.
Amata is a scientist who loves studying canine behavior and learning theory. She trains her Australian Shepherd for Search and Rescue as well as performs tricks and does agility. High energy, high drive dogs need games to play and ways to keep their minds as well as their bodies active. Tricks are also a great way to build the human-canine bond. You "can" teach an old dog new tricks! Amata enjoys teaching tricks and body awareness classes for Island Dog. Training dogs isn't boring - it's FUN! You can follow her and her dog on facebook.com/Edraith
Karen Fratesi - Assistant Instructor
Kay Fluhler - Instructor
Jennifer Key - Assistant Instructor
Dori is an assistant at Island Dog after falling in love with the center immediately as a client. After volunteering photographer at local shelters, Dori became more interested in dog behavior and how a stressful environment can affect a dog's mind. She adopted her first rescue, Zoe, and the two took several Reactive Dog classes at Island Dog. Dori realized her passion is with reactive dogs and creating a better quality environment for dogs who may exhibit behavioral issues. Dori has three dogs - Zoe - mixed breed, Alfie - Dogue de Bordeaux, and Max - a senior German Shepherd. She wants to work towards becoming a licensed Behaviorist and loves helping clients to create a more comfortable environment for their dogs!.
I have been clicker training dogs since 2004. I love watching my dogs figure things out, and I love that the training is based on maintaining strong relationships with the dogs. My older dog is Coco, a 7 year old rescue who is named for Chanel but is a tomboy. These two dogs are very different. Coco enjoys puzzles and challenges. She is not content to repeat cues over and over. Cooper, on the other hand, is ready for anything whether the reward is food or attention. Clicker training lets both of them shine.
Julie Post - Assistant Instructor