Public Training

At Sonoma Humane Society, we want your relationship with your 4-legged friend to enrich your life, not be a source of frustration. We offer rewards-based training, which guides dog behavior through a series of positive interactions and motivations. Have fun while helping your dog or puppy learn the basics of daily life or even agility and tricks. Understanding your pet’s needs is the first step in building a strong foundation for lifelong companionship and we are here to support you!

In addition to one-on-one training and private consultations, we offer a wide range of classes and workshops that emphasize positive reinforcement techniques and are tailored to the unique personality of your dog. We bring in nationally-acclaimed speakers to present workshops on a wide range of behavior topics. Check out our class schedule below and register online or by calling (707) 542-3617

Need help understanding your feline friend? Find support through our Cat Behavior Hotline or with our Cat Program Manager!
(707) 542-0882 x271

Gift certificates are available for private training or group classes. Contact us today!

 
 
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Kindergarten Puppy Training

Start your puppy out right in this fun, interactive class. For puppies between 10-16 weeks old. This class provides beginning obedience training, help and advice with puppy issues, and safe, supervised puppy play time. Cost: $150

Course topics include:

  • Basic puppy care
  • House training
  • Off-leash socialization
  • Appropriate greetings
  • Basic skills like: sit, down, wait, come when called
  • Leash walking
  • Drop it

Additional Reading
Read the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's Puppy Socialization Position Statement which hopes to increase awareness of the need for socialization in puppies and raise the issue of how vaccination protocols affect the socialization process in puppy classes.

Puppy Socialization Classes

Every week, we offer one class for young puppies and a separate class for older pups. Please register based on how old your pup will be on the day of the class! Cost: $15.

  • Young Puppies: Saturdays @ 1 pm (8-16 weeks old)
  • Older puppies: Sundays @ noon (4-6 months old)

Saturday Classes (1:00-1:45 pm) in Sonoma Humane Society's Training Room, puppy should be 8-16 weeks old on the day of class):

Sunday Classes (12:00-12:45 pm) in Sonoma Humane Society's Training Room, puppy should be 4-6 months old on the day of class):

Socializing your new pup is one of the most important things you can do. Taking them to dog parks is not a safe way to socialize and often creates behavioral issues as the pup matures.

We offer a safe environment for your pup to learn appropriate social skills and be comfortable around new dogs of all shapes and sizes. Your pup will also be exposed to new situations that will become just part of a normal day for puppy instead of a scary event.

Ages: anytime after second DHLPP to 6 months
Cost: $15 per class
Registration required

Please be sure to read these class guidelines prior to coming for your first class.

Agility for Puppies

Have fun teaching your pup to climb up and over obstacles and go through tunnels. A great, fun way to exercise both mind and body, yours and your pups. Agility builds puppy's trust in handler and establishes a strong working relationship between you and your dog that will last a lifetime. Great for building confidence in all pups, and improving coordination. For pups 12 weeks and older. Cost: $150

Agility For Puppies 2

For those who have already taken Agility for Puppies, and for puppies under 12 months, continue learning foundation skills and building obstacle focus. Cost: $150

If there's a class you'd like to enroll in that's not on the schedule, contact us at behaviorandtraining@sonomahumane.org to be notified the next time it's scheduled.

 
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Have fun while training your dog on the basics of daily life. Each level sharpens your dog’s focus with greater distance, duration, and distraction. All classes uses all positive training methods.

Companion Dog 1

The Fundamentals (for dogs 4 months & older). Have fun while teaching your dog loose leash walking, polite greetings, sit and down, as well as the lifesaving skills: come when called, wait and leave it. Cost: $150

Companion Dog 2

Sharpening Skills. Using a mix of games and exercises, improve performance on sit and down (add duration and distraction), learn hand signals, wait at a distance, tricks, and continue working on polite leash manners and recall. Curriculum can be adjusted to meet individual needs in any class. Must have completed Companion Dog 1 or Small Dog 1 (or equivalent) to enroll in this class. Cost: $150

Companion Dog 3

This class is designed to add significant duration, distance and distraction work with known behavior. Off leash work will be done, if appropriate. Graduates of Companion Dog 2 or with instructor approval. Cost: $150

Companion Dog 4

This advanced level class builds on skills started in Companion Dog 2 & Companion Dog 3. The goals are to increase reliability and speed of behaviors and build to off leash skills. Companion Dog 3 graduates or with instructor approval. Cost: $150

Companion Dog for Senior Handlers (62+ or disabled)

Companion Dog 1 for seniors and people with special needs. Learn the fundamentals with flexibility for your needs. Have fun while teaching your dog loose leash walking, polite greetings, sit and down, and come when called. For dogs 4 months & older. Cost: $120 (includes a 20% discount)

Small Dog 1

Just like our Companion Dog series, but tailored to small breeds. Have fun while teaching your small dog loose leash walking, polite greetings, sit and down, as well as the lifesaving skills: come when called, wait and leave it. Addresses issues specific to small dogs. For dogs 4 months & older, up to 30 lbs. Cost: $150

Small Dog 2

Using a mix of games and exercises, we will improve performance on sit and down (add duration and distraction), wait at a distance, tricks, and polite leash manners and recall. Curriculum set up to meet the needs of smaller dogs. This class is for dogs 30 pounds and under who have completed Companion Dog 1 or Small Dog 1 (or equivalent). Cost: $150

Jumpers and Pullers

Do you have a dog with bountiful energy who drives you crazy pulling on the leash and jumping? This 4-week series is your opportunity to learn a variety of practical techniques to manage and retrain your dog. Your dog will learn that it can be rewarding to pay attention to you and walk politely at your side. This class will cover equipment available to help manage your dog, while you have fun with games, tricks and methods you can use every day to increase your enjoyment when walking your dog. Cost: $100

Bully Breeds 1

Companion Dog 1 for bully breeds (Pit Bulls, Boxers, AmStaffs, Rotties, Mastiffs and mixes of those breeds.) Have fun while teaching your dog loose leash walking, polite greetings, sit and down, as well as the lifesaving skills: come when called, wait and leave it. Also addresses issues specific to bully dogs such as challenging body language and eye contact. Cost: $150

Bully Breeds 2

Fine-tune your bully breed! More advanced leash work including parallel walking and passes, recalls with distractions, sit/down stays upping distractions, walking wait, real-life "leave it." Cost: $150

Reactive Rover

Compassionately attuned toward dogs who are reactive to or fearful of other dogs. Guardian and dog will learn skills to help their dog make better choices when faced with dogs they are fearful of or reactive. Learn evasive maneuvers, attention exercises, body language, and leash management skills. Help your dog learn to be more attentive to you and confident in uncomfortable or difficult situations. Referral or assessment required. Cost: $175

Reactive Rover 2

Sharpening Skills. For dogs that are fearful of or reactive to other dogs (not appropriate for dogs who are fearful of humans). Continue learning additional skills to help your dog make better choices when faced with difficult situations. Curriculum can be adjusted to meet individual needs. Proof of vaccination is required. Must have completed Reactive Rover I (or equivalent) to enroll in this class. Cost: $175

Reactive Rover Agility

Compassionately attuned toward dogs who are reactive to or fearful of other dogs. This class is designed to teach dogs to be calm and focused in a distracting environment. Help your dog learn to be more attentive to you and confident in uncomfortable or difficult situations. Dogs and handlers are introduced to agility equipment and basic handling skills. Dogs are taught to safely go over, through, and walk on agility equipment. Dogs must be at least one year old and physically capable. Reactive Rover 1 referral or assessment required. Cost: $175

Short Series Classes

The Sonoma Humane Society offers shorter class series on a wide variety of topics that allow dog/handler teams to learn a specific set of skills in a shorter time. Skills include learning to walk with your dog, coming when called, tricks, clicker training and the like. It’s the same great information but in a shorter session. Prices vary depending on the length of the series and topics covered. Scroll to the bottom of this page for upcoming Short Series Classes.

If there's a class you'd like to enroll in that's not on the schedule, contact us at behaviorandtraining@sonomahumane.org to be notified the next time it's scheduled.

 
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Introduction to K9 Nose Work®

This class introduces your dog to the game of K9 Nose Work. The class will focus on developing your dog's hunting drive by combining his amazing sense of smell with his love of food and toys. You will learn to read the change in your dog's behavior and body language as he approaches a hide, and your dog will become more confident and focused. Cost: $150

Introduction to Odor

In this class we will introduce your dog to the first odor (Birch) in the series of three target odors used in the sport of K9 Nose Work®. Your dogs will learn to identify and find Birch in increasingly more difficult searches while you and your dog learn to work together as a team. Cost: $150

Working with Odor

This class will focus on continued pairing with Birch to progress towards your dog becoming odor obedient. The class will continue to develop handler skills and will increase searching challenges. Hides will focus on all four search elements—Container, Interior, Vehicle, and Exterior searches—required in a K9 Nose Work® NW1 Trial. Additional target odors will be introduced for dogs that are proficient on Birch. Dogs must pass a mock Odor Recognition Test (ORT) to be eligible for an Extreme Scenting class. Cost: $150

Extreme Scenting

The most fun and challenging class of all. All searches are in held off campus in different locations. Skills learned and perfected in this class can be used in the competitive sport K9 Nose Work®. Cost: $175

Agility Fundamental 1

Dogs and handlers are introduced to the agility equipment and basic handling skills. Dogs are taught to safely go over, through, and walk on agility equipment. The fundamentals of agility are emphasized; safety, contacts, dog/handler teamwork. Dogs must be at least 1 year old and physically capable. Cost: $150

Agility Fundamental 2

Continue to have fun while gaining confidence with agility equipment. Work with handling skills including front crosses, rear crosses, and sends to link up obstacles into courses. For handlers and dogs who have completed Agility Fundamentals 1 or permission of instructor. Cost: $150

Agility Fundamentals 3

Continue where Agility Fundamentals 2 left off and have fun while working on longer courses, fun twists and turns, and learning on new equipment. We will work on contacts, distance skills, and independent weave poles. For handlers and dogs who have completed Agility Fundamentals 2 or permission of instructor. Cost: $150

Agility Fundamentals 4

Continue where Agility Fundamentals 3 left off. Have fun while working on longer courses and gaining confidence on all equipment. We will work on contacts, distance skills, and independent weave poles. For handlers and dogs who have completed Agility Fundamentals 3 or permission of instructor. Maximum of 6 dogs and their handlers. Cost: $150

Agility for Puppies 1

Have fun teaching your pup to climb up and over obstacles and go through tunnels. A great, fun way to exercise both mind and body, yours and your pups. Agility builds puppy's trust in handler and establishes a strong working relationship between you and your dog that will last a lifetime. Great for building confidence in all pups, and improving coordination. For pups 12 weeks to 5 months. Cost: $150

Agility for Puppies 2

For those who have already taken Agility for Puppies 1, and for puppies under 12 months, continue learning foundation skills and building obstacle focus. Cost: $150

Agility for Junior Handlers

Do you have a playful dog you think would be good at agility? Have fun teaching your dog to go over hurdles, through tunnels, and through the weave poles. In this class you will learn the fundamentals of agility while building trust and confidence between you and your dog. For handlers under 18 with instructor approval, previous training classes are helpful but not required. Cost: $150

Reactive Rover Agility

Compassionately attuned toward dogs who are reactive to or fearful of other dogs. This class is designed to teach dogs to be calm and focused in a distracting environment. Help your dog learn to be more attentive to you and confident in uncomfortable or difficult situations. Dogs and handlers are introduced to agility equipment and basic handling skills. Dogs are taught to safely go over, through, and walk on agility equipment. Dogs must be at least one year old and physically capable. Reactive Rover 1 referral or assessment required. Cost: $175

Tricks

Are you looking for some canine capers that will wow your friends and neighbors? Our Tricks class is a fun introduction for people and their dogs. We'll show you how to teach your dog tricks like spin, shake, wave, sit pretty, roll over, weave through legs & wrap it up with a bow. For graduates of Kindergarten Puppy Training, Companion Dog I or Small Dog I (or equivalent). Cost: $150

Tricks 2

Take your skills from Tricks classes to a new level in Tricks 2! In this class we will review some of the tricks you already know, and have fun adding many new ones. Learn how to chain multiple behaviors together for more complex routines that will truly impress your friends! Discover how fun teaching tricks can be while strengthening the bond between you and your dog! Prerequisite: Tricks 1 or permission of instructor. Cost: $150

Rally Obedience

Work out in teams around a signed exercise course with your dog. Rally Obedience (Rally-O) will have you and your dog weaving around a course consisting of 10 - 20 signs that instruct teams what exercises to perform. It's dog- and handler-friendly: you can praise and communicate with your dog as you work. Rally-O helps to improve your dog's manners at home and in public. Completion of Companion Dog 1 or equivalent required. Cost: $150

Scenting for Bully Breeds

A class designed specifically for bully breed dogs (Pit Bulls, Boxers, AmStaffs, Rotties, Mastiffs and mixes of those breeds.) This class exercises your dog's body and mind by teaching him to search for a specific scent, plus builds your dog's confidence and the handler-dog bond. Dogs should be comfortable being crated during part of class. Cost: $150

If there's a class you'd like to enroll in that's not on the schedule, contact us at behaviorandtraining@sonomahumane.org to be notified the next time it's scheduled.

 
 
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Reactive Rover

Compassionately attuned toward dogs who are reactive to or fearful of other dogs (not appropriate for dogs who are fearful of humans). Guardian and dog will learn skills to help their dog make better choices when faced with dogs they are fearful of or reactive to. Learn evasive maneuvers, attention exercises, body language, and leash management skills. Help your dog learn to be more attentive to you and confident in uncomfortable or difficult situations. Referral or assessment required. Cost: $175

Reactive Rover 2

Sharpening Skills. For dogs that are fearful of or reactive to other dogs (not appropriate for dogs who are fearful of humans). Continue learning additional skills to help your dog make better choices when faced with difficult situations. Curriculum can be adjusted to meet individual needs. Proof of vaccination is required. Must have completed Reactive Rover I (or equivalent) to enroll in this class. Cost: $175

Reactive Rover Agility

Compassionately attuned toward dogs who are reactive to or fearful of other dogs (not appropriate for dogs who are fearful of humans). This class is designed to teach dogs to be calm and focused in a distracting environment. Help your dog learn to be more attentive to you and confident in uncomfortable or difficult situations. Dogs and handlers are introduced to agility equipment and basic handling skills. Dogs are taught to safely go over, through, and walk on agility equipment. Dogs must be at least one year old and physically capable. Reactive Rover 1 referral or assessment required. Cost: $175

Bully Breeds 1

Companion Dog 1 for bully breeds (Pit Bulls, Boxers, AmStaffs, Rotties, Mastiffs and mixes of those breeds.) Have fun while teaching your dog loose leash walking, polite greetings, sit and down, as well as the lifesaving skills: come when called, wait and leave it. Class uses all positive training methods. Also addresses issues specific to bully dogs such as challenging body language and eye contact. Cost: $150

Bully Breeds 2

Fine-tune your bully breed! More advanced leash work including parallel walking and passes, recalls with distractions, sit/down stays upping distractions, walking wait, real-life "leave it." Cost: $150

If there's a class you'd like to enroll in that's not on the schedule, contact us at behaviorandtraining@sonomahumane.org to be notified the next time it's scheduled.

 
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The Polite Leash

Are you tired of your dog pulling on a leash on walks? Spend an afternoon leaning a variety of practical techniques to help you manage and re-train your dog. Also covers equipment available to use on dogs who pull and humane techniques to train the dog. Dog-friendly dogs only please. Cost: $50

Fido Come

Work on fun coming-when-called exercises with your dog to improve your dog's recall and focus on you! Completion of Companion Dog 1 or equivalent required. Cost: $50

Dog Park Skills

Do you have a dog who likes to play with other dogs? Or, a dog that you *think* wants to play with other dogs, but you just aren't sure if the dog park is the right place for you? Come to this two hour workshop and learn the good, the bad and the ugly on dog park survival skills. We will discuss canine social skills in general utilizing written material and observed interactions in the workshop. You will also get feedback on your dogs canine social skills and recommendations on what types of activities are best for YOUR dog. Cost: $50

Scenting

Looking for a new and fun activity to do with your dog? This workshop is an introduction to the sport of scenting. Exercise your dog's body and mind by teaching him or her to search for a specific scent, and build your dog's confidence and the handler-dog bond. Dogs should be comfortable being crated during part of class. Cost: $50

Teaching Through Play

This workshop explores the many ways we can use play to build a connection with our dogs and we with them. For years people have been told not to play tug or chase with their dogs. These very enjoyable and natural behaviors can be taught in a safe and cooperative way to build a better connection. This workshop will cover how hunting games and play can build stronger recalls and a better walking experience. Dog friendly dogs only please. Cost: $50

Tricks

Are you looking for some canine capers that will wow your friends and neighbors? Our Tricks Workshop is a fun introduction for people and their dogs. We'll show you how to teach your dog tricks like spin, shake, wave, sit pretty, roll over, weave through legs & wrap it up with a bow. For graduates of Kindergarten Puppy Training, Companion Dog I or Small Dog I (or equivalent). Cost: $50

Preparing for the Canine Good Citizen Test

The AKC Canine Good Citizenship Test (CGC) is one of the most widely recognized standards of achievement for creating a well mannered dog. It is used by service dog organizations as a standard for training and is often accepted by landlords as an indication of responsible dog ownership. This workshop will cover the elements of the test and coach dog/handler teams toward successful passage of it. The Sonoma Humane Society provides an opportunity to take the CGC test. Cost: $50

If there's a class you'd like to enroll in that's not on the schedule, contact us at behaviorandtraining@sonomahumane.org to be notified the next time it's scheduled.

 
 
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Animal Assisted Activity

Prepare your dog for the rewarding opportunity of volunteer work in animal assisted activity. We will hone the skills and behaviors that make your dog the perfect visitor for assisted living centers, senior homes, children reading to dogs, and more. Prerequisite: Companion Dog 2 or equivalent, or consent of instructor. Cost: $150

To be notified when the next Animal Assisted Activity class is scheduled, email us at behaviorandtraining@sonomahumane.org.

 

 
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Behavior Consultations

A private behavior consultation may help uncover the cause of unwanted behaviors. Using information you provide and by observing your dog's behavior, our consultants will explain why the behavior is occurring and how to modify and manage the problem so that you can live peacefully with your best friend. By appointment only.

75-minute consultation at the shelter: $100

If you adopted your dog from Sonoma Humane Society, you receive a complementary behavior consultation within 90 days of adoption.

To schedule an appointment, please call (707) 542-3617 or email behaviorandtraining@sonomahumane.org.

One on One Training

Private training can really jump start your dog's training, fill in for a missed class or two, or perhaps provide a refresher. Meet with one of our experienced dog trainers who will work one-on-one with you and your dog to help you develop a training program that works best for your specific needs. By appointment only.

Private training at the shelter:
30 minutes: $40
45 minutes: $60
1 hour: $80

In-home private training:
1 hour minimum: $80 (plus travel fee)

To schedule an appointment, please call (707) 542-3617 or email behaviorandtraining@sonomahumane.org.

Cancellations must be made within 24 hours of either the consultation or private training date in order to reschedule or receive a full refund. Please contact the trainer or consultant directly to cancel or reschedule.

 
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FAQ's

Q: Who do I call if I need help with my animal?

A: Call us at 707.542.0882 x233 or email us at BehaviorAndTraining@SonomaHumane.org

Q: What is your Refund Policy? 

A: If you have registered for a class and cannot attend, please notify Sonoma Humane Society at least seven (7) days prior to the first day of class for a full refund. If notification is received less than seven (7) days prior to class, a 50% refund will be given. No refunds will be given once class has started or for missed classes in a series. Make up classes will be held at the discretion of the instructor. If class is cancelled due to weather, a make-up class will be held. Refunds will not be given due to bad weather.

To cancel your class enrollment, call or email us at BehaviorAndTraining@SonomaHumane.org or 707.542.0882 ext 233.

Behavior consultations and private training sessions must be cancelled within 24 hours of the appointment in order to reschedule or receive a full refund. Please contact the trainer or consultant directly to cancel or reschedule.

Policies

Enrollment
For dogs adopted from Sonoma Humane Society, we offer a 20% discount for one class or workshop taken within 90 days of the adoption date. To register for your class and receive your adoption discount, call 707.542.0882 ext 233.

For all classes, payment is required at the time of registration to reserve your spot in the class. You may pay by credit card online or with cash or check by calling 707.542.0882 ext 233.

Vaccinations
Adult dogs must show proof of current parvo/distemper (DHPP) and rabies vaccinations. A three (3) year rabies shot is acceptable.

Puppies need to show proof of a series of two (2) DHPP vaccinations, with at least one week between the second shot and class attendance.

Bordatella vaccination for all dogs as well as routine flea/tick preventatives are strongly recommended.

Refunds
If you have registered for a class and cannot attend, please notify Sonoma Humane Society at least seven (7) days prior to the first day of class for a full refund. If notification is received less than seven (7) days prior to class, a 50% refund will be given. No refunds will be given once class has started or for missed classes in a series. Make up classes will be held at the discretion of the instructor. If class is cancelled due to weather, a make-up class will be held. Refunds will not be given due to bad weather.

To cancel your class enrollment, call 707.542.0882 ext 233 or email us at BehaviorAndTraining@SonomaHumane.org

Kinder Puppy Training classes as part of Sonoma Humane Society’s Puppy Adoption Package are a non-refundable fee that is intended for the adopter to take a six-week Kinder Puppy Training class. In lieu of this, a credit may be issued to be used within 90 days of adoption for another class or service offered through Sonoma Humane Society’s behavior and training department.

Behavior consultations and private training sessions must be cancelled within 24 hours of the appointment in order to reschedule or receive a full refund. Please contact the trainer or consultant directly to cancel or reschedule.

Discounts
Sonoma Humane Society offers a 20% discount on classes, private training sessions, and behavior consultations to senior (62+) and low income individuals. Local 501c3 rescue groups who enroll dogs awaiting adoption in a class or session also receive a 20% discount.

For dogs adopted from Sonoma Humane Society, we offer a 20% discount on class enrollment within 90 days of adoption. We also offer a complimentary behavior consultation for dogs and cats within 90 days of adoption. (By appointment only.)

To enroll in a class with a discount, call 707.542.0882 ext 233.

To schedule a behavior consultation, call 707.542.0882 ext 263.

Cancellations
If a minimum number of students have not enrolled for a class, the class may be canceled. In this case, we will notify you two (2) days before the class commencement and you will be given the option to enroll in a different class, receive credit toward a future class, or receive a full refund.

Behavior
If at any time the instructor determines a dog or handler is jeopardizing the safety of people or other dogs in the class, the trainer may request that the dog be removed from class and your fees will be forfeited.

Attendance

People Only Orientations
Please do not bring your dog to the first class of our Companion Dog 1, Small Dog 1, Kindergarten Puppy Training, Bully Breeds 1 and Reactive Rover. Orientation is mandatory as it contains the information you will need to succeed in training your dog.

If you are unable to make the orientation, please inform us so we can work with you to make other arrangements. Students who miss the orientation without making prior arrangements are assumed to have dropped out of the class, and will forfeit their class fee.

Class Sessions
If you miss a session, please contact the trainer to discuss topics and homework. Drop-in/make-up classes are not permitted. A make-up class may be arranged at the discretion of the instructor. New students may be allowed to join a course after the first class session at the instructor’s discretion.

Family Members
We encourage all family members to attend training classes. Children should be supervised at all times.

Note: Some dogs may not be comfortable with small children. For your child’s safety, if he/she expresses an interest in another dog, we ask that at the end of the class you obtain permission from the dog’s guardian before your child is permitted to meet the dog face-to-face.

Sonoma Humane Society strives to ensure the comfort and safety of staff and visitors by encouraging a smoke-free and fragrance-free environment. Please refrain from wearing scented lotions or perfumes while attending class.

Behavior & Training

707.542.3617

Sue McGuire; Trainer

Sue McGuire, Trainer

 
 
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Julie Colt, Trainer
 

Bonnie Wood, Trainer

 

Pat Engel, Trainer

 
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Tala Davis, Trainer

 
 
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Karen Gulmon, Trainer

 
 
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Ali Vorhies, Trainer

 

Karen Schwartz, Trainer

 
 
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