Austin Dog Alliance’s professional instructors are Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT), members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and are assisted by carefully supervised apprentice trainers. All staff is certified for Emergency Human and Dog First Aid, most have advanced degrees and all participate in continuing education to keep current on the latest positive and science-based training methods.
Austin Dog Alliance classes employ proven, science-based training methods, tailored to meet your – and your dog’s – unique needs. The positive, results-based curriculum makes learning as fun for your pet as it is for you. Classes are intentionally small, allowing for the most personal attention and a safe and enjoyable learning experience.
Nestled within seven acres of woodlands and fields, the Alliance ranch includes plenty of room to train on-leash and off in a shady, relaxed setting. Alliance instructors encourage the whole family, including children, to attend classes and take part in the learning experience.
Classes are available at two convenient locations:
Do you want to have the most fun that you can possibly have with your dog? Try agility. Your dog will learn to run, jump, go through tunnels, go over obstacles of all types and sizes and gain confidence with each try. Agility is a game that you and your dog do together as a team. You will learn how to communicate with your dog on a whole new level. You will learn how to use body language to tell your dog what you want him to do. Agility is truly a workout for both the mind and body–for both of you–and you’ll have a blast the whole time.
Agility Foundation 1 – Learning Equipment and Movement
Let the fun begin. During this six-week class you will learn how to get your dog to go over a jump, through a tunnel, over a dog walk, through weave poles and much more. You will start learning how to use your body language to tell your dog where you want him to go. You will learn together how to be a team. And you will learn how to do this safely.
Agility Foundation 2 – Adding Weave Poles, Chutes and Off-Leash Sequences
You’re off and running. After your first class you and your dog are ready to start putting the pieces together. Literally. During this class you and your dog will start running several obstacles together in a sequence. You’ll see your dog go over a jump, through a tunnel and then over the A-frame, or through the weave poles, over a jump, and then stop and wait on the table. The combinations are endless. At the same time you will learn how to tell him to do all of these things not just one way, but many different ways.
Agility Foundation 3 – Running an Entire Course
Team agility is happening. Both you and your dog are talking the same language now. In this class you will start working as a team to perform more advanced obstacle sequences. Now you’re not just doing three obstacles in a row, but 5, 6 and more. You’ll see what it’s like to have your dog work more independently but stay with you. At the end of this class you will get a chance to run a full length agility course with your dog and really see what being a team is all about.
Agility for Competition
Classes are now forming, please contact us for more information.
Agility Field Rental
Looking for a location where you and your dog can practice full course runs or specific skills? Our field is available for rental on a one-time, punch card or monthly basis. The open field schedule varies by month and will be posted on the last day of each month for the following month. Please note, students currently enrolled in a class are eligible to use the field for practice for free for the entire 6 weeks of their class. Enjoy!
and Socialization. Learn skills such as loose leash walking, leave it, come when called, stay and so much more. It’s never too late to get started!
This informative workshop is a combination of lecture and hands-on practice. The intended audience is dog owners and those who work with dogs in their professional lives (shelters, dog day care, groomers, trainers). Learn about:
- Canine CPR
- Basic Dog Care – vaccinations, assessing poop, assessing skin and ear issues
- Basic First Aide – what to do when your dog is bitten by another dog, a snake or an insect, has a puncture wound, shows signs of hyperthermia or hypothermia, has been exposed to something poisonous
- Pet First Aide Kit – what should be included and how do you use the items
- Disaster “to go” Kit – how to be prepared for an emergency like a sudden wildfire
- When you should rush to the vet and when you can wait, some practical guidelines for managing your dog’s health
About our instructors:
Ellen Mahany, RVT – Ellen is a Registered Vet Tech with over 20 years of experience. She currently works as a veterinarian technician and teaches Anatomy and Physiology at the Austin Community College Veterinary Technician program.
Nancy McIntire – Nancy is a Pet First Aide Instructor, certified through Pets America and the Emergency Care and Safety Institute.
Pet Partners requires that you take their online home study course and an online test prior to evaluating. You can not obtain the paperwork needed for the evaluation without first taking the Pet Partners Handler course.
One of the following are required PRIOR to testing:
- Attendance at an Austin Dog Alliance Pet Therapy Seminar
- Attendance at an Austin Dog Alliance Pet Therapy – Dog and Handler Team Training Class
- Instructor Approval
- Benefits and Requirements of Pet Partners Registration*
- Pet Therapy Opportunities in Schools and Libraries
- Pet Therapy Opportunities in Hospitals and Nursing Homes
- Preliminary Assessment of you and your dog’s suitability for Pet Therapy.
lights when you come home? With over 100 tricks to choose from you and your dog are certain to have fun in this class!
Our Training Team
Debi Krakar is the Executive Director of Austin Dog Alliance as well as one of the trainers at the facility. She established the Austin Dog Alliance in May 2006 with the vision of making dogs an integral part of the community.
Debi began her involvement in the Austin canine community by volunteering with the Austin German Shepherd Dog Rescue in 2004. Besides fostering dogs, Debi organized the program’s events and coordinated the vet care for the organization’s 60 or more dogs. In 2006, she received Pet Partner registration at a Complex level with her partner Riley. This accomplishment opened the door to fulfilling her vision of working with children and dogs. The Bow Wow Reading Dog program started in the Fall of 2007 at Cox Elementary. The K9 Kids program also started at this time. After fostering over 500 dogs, instructing many children at K9 Kids Club and volunteering hundreds of hours in schools, libraries and hospitals, Debi realized the key to expanding her vision was training others.
Debi believes that training should be fun for the students and the dogs. She believes all dogs should be trained to be well behaved in the home and in public and that this training can and should start with young puppies. All training is done is a positive manner: positive with the dogs (clickers or verbal markers, praise, food treats, toy rewards) and with the students. She welcomes the entire family in her training classes because she believes that dogs should be part of the family.
Debi has received her Certified Professional Dog Trainer designation, the Pet Partner Team Evaluator license, the Pet Partner Instructor license, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator and Instructor registration and is an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator. She also has a B.S. in Math and Computer Science from the University of Illinois and MAS Degree in Accounting/Information Systems from the University of Illinois. Debi has a long history of working with non-profit organizations. After the birth of her four children, Debi developed Mothers of Preschool Children, an organization sponsored by several local churches to support mothers. She also spent 10 years immersed in the PTA, holding board positions which included room mom, president, vice president, secretary, and events coordinator. Debi also has over 10 years experience in large-scale project management primarily in nonprofit and governmental entities through various consulting firms.
Debi lives with a pack of five dogs, three cats, four children (ages 14, 17, 19 and 21) and a very supportive husband.
Carolyn Honish holds a BA in Anthropology, a BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders/Deafness Studies, and an MA in Communication Sciences and Disorders/Deaf Education from the University of Texas at Austin. She student taught at Texas School for the Deaf and holds Texas teaching certificates in deaf education and elementary education. She worked as a teacher of the deaf in the Austin and Round Rock Independent School Districts for thirteen years.
In 2004, Carolyn got a dachshund puppy and began bringing him to her elementary classroom. Lumpi (pronounced loompee, German for little rascal) was a huge motivator and served as a bridge of communication between hearing and deaf students. It was also apparent that Lumpi felt a sense of purpose in coming to school — it was his job. Carolyn then decided to start training Lumpi to become a therapy dog so that he could continue his work in the classroom. Her students became assistants in Lumpi’s training, and it was through their work with Lumpi that the idea of Paws for Alert (an enrichment program focusing on the socialization of deaf students with their hearing peers while training dogs) was born. In 2005, Carolyn received her dog training certification, began conducting Paws for Alert sessions, and became certified as a Pet Partners team with Lumpi.
Carolyn is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a licensed Pet Partner evaluator, a licensed Pet Partner instructor, and an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator.
Carolyn, her husband, and infant daughter currently live with three dogs, all dachshunds. Her second therapy dog came in April 2008 from Central Texas Dachshund Rescue. Buzz brought along a new perspective to dog training and pet therapy as he is deaf. At 4 months of age, Buzz immediately began coming to school with Carolyn so that her students could assist in his training. He now knows over 40 sign language commands and is a Pet Partner.
Michelle began training dogs professionally in 1990. Over the first ten years Michelle advanced from teaching basic dog training to gaining a better appreciation for and studying dog behaviors. In 2001 she earned her Master Trainer Certification and is an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator. Over the next ten years, she continued to refine her skills and began leveraging her added experience to create classes focused on the most challenging issues that face owners today – unruly behaviors. She recognized that shelters are often overrun, not by dogs who won’t simply follow commands, a.k.a. “sit,” but by owners frustrated with poor habits like chewing, barking and jumping. She knew with the right guidance, these are problems simply solved with patience and practice. She believes with the right tools the pet parent can create a revolution of positive, consistent and desired behavior.
Michelle hopes everyone will choose to share their life with a dog. She knows first-hand the joy and unconditional love dogs bring to this world; sometimes it just takes a little coaching. Her mission is to assist pets and their parents achieve their goals whether they choose Pet Therapy, Agility, Rally or a good old fashioned walk around the block, loose leash – no pulling!
Michelle and her husband, two children (8 and 10) and 3 rescue dogs live in Pflugerville.
Tina has a BS in Computer Integrated Manufacturing Technology from Purdue University. She started dog training almost 5 years ago, and found it to be her passion. She enjoys working with overactive dogs, having experienced ownership of this type of dog herself. Tina’s experience also stems from her previous years as a trainer in a big box store. She has embraced positive reinforcement techniques, and finds great joy in helping people bond with their dogs as well as showing people how much joy having a dog integrated into your life can bring.
Susan has over 18 years’ experience in a child care setting. She has her child care director license and 11 years’ experience as a child care center director. Susan has been with Austin Dog Alliance since 2007. Her passion for teaching, children and animals has led her to lend her talents to many of the activities the Alliance provides. She is an active foster for Austin Dog Alliance and has taken in over 25 dogs, including some of our most challenging cases. Susan and family have 4 dogs. Susan and her Pet Partner Zoe are an active Therapy Team and have been visiting Brushy Creek Elementary School as a Bow Wow Reading Dog team and New Hope Manor as a Pet Partner’s Therapy Team since 2011. Susan started teaching training classes 4 years ago and received her Certified Professional Dog Trainer accreditation in 2012. Susan has been able to combine her passion for children and dogs in her role as the Director of the Austin Dog Youth Association. This group of teens has been promoting the goals and mission of Austin Dog Alliance for the last year and will be a bright source of young and encouraged volunteers for years to come.
Trainer/Adoption Program Director
Judy is the Adoption Program Director at Austin Dog Alliance. She has worked in rescue for 18 years, therapy dog work through Pet Partners, and trained her first Obedience dog in 1976. She has trained in Agility, Flyball, and Rally as well.
With her children almost grown, Judy decided not to return to her previous career as a Research Botanist (MS from the University of Minnesota), but rather to pursue her love of dogs. She opened Happy Dog Pet Sitters, a successful pet sitting and dog walking business serving South Austin. During this time she found herself giving much advice to dog owners frustrated with their dog’s behavior and found a great deal of satisfaction in doing so. This prompted her to become a Certified Pet Dog Trainer through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.
Judy has a special love for Lancashire Heelers, a rare breed of British cattle driving dogs. Her dog Daisy was the first Lancashire Heeler Flyball champion in the US to receive a title and Judy is currently serving as the President of The U.S. Lancashire Heeler Club. She shares her home with two teenagers, two cockatiels, varying numbers of foster dogs, and a husband who enjoys dogs as much as she does.
Jason is the proud companion of three Shiba Inu’s. He has discovered a passion for dog training, teaching and competing in the relatively new sport of K9 Nose Work® through his experiences with these highly intelligent and energetic dogs. Jason is currently in the K9 Nose Work® instructors program and loves to share an activity that cultivates the dog’s natural hunting and scenting abilities which was inspired by working detection dogs. Jason competed in his first Nose Work Trial in Golden, CO in September 2012. In May of 2013, he qualified as a Certified Nose Work Instructor.
Additionally, Jason works as a canine handler with a bed bug detection dog (a German Shepherd) for a pest control company where he has the privilege of seeing many of the same scenting skills put to work each day. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from the University of Kansas.
Robin’s foray into the dog-training world began about 5 years ago with the adoption of Dylan, her first pit bull mix. The addition of a high-drive dog to her life brought the realization that she would need to find a suitable outlet for both his intelligence and energy. Agility fit that the bill completely. Then with the addition of her second pit mix, Weasie, she saw the potential for therapy dog work and nose work. Now, whether she’s competing in agility or nose work, or working in the community as part of a therapy dog team, Robin has realized her calling for training dogs. She enjoys cultivating working relationships with both dogs and their owners so all can live harmonious and fulfilled lives.
Robi’s dogs have earned the following titles: Dylan – CGC, NA, NAJ, NF, SR Weasie – CGC, CL1-R, NA, NAJ, NF, SPS, SPJ, SPK
In her previous life, Robin worked in advertising as a writer. She has a BA in English from DePaul University.
TJ has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, and was both a teacher, and a police detective, in New York State. He is a recent culinary school graduate. He is a fitness instructor at an Austin gym, and a running and cycling enthusiast. He is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.
TJ’s family operates a rescue farm in southeast Pennsylvania. All types of down and out animals, including dogs are left there, and many make it their permanent home. Spending a summer on the farm instilled a desire in TJ to improve the quality of life for dogs, by teaching owners techniques to help them comfortably coexist with their canine companions. He is developing an exercise program for dogs and their owners, to increase fitness and reduce stress in both, and strengthen bonding. He is currently participating in the Austin Dog Alliance apprentice program.