Training with Kindness
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Cheryl Smagala

Member of APDT

Former member of TDI

flyball team,
Great Balls of Fire

Participant at Top Dog Training School Camp -
held by
trainers and authors,
Jack and Wendy Volhard

Assisted nationally known trainer and author,
Suzanne Clothier,
with agility seminars

Cheryl, the owner of Training with Kindness, has been training dogs for over 20 years. She has owned, trained and placed titles on many breeds of dogs including larger breeds, such as Newfoundlands. Cheryl adopted a St. Bernard puppy in the early 1970's and took her to obedience classes in Syracuse, NY in order to get more control over a very big dog! In the early 80's her husband got transferred to Northern NJ and she started obedience training at Heel and Toe. This was a very competitive school and it wasn't what she was looking for.

While living in Newton, NJ, she found a mix breed puppy and fell in love. This puppy had many behavioral issues and was aggressive to both people and dogs. Cheryl saw an ad for an agility seminar being run by Suzanne Clothier, nationally known trainer and author, and Linda Caplan. She took the youngster and was thrilled with the way both ladies handled his issues. She started taking classes with Suzanne in Frenchtown, NJ and was more comfortable with a positive/reward style of training. She started teaching agility seminars with Suzanne and then her beginner obedience classes. Cheryl was also one of the instructors at Suzanne's Dog Camps. During the early days of agility, Cheryl assisted Suzanne Clothier, nationally known trainer and author, with agility seminars and provided her own Collie, Token, as a participant in one of the first agility videos ever produced, "Motivational Agility Training" by Suzanne Clothier and Linda Kaplan. She also participated in the study which preceded Suzanne Clothier's "Athletic Dog" video and assisted Suzanne in teaching agility at a training camp. In 1994, Suzanne sold the school to Cheryl since she was moving to Upstate New York. The school recently moved (October 2015) to its new location in Milford, NJ.

Cheryl and dogs
Cheryl (Owner),
Ragen (left) and Kai (right)

Cheryl's extensive training experience and knowledge includes the dog sports of obedience - regular and rally, agility, flyball and tracking. Cheryl has had many years of training using motivational methods. She attended Top Dog Training School Camp held by Jack and Wendy Volhard. The Volhards started teaching motivational methods long before they became so popular in the dog training world.

Cheryl is the former captain and co-founder of the flyball team, Great Balls of Fire, and her mixed breed dog, Axle, was an experienced anchor dog for the team.

Cheryl currently competes in rally obedience and K9 nose work®. Her Newfoundland, Kai, competed in agility and flyball. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and a former member of Therapy Dogs International (TDI).

It is obvious by watching Cheryl that she truly enjoys teaching dog classes. She has a special interest in helping people achieve a better relationship with their pets. She is very patient with her students, both human and dog, and is quick to laugh and enjoy the dogs' expressions and antics. Cheryl is knowledgeable about problem solving pet problems. She teaches classes in puppy kindergarten, obedience, rally, agility, flyball, and nose work. Cheryl always has a rescue since she loves the challenges these dogs' bring and also has a giant breed (or two) hanging around - usually a Newfie!

Sue Oakes

Member/Sr. Rep of APDT

Member of IACP

CGC and Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs Evaluator

APDT Rally Obedience Judge
Levels 1, 2, 3

flyball team,
Great Balls of Fire

Graduate of Augers' Animal and Dog Training College

Certified by School of General Animal Sciences

Certified Animal Control Officer (retired)

Sue Oakes has been training dogs for 25 years and has an impressive resume. She is a graduate of Augers' Animal and Dog Training College and certified by the School of General Animal Sciences. She has taken continuing education courses at the University of Guelph and also attended additional continuing education seminars. She is a certified Animal Control Officer (retired) and has taken courses in Pet First Aid and CPR.

Sue is a member of APDT and Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs. She is also an evaluator for Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs along with being an evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. Sue owns two working therapy dogs, Isis (White German Shepherd Dog) and Thor (Shiloh Shepherd).

Sue and dogs
Thunder (left) and Isis (right)

Sue participates in obedience - regular and rally, agility and flyball. She has been involved in the beginning of several dog sports. Her German Shepherd Dog, Thunder, was one of the first dogs to earn an APDT Rally Obedience title in the U.S. She is also an APDT Rally Obedience judge.

Many years ago, Sue introduced dog fanciers to the sport of flyball at Suzanne Clothier's "Dances with Dogs" Dog Camp. Sue co-founded the flyball team, Great Balls of Fire, with Cheryl.

In addition to assisting as an occasional Therapy evaluator and trainer at Training with Kindness, Sue owns a training school in Horsham, PA.


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