Katie Oilschlager is the owner of Think Pawsitive Dog Training LLC, Wisconsin’s largest indoor canine training and conditioning facility. She is an ongoing student of Greg and Laura Derrett, Susan Salo, Anthony Clarke, Susan Garrett, Margaret Simek, and Bob Bailey. She serves as an evaluator for AKC-CGC and as an agility judge for UKI. Katie has developed dog therapy programs and is actively involved in youth programs with a few of her dogs.
Katie has had a great fondness for dogs since she was a young child. Her training career began with her involvement in the 4H canine training program where she and her dog, Rusty, excelled. This left Katie with an increased confidence and a hunger for greater challenges. Over the years she has sought out and studied under the tutelage of some of the world’s finest instructors. She continues to seek advances in her training and applies her new knowledge and skill to her ever-evolving and expanding curriculum at Think Pawsitive.
Long before becoming the owner of Think Pawsitive, Katie graduated from the Wisconsin School of Professional Pet Grooming. Her natural talent was quickly evidenced by a growing client list. Thus, with her husband Todd, she opened and operated a successful grooming, dog daycare, and retail business for ten years. Her insatiable love of working with dogs led her to pursue expansion into canine training and agility competition. She has never looked back.
Katie is the proud owner of four Golden Retrievers, one Border Collie, one Australian Shepherd, one Parson Terrier, and one Border Collie/Papillion mix. Baloo(15-year-old Golden) has retired from dock diving, agility, and obedience. He has appeared on dog food labels and starred on the“Great Train Kids” television show. Merit (8-year-old Border Collie), Rippa (5-year-old Australian Shepherd) and Meeko (4-year-old Golden) compete in agility at the local and national level. Kanga (5-year-old Golden) and Buzz (2-year-old Golden) compete in dock diving and canine disc dog. Britta (4-year-old Parson Terrier) competes in canine nose work. Presley (7-month old Border Collie mix) is just starting out his foundation training.
Katie regularly competes in AKC, CPE, UKI, and USDAA agility with her own dogs and several of her students’ dogs. She has earned multiple Excellent/Masters titles, Championship titles, and Regional and National placements.
Using positive and motivational training methods, Katie has been extremely successful in teaching General Manners to puppies and adult dog as well as Agility Foundations, Canine Nose Work, Competition Agility, Obedience, and a variety of special skills classes including Core Strength and Rear-End Awareness, 2×2 Weaves, Contacts Criteria, Recalls, Tricks, and many more. She employs Operant and Classical conditioning techniques to achieve amazing results! Students are taught to use positive reinforcement (rewarding their dog for offering the desired behavior) in lieu of physical or verbal corrections which produce dogs that are happy, confident, and highly motivated to work hard for their handlers.
Think Pawsitive has earned a strong and well-known reputation as a premier dog training facility that attracts hundreds of happy visitors each week. Katie is very proud of Think Pawsitive, as it is an exceptional place that allows the development of safe, healthy, and rewarding relationships between dogs and their owners and providing uniquely enriching activities for every dog and owner who visits us.”
Katie is also extremely proud of the variety of outreach programs and charitable contributions that Think Pawsitive supports throughout the year. Canine Connections, a school-year youth program, engages young people in learning about dog training, sports, and the human-canine bond. Think Pawsitive staff and students host numerous outreach and education booths at a variety of diverse dog and non-dog-related events in the greater Milwaukee area. These unique opportunities reach tens of thousands of visitors and support various non-profits and civic groups. It is extremely important to Katie to support our community and to give our time and talents to non-profit groups. Think Pawsitive donates to numerous civic and charitable causes throughout the year. We are very honored to give back.
To set up a private lesson with Katie please contact her at:
Matt’s love of dogs goes back as far as he can remember. Growing up without a dog of his own only increased his interest, so in high school, he got a job working at a veterinary clinic. After caring for and handling so many different animals there, Matt knew for sure that dogs would always have a prominent role in his life. By the time he graduated from college, he decided he had waited long enough to have a dog of his own, so he adopted a pit bull terrier named Vinnie.
Vinnie was a bit of a wild child at one year old, but Matt felt a deep connection with him and was determined to make him a civilized member of society. Matt was surprised at the progress he and Vinnie were able to make and began thinking about dog training as a way of life. After a lot of hard studying and an apprenticeship with a local humane society, Matt officially began his career as a dog trainer in 2012. Over the years the family has grown and now includes four dogs– Vinnie, two duck tolling retrievers, Rocket and Bristol, and a Sheltie named Lilli. Charizard, the orange tabby cat, rules over everybody in the house, of course.
Matt and his wife, Nicole, compete in obedience, rally, and conformation and are very excited to begin learning all about agility with the Tollers. The entire family’s favorite thing to do is hiking together out in nature. You can find Matt in the pool assisting dogs with their swims or teaching manners classes. His passion is helping others and their dogs develop strong and fulfilling relationships in the hopes they too can be as happy as Vinnie and Matt first made each other. Lilli, Bristol and now the newest, Rocket have strengthened Matt’s spirit!
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Sarah has been involved in dog training and agility since 2008. She enjoys continuing her education in the sport of agility through workshops and classes with Greg and Laura Derrett, Susan Salo and Anthony Clarke. She also learns from a variety of other top competitors and experts inside and outside of agility.
As a child, Sarah always had dogs in her house. She grew up with great passion and love for them and knew that her future would lead her to pursue a career that would foster this passion. Currently, Sarah has three dogs including a Shih-Tzu/Poodle, a Lab mix, and a Border Collie. All three of her dogs participate in different canine sports including swimming, agility and nose work. When Sarah and her dogs are not working on agility and nose work skills, you can find them out hiking, working on tricks or just enjoying life together.
Sarah teaches Manners, Agility and Nose Work classes along with a variety of workshops and seminars.
Joan Zelinger teaches Agility Foundations, 2×2 Weave Poles, Foundation Jump Grids, Putting It All Together and Competition Handling classes and assists with presenting seminars and workshops. She also helps Katie with writing and editing Think Pawsitive’s curriculum. Joan applies her expertise as a retired high school teacher to her instruction at Think Pawsitive. Her ability to clearly explain and demonstrate theory and skills helps her students progress confidently through the curriculum. She balances patience and humor while challenging each of them to stretch their limits.
Joan strongly believes in the importance of continually advancing her own knowledge and mastery. She routinely attends camps and seminars with Greg and Laura Derrett, Anthony Clarke, and Susan Salo and many other agility experts. Joan has also had the good fortune of working with Susan Garrett, Stuart Mah, Ann Braue and Bud Houston. All have made significant contributions to her skill and understanding of the sport of agility.
Joan has been involved in agility competition and training since 1997. She currently owns two Australian Shepherds: Beacon (13 yrs. old) and Truman (11 yrs. old) and two 2 Golden Retrievers: Colter (4 yrs. old) and Quinn (1 yr. old). Beacon and Truman have excelled at the highest levels of agility competition and have placed in National competition. Colter is currently competing and Quinn is working through her agility skills classes. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, hiking and playing interactive games with her dogs. She loves to design and construct training equipment, toys and collars for her canine friends.
To set up a private lesson with Joan please contact her at:
Anthony Clarke is known as one of the UK’s top trainers and competitors with 16 years’ experience working with dogs and taking every dog he has owned to the very top level of British Agility. His agility expertise has taken him all over the world presenting Inspirational and motivational seminars in countries such as Holland, Belgium, Poland, America, Canada, and Japan.
Having started at a young age Anthony has gained experience in many Junior Championships winning the Junior World Championships in 2007 as well as every British Junior title at least twice, Anthony retired from junior competitions in 2009, after winning the Crufts Junior Title for the fourth time. Within his time as a junior handler, Anthony also dominated the senior competitions and became a regular competitor at all the major British finals and competitions such as Crufts and Olympia. He has also competed for his country on many occasions at the FCI World Championships and the European Open where Anthony and his teammates have taken 2nd place in the Team event at the FCI Championships and also overall Team Bronze medallist twice at the European Open.
Anthony’s qualities also involve coaching the England World Agility Open Team, whereas a coach has 9 x Gold, 7 x Silver, 6 x Bronze medals to his name team members have said “Anthony brings the best out in each handler and dog partnership and works well as a coach to help achieve the best for the partnership”.
He takes the progression & development of young agility handlers very seriously and owns his own Junior Agility program called Agility for Junior’s, where he provides top quality training for junior handlers. A huge part of this program’s newest launch is the Open Junior Agility Championships, where he is the owner of an International agility competition for handlers under the age of 18years old.
The name Susan Salo is certainly becoming a recognizable one in today’s world of agility. Although relatively new to the sport, she has a lot to offer the agility community. Susan brings over thirty-five years of experience from the world of show jumping. A lifelong horsewoman, she has ridden for many years with some of the nation’s most noted horsemen including Gene Lewis, George Morris, and the late Jimmy Williams, and has competed throughout the United States and Canada. Turning professional, she moved to the East and spent sixteen years between New Hampshire, and Virginia, helping clients achieve their goals.
Susan brings her extensive experience of combining speed with jumping to the sport of Agility. She offers a unique perspective and knowledge of the mechanical aspects of jumping which, when properly applied, can create muscle memory and balance for the canine athlete. Not to be confused with a handling seminar, her lessons and workshops focus entirely on the dog and build better jumping skills and instill more confidence and speed. Training with Susan is an opportunity for you to develop your “eye” and witness your dog learning about balance, striding, and scope until jumping becomes effortless.
Susan trains both horses and dogs at her residence in Northern California, where she lives with her brilliant Jack Russell Terrier, Patrick. Every course your dog will ever run is primarily made up of jumps, yet it is the least taught and least understood the skill set in agility. Because a dog can jump doesn’t mean that he knows how to jump. When a dog understands how to jump…path, distance, appropriate takeoff place, weight transfer, the angle of elevation, and height, he will run more smoothly, efficiently, and decisively…and, therefore, be faster and less prone to injury.
Laura has been a professional dog trainer since 1993 and started her agility career in 1998 when she created her own agility centre, CDogsFly Agility in Turlock, California. Laura competed in the United States with her three dogs; Josie, a Golden Retriever, and Fly and Fish, her two Border Collies. From there she moved to the United Kingdom and has since traveled throughout the world (North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe) to compete and present agility training seminars.
After moving to the UK, Fish had to start again at the novice level in the European venues. He quickly progressed up to the highest levels in both Kennel Club and UK Agility. He has qualified and competed in the Singles Final at Crufts and the Agility Stakes Final at Olympia. Fish has also represented Great Britain at the 2008 European Open and in that same year, he won the UK Agility Grand Prix Final. In 2009, Laura and Fish qualified for the Great Britain Team 2010 IFCS World Agility Championships.
Laura’s young dog, Spider, was born in 2007 and although just beginning his agility career, he has already progressed through the levels in Great Britain Agility.
Laura is married to Greg Derrett. He is well known for developing a unique handling system (The Greg Derrett Handling System) and for his long and prestigious agility career. Greg was named Great Britain’s “Handler of the Year” in both 1999 and 2000. His older Border Collie, Jay, has won every major tournament in Great Britain at least once, and most of them twice. His Border Collie, Fern, placed 3rd as “Dog of the Year” in 1999 and 2nd in 2000 behind Jay. In 2001, Greg and Fern were members of Great Britain’s first ever World Cup team. Prior to 2001, England had never been represented a the World Cup. Greg continued to demonstrate his success by winning Crufts twice (including in 2008) with GT and earning a Silver medal at the FCI World Championships.
Complementing his admirable training abilities, Greg completed a MSc in Animal Behavior. He is a popular seminar presenter and has traveled to Japan in addition to Canada and the United States. Greg has produced a very comprehensive series of Agility Foundation and Handling Videos and DVD’s. Both Greg and Laura represented Great Britain in the 2008 European Open and were Team Managers/Coaches for Great Britain’s team at the IFCS World Agility Championships in 2006 and 2008. Both teams brought back an impressive array of medals and have been the most successful Great Britain team ever to compete abroad. Greg and Laura are the recent founders of UK Agility International (UKI), an agility venue that brings European style courses to North America.
Margaret Simek’s name is well known and widely respected among dog sports enthusiasts and professional trainers. Margaret’s One Happy Dog trainer seminars and sports camps, and online classes for trainers sell out regularly, and many a trainer has Margaret to thank for their canine sports titles. Margaret has more than a few titles herself—in obedience, hunting, tracking, and Nose Work. And what’s particularly impressive as you consider her list is that they’ve been achieved with non-traditional breeds, including a rescued American Staffordshire Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Brittany, and Australian Shepherd. She’s also used only positive methods—something that for many years traditional trainers said couldn’t be done. Her titles include CT, NW3, OM4, UDX, HIT in obedience and NW and multiple NOI invites. Margaret’s passion for putting positive training methods to their most effective use infuses every private session, class, and workshop she teaches. She stresses efficiency and clarity in training, employing strategies that give the dog the most freedom of choice so that they truly learn.
Margaret avoids nagging, “popping,” and scaring dogs, as these methods slow the learning process and get in the way of a well-functioning dog-and-human team.
Based on these concepts, Margaret has pioneered the Simek Method of Nose Work training, using operant conditioning to teach dogs to choose odor over food, and using early proofing to stay at the source for rewards. By the time dogs begin searching, they know exactly what to do. It’s a prime example of clarity of task—a foundation of Margaret’s success in both training and teaching. This method has produced some of the top NW dogs in the country, including Elite level dogs.
Training happens at both ends of the leash, and Margaret spends just as much time and passion on her teaching of humans as she does the training of dogs. Margaret isn’t just a great dog trainer herself—she knows how to make great dog trainers of others. She understands that good teaching is about starting where you are and moving forward at the right pace for you, and she takes equal joy in watching dog owners learn to turn their dogs on, in watching novice sports students get hooked, in watching trainers reach new heights of skill and achievement.
As Margaret likes to say, “Excellent training produces excellent behavior.” And excellent training should be fun for dog and human alike. Whether you ’re working with Margaret one-on-one on a pet dog problem, taking your first (or 10th!) Nose Work class, or attending a training seminar or camp, you ’re going to do some excellent training and have some excellent fun doing it.