THE TEAM THAT MADE US THE BEST IN MCHENRY COUNTY

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Nikki

Office MAnager

I have been with Happy Tails since 2014. I am the office manger at HTR. I used to be a vet tech and love working with animals. I am a mom of 3 human kids and 3 furry kids and they are all my life. 

At Happy Tails I help the team ensure that your dogs are safe and comfortable while they are here with us. 

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KRISTINA

Obedience, Rally, Nosework, Head Trainer

I have been training dogs since 2014 and competing since 2016. I help people learn competition obedience, rally, reactivity/aggression, resource guarding, clicker training, shaping and amongst many other techniques that I have gathered from my many mentors. I'm continuously learning new techniques to help whatever team that is in front of me. I love training and inspiring others to work towards their dreams and encourage people to want to show what their dog can do in any sport. When I am not training I am helping others in the mental health world. I am a social worker by day working as a mental health counselor in private practice. 

I currently have a German shepherd named Bane. Bane has been a journey, Bane has struggled with human reactivity (bite history), dog reactivity (bite history), medical issues and resource guarding. With all these issues we have learned to manage and recondition we have been able to earn him a CD Companion dog title under 2 years with scores 190+, all first places and he made it to the top 10 of German shepherds in the USA for AKC novice dog titles for high scores. Bane and I obtained CDX companion dog of excellent with all placements and being recognized as the #1 Open A GSD in the US in AKC for 2018. Bane was invited to the National Obedience Championship 2x for Novice and Open. Bane and I went onto the Rally ring Earning RACH, RM2, RAE2 with over 30 High combines and High Triple Q’s multiple placements and awards.


Bane and I have been invited every year since the rally novice title to the Rally National Championship. Bane was recognized as number 7 in GSDs by Front & Finish for the American Kennel Club Rally Master class earning 77 points on our Rally Master title and RACH title journey! Bane was recognized as 2nd GSD out of all, 7th in all herding breeds out of all in AKC Rally presented by Front & Finish! Bane also competed in nosework achieving multiple 1st places and high in trials/class! Bane and I were working towards the UD utility dog title until we saw some more medical issues/behavioral which has put him into retirement to enjoy long walks, swimming and couch time. 

Bane: RACH Shewana’s Handsome King CGCA, CGCU, TKI, CDX, RM2. RAE2, TDI, RATN, TDI, SNC, SNB, SNE, UKC – Nosework Elite

Tessa, a conformation Boxer who was born in August 2017. Tessa earned her CD with all HIT (High in Trial) 1st place finishes with one score of 197.5/200. Tessa was recognized as 3rd top boxer for Novice obedience. Tessa achieved her conformation championship title. We are currently training for IGP/Schutzund to earn our BH/IGP1 hopefully!

Tessa: CH Cloud N Wilk’s Audacious Darling TDI, CGCA, CGCU, CD, RE, TKN

My newest addition is Klaus a Czech/west German working line German shepherd. Klaus was born October 2021. I will be working towards competing with him in IGP/Schutzund.

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jaci

obedience, nosework, Website Manager

My name is Jaci and I am a special education teacher by day and dog trainer by night! I have been training since 2016. At home I have a pair of German Shepherds named Vera and Roen, Husky mix named Kain and a Border Collie, Otto. I also regularly foster dogs for a local German Shepherd rescue. I became interested in training when I discovered the behavior theory behind training dogs is the same behavior theory you study to teach children and they both have been an integral part of my life since! I began looking into becoming a trainer formally when working with my Husky to get him through his many behavior issues. 

 

Vera is a certified therapy dog and has been my partner in crime since I brought her home in 2015. Vera loves to visit my students at school with me and is a great ambassador for German Shepherds and therapy Animals. Vera and I are working towards our rally titles, with goals to achieve our RAE! 

Kain joined my family in 2016 from a hoarding situation in rescue. Kain is affectionately known as my Oklahoma mutt because he is a transplant from Oklahoma. Kain was from a hoarding situation and came to me with a plethora of behavior issues including separation anxiety, dog reactivity and people selectivity. Since working with Kain he has become a functioning member of my family and his separation anxiety is a thing of the past! Kain is an excellent sniffer and enjoys Nosework and competing with his sister. In August 2020 Kain earned his ORT for NACSW and we have hopes to earn a NW3 if we can ever get into a trial! 

In November of 2020, in the height of COVID, my rescue director approached me about taking on a litter of puppies. I raised the litter and kept my sable boy, Roen. Roen and I are partners in crime and he will do anything I ask as long as its with me! You'll often see me in classes and demoing with Roen. Roen will be debuting in the spring for AKC obedience and expanding our horizons to see what we can accomplish together. 

In the summer of 2022, I was approached to take on a reactive border collie with human aggression triggered by fear. He was at risk of euthanasia in Kentucky and had good working potential. Now Otto has joined our family, and we are figuring out the scary world together! 

I am a firm believer that all dogs are capable of learning and training is an integral part of making any dog find their place within the workings and routines of your family.

Rescued Royalty Queen Vera BN RE ACT2 CGCA CGCU TKA

No Kain, No Gain RI CGCA CGCU TKI NC ORT

GSR's Perfect Timing RN CGCA CGCU TKN ATT

All Gas, No Brakes on Ottopilot

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TIFFANY

obedience, conformation

My name is Tiffany Grap, and I am one of the trainers at Happy Tails Ranch.  I have worked here for almost 5 years and I absolutely love working with the dogs!!!  I also got my first Boxer from owner, Amy.  Jewel is a conformation show dog and a breed champion. I decided to start showing her in obedience and rally as well because I love working with dogs. Jewel has earned her CGC title, beginner novice obedience title, rally novice title, and she has two of three legs towards her rally intermediate title.

I love teaching and training obedience because it builds such a wonderful bond between you and your dog!! I love working at Happy Tails and working with all different dogs.

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KarIn

Barn Hunt

My name is Karin Magnuson and I am thrilled to be joining the Happy Tail Ranch Family.  I trained my first dog when I was 16 years old. He was a shep / St Bernard mix my brothers and I found in the woods. As a teenager I spent the summer on my Uncle’s Horse farm, he raised Standardbreds for Harness racing trotters and pacers.  My job was to work the foals and years to halter leads and ground reining. I joined the Air Force after high school and spent a year at Lackland Air force base. In boot camp and tech school I volunteered to help with the military working dogs. I served 8 years between active duty and reserve time. 

Upon returning home, I started working with the local animal shelter, as an adoption consultant/ admin. I did this for almost 3 years.  I left the shelter to become an Animal Control Officer and a Humane Investigator, which I did for 23 years. At the same time, I was working with a local trainer Marge Gibbs at collar and Leash.  Marge referred me to a local park district to teach classes there. I am still teaching classes today for over 25 year. My classes are Puppy, Basic and Advanced Obedience class, Beginner Agility, Intro to Nose work, Rally Classes, triball, Therapy dog, Trick dog, and a new class we call ruff and rally.

I currently train my 3 Dobermans in conformation, obedience, rally, barn hunt, nosework, and have just started dock diving, and tracking with them.  My dogs have many titles and we enjoy going to trials most weekends.

I am also a Judge and evaluator, for the Following, S.T.A.R Puppy, CGC, CGCA, CGCU, TRICK DOG, FARM DOG, AKC ATT TEST, and LURE COURSING ABILITY TEST (CAT). I am currently waiting for approval for TDI to be able to certify therapy dogs. 

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Gena

Agility, Conformation, Obedience

I've been training and competing dogs in obedience for over 30 years. I've worked in shelters, dog kennels, animal hospitals and am a registered nurse.

I started training and competing in AKC agility 13 years ago, titling 5 boxers to excellent and masters levels. It's a sport that I find passionate, rewarding and fun to share with your dog.

I bred 4 boxer litters and show in conformation. I've taken many group wins as an Owner Handler. I also assist Professional Handler, Amy Bieri in the ring as well as ringside.

Ch Happy Tail's Moment Of Trust CD BN RN OA OAJ NF ACT1

 

GCH JoKar's N Happy Tail's Blonde Moments DOM CD RE MX MXJ

 

Happy Tail's Blonde Ambition CD AX AXJ

 

Happy Tail's Bold Contender CD (2 CDX legs)

 

AX AXJ Bruin's Blizzard CDX (2 UD legs)

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brandy

obedience

My name is Brandy and I am a registered nurse by day with a passion for dogs. My husband and I share our home with two white Akitas Addie and Shiro. Shiro, a rescue Akita who is 9-10 years old is the first dog I have seriously focused on training with a goal to compete in dog performance sports and he has continued to train and achieve goals despite his history, age, and breed. Addie is still a puppy and we are currently learning the ins and outs of the conformation world with the goal to also compete in performance once she is ready. I have been owned by a total of 5 different Akitas over the last 20 years and understand how each dogs personality impacts the training plan! I'm thrilled to be a part of the HTR team!

Georgia's Rockstar in White BN RI FCAT CGCA CGCU TKI ATT

Quantum's Smooth Criminal CGC BCAT

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Chloe

obedience

I am Chloe and I am an elementary school teacher and dog trainer. I started my dog training journey with my rescue, Flora. She was found as a stray in Texas and came to us leash reactive, and only knowing "sit" and "paw". When I first got her, she was so wild on walks, she would practically pull me down the street, especially at the sight of another dog or bicyclist. Being a new dog owner, I had little idea about the many different methods of dog training, so I went to Google to find training classes. Before HTR, I went to a facility with Flora that rarely used positive reinforcement, which increased Flora's anxiety and diminished her confidence from over-corrections. Although Flora's obedience in a controlled environment improved, her reactivity did not. I decided to switch to Happy Tails, where another trainer, Kristina, has been my mentor ever since. She has shown me the importance of a confident dog and building trust between the owner and dog to correct behavior issues. Through trial and error, I have learned how essential balanced dog training is! Dogs need both positive reinforcement and redirection for a well-rounded companion! Now, Flora is in advanced obedience and nose work classes at Happy Tails and has come so far! I am eager to help owners understand their dog's body language and behavior to build a solid foundation for training! 

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Callie

obedience, Service Dog Training

I’m a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist but my passion for training dogs was rooted in me since childhood.


At first it was pure motivation to not be dragged down the street by my childhood hound mix “Sam” who nearly doubled my size - returning with scrapped knees every time—I didn’t care, because I was “successfully walking my dog”.
I quickly grew to love everything about dogs and the psychology behind training them. As a a CTRS, the avenue that always sparked my interest was how animals could be incorporated to better the lives of people who were ill, sick or injured, so I told myself my goal will always be to work with animals & people to improve lives.

I truly believe that if you want a better dog, you need to be a better person- education is power when it comes to dog training! Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

I currently have a 4 year old American Great Dane named “Knox” who has taught me more (than any person) about how to train the dog in front of you-not the dog you’re seeking, a skill I will never take for granted.

I also have a 3.5 year old German Shepherd who is my Service Dog.

I have been training service dogs for over seven years and it is truly my heart’s passion. I have spoken at local, state and national levels on the education and training of Service, Therapy, Working Dogs. I feel there is no greater purpose than to help someone achieve independence and accessible life through the assistance of a service dog. I can’t wait to help you & your dog live a life of independence!

Tritan’s Legacy Knox of North CGC, CGCA, CGCU, TKN, VHM

Legends of The Dark North Sergeant CGC, CGCA, CGCU, TKN, VHM, SD

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Dave

obedience

My name is Dave and I am a retired construction worker with ten years of volunteer training experience during my off seasons. Most specifically working with rescue dogs through Happy Tails and various rescue groups. My primary focus has always been to help troubled dogs find a balance with their new owners and have a chance a new life.

 

I have more recently taken on a new role in training dogs with more unique behavior issues, and also assisting owners in learning to communicate better with their dogs for a better bond and a more enjoyable life with their furry family member.  Life is a journey full of activities best shared. 

 

I consider myself a fairly "old school" trainer that started learning the standard methods back in the early 1990s. As every dog is unique, every instructor is a wealth of knowledge. My sights have never been on certifications or awards, but on an animals quality of life. There is no one best way to train. The key is finding what works best for each particular dog. Expose yourself to multiple methods and styles and keep adapting, modifying and adjusting to establish a connection with the subject and build off of that. 

 

I am a firm believer that animals (like us) need exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization. The foundation for coexistence starts with training as a team to develop a bond and respect between the handler and animal. Learning should be fun for all involved.