Meet the Instructors

  • Holly Snape - Training Coordinator

    I came to the Hamilton Dog Obedience Club five years ago after I adopted my chocolate lab Cocoa. After successfully completing CD3 I decided it would be a good time to give something back.  I started volunteering first as an assistant and then as an instructor for the club.  I’ve had the opportunity to attend training seminars with some of the best dog trainers in the world (Sophia Yin and Ian Dunbar).  I’ve been a member of the HDOC committee for about four years – for a while I was the Club President and have now taken on the position of Training Coordinator.  Being involved in the Hamilton Dog Obedience Club has been an excellent experience.  I love having the opportunity to pass on the information I have had the opportunity to learn.  I’m keen to see the relationship between our students and their canine companions grow as they come to understand each other better.

  • Clare Browne

    I have submitted my PhD at the University of Waikato, where I examined aspects of dog-human communication that may affect training. I also teach on a couple of animal behaviour courses at Waikato. I previously completed my Masters at Massey University, where I looked at using dogs to detect native reptiles for conservation purposes and as part of this I trained my own dog to detect tuatara. My partner and I have four dogs between us which keeps us very busy! You can find me wandering around the club grounds during training classes, offering help to anyone who might need it. Please feel free to ask for help any time.

  • Kath Ross

    I have been a volunteer instructor with HDOC since 2003 after putting my dog through all the domestic obedience class levels. I have completed the ‘Principles of Canine Behaviour’  paper at Massey University, and have attended training seminars/workships from Ian Dunbar, Patricia McConnell and Sophia Yin. I have been a committee member since 2003 and previously held the role of ‘Training Co-ordinator’ for multiple years and am currently the HDOC Treasurer. I was also the dog trainer (volunteer) for the ‘Pups in Prison’ programme in the Youth Unit at Waikeria Prison in 2012 & 2013. I enjoy helping dog owners to build a positive and strong relationship with their dog by using humane and scientifically proven training methods.

  • Lucy Smith

    I’ve been instructing at HDOC since 2010, after finishing Unitec’s Certificate in Animal Management (Canine Behaviour and Training) course in 2008 (and coming top of the class!). I joined the club when I came back from overseas and decided I had to do something with my qualification. I really missed hanging out with dogs, and wanted to help owners develop the best possible relationships with their pets. My dog, Luna, is a border collie cross. I find I learn a lot myself from instructing – it’s fascinating to see how people solve problems, and more than once I’ve stolen an idea from a handler in one of my classes!

  • Phill Moore

    My involvement with the club began with my first dog Lela, a Newfoundland. She showed great water talent which I wanted to gain the most from. This saw me do the CD1, 2 and 3 classes and come back to assist with classes for the last few years. In this time I have been to a seminar by Sophia Yin. It’s also given me the opportunity to attend the 1st International Course for K9 Water Rescue Team instructors, and became the first Instructor for New Zealand. I enjoy working with dogs and getting them to enjoy the tasks that we can get them to do.

  • Claire Kotze

    I started instructing about 6 years ago, after taking my own dog through the classes. I have two dogs of my own, a Siberian Husky and a Belgian Shepherd. I enjoy instructing as I find it rewarding to see the changes that take place with both the handlers and their dogs over the course of the term. My dogs also enjoy coming down to class to socialise with the other dogs, and it gives me a chance to do a bit of training with them before class.

  • Sarah McLachlan

    I first joined Hamilton Dog Obedience Club in 1989 with the family dog, Mac. In my first year of training I won a “Junior Handler Of The Year” ribbon (jointly with another girl) but I also won the “Most Perseverant Handler Of The Year” trophy – Mac was HARD WORK!! I have been a member on and off since then. I also trained my dog Clay (12 year old Staffie) in obedience and agility for a number of years when she was younger, she is currently enjoying “retirement”. I also have a 3 year old Staffie named Layla who I adopted in April 2014. I have studied the National Certificate in Animal Care at Wintec and then Principles of Canine Behaviour through Massey University. I have attended seminars by Suzanne Clothier, Dan Tambourine and Cesar Millan, volunteered at the Animal Care and Control Centre in Hamilton, Waikato SPCA and worked at Hamilton South Vet Clinic. I have also read plenty of books and watched copious amounts of dog training dvds/programmes, as dogs, and everything about them, are my passion! In 2013 I was also an instructor (volunteer) for the “Pups in Prison” programme for the SPCA at Springhill Prison and at the Waikeria Prison Youth Unit. This time around I have been instructing at HDOC since January 2013. I love to help owners train their dogs and puppies using positive reinforcement techniques. I myself find it very rewarding seeing the relationship grow between a handler and their dog, as well as seeing the progress of the groups each term.

  • Colby West

    I have been involved with animals my entire life. I grew up around the normal dogs and cats but have been around a variety of other animals including ostriches, cows, sheep, monkeys, lions, and elephants. As a child growing up I was in a circus in Australia and New Zealand where I was partly responsible for the care of the animals, as well as my mother and father owning an ostrich farm until I was 20. However, my true passion has always been for dogs. This passion is what drove me to become a member of the Hamilton Dog Obedience Club. I am currently studying Animal Welfare Investigations then hopefully move into vet nursing or animal behaviour in the near future. My two boys Max and Sooky are Siberian husky x Norwegian elkhound’s aged 4 and 3, they are incredibly smart and energetic dogs but fit in with our family life well.