Obedience Instructors

Kara Bitsko

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

Doberman Pinscher, Dachshund ML, Australian Shepherd, Standard Manchester Terrier

Basic & Sub-Novice Obedience

  • Instructing for USDTC for 16 years
  • Has taught Novice & Open obedience
  • Served as Treasurer, Vice President, President, Registrar & Obedience Director
  • Member American Manchester Terrier Club
  • Has trained dogs since 1973 in Cleveland, Ohio, bringing a lot of experience to her classes
  • Multiple titles in Rally & Obedience
  • Achieved American & Canadian CH & UD with Doberman & Canadian CDX

"I love to teach basic. I enjoy watching the dogs learn and the owners go...Wow, we can do that."

Heidi Buck

Breeds Currently Owned, Trained, Loved: Bodhi, Weimaraner/Vizsla rescue (or German Short-haired Pointer), Briar, Golden Retriever & Lacey, Bichon Frise/CKCS mix (retired)


Breeds Previously Owned, Trained, Loved: Labrador Retriever & Miniature Dachshund

Obedience Competition Readiness

  • Instructing for USDTC for 10 years
  • 2020 USDTC President
  • Obedience Co-Director  2018 to present
  • USDTC Board Member 2015 thru 2019
  • DOCOF Co-Captain 2016 & 2017
  • Titles achieved: CGCA, BN, CD, CDX, TKN, TKA, TKI
  • Training towards Utility title (UD)
  • Previously trialed in Earth Dog & Agility
  • Stays current on dog training techniques through continuing education/seminars

Heidi enjoys helping dog owners become better leaders for their companions. She especially enjoys helping handlers fine tune their skills to get ready to enter the obedience trial ring.  Learning never ends.  Attending seminars and workshops allows Heidi to bring new material and exercises to her classes.

"A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way."

-John C Maxwell

Dolores Connelly

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

Belgian Malinois, Shetland Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever, Collie, Min. Pinscher & many mixes


Advanced Obedience 

  • Has also taught S.T.A.R. Puppy
  • Instructing for USDTC for 12 years
  • Has taught all levels of obedience
  • DOCOF Co-Captain
  • Judged AKC Obedience match for North GA Kennel Club
  • Member DTCSP
  • Member North GA Kennel Club
  • Retired Veterinary Technician
  • Multiple titles earned including OTCH & Breed CH, with her Belgian Malinois

Dolores instructs at USDTC because she finds it very rewarding to help owners understand their dogs and accomplish their goals.

"I love working with puppies. I enjoy helping owners to establish a good relationship & understanding of their new pups that will last a lifetime." 

Suzette Cook

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

Golden Retriever, American Pit Bull Terrier, Basset Hound

Basic Obedience

  • Instructing at USDTC for 16 years
  • Has served as Board Member
  • CGC Evaluator
  • Years of obedience experience
  • Able to instruct in an entertaining & informative manner
  • Achieved UD & CGC
  • Multiple titles in Agility

Suzette like to volunteer for USDTC because it keeps her connected to competitive obedience, allows her to make a difference in the canine community and spending time with dog loving people.

"Several years ago, I saved a very small squirrel from drowning in our pool. After feeding every 3 hours and caring for him 4 months, he surprisingly gained weight and was ready to be release. Off to the oak tree he went. Two weeks later, he returned to my back porch through the dog door. He had a broken back and paralyzed hind legs. He lives in our house, in a 6 foot enclosure lined with memory foam for protection. Toby Joe is a happy, healthy and energetic Gray Squirrel...and very lucky!"

Janie Getz

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

Doberman Pinscher, Poodle, Maltese, Bedlington Terrier, Whippet, Afghan, Chinese Crested & Saluki

Basic Obedience

  • Also teaches Conformation
  • Instructing for USDTC for 20 years
  • Has also taught Basic Obedience & Rally
  • Served as Board Member
  • Member Suncoast Afghan Hound Club of Florida & Afghan Hound Club of America
  • Member St. Pete Dog Fanciers
  • Showing dogs since the age of 12
  • Achieved many Championships & CD's
  • Titled in Canine Freestyle
  • Attended many seminars over the years

Janie volunteers at USDTC because she loves dogs, loves teaching and seeing them grow and become better pets for their owners.

"When I showed Whippets there was a woman showing Afghans at the time. I would go ringside and watch Sunny Shea & Shirkan and always said "one day". One day came in 1981 when I got my first afghan. Still have them today. Next best was winning Rudi's CD with a score of 187. With an Afghan, that is great!!!!"

Mary Mauer

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

Bearded Collie

Sub-Novice Obedience

  • Also teaches Conformation

Bruce Meligan

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

German Shepherd, Chow Chow, Newfoundland, Bassett Hound & many mixes

Basic Obedience

  • Instructing for USDTC for 8 years
  • Served as Board member & Co-Director of Obedience
  • Member Newfoundland Club of Florida
  • Past instructor for Largo Dog Training School & City of Safety Harbor Leisure Services
  • 35 years of dog training with instruction working alongside some of the best
  • Achieved titles in obedience including U-CDX

"I get great satisfaction in seeing all the progress dogs and their owners can make in our classes"

Jeff Rushe

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

Field Bred Golden Retrievers, Border Collie

Beginner Novice

  • Instructing for USDTC for 1 year
  • Assisted with STAR Puppy
  • Instructs and Participates in Competition Obedience
  • Instructs and Participates in Competition Field (Hunt Tests and Field Trials)
  • Member Central Florida Hunt Retriever Club
  • AKC Field Titles - WC, WCX, JH, SH
  • AKC Obedience Titles - BN, CD

Jeff is passionate about helping dogs and handlers improve their skills so they can succeed in achieving their individual goals in obedience as well as hunt tests and trials.   He especially enjoys working with handlers who would like to compete at the highest levels possible with their companion.   Jeff is great at pinpointing problem areas and coming up with solutions to help handlers and dogs reach their full potential.

Genie Stottlar

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

Shetland Sheepdog, Collie

Advanced Obedience & Utility/Open

  • Instructing for USDTC for 7 years
  • DOCOF Team Captain
  • Twice Obedience Trial Champion

Genie volunteers to help others develop a close working relationship with their dog.

 "When we earned our first OTCH it was a real high, and what I have learned is the best part about showing is to appreciate and enjoy the journey with your dog. Once you've obtained the goal, you have wonderful memories to look back on."

Ken Stowell

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

Affenpinscher, Chihuahua

Sub-Novice Obedience

Also teaches Conformation & Rally

  • President Tampa Bay Chihuahua Club
  • Involved in conformation since 2005 & Rally/Obedience since 2012
  • Has written conformation & performance articles published in dog magazines
  • Achieved GCH, CH, CD, BN, REA, RI, RN, THD, CGCA, CGCU, TKN

Ken hopes he can share his experiences with others.

Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club

2101 Logan Street

Clearwater, FL  33765

727-23-UPPER (87737)