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 Owned, Trained, Loved: Weimaraner, Vizsla, German Short-haired Pointer, Bichon Frise/CKCS mix, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever & Miniature Dachshund

"A dog wags it's tail with it's heart."

  - Martin Buxbaum


Sub-Novice Obedience

  • Instructing for USDTC for 8 years
  • Currently serving as Obedience Co-Director
  • Currently serving as Obedience Registrar
  • DOCOF Co-Captain 2016 & 2017
  • Board Member 2015, 2017 & 2018 
  • Achieved CGCA, BN, CD, CDX & Tricks titles
  • Training towards Utility title
  • Previously trialed in Earth Dog
  • Stays current on dog  training techniques through continuing education/seminars

Heidi enjoys working with students at the intermediate level because they have some experirence in training their dog but still have a lot to learn. This is when students really begin to connect with their dog and can progress quickly in their training. Even though many come to classes just hoping to have a well behaved companion, this is also when some handlers decide to try competition obedience. She especially enjoys helping new handlers get ready to enter the show ring as well as helping them to fine tune their skills to become the leader their dog(s) deserve and need them to be.

"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 

  • Also teaches 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!"

Elizabeth Dolezal-Teller

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

A Variety of Breeds Including Shetland Sheepdog, Portuguese Water Dog

Novice Obedience

  • Also teaches S.T.A.R. Puppy
  • Has taught Puppy Star and Novice obedience for 3 years 
  • CGC and Puppy Star Evaluator with AKC
  • Has titles in AKC, UKC, WWKC and CKC (Canadian Kennel Club)
  • Earned her first AKC title 35 years ago
  • Titles in obedience, rally, conformation, barn hunt, water trials, dock diving and tricks
  • Has owned several breeds. Presently owns a Portuguese water dog

Elizabeth is a dog portrait artist, writer and pet sitter.

“Since childhood, my life has been spent owning, loving, training and showing dogs. I love working with people and helping them communicate better with their dogs.”

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."

Bonny Thatcher

Breeds Owned, Trained, Loved:

Shetland Sheepdog

Basic Obedience

  • Instructing for USDTC for more than a year
  • Has also taught Rally Obedience
  • Currently serving as Club Secretary & on the Sunshine Committee
  • Served as Board Member, Obedience Trial Chair & Chief Ring Steward
  • CGC Evaluator
  • Achieved multiple CD & CDX titles and multiple UKC Championships with her Shelties

Bonny loves working with dogs & also brings her honesty, dependability & raffle basket making prowess to the club. She loves the club and what it stands for and enjoys helping others that want to learn to train their dog. 

"My happy moments are when my Shelties qualify and get their title that I've entered a trial for."

Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club

2101 Logan Street

Clearwater, FL  33765

727-23-UPPER (87737)