Meet Our Dog Trainers

Dog Training Staff- Frederick MD


Growing up, Rachel could always be found playing outside with the family dog. She later decided to make a career out of working with dogs and became a certified trainer through Petco. She then went on to become a Certified Master Dog Trainer through the National K-9 Learning Center. She is also a certified groomer through Penn Foster. Rachel is a Professional Member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and a certified AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.

For the past seven years, Rachel has worked with a wide variety of breeds and temperaments. Her experience includes behavior modification, basic and advanced obedience, competition obedience, scent detection and tracking, IPO and service dog training.

She currently owns a German Shepherd, named Darwin, which she competes with in IPO. Darwin has received his CGC, BH and Rally Novice title.


Dog Training Staff- Frederick MD

Michael Kelly – Trainer

Michael is a certified professional dog trainer with extensive experience working with shelter animals and helping to create manageable household behaviors.

Michael’s professional dog career began in New York City as a dog walker for up to 10 dogs at a time for Beastmasters. He obtained his first certification (CCPDT) through Beastmasters and quickly took a training position with the company. Michael’s experience also includes work with the North Shore Animal League, the area’s largest rescue organization. While at NSAL Michael learned how to appropriately test temperament and gained confidence working with dogs with severe behavioral concern. NSAL is where Michael learned much of his behavioral theory, techniques and aggressive animal handling.

Michael and his fiancée have two dogs, Raja and Maui. Upon adoption Maui was incredibly fearful and under socialized, however Michael was able to work through those hang ups quickly and began building drive using dock diving. Raja, an Akita mix was an incredible escape artist from the beginning. Michael quickly realized through consistent communication and Raja’s love for food they were able to tackle and achieve many things from there.


Renée Nappier – Trainer

Renée as a trainer has been a lead instructor since 1990 and has taught all levels in her performance venues.

Her formal competitive dog experience started in Novice A obedience and continued with her first utility title on a German Wirehaired Pointer ‘Kip’ went on to earn a second UD title in Canada, the year after earning the AKC title. Since then she has put obedience titles on 15 breeds including a mix. ‘Travis’, the mixed breed earned utility titles in AKC, UKC and CDSP over a three year period.  Eventually it was time to branch out into agility where she titled 9 different breeds, in flyball she titled with 8 breeds and Rally with five.

Irish Water Spaniel ‘Bryce’ and Border Terrier ‘Terrier’ were multi-taskers in all venues with CDXs, AKC agility master titles plus Rally and Flyball titles as well.  ‘Gina’ Renée’s whippet, may she rest in peace, was the first whippet in NAFA (North American Flyball Association) history to earn both the 90K and 100K title also known as the Hobbes Award in 2013. She was also a titled ‘Irondog’, indicating that she competed successfully earning at least one point in flyball each year for ten consecutive years.  ‘Gina’ also earned her field championship in lure coursing.

Flyball competitions continue with the younger whippets and the two mixes. Renée’s most recent entry was back into the obedience and rally rings with her Cocker Spaniel ‘Timber’. His first six months of competition in AKC have earned him his RN, RA, BN, PCD and CD titles.

Please contact the Training Department Manager, Melissa Norris at 240-436-1660 or email at if you have any questions or would like to set up a training evaluation.