At Tecla’s K-9 Academy, all of our trainers have developed their dog training skills under the tutelage of founder and training director, Tecla Walton. Tecla has worked closely with each trainer to ensure that every dog’s training experience is the best it can be, and that the training philosophies and practices that are the Tecla’s K-9 Academy gold standard are met. Each trainer has worked closely with Tecla fulﬁlling the following requirements:
1. Fulfilling training development in either of the following ways: A. Earning a minimum of 500 training hours taking, graduating from, and acting as assistant instructor in multiple classes with Tecla. B. Completing the TK9 internship program which is a comprehensive study of dog training and behavior including both practical and written work and exams. Each level of internship provides the trainer with 350 training hours.
2. Earning at least one title with their own dog.
3. Passing Tecla’s K-9 Academyʼs written instructor exam.
Coming soon: Tecla’s K-9 Academy will announce our new, formalized dog-trainer’s certification program. Tecla’s K-9 Academy Trainer Certification will provide an official process and measurement to the development of our dog trainers.
Tecla Walton, Pack to Basics Certified, has 24 years of experience as a music educator and 15 years experience as a dog trainer. Her unique ability to educate dog owners as well as train their dogs is a product of the way she has blended her two worlds. Tecla’s deep love for and commitment to the canine species has led her to continually seek out and implement the best training methods for the dogs she trains. Her emphasis is on balancing relationship between dog and handler through sound training principles, clear communication, and trust. Tecla’s dog training experience spans the worlds of pet obedience and competitive dog sports alike. She has studied under Bart Bellon, Chad Mackin, Tom Rose, and Michael Ellis. Tecla holds multiple high-in-obedience, high-in-trial, high-in-tracking awards, and “V” scores with her dogs and has helped many clients to do the same. She has also earned High In Trial honors with three different dogs in three different disciplines in an 18 month period of time. While her dog sport achievements are impressive, she is equally adept as a pet dog trainer. Whether your goal is raising a happy, well-adjusted puppy or rehabilitating a dog that other trainers have given up on, Tecla is the “go-to” trainer in her area. Her dog training business, Tecla’s K-9 Academy has two Baltimore-based locations and is highly recommended by veterinarians, breeders, and rescues in the Baltimore/Washington area as well as across the country.
Basic Obedience and Puppy Play Instructor
Marcus Smith, CHPA, has worked for 20 years as a physical Security Manager and 10 years CPI Crisis Intervention Instructor (Expert in reading body language, verbal and physical interventions). He has always enjoyed working with dogs and in his youth spent 8 years as an AKC comfirmation handler (1982-1990). He found Tecla’s K-9 Academy with his wife Wendy while they were looking for training for their two dogs Falcor and Mirabella. He has been working at TK9 for 4 years, assisiting in Pack to Basics, Behavior Modification and Basic Obedience Classes. In 2014 he became a Basic Obedience Instructor at Tecla’s K9 Academy.
Level 1 Trainer / Level 2 InternWilliam Hendrix has had an affinity for dogs ever since he was young. He recently thought about working with dogs as a profession and began his internship at Tecla’s K-9 Academy in March 2015. Since then his love for dogs has only grown. William completed his Level 1 Internship in September with a solid A and is currently working on his Level 2 Internship. He grew up in San Antonio Texas, moved to Maryland because his dad was in the military, and holds an Associates Degree in General Studies at Carroll Community College.
Purely Positive Puppy Class Instructor/Trainer's AssistantAs far as Patricia can remember, she’s had an abiding love for animals. After retiring from the Baltimore City Fire Department as a Paramedic/Firefighter, Patricia became a volunteer at the Balitmore Zoo where she learned how to study and record animal behavior with several species including the polar bears, snow leopards, and chimpanzees. She also assisted in the zoo’s animal enrichment program and has volunteered at several animal adoption programs including the Baltimore Humane Society where she received dog training experience and certification in the Open Paws Program. This program is designed to reduce stress within the shelter setting and implements courses of socialization, dog play groups, and a children’s reading program for adoptable dogs and cats. In addition, Patricia has taught puppy and basic obedience classes as a certified Petco dog trainer.
Patricia lives with 2 dogs, her greyhound Penny (a retired Greyhound racer) and her white German Shepherd Barron, and 7 cats. Both of her dogs love participating in nosework and Penny enjoys participating in lure coursing competitions. One of Patricia’s cats earned 3rd place in the Southern Region Cat Conformation show and was awarded 13th Best Cat in the nation.
Patricia first came to Tecla’s K-9 Academy through enrolling in Basic Obedience Classes with Barron. She has been shadowing and learning from Tecla ever since. She truly enjoys assisting with classes at TK9 and notes “that it is a joy working with our clients and their dogs. It is especially exciting to watch as owners and their pups learn together causing their bonds of love and mutual respect to grow”.
Diabetic Alert Dog Trainer/Nosework Instructor
Keith graduated from a military college and worked as a problem solving engineer for 17 years. He became involved at Tecla’s K-9 Academy when he chose Tecla to train his Diabetic Alert Dog, Ozzie. Through the process of learning to handle Ozzie, Keith became extremely interested in scent training and started working at TK9 as a Diabetic Alert Dog trainer in 2011 where he has helped to successfully train multiple DADs. His participation in the Nosework program at TK9 has led to him and Ozzie earning their NW1 with Pronounced ratings in 3 of 4 elements. Keith’s work in problem solving has equipped him for success in as a Nosework Instructor and he truly enjoys helping his students and their dogs on their Nosework journeys!
Cathy Ferguson is a former professional musician whose day job is with the Howard County School System as a special education teacher. She started working with Tecla in 2009 due to her adopting a 9-month old, exuberant dog from the Howard County Animal Shelter. Previous owners said that “Roxy,” now named Thais, was aggressive. Tecla’s initial evaluation revealed not an aggressive dog, but a highly energetic dog. Thais failed basic obedience, preferring to “go play” with the other dogs instead of maintaining a long sit or down. Tecla had just started teaching Rally and recommended that Cathy and Thais give it a try. At the first lesson, Thais did everything that Cathy asked her to do. Thais needed something to make her think and focus all of that energy. Cathy and Thais went on to compete in Rally, earning their Arch, Arch X, Arch EX, and their Arch MX. At the Breakaway Action Dogs 10 Year Anniversary Rally competition, Cathy and Thais earned Judges Best Team Award amongst other awards. Cathy started taking agility lessons with Thais and quickly brought her other dog, Ange, into agility training. Cathy is now the agility instructor at Tecla’s K9 Academy. Cathy and Thais are members of the Tecla K9 Demo Team.
Denise Boido became involved in Nosework back in 2010 when the founders brought the sport from California to Columbia, Maryland. She was hooked immediately. Her dog excelled in the sport so much that it compelled her to want to become a Nosework instructor. Denise and her dog and received their NW1 in 2012. She is currently preparing her young dog, Retter, for his Odor Recognition Test and titles. Denise is thrilled to be teaching Nosework at Tecla’s K9 Academy, “It is a dream come true in the sport of Nose Work!” She believes the sky is the limit at TK9 and hopes to see everyone in a class soon!
Debbie is a long time middle school educator who has taught math, science, and technology classes. About 2 1/2 years ago I came to Tecla’s K-9 Academy for help with training her puppy. Not only did they both learn a lot; they have had oodles of fun doing it. So much so that Debbie now assists during Saturday’s Purely Positive Puppy and Rally 1 classes. She enjoy helping others find success and joy working with their pups.