Team

Sue McKinney, MSW, CPDT-KA, CNWI

Sue is the owner of Whole Dog Institute (formerly Dog Fun Forever). As a Master in Social Work, Sue brings a unique perspective to her dog training practice. Sue focuses on teaching human beings how to better understand their dogs and hence communicate and train more effectively. Through lively, fun exercises and lectures, Sue helps handlers enjoy their dogs for life.

Kristin Benokraitis

Instructor (Games)

Kristin_BenokraitisKristin has been teaching at Whole Dog Institute for the last year and half, assisting with K9 Nosework® classes and teaching introductory agility-for-fun classes. Classes are all about having fun and spending quality time with your dog. Possible side effects include:

(1) a stronger bond with your dog
(2) a dog that has been mentally and physically challenged during class
(3) learning new skills that you can show off to your friends and family!

Kristin has had the opportunity to personally train her own dog, Amber, in agility, K9 Nosework and Tricks through classes at The Whole Dog Institute. Amber’s favorite tricks include crossing her paws on command and walking around in downtown Durham on her hind legs. In her spare time, Kristin works in Project Management and Operations as an engineer developing medical devices. She gets to invent things, build gadgets and help save lives on a daily basis. But don’t worry – all of the science and math gets left at work when teaching at Whole Dog Institute.

Lisa Brockmeier

Instructor (Agility)
Lisa’s main teaching interest is helping people bond with their dogs through fun. Her dog training journey began in 1999 through a chance encounter at a dog beach with a perfect stranger who suggested Lisa try Flyball with her dog Lucy. Lisa branched out to try agility in 2003, and her life has not been the same. Along the way Lisa has discovered the joy of tricks training and K9 Nose Work, dabbled a bit with canine musical freestyle, and learned how positive interactions with dogs can  help establish manners and “good citizenship.”

 

Beth Grooms, CPDT-KA

Instructor (K9 Nose Work and Reactive Dog)

Beth_GroomsAnimals have played a pivotal role in my life for as long as I can remember. I began my career in dog training 15 years ago when I started volunteering with the Great Dane Rescue. I work with dogs that have behavioral or medical issues. I am a Pat Miller Certified Trainer, have my CPDT-KA and a Diploma of Canine Behavior Science and Technology. I started doing K9 Nose Work® with my Great Dane, Iris, and fell in love. It has helped tremendously with her anxiety and dog aggression. I am currently doing K9 Nose Work® with four of my dogs. I also volunteer with the Humane Society of the United States, Red Rover and the Coalition to Unchain Dogs. I work as a General Dentist in Durham.

 

 Robin Kirk

Instructor (Obedience)

Robin has always held a special place in her life for dogs. While observing her children interacting with their dogs she became interested in how dogs learn, relate and react to the people around them.  In 2004, she graduated from Triple Crown Dog Academy, now called Starmark Animal Behavioral Center in Texas, as a Certified Canine Trainer and Behavior Specialist.  Combining her BSN in nursing with her dog training she became the training director for National Capital Therapy Dogs, Inc. located in the Washington, D.C. area. She also became a Delta Society evaluator and READ instructor.  Noticing the increase numbers in shelters, she started a private lesson dog training business with the primary goal of keeping dogs in their homes and out of shelters.  She has recently moved back to Durham and is currently working with her dog in both agility and nose work.  Her goal in dog training is to establish understanding and a positive relationship between dogs and their family.

 

 Liz Turpin

Instructor (Obedience)

I love working with animals and helping people really connect with their dogs.  I moved to Raleigh in 2005 and started volunteering at the SPCA of Wake Country.  This was my first encounter with dog training and I could see the positive impact it had on dogs.  I found my passion for working with reactive dogs and dogs that struggle in the shelter environment.  I have continued to volunteer for the SPCA and foster for local rescue groups.  I am a Pat Miller Certified Trainer.  My goal as an instructor is to transfer my passion for connecting to and working with dogs to the students in class and show them how much fun working with their dogs can be.  The end result is dogs that connect with and happily work with their people.

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