About Us

Montessaurus was founded by Dr. Jennifer Messer with the goal of training dogs using humane and positive methods based in science. Since 1995 we have been training friendly, well mannered dogs in Guelph and the surrounding areas. Our goal is to help you create the perfect canine family member. Whether you have a new puppy, have just adopted a dog, or your current pet could use a refresher, we can help you get the best from your canine companion. Located in beautiful Puslinch, Ontario, (less than 15 minutes from the University of Guelph!), Montessaurus has a large indoor training hall and a fully fenced grass ring for outdoor training. Continue reading on this page to learn more about our team at Montessaurus or click here learn more about our classes. Montessaurus also offers private training at your home or our facility.

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Our Team

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Katie Kocmarek, B.A., CPDT-KA - Owner, Instructor

Katie is the owner of Montessaurus and teaches the majority of our classes. Our clients describe Katie as being friendly, approachable and most of all knowledgeable.  She believes that dogs and humans learn best when they are having fun, and builds this idea into every class.

Katie is certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.  She has a  degree in Media Studies through the University of Guelph-Humber. Prior to moving into dog training professionally, Katie worked in the equine industry, and has done everything from grooming racehorses to managing large training and lesson facilities. Her spare time is spent working with her own animals, which include a five year old Springer Spaniel 'Maizy' and two thoroughbred horses. The most recent addition to the family is a Springer Spaniel puppy 'Freya', who Katie hopes to eventually trial Freya in obedience, scent detection and agility. While Katie enjoys dog sports, her real passion lies in training dogs to be beloved, easy to live with family members.

Additionally, Katie has volunteered as a trainer for the  University of Guelph, College Royal Dog Show since 2015. She has taught beginner, novice and advanced classes there.

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Hazel Dickie - Instructor, Former Owner

The school has been operated by Hazel Dickie from 2003 to 2018 and has the same fundamental philosophy “to train pet dogs using, gentle positive methods and have the dog fit into the household.

Hazel’s background in dog training started in 1958 when a pug called Lanpark Penny who was then 12 weeks old chose the Dickie household as her home. Penny went on to earn many titles in the show ring with Hazel’s handling, Penny taught Hazel a lot, and lived until the ripe old age of 19 years, an enormous achievement for a pug and at that time in most other breeds. Other breeds that have been part of the household at one time or another include, a Jack Russell, Poodle, Shitzu Spaniel cross, Cocker Spaniel, and a Springer Spaniel.

In 2003 Hazel completed the Instructor Training Course in Accord, New York, instructed by Pia Silvani, and Sue Sternberg, winning the “Best Trick” in the 2003 Incredible Training Challenge.

In 2005 Hazel had the privilege of going to Tanzania, with a group of individuals to study animal behavior. The group included Dr Patricia McConnell, author of “The other end of the Leash” Patricia is a qualified Animal Behaviorist and dog Trainer. Patricia was only too willing to share her vast knowledge on this subject over the time spent on Safari.

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Julie Dorney, B.Sc, RVT, CCRP - Trainer

Montessaurus is pleased to have Julie join our team to teach our Scent Detection and K9 Fit classes. 

Julie completed her undergraduate in Biological Sciences at the University of Guelph before finishing her Veterinary Technology degree through Cedar Valley College in Texas. She is also a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) through the University of Tennessee, and is working towards her certification as a Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT). Julie worked in a busy local practice/emergency clinic for 10 years before joining our neighbour Gilmour Road Veterinary Services to pursue her interest in rehabilitation and sports medicine in 2015.

Julie's interest in canine sports and dog training started with her own dogs. She has two Italian Spinones (Brio and Happy) and an Irish Wolfhound (Pippi). Julie has titled her dogs in CKC Rally, CARO Rally and CKC Scent Detection.

Julie lives in Guelph with her husband, two small children and her three large dogs.

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Jennifer Messer, DVM - Founder

 Montessaurus Puppy School was founded in 1995, by Jennifer Messer, to train pet dogs using, gentle positive methods. “The Puppy Training Specialists” focusing on Socialization and Obedience for dogs under 18weeks of Age.Jennifer Established and Operated the School in Guelph until 2003 at which time it transferred to Hazel Dickie. Jennifer now serves as the curriculum consultant.Jennifer completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at McGill University, and a DVM from the Ontario Veterinary College. Jennifer has given numerous lectures and workshops to Veterinarians, dog trainers, veterinary students, government agencies, and the general public on a variety of canine behaviour topics, including aggression and early training and socialization. She has been featured on television, written extensively on canine behaviour for the popular media, and is currently a columnist for Modern Dog Magazine.Jennifer is well recognized as a leader in curriculum development for young puppies, and her comprehensive puppy class program The Kinderpuppy Course: A curriculum Manual for Instructors, published by PavSki Canine Educational Resources, is being used by puppy class instructors across North America. The Course has been endorsed by Jean Donaldson, and Dr. Ian Dunbar.