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Margot Woods – Founder and Master Trainer

Margot has been training dogs professionally for more than 40 years. She has personally trained and obedience titled a variety of breeds. As the founder of Fidos For Freedom, she served on the Governor’s Workgroup on Guide/Service Dogs for the State of Maryland.

At the present time, Margot is offering a limited number of private lessons, and is available to coach students and give occasional seminars. She is a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities for the city of Laurel, Maryland and is busy training and showing her newest Doberman.

Having supervised the training of over 100,000 dogs and their owners in group class settings and over 5,000 owners and their dogs in a private setting since 1975, Margot believes that most problem dogs are simply bright dogs with no job.

Good dogs are the ones who are trained and given jobs. Just remember – you may never be successful in teaching them to do windows, but with direction and recognition for the jobs they do, they will be loving and loyal companions.

See her blogs here: Where’s my Sanity? and Promise’s To Keep


Mike Ramos – Instructor

Mike graduated from the University of Akron in 2003 and has been serving his country in the Armed Forces since. He first came to Applewoods in 2010 with his English Mastiff because she was beginning to show signs of aggression. Seeing how well she responded to the training, he decided to continue his education in the Apprenticeship Program in 2012.

Since then, he’s put a CDX on his Mastiff; teaches Elementary, Middle School classes, private lessons and trains dogs in the Board and Train program. He is currently working towards his Utility title with his Mastiff and the Applewoods resident Ninja, Ellie. Also, Sherpa T. Dog is seriously considering a career as a circus dog, since she already is a taxi to small dogs and carries groceries, skateboards, and training supplies around.

  • Mastiff/Sherpa: CD in 2012, 3 trials, 1 placement
  • Yorkshire Terrier/Ellie: CDX in 2013
  • Mastiff/Sherpa: CDX in 2013, 3 placements
  • Airedale Terrier/Piper: CD in 2014, 3 placements
  • Siberian Husky/Obi: BN in 2014, 3 placements
  • Yorkshire Terrier/Ellie: RN in 2013, 3 placements
  • Doberman Pinscher/Promise: CD in 2015, 3 placements
  • Doberman Pinscher/Promise: CDX in 2015, 1 placement
  • Airedale Terrier/Piper: CDX in 2015, 1 placement, 1 High in Trial

Elice Shelton 

Currently Elice is enjoying teaching the AKC Headstart Puppy Class at Applewoods.
Elice manages the Applewoods’ pack of daycare and boarding dogs on a regular basis & assists instructors as needed. Elice also bred Miniature Poodles ages ago and fostered a 9 week old Doberman puppy in 2013.

With a background in equine sports (riding, training and competing horses) for over 20 years gave Elice a unique perspective on animal behavior. As a licensed U.S. Equestrian official she worked as a liaison between competitors and management, explaining the complex rules as needed.

Elice got into serious dog training at Applewoods with her current Standard Poodle , Caruso in 2008 when she returned to Margot Woods for help with this new puppy. Having been a student in 2000 with her former Standard Poodle, it was only logical to come again for more in depth training. AKC titles thus far:

  • Standard Poodle/Caruso : CD, 3 trials, 3 placements
  • Standard Poodle/Caruso : CDX, 3 trials, 3 placements
  • Standard Poodle/Caruso : RN
  • Miniature Poodle/Derek : BN, 3 trials, 3 placements
  • Miniature Poodle/Derek : CD, 3 trials, 3 placements
  • Miniature Poodle/Derek : RN
  • Miniature Poodle/Derek: CDX, 3 placements
  • Toy Poodle/Shadow : BN, 3 trials, 3 placements
  • Toy Poodle/Shadow : RN, 3 trials, 3 placements

An injury sidelined her Standard Poodle so he could not complete his Utility Dog training. Elice is working toward a Novice title for a client’s Toy Poodle as well as preparing her Miniature Poodle for Utility.

Jan Merka 

In June 2010, Jan decided with some trepidation and great excitement that having a dog in his family’s life was a possibility. Jan wanted for the dog to become a member of his family, sharing its activities as much as possible and that requires a reliable training method working in real life. Thus, Jan came with his four-month old Golden Retriever puppy Ben to Applewoods Dog Training in September 2010 and both started their dog training journey.


  • 2016: Golden Retriever/Ben:
    • 1x High in Trial (HiT)
    • 1x Highest Combined Score in Utility B and Open B
  • 2015: Golden Retriever/Ben:
    • UDX
    • 4x High in Trial (HiT)
    • 4x Highest Combined Score in Utility B and Open B
    • 1st place in 1 Dog Skijoring races, Jim Lobdell Memorial Invitational Sled Dog Races
      Chapman State Park, near Clarendon, Pennsylvania, USA, January 17-18, 2015
  • 2014: Golden Retriever/Ben:
    • UD
    • JHU
    • 4x High in Trial (HiT)
    • 2x Highest Combined Score in Utility B and Open B
    • 2014 All Star Obedience Championships: 5th place in Open and 2nd place with Team Applewoods
  • 2013: Golden Retriever/Ben: 2nd place in 1 Dog Skijoring races, New England Sled Dog Club, Hill Village Sled Dog Race, Hill Village, New Hampshire, USA, February 16-17, 2013
  • 2012: Golden Retriever/Ben: CDX
  • 2012: Labrador Retriever/Sugar: All Star Obedience Championships, Open 9th of 22
  • 2011: Golden Retriever/Ben: CD

Yuliya Brown 


Yuliya came to Applewoods Dog Training to solve her Kerry Blue Terrier’s aggressive behavior. After a year of hard work, Brandy completed her CD title with 3 placements and the highest score of 196.5/200.

Currently, she continues to train Brandy in Obedience with hopes to finish her “Utility Dog Excellent” title in 2013. She is also training her Giant Schnauzer puppy, Mozart.

  • Kerry Blue Terrier/Brandy: CD in 2011
  • Kerry Blue Terrier/Brandy: CDX (1 HIT High in Trial)
  • Kerry Blue Terrier/Brandy: UD 2012
  • Giant Schnauzer/Mozart: CD 2014
  • Giant Schnauzer/Mozart: CDX 2014

See her blog here: Kids, Dogs and Rats

Sarah Guroff


For as long as she could remember, Sarah wanted a dog. She thought about dogs, read about dogs, watched documentaries about dogs, talked to people about their dogs… But there was always some obstacle. Her building didn’t allow pets, she traveled for work, and when would she walk a dog, anyway?

This went on for 10 years.

Then one day, Sarah contacted Applewoods to explore apprenticeships and was invited to observe Margot’s Thursday night Continuing Education class. Sarah had never seen anything like it; a roomful of dog-and-handler teams all working synchronously off-leash. A gentleman in the class tossed his cane saying, “Oh, Jake, I dropped my cane,” to which a beautiful Golden Retriever jogged across the room to collect it and deliver it back to his master. Sarah was hooked and within a month’s time she put her condo on the market and began looking for a dog-friendly home. In December 2011, Sarah and her All American dog, Roxy, began lessons at ADT.

Since joining Applewoods, Sarah and Roxy have earned Roxy’s AKC Canine Good Citizen, Companion Dog and Companion Dog Excellent titles. They are now working towards a Utility title, and have been assisting with the Elementary and Middle School curricula since March 2013.

  • All American/Roxy: CD in 2013, 4 trials, 3 placements
  • All American/Roxy: CDX in 2014, 3 trials, 3 placements


Linda Pittelli


Linda had dogs growing up and trained them to be good house pets with the normal “dog tricks.”
In 1985 she saw an AKC Obedience Trial and decided obedience training would be a lot of fun. Her initial obedience dogs were Springer Spaniels and she began training at Applewoods in early 1986. She took a partial break to raise her daughter and found that the calm, consistent clear communication that worked with dogs worked well with children. She and her husband currently have Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and are also doing Field work. Linda teaches the Elementary and Middle School classes and helps her husband with the field (AKC Hunt Test) training. Her youngest dog, Molly, is completing her CDX title and has started working on the Utility Exercises as well as additional field work. Linda is an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator.

  • Springer Spaniel/Brandy: CD, CDX (2 Seconds), UD (2 Firsts, 1 Second)
  • Springer Spaniel/Allie: CD, CDX (1 Placement)
  • Springer Spaniel/Casey: CD (1 Placement), RN, RA
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever/Maggie: BN (3 Placements), RN, RA, CGC, CGCA
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever/Molly: CD (2 Placements), CDX in progress (2 Firsts), CGC, CGCA, JH, SH

Eric Klatt


When Eric first got Murphy he attempted to train him using books and popular training methods. This resulted in nothing but frustration from both Eric and Murphy. Eric couldn’t figure out how to communicate exactly what we wanted Murphy to do, and Murphy was just as annoyed trying to figure it out. Taking him for a walk was an exercise more for the arms and shoulders than the legs. He pulled and darted at every single distraction so much so that nobody wanted to take him for a walk. He was so shy that he ran from strangers and cowered in fear. It was no fun taking him anywhere or having guests over.

At ADT, Eric learned how to communicate to Murphy what was needed before requiring him to do it in distracted situations. Murphy earned his Canine Good Citizen certificate by passing the AKC CGC test in July 2012, only a few months after starting at Applewoods. The next year they competed and Murphy earned his Companion Dog title also. It is now fun for Eric to take Murphy anywhere, and, because of all the work they have done with retrieving and other obedience work, Murphy’s self confidence is much improved and he has many friends, both human and canine, at ADT.

Eric Started Training Murphy in April 2012, and has been assisting with the elementary and middle school curricula since August 2013.

  • All American/Murphy: CD in 2013, 3 trials, 3 placements
  • All American/Murphy: CDX in 2014, 3 trials, 3 placements
  • Finished second place with Team Applewoods at 2014 All Star Obedience Championships
  • Eric and Murphy have been invited to compete in the AKC Obedience Classic in 2014.