Owned and operated by Terri Kaluza, Gold Star Dog School is a multi-faceted canine training/day care facility serving dogs and their owners in south King and north Pierce Counties. We pride ourselves in offering the finest instructors, training, services and products. We offer outstanding instruction for companion dog obedience training, as well as for performance sports such as competition obedience, rally and K-9 nose work.
Our premier services include:
Training classes taught by experienced instructors that are well respected, sought after and active in the dog community.
Day Care – your dog will go home well exercised and tired.
K9 Camp - Add training to day care
Private lessons for obedience or behavior issues
Boutique retail offering quality holistic dog food, treats, novelties, training equipment, toys, leashes, and collars.
Learn more about our facility here
We are more than just a training school – we are a gathering place for dog enthusiasts. It is a place where you are able to talk, laugh, and learn from each other about our dogs. We invite dog lovers to come to our facility to observe training in action and get to know other dog people and experience the fun, the joy, and the greatness dogs bring into our lives. We celebrate this by providing a casual place to come where you can relax and learn more about dogs and training in a fun and positive environment.
Owner & Instructor
Terri has had a love of all animals her entire life. Growing up she was never without pets, including dogs, cats, horses and other assorted rodents and poultry. She participated in
horse 4-H where her love for training and competition grew.
Baron, a German Shepherd is the dog she received her start in formal obedience training. They began taking classes in 1987, just to have a well-trained dog. She and Baron got
hooked on training and loved the relationship that evolved from the training. Terri credits Baron for giving her the chance to take her passion and turn it into a business.
Since that time, she has trained a sheltie and golden retrievers. Goldens are the breed she
currently owns and shows.
She has had multiple high in trials in both rally and obedience and national rankings.
She has won UKC Premier Invitational rally competitions with two of her dogs, and placed in obedience invitationals. She has also qualified two dogs to AKC Rally Nationals and finished in the Top 20 with both dogs.
Terri has taught dog training classes all around the Puget Sound for the last 30 years. In 2019 she opened the doors to her own dog training center - Gold Star Dog School.
Terri keeps up with current training trends by attending training and behavior classes, seminars, workshops and camps with internationally recognized trainers and behaviorists, including - Janice Gunn, Denise Fenzi, Ward Faulkner, Laurie Weaver, Sue Sternberg,
Sylvia Bishop, John Rogerson, Connie Cleveland, Brenda Aloff, Alex Robinson, Susan Garrett, Betsy Turner-Scapicchio and Linda Brennan.
While obedience is her main focus, she has also competed in agility, dock diving, barn hunt
and lure coursing.
Terri is a UKC Obedience and Rally judge and an AKC CGC Trick Dog Evaluator. She is also the Director of Training for King County Second Chance Dogs and a mentor for Animal Behavior College.
Terri believes in keeping training positive while giving the dog boundaries and making them
responsible for their behavior. She believes that flexibility is important in training, what works for one dog may not work for another. There are many techniques and Terri’s able to
evaluate each dog to find options that best suit each dog and owner.
She loves teaching obedience classes, working with behavior issues and helping to build a relationship between each dog and handler. Watching owners develop a good relationship with their dog when they are at a point of giving up is most rewarding. “I love watching my students succeed, be it in the show ring or just having a great
Heather has been training dogs as long as she can remember, one of the perks of having an obedience instructor as a mother. She started agility in 2000 with her German Shepherd, named Chase. She was hesitant to try it and only went to agility class after saying, "I'll try it, but I'll never compete".
How quickly things changed, as she learned she had natural knack for agility training and was hooked! A few years later she also started training and competing with Golden Retriever, Rivi. Volunteering to teach 4-H agility classes while still in high school, is where Heather found her love for teaching. She was given an amazing opportunity to start teaching at Argus Ranch in 2003, where she taught weekly classes for 17 years. Now she is self employed and teaches in Buckley and Auburn. She has learned a lot about dog training from her mom and her training partner, Gillian Crawford. She credits them for teaching her how to teach people and dogs.
Two dogs are responsible for where she is now, and shaped her agility career -
Golden Retriever, Derby (MACH2 Spirit's Run for the Roses CD RA). Derby passed away in 2017.
Border Collie, Chip (MACH Speedoggie Woowho PCDX RN).
In 2020, Prim became the first girl to join the family!
Heather and her dogs also compete in obedience and rally, Derby earned his CD and Rally Advance Title, Chip has his PCDX and Rally Novice Title.
Heather is even more proud of her student's accomplishments than she is of her own. Whether it's qualifying for and attending National Championships, Breed Nationals, and the Invitational, or racking up multiple MACHs and PACHs, or simply having a blast with their dog and upholding criteria at local competitions.
Training Chip brought Heather to explore many new training and handling methods, as well as running contacts. Heather believes that there is no "one size fits all" for agility training, and helps her students to learn what works best for their individual dogs. An emphasis is placed on trained skills, so that the dog knows exactly what is expected out of them and develops strong obstacle commitment, allowing the handler to stay ahead on course. Heather has worked with Silvia Trkman, Susan Garrett, Justine Davenport, Tori Self, and Greg Derrett, and draws inspiration from all of them. She believes there is always something more to learn, and continues her education by attending seminars and doing online training with various instructors.
Jean Whitehead, CPDT-KA
Jean has been crazy about critters since childhood and put her passion into action graduating from Moorpark College’s Exotic Animal Training and Management Program. Her degree was put into use professionally with a wide range of animal species in zoos, aquariums and for TV and movie work. Her life has been full of pets as well including snakes, cats, birds and of course dogs. New to Gold Star Dog School, she was an original instructor with Positive Approach Training Programs in Tacoma. Since 1994 she has been helping families and their dogs build lasting, loving relationships through reward-based training. For more than 20 years she has taught thousands of classes and worked individually with people and their pets on a wide range of subjects from prepping for puppies to reactive and aggressive dogs. Jean believes in setting people and their pets up for success utilizing positive reinforcement methods working with the abilities and goals of the family to resolve behavioral issues and develop connections between pets and their people. She has been involved personally in many aspects of the dog world, as an active rescue volunteer for over 25 years, showing dogs in confirmation, titling dogs in obedience and agility and raising litters. Jean’s family includes a gaggle of three golden retrievers who can often be seen helping with classes and lessons.
Jean is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed.
Laurie Sirotkin, ANWI
Laurie has a particular interest in helping those with rescue dogs and shy dogs, to help those dogs gain increased confidence through the sport of K9 Scentwork. She also looks forward to supporting owners at all
levels with their competitive goals.
Laurie Sirotkin has been training in canine scentwork since 2013, and she currently competes with her two Border Collies and a Border Collie ACD mix in NACSW, AKC, NASDA, and USCSS events.
Nellie recently finished up her NW3 Elite title, and she came in first in the Advanced Handler
Discrimination category of the 2022 AKC Western Regional Championships. Nellie has her AKC overall Master’s title and currently competes at the Detective level. Brady (the “old man”) competes in AKC Master’s Level Exterior and Interior searches. Sully (the “youngster”) has his NW2, AKC Excellent scentwork title, and his USCSS DDCI. Laurie also enjoys training and competing in agility.
Diana grew up with dogs, but they were never considered “family”. Not until she and her husband bought their first dog, an unknown mix, in 1977 did she become active in training. In 1993 they
acquired their first Golden Retriever, Teddy, and she fell completely in love with the breed.
While working as a Pediatric Nurse at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital shortly after Teddy died, a Therapy Dog visited their department. That’s when she decided to pursue a new puppy with
the intention of becoming a Pet Therapy Team. She chose Harli, a 10 week old Golden Retriever, and the process of training began. Through the next two years she realized how much she loved training dogs and watching them think and learn. She and Harli became a registered Pet Partners Therapy Animal Team in 2006 and began volunteering at Mary Bridge
Children’s Hospital, visiting kids and their families until Harli’s retirement in 2017. Therapy Dog work is her passion. She also enjoyed earning Harli’s Rally Obedience Advanced title.
Piper joined their family in 2011 and was a bit more challenging. But this made Diana a better trainer. She and Piper passed their Pet Partners evaluation in 2014 and Piper joined her sister in visiting at Mary Bridge. Piper has also earned her AKC CGC Advanced Title, Rally Obedience
Advanced title and AKC Trick Dog Performer title. Deja Vu came along in 2017 and is still a work in progress for therapy work. However, Deja has earned her AKC CGC Title and AKC Trick Dog Advanced title and has earned multiple AKC and NACSW Nosework titles. They are working
towards their Companion Dog title in Competition Obedience as well as Rally Obedience.
Diana has taught classes from Puppy through Advanced obedience, AKC Canine Good Citizen, Therapy Dog Prep and Rally. She is also an AKC CGC Evaluator. She began taking classes at Gold Star in early 2020 and finds that their philosophy and training methods match her own. It’s important to have a lot of “tools in your toolbox” when training, as not every dog learns the
same. What works for one dog (even from the same household or same breed) may not work for another dog. “You have to be open to finding what works for your dog.”
Diana believes an important part of training people and their dogs is helping them build a strong relationship. “It doesn’t matter what the goals are for you and your dog: any of the competition sports, therapy work or just having an awesome family pet. A key component in any of these choices is a strong bond, good communication, and mutual respect.” She enjoys watching both dogs and their owners find a connection and grow in both their skills and
The past 20+ years has been an incredible journey growing a full-time business as an Agility Instructor and coach.
My appreciation goes to all the students that have come, gone and stayed, thank you all. So much more to learn together. Keep reaching for the stars and you will land on your feet running, keep it up everyone!
My joy for training animals started back before the 1980’s with my Morgan/ Quarter horse
cross, Cinnabar. I showed in gymkhana and the Games classes.
I also dabbled in Competition Obedience in AKC with a few Shelties who ranked in the top
numbers. UD, 2 CDX, 6 CD. Many HIT’s over the years.
My love of agility began in 1995, I think. Now I am on partner #6.
The sport has grown so much and so must we.
There have been several trainers that encouraged me in the early days: Gloria McGrath, Ann Marie Silverton, Janice De Mello, Sylvia Bishop, Patty Russo, Mary Gutknecht, Lisa Bowers and many others who I have yet to meet and work with. In more recent years Daisy Peel thru the Awesome Paws Handling System as well as Rosanne Demascio.
Many principles from the above still influence training decisions today.
Karen has been an animal lover her entire life and had pets big and small, horses, dogs, cats and bunnies. In 2014 after the passing of a beloved 13-1/2-year old dog the search began for a new fuzzy companion.
Karen and Dean adopted Samee, a collie / border collie mix, approximately 1 year old, Samee was a true rescue with no history. They began training right away, he needed it! Basic obedience to start, over the last 8 years they have enjoyed classes in competition obedience, agility, rally, CGC, therapy dog and body awareness. All this training ultimately
resulted in apprenticing to teach classes. Karen volunteered at the King County Library System as a computer instructor for 12 years. The program was phased out and the opportunity to combine two things she loved, teaching and dog
training became the beginning of a new chapter for her and Samee.
Karen began teaching in 2016 with home obedience classes, then CGC, becoming and evaluator and eventually teaching Therapy Dog. Samee and Karen are a Pet Partners therapy dog team at SeaTac airport and hope you stop and say hi if
you see them on Sat mornings. Both of Karen’s dogs have their CGC titles and Samee has three AKC Trick Dog titles.
In 2020 Karen adopted an Aussie, Mojie from a wonderful breeder in the area. Once again, her dog has opened new doors and friendships. She continues to work with and learn from the Australian shepherd kennel owner in her spare time.
Karen’s day job is a sales analyst for a major medical supplier supporting 70 sales VP’s, Directors, Region Managers and Reps across the United States. Yes getting hold of her from 8 – 4:30 might be best via text or email.
In Karen’s spare time she and her husband Dean enjoy spending time with family and friends. Her hobbies are being outdoors with the dogs, working in the yard, kayaking, or biking. In rainy weather you can find her reading, making beaded jewelry or enjoying a local concert.
Karen looks forward to meeting you and your dog, sharing her passion for all the things you can do with a well-trained dog.
Cell / Text: 253-640-2530
Becca McCoy, CPDT-KA
My name is Becca and I’m thrilled to be teaching here at Gold Star! I actively train in Schutzhund/IGP (scent detection /obedience /protection) as well as NACSW nosework. I am CPDT-KA certified and focus on building motivation and using reinforcement to train strong,
reliable behavior. I am the founder and training director of Summit Working Dog Club, actively
train at the Lower Mainland German Shepherd Dog Club in Langley, BC, and I own and operate Summit Kennels, a boarding kennel where I accommodate dogs with special environmental and behavioral needs. I hold a master’s degree in education, and I have always loved teaching. I also enjoy attending seminars, classes, workshops… pretty much anything to learn more about dog
I currently have three dogs: Kuani, Samson, and Jolene. Kunai, my black German Shepherd Dog
(GSD), achieved his IGP3 in April 2023. He also achieved his NACSW ORT. He currently enjoys canine fitness training and working on his obedience skills. Samson (Labrador) achieved his ORT in June 2022. He is currently training in obedience and scent detection and we are looking forward to titling in American Schutzhund and NACSW. Jolene (GSD) is my energetic young Schutzhund dog in training who is just getting started in her sport dog career!
I have loved animals of all kinds as long as I can remember. I’ve had the privilege of volunteering at a horse rescue for 4 consecutive years and I also work for a married couple who are both AKC dog show judges. I am happy to be given the opportunity to work at Gold Star Dog School where I can be with different kinds of dogs every day. I have experience with competing in agility, barn hunt, conformation and obedience. I own 3 dogs and a variety of reptiles. When I’m not working with animals you can find me drawing or reading (which may or may not have animals in it).