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Meet the Education Team

Barbara Schwerdt

Barbara and her German Shepherd Landis (R.I.P.) were involved in K9 Nose Work® since 2008. At the first sanctioned NW1 trial they earned “The Harry Award”, which is given to the most outstanding rescue dog that demonstrates extraordinary ability and spirit in nose work. They received a “Pronounced” designation for each of the three title levels: NW1, NW2, and NW3. Barbara and Landis were the 3rd team in the country to earn an NW3 Elite title. They qualified for the first four National Invitational events and competed in the first three, placing 2nd, 5th, and 12th. He earned his Elite 2 title before retiring. Landis was also part of the United States Naval Research Laboratory’s Odor Discrimination Study.

Barbara and her next K9 Nose Work® partner, “Cassandra Sue (Cassie)”, a Labrador Retriever/Border Collie mix, have been working together since July 2015. After spending nearly a year on “primary” in literally dozens of locations, Cassie is now competing at the Elite level, having just earned her 3rd NW3 Title. Cassie has also earned her L1I, L2I, L1C and L2C.
Currently, Barbara and her newest K9 Nose Work® partner, a German Shepherd named Renner, have been working together since February 2022. A firm believer in building a strong foundation, Barbara is keeping Renner on “primary” for a while longer before introducing odor.

In addition to her role of Trial Judge and retired Certifying Official, Barbara also serves the organization as a Senior Faculty member. Barbara has been instrumental in curriculum development and education of new nose work instructors, as well as continuing education for certified instructors. In partnership with Dogs of Course, she has been a K9 Camp Instructor since the very first camp in Pennsylvania in 2010. Barbara has been invited to speak, coach, and teach seminars throughout the United States and on the east coast of Australia. Seminar topics include Trial Prep for NW1, NW2, and NW3, Converging Odor, Inaccessible Hides, Problem Solving, and the ever-popular Hide Placement. She teaches weekly K9 Nose Work® classes for students at the NW3, Elite, and Summit levels.

By day Barbara is a full-time corporate trainer where she has been since 1990. She holds the position of Director of Education and Training for a not-for-profit property management company that serves low to moderate income senior citizens, families, and the chronically-mentally ill. She holds a BA degree in Deaf Studies with a minor in Gerontology from California State University, Northridge. She worked as a nationally certified sign-language interpreter for nearly 20 years.

She shares her dog training company, Amante’ Dog Training, with her husband’s dog-walking and pet sitting business Safe at Home Pet Care. Barbara is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), a certified member of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), The National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW™), the Association for Talent Development (ATD), the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), Pet Sitter’s International (PSI), AIDS LifeCycle Training Ride Leaders, and Shifting Gears Cycling Club. She and her husband have fostered numerous guide dog puppies in training, primarily German Shepherds, ensuring appropriate house-manners are part of the skills they learn.

She has been an avid distance cyclist since 2011 and has raised nearly $50,000 for AIDS LifeCycle, a non-profit organization in California which provides much needed services to those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Barbara is grateful to share her life with her long-time husband, Gerry, a house cat named Parker, their little black Labrador Cassandra Sue, and newest member Renner, German Shepherd Dog.

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