Meet Our Trainers

Ethel Mercer

Ethel Mercer

Ethel has been teaching Puppy Class for Lomita Obedience Training club for more than 20 years. She also teaches Beginning and Intermediate Companion Dog Manners, Intermediate Competition Obedience and Dog Tricks.  The sport of Canine Freestyle has also been a passion of hers for a number of years. Ethel is a certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator and a force free trainer.

Ethel has bred and shown Miniature Pinschers and achieved three breed championships with them. In addition she has shown the “Min Pins”, her border collie and her Papillon in Obedience, Agility, Canine Freestyle and Dog Tricks achieving advanced titles in each sport. As if that weren’t enough, her dogs are also Delta Certified Therapy Dogs making hospital visits to cheer up the patients.

Continual learning is important to Ethel. It keeps her and her dogs sharp. She regularly attends seminars to keep up to date on ideas and techniques and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Inc. She also shares her expertise by serving as a mentor for the Animal Behavior Collage Student Externship Program. She wants to make learning fun for her students and believes: “Make the training process rewarding for both the dog and owner by using force free positive training techniques, and try to never lose your sense of humor!”. As a result of this philosophy, she has seen a number of students repeat her courses every time they get a new dog.

Michele Mottola & Jack Thourot

Michele Mottola & Jack Thourot

Jack and Michele have been training dogs in obedience for 20 plus years. They began with casual training classes and very soon became interested in competition obedience. Through Lomita Obedience Training Club they have trained their Australian Cattle Dogs to the Utility Level of Obedience and Excellent level in Rally. They have supported other LOTC force free trainer in Puppy Manners’ Classes, Beginning Obedience, and Clicker Training Classes. In addition, partnering with Ruth Nunn, they have provided instruction in the weekly Advanced Obedience Workshop on Saturday mornings at Hathaway Park.

jackandmicheleAlong with their hands on training experience, they have attended a number of workshops and seminars including: Clicker Expo, and seminars by Kathy Sadao, Pia Silvani, Dawn Jecs and Kay Lawrence. Their goal is to provide practical support and information to help you build a joyful relationship with your dog.

Vita Allison

Vita Allison

Vita Allison has enjoyed tracking with a number of dogs of various breeds, especially in Urban situations.  She has titled over 30 dogs of different breeds in AKC and other venues, often achieving the highest awards and national rankings. She has written numerous articles to help people get started tracking, many of which were published in Dog Sport Magazine.  Vita is fascinated by the science of scent and is always learning new training techniques.  She would really enjoy introducing you & your dog to tracking!!

Ruth Nunn

Ruth Nunn

Ruth has always been into training animals. She got her first horse when she was 12 years old and competed on a team, in gymkhanas and hazed steers for bulldoggers. She formally trained her sheltie mix, Chip, for obedience when she was 14.

In 1965 she rescued a Samoyed and started training with Howard Cross at Southwest Obedience Club. After earning her CD she apprenticed with Howard and helped him with his classes in Huntington Beach. She also worked with Homer Wilson at Santa Ana Valley KC classes and conducted competition workshops for California Handler’s Advanced Obedience School, of which she was a charter member. After taking some time off in the middle 70’s she started training advanced obedience classes for the Paw Shoppe pet shop in Long Beach and later joined San Pedro Obedience Training Club, now known as Lomita Training Club. She has conducted competition workshops, open and utility classes and obedience ring handling classes for LOTC since 1988.

She is very active in LOTC and the Southern California Dog Obedience Council, having served in almost every office in both organizations. She has coached the LOTC Top Dog Team, which finished 5th in 2007, since 1989.

She has trained and exhibited 4 Samoyeds to the UD title and another to the CDX title and 3 Sams to the UKC CDX title. In addition to obedience, she has trained and worked 2 of her dogs in herding and owned the first Samoyed to earn an AKC herding title. She also trained and worked her dogs in weight pulling contests. She home trained her Service Dog, Me Too, and completed her CDX after becoming confined to a wheelchair. She is currently working with Tyana, a new Samoyed rescue, to take over Me Too’s service work as she is now 11 years old and slowing down a bit.

Her training philosophy is based on positive reinforcement with no corrections. She believes in the strategy of fixing mistakes by showing the dog the right way with lots of praise and enthusiasm and is a force free trainer. She uses whatever turns the dog on, be it treats, toys or just plain old-fashioned love. She is not afraid to try something new or to temper the “old” ways with non-confrontational methods. If you do not praise your dog enough she will do it for you. She is proud of the fact that all the dogs in her classes will climb right up on her scooter to greet her every time they see her.

Ruth is retired and has 2 sons, 1 in Long Beach and another in Tennessee. She has 2 granddaughters in Tennessee and will show you pictures any time you wish.

Dog Training Classes

New training classes starting soon! All levels – puppy through adult, AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Competitive Obedience.