About the Urban Pooch Training & Fitness Center Staff

Learn More About Our Training, and Management Teams!

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What makes us special? Our staff!

Our passionate Management Team & Staff is one of our greatest assets enabling Urban Pooch to provide your dog with the utmost love and care around the clock. Their dedication and commitment help to make Urban Pooch one of the most special places on Earth! 

Our team is a collection of the most amazing and talented people in Chicago. But what’s more; we have lots of them! This means better care and more attention for your little (or big) four-legged companions. 

You’ll never find us trying to “do more with fewer people.” Our approach is unique in the Chicago market. Our goal is to always dazzle pooches and their parents with our incredible service, love, and care!


Be sure to check out all of our excellent training staff, too.

Meet Our Team

Daniel Gaughan

Co-Founder
Dan is the co-owner of Urban Pooch Canine Life Center and runs the day to day operations. A native Chicagoan, Dan grew up in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood. He is the son of the late and great Marty and Kitty Gaughan and the youngest of 6 children. Dan had an incredible 21 year career working behind the scenes in local television news here in Chicago as well as in Arizona and California. During his long career in broadcasting, Dan was in management roles overseeing staff and operations at many successful television news organizations. He began his broadcasting career at WLS-TV in 1989 here in Chicago and went on to play a key management role in launching CLTV. He went on to work for WGN-TV and eventually WBBM-TV following his return to Chicago from California in 2002. Dan won an Emmy Award for continuous coverage of The Chicago Bulls 3rd Championship. For many years Dan had a strong desire for a career change and to do something completely different and more fulfilling. Then in July of 2007 he adopted Berwyn, an 8 week old Welsh Terrier puppy, from an Amish Farm in Central Illinois. Dan’s intense love for Berwyn and the experience of raising this pup helped him realize opening a doggie daycare facility was the new direction he wanted to take his career and life and that would most importantly make him incredibly happy. This began the long journey of accomplishing his dream of owning and operating Urban Pooch Canine Life Center on the North Side of Chicago. Dan is very much looking forward to getting to know you and your pooch and seeing all of you every day!

Ed Kaczmarek

Co-Founder
Ed is the co-founder of Urban Pooch Canine Life Center, and also Chief Marketing Officer. He’s a fun, creative kind of pooch. Ed is also Co-Founder of Brand Innovators Labs, a business designed to help major brands institutionalize the core competency of partnering with disruptive startups to build competitive advantages and ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship within the corporate environment. Most recently, Ed was Director of Innovation & Emerging Technology at Mondel?z International (formerly Kraft Foods Inc.) where he led innovation through a multitude of partnerships and exploration with startups in both mobile and digital. He was the architect and creator of the Mobile Futures incubator program. Through this program, he drove new levels of consumer engagement across 13 blue chip brands and ignited cultural transformation in marketing throughout the US and Brazil. Many of the programs that Ed led, contributed to Mondelez International being named 2013 Mobile Marketer of the Year. While at Kraft Foods, he led the development of its award-winning iPhone application, the iFood Assistant—enabling the food marketer to deepen consumer relationships and implement new revenue streams. iFood Assistant won an Edison Award for Innovation in 2010. Ed has more than 26 years of integrated marketing communications experience spanning branding, new product development, advertising, CRM and strategy. He has driven innovation both digitally and in traditional arenas during his tenure at Cadbury/Dr Pepper, VNU, DoubleClick and Draft Worldwide. Ed also published NYC Pet Project while at Good Books Publishing, a company he founded. In 2009, Fast Company magazine named Ed as “1 of the 10 Most Creative People in Food.” He also participated on the Intel Capital Advisory Board for three years. In December 2012, Ed was recognized as one of “25 Trendsetters to Watch” by Chief Marketer magazine.

Berywn

CEO
Berwyn loves being a pooch, and is living the dream as the CEO of Urban Pooch Canine Life Center! He totally changed his Daddies’ lives – so much so that they decided to dedicate their lives to establishing a new level of service for dogs and dog parents by bringing state-of-the-art daycare and boarding to Chicago. Berwyn is involved in each decision both big and small. He loves to be the center of attention and sometimes growls when his Daddies pay too much attention to other dogs. But don’t let that growl fool you because he’s a softie at heart!

Lyn Love

Daycare Manager

Jay Murphy

Canine Concierge
Despite being a lifelong cat enthusiast, Joshua has been made a dog lover via his time spent working with man’s best friend. He joined the Urban Pooch team in November as a Handler and now works as Training Assistant. In his time working with dogs, Jay has learned there is simply no substitute for a canine’s admiration. Before he began working at Urban Pooch, he spent over a year cat sitting and dog walking in Evanston. He and his wife have two cats—Midna and Oscar—that take up most of their free time and have recently adopted an Australian Shepherd named Tesla.

James Bahr, CPDT-KA

Head Trainer
Jim has over 26 years of dog training experience and has achieved his CPDT-KA certification. He started out training his dogs in obedience first with CGC, TDI, then on to competitive obedience in AKC and UKC. After some quick success in the obedience ring, putting advanced obedience titles on his dogs, he was hooked! Obedience led to other dog sports such as Flyball (his team took 1st place in the Flyball region), Earthdog (Wire Fox Terrier titles on Earthdog), Conformation (Breed champion on his Giant Schnauzer), and Agility. Agility quickly became his favorite and in the year 2000 he titled the first MACH wire fox terrier. The same year showing in AKC, his giant schnauzer, wire fox terrier, and miniature schnauzer received the Top Agility Dog Award in their breed. He has since put agility championships on multiple dogs of different breeds in both AKC and USDAA and qualified and attended Nationals since 2000. The most recent accomplishment was in 2014 winning the 26” division at AKC Nationals with his talented dog Pressure earning the coveted NAC (National Agility Champion) title. Jim leads our entire talented Training team at Urban Pooch and will be teaching all levels of obedience and manners, flyball, and agility. Not only is Jim an accomplished trainer, but he is also personable, pleasant and patient – you and your pooch will LOVE working with him!

Karen Okura, CPDT-KA

Senior Trainer & Curriculum Development Manager
Karen has over 30 years experience in training and animal behavior. She worked at The Anti-Cruelty Society of 30 years in roles ranging from Adoption Counselor to Humane Educator with her most recent role there being Manager of Behavior and Training. While at Anti-Cruelty, Karen developed and grew the Behavior Hotline, crafted many of the training manuals and behavior policies and assisted adopters with behavior issues. She also contributed to the Anti-Cruelty publications as the pet behavior expert, acted as spokesperson on radio and TV and contribute to many print articles in publications such as The Chicago Tribune and Dog Fancy Magazine. Most recently, Karen was Senior Dog Trainer at Collins Canine where she focused on dogs with behavioral issues, puppies and obedience training. “I gained an enormous amount of experience and knowledge in the private sector of animal welfare. I also found my passion in work – helping people help their companion animals, both dog and cat,” says Karen. Karen will be leading all of our training programs at Montrose Dog Beach and will be in charge of developing new curriculum and training procedures for the company alongside Head Trainer, Jim Bahr.

Pamela Davis, CPDT-KA

Obedience Trainer
Pamela is a teacher and coach who specializes in helping people understand, communicate with, and train their pet dogs. Her training methodology is compassionate and science-based and focuses on rewarding desired behaviors. Pamela’s approach is also informed by her background in theatre and education. She prioritizes empathy, clear communication, and active participation from both human and canine learners. Always a keen student of motivation and behavior, Pamela studied electoral politics and acting at UC Berkeley before moving to Chicago to attend graduate school at DePaul and embark on a career as a theatre maker and educator. Although she always loved animals and was fascinated by the way they think, learn, and move, it wasn’t until she adopted her current dog, an intense pit mix named Bea Arfur, that she discovered her passion for “serious” dog training. After completing an apprenticeship with Lisa Collins and Karen Okura at Collins Canine, she opened her own dog training and enrichment business before joining the team at Urban Pooch Training and Fitness Center. At Urban Pooch, Pamela teaches Levels Obedience, a flexible, progressive training program that moves at the pace of each individual dog-human team. In addition to Obedience, Pamela also teaches Junior Dog for adolescents (4-8 months) and two behavioral specialty classes – Confidence Club, for fearful dogs who shut down when stressed, and Reactive Dog, for those who get “barky-lungy” on leash. Pamela has her CPDT-KA certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and is an evaluator for the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen, STAR Puppy, and Tricks programs. A strong believer in continuing education, she has studied with Michael Shikashio, Amy Cook, Nancy Tucker, Sarah Stremming, and Denise Fenzi, and strives to stay curious and current on all approaches to human and canine learning.

Shannon Lynne Sullivan, CPDT-KA

Obedience Trainer
Shannon understands how a great human-canine relationship can increase the quality of life for both the pet and pet parent. Her own journey rehabilitating her reactive Mountain Cur rescue, Virginia, encouraged Shannon to transform her personal passion into a professional career. Shannon’s approach to training is relationship-centered and reward-based, and she works hard to bring her personal values of deep listening and respect to every class. Animal training began for Shannon at 8 years old when she began showing American Quarter Horses. She progressed to win a Reserve World Championship before taking a break to study chemistry in college. Shannon later re-entered the animal training world by adopting her first Mountain Cur, Abby. Around that same time, Shannon began teaching humans in multiple roles from ski/snowboard instructor, college chemistry instructor, and practitioner of somatic (body-based) education modalities including the Feldenkrais Method. Shannon’s diversity of experience enables her to break-down difficult situations into simple pathways to success. Shannon knows that no single approach is right for every human or dog, so she continues to study and perfect her ability to adapt to the needs of each dog-human team she works with. She has shadowed numerous trainers, completed certificate programs with Michael Ellis and Ian Dunbar, and is currently preparing for independent certification. Shannon believes in the importance of strong foundation and shares this passion every day with her Urban Pooch clients in Levels Obedience Classes and Puppy Social Playtime.

Sue Sentowski

Sue Sentowski
Sue is our Nose Work Instructor and brings her experience and great knowledge of the fun and exciting sport of Nose Work. She has trained her own dogs competing in a variety of dog sports – agility, rally, dock diving, and of course, Nose Work. Sue is a Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI) with the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) and competes with her dogs Splash and C.J., both of whom are currently at the NW3 level. Sue believes that a positive training program with your dog is the best way to achieve the goals you wish to accomplish with them all the while building the relationship between human and dog. In addition to teaching, Sue is the owner of Sue & Crew H2O, a dog swimming facility in Wood Dale, IL. Sue also does therapy work with her dog Bobber thru Pet Partners. Sue lives in Chicago with her family and their 4 dogs C.J., Stella, Bobber and Splash.

Robin Taylor

Certified Nose Work Trainer, Agility Instructor
Robin got started in dog training 10-years-ago when she adopted Dylan from the Anti-Cruelty Society. Because Dylan’s energy and drive needed an outlet, she got started in agility and nose work. Her second dog didn’t have the same drive for sports but loved people, which took them down the path of therapy dog work at grade school reading programs and in hospitals. Today Robin is continuing her agility and nose work competition with her newest rescue dog, Kaiden, and is just starting to compete in agility with her young dog Raze, a border collie. Robin believes that all dogs are individuals and need to be treated as such. Her objectives as a dog trainer are to teach her human students how to communicate clearly with their dog partners, be consistent in their communication, and enjoy the journey.

What Our Customers Say

We’re proud to provide the city’s largest team of differentiated, award-winning trainers, who can solve any behavior issue.