Meet the Instructors
Debbie Pollard Melinda Balint Susan Chepeska

Susan Chepeska
Assistant Trainer

I have been working with dogs for many years, both in my professional life, as a groomer, and in my personal life training various breeds of dogs for competition. I am originally from Michigan, but moved to California in 1979.

When I’m not training students at Herding 4 Ewe, I can be found at Shampooches in San Ramon, where I have worked as a groomer for the past 9 years (the last 8 of those, our shop has been voted "Best of the East Bay"!). As a groomer, I pride myself in working with puppies, skittish and challenging dogs. It requires a lot of skill to be able to read dogs that are not happy to be groomed and get them to relax!

My first competition dog was an Irish Setter. She was a challenge to train and motivate, but together we attained both Canadian and American obedience titles!

Because my passion at the time was obedience, I sought out a dog that would be more competitive. That led me to my first Border Collie, Eli, in 1998. When he was only 4 months old, I was talked into attending a herding instinct test. That was it…I was hooked! I remember I didn’t even know if he had done well, or not, but it was so fun to watch him with the sheep, I knew I would pursue herding.

Eli was a great beginner’s dog. He had instinct, but not a lot of drive, so he was easy to handle. Eli always got the job done, both in the trial arena and while doing chores. By training and handling Eli, I learned so much. After trialing him through his Open/Intermediate titles, I decided to retire him from competition and use him for chores (and eventually, to help new students learn about herding and stock!). Eli was officially, Ch ClanKaorla Quigley Down Unda CGC CDX HIAs HRDII HTDII STDs. Unfortunately, I lost Eli this year, and still miss him every day. I know he's waiting for me, looking through the rainbow gate for my approach.

Because I was hooked and wanted to progress further in the herding world, I looked for a working bred dog, and came upon Hattie 2 years ago. The first thing I learned was that I had many more herding skills to learn! Hattie is a high drive Border Collie with tremendous instinct and talent. It’s been a fun progression as we have evolved into a team. Hattie is a fun dog to work and one that can elicit "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd. We have many accomplishments in our short time together, but the most memorable are the first ones. Her very first trial, she was High in Trial. She even took Reserve High in Trial at the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Nationals! She has completed her advanced titles on sheep and we are currently working on our intermediate duck titles.

I love herding, not only for the teamwork it takes to be a cohesive unit with the handler and dog, but also because the community is so supportive! It makes me proud to watch my students entering the trial arenas and earning their first titles. I look forward to working with my current students into the more advanced levels as well as welcoming new dogs and their owners to the family at Herding 4 Ewe!


Copyright 2007 All photos copyright of the author and may not be used without permission.