Mary Jo Lavin, BA is a seasoned national competitor whose strengths as an instructor come from her success and the hurdles she has overcome. As the co-owner of Homestead Farm Agility, Mary Jo has 15 years of teaching agility to students with all breeds. Mary Jo carries a full toolbox of techniques, tips and strategies. Her skill lies in detecting the minute details of handling and helping handlers be more precise. Mary Jo is a master at developing potential into proficiency and getting results beyond her students’ expectations. Mary Jo’s strength is teaching others how to build and train strong foundation skills in their budding agility dogs. She has an analytical approach and a gift for breaking down complex concepts into understandable lessons. Her training is based on positive, motivational methods for both dogs and handlers.
Mary Jo started agility in 1989 with her rescue Tibetan Terrier ADCH Scamp CDX MX MXJ and remembers when agility trials had a total of 30 runs for the whole trial! Scamp and Mary Jo were one of New England’s top teams for ten years. Scamp’s USDAA accomplishments include: Steeplechase Champion, three-time Grand Prix finalist - placing 2nd, 5th and 6th, Top Ten List and multiple Team Tournament placements. Retired Portuguese Water Dog, Ozzie AAD OA OAJ, also rescued, taught her patience and how to motivate and show a low drive dog. Mary Jo currently has 3 competition dogs. Border Collie, ADCH MACh True GM JM RM MX MXJ, an accurate, fast, and honest dog who has many local tournament wins and has competed at the USDAA Nationals for the last four years. True is has also made the Top Ten List and has either Bronze or Silver distinctions in all the USDAA classes with limited showing. Aussie, Nell MAD AX AXJ, a.k.a. the “party girl”, is happy to enjoy agility as long as it is fun. Nell is an anchor dog in agility and in life – steady and strong. She likes to work around the home doing chores and caring for her family. Mary Jo’s newest agility prospect is Border Collie, Peg, who is currently in training and just starting competition.
Mary Jo is married and a mother of two adolescent daughters; so like many agility instructors and competitors she is always balancing her business, and competitive interests with her home life. She has a BA from Wheaton College in English Literature. In a previous life, she was a reference librarian, managed a medical practice and was an editorial assistant for an Asian Studies journal and has studied Japanese language and culture. She is the agility contributor for The Australian Shepherd Journal.