Our Trainers

Rodney Dean - Owner of Renaissance Kennels, Inc.

My interest in dog training stared early in my life. I grew up in Kansas where we did a lot of hunting and needless to say we had hunting dogs. This was the start of my journey into the dog world. My first dog was a Black Lab who loved to go hunting with me. I thought she was pretty good until I met some field trial trainers, which started my dog training career.

In those early years I learned from National competitors in the field trial circuit and became a national competitor myself with my Lab placing 3rd in the Nation in the Derby, and the following year I was 7th.

Next, I was asked to Judge a Derby for the Topeka Retriever Club which broaden my experience. Later in my life I gave up hunting and moved to the big city, but I still needed to be involved in some kind of dog training which leads me to today. I decided that I needed a challenge and wanted something that gave me the same excitement in training and handling as my field trial days.

This led me to Schutzhund. My first puppy was a German shepherd called Ute. So again I sought out some of the best trainers to learn this sport and apply what I had learned from my field trial days. The results were that I had taking Ute from a puppy to Schutzhund 3 which earned us the recognition of being in the Schutzhund 3 Club. From then on I have trained and titled several dogs, started a Schutzhund Club, built a Kennel with a Schutzhund field and started a breeding program for working line German Shepherds. The goal is to never stop learning new techniques in dog training and to better the breed.

Michelle Gihring – Head Trainer of Renaissance Kennels, Inc.

Michelle Gihring grew up in Milwaukee, WI and discovered her love of dog training while she was very young. She grew up with Miniature Schnauzers as pets and volunteered for the Humane Society throughout her youth. While earning her bachelor degrees at Bradley University (Peoria, IL) in Administration of Criminal Justice and Political Science with a minor in Sociology, she volunteered for a non-profit service dog training organization called Paws Giving Independence.

In 2012, she was married to Matt Gihring, bought an Irish Water Spaniel which is currently training for human remains detection work, joined the McLean County EMA Search and Rescue team, and Michelle interned for Behesha Doan’s Extreme K9 in Carbondale, IL. In 2013, she certified her Labradoodle for therapy dog work, and is currently training to become a Therapy Dogs, Inc. tester. Michelle moved to Houston, TX in 2013 and is training a German Shepherd for Schutzhund titles. She also volunteers and fosters for Miniature Schnauzer Rescue of Houston.