Meet Our Dog Training Staff Tampa

“I have referred hundreds of my clients and their dogs to Courteous Canine for puppy classes and behavior consultations. I trust Angelica’s experience and judgment on complicated behavior cases and I know all the trainers at Courteous Canine employ only positive reinforcement training methods and are enthusiastic educators.” –Dr. Shelly Harper, Owner Hyde Park Veterinary Clinic

Angelica Steinker

President and Founder Credentials: M.Ed., PCBC-A, C.D.B.T., C.D.B.C., CAP2 Specialties: Dog Aggression, Agility, Rally Obedience, Learning and Behavior Pets: One Border Collies named Power, and two Papillions named Bella and Moment ks-power-in-arms For more than 17 years full time, Angelica Steinker, president and founder of Courteous Canine, has specialized in dog training methods that create, “Results the Fun Way.” Using Empowerment Training and Clicker Training techniques, Angelica and her team of trainers have successfully trained thousands of puppies and adult dogs in basic manners/obedience, trick training, problem behavior modification, agility, dock jumping and other skills, all while increasing the bond of trust between dogs and their human companions. Angelica is a published author in the field of dog training and agility. Her books, Agility Success: Training and Competing with Your Dog in the Winning Zone and Click and Play Agility, address the handler of the agility team and the use of clicker training techniques in the sport respectively, and emphasize the importance of playing and bonding in order to train agility behaviors to the highest level. Her newest book is on dog aggression, which is something she is particularly passionate about. She is on the steering committee and education committee of the Pet Professionals Guild and a founding member of this cutting edge association for force free trainers and animal professionals. She is the Director of Training for The DogSmith and the cofounder of DogNostics Career College a pet care, dog training and dog behavior trade school ( Angelica has been published in the Journal of Applied Companion Animal Behavior and the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, both of which are peer-reviewed professional journals. She has been published as a regular columnist in BARKS from the Guild, the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) Chronicle of the Dog Newsletter, Dog & Handler, Animal Trainer Magazine, Dog Sport Magazine, Dalmatian Quarterly, and Clean Run, the dog agility magazine. She is a former Advisory Board member and faculty at the Companion Animal Sciences Institute and is also a CASI graduate. Angelica is also accredited as a Canine Behavior Consultant through the Pet Professional Accreditation Board, and certified through Applied Animal Behavior Professionals and International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and the only one in the state of Florida with 16 years full time experience. Angelica is a sought-after public speaker who has presented at conferences Internationally including in Great Britain. She has also presented at the famous Camp Gone to the Dogs in Vermont, the U.S. Pet Professional Guild’s Summit, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Annual Conference, BARK Agility Camp, and Karen Pryor’s Clicker Expo. Angelica is a former AKC agility judge and a current North American Diving Dogs judge. Angelica has a Master’s degree in Education, which has served as the foundation for her continued certifications in dog behavior and her extensive understanding of emotional learning, operant and classical conditioning, the science of how animals and people learn. To schedule an appointment with Angelica, contact Courteous Canine today!


Pam Babcock

Dog Behavior Technician Pets: Two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels named Sam and Charlie, and a cat named Daisy. Pam BabcockPam has always had a special love for dogs and is committed to positive reinforcement training. Both of Pam’s dogs have their AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and have passed their test to become registered pet therapy dogs with Pet Partners. Pam is passionate about her work as a pet partner team with Pet Partners. She and Charlie currently have over 225 volunteer hours visiting St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. She is currently working on the necessary requirements to become a Pet Partner evaluator. Pam also trains both dogs for agility and they compete in trials at the Excellent level in AKC and have several titles in Canine Performance Events. Pam is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and a Pet Partner Evaluator for pet therapy. Pam has completed a Canine Communication and Social Behavior and Pet First Aid courses through DogNostics Career College.

Melissa Hagood

Pet Care Technician, Dog Behavior Technician, Certified FSG Instructor, Professional Canine Trainer – Accredited, Level 1, AKC CGC and S.T.A.R. Puppy Evaluator MelissaAfter being a devoted client of Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa for four years, taking almost every class offered at least once, Melissa joined the team in 2013. She is a Professional Canine Trainer Certified through the Pet Professional Accreditation Board and is pursuing her behavior certification.  Melissa is a member of Pet Professional Guild ( and is also certified in pet first aid through this organization.  Melissa is a Fun Scent Games Level 1 Certified Instructor and an AKC STAR Puppy and Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. Melissa specializes in private behavior consultations and training as well as the group classes My Dog Has Issues (MDI) for reactive dogs, Lure Coursing, and Fun Scent Games. Her special interest is helping dog reactive dogs and shy or fearful dogs. She also offers pet sitting services, is a back-up assistant for our boarding kennel, and enjoys volunteering at pet therapy testing events and sports events we hold at our facility. Melissa is proud dog mom to two fur-kids adopted from rescues as puppies: Charley, thought to be a retriever or spaniel mix, and Delilah, a border collie mix. Charley is a certified Pet Therapy Dog through Pet Partners. She loves to spend time with them learning new tricks and playing dog sports, as well as just relaxing and enjoying their company.

Alex Walker

Dog Behavior Technician, TrickMeister Apprentice, CGC and STAR Puppy Evaluator, Licensed Pet Dog Ambassador Instructor/Assessor, Pet Care Technician Level 2, TrickMeister Apprenticealex

A graduate of the University of South Florida, Alex holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Anthropology and remains a member of The National Honor Society of Psychology as well as The National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Active in the field of animal rescue and care Alex has worked alongside technicians at Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Services within their foster/rescue program and has hands on experience assisting in the care, rehabilitation and adoption of a number of species, dogs, cats or otherwise. Along with this she has completed internships through companies like that of Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc. where she spent three months working with the staff within the Genetics and Reproduction Department and participated in guide dog behavioral evaluations, early puppy education programs and the cryopreservation and breeding of the next generation of guide dogs.

When not working at Courteous Canine Inc. you can find Alex just thirty minutes away at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, where she works as an Animal Ambassador Trainer; helping to connect zoo goers with the animals in her care while educating guests on the importance of animal conservation and the power of reward based animal training.

Alex is a Certified Pet Care Technician (Level 2), AKC Canine Good Citizen and STAR Puppy Evaluator, TrickMeister Apprentice, Licensed Pet Dog Ambassador Instructor and Assessor as well as a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She has published training articles in the PPG publication BARKS and is always looking to expand her experience in the field of animal behavior and training – regularly attending educational conferences and workshops she recently completed Precision Behavior’s Advanced Animal Training Workshop sponsored by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. She looks forward to continue to grow with the help of her rescue dogs Leo and Dante and the wonderful staff and clients at Courteous Canine Inc.

Dariann Ludwig, CPCT Level 2

dariannCertified Advanced Pet Care Technician Dariann Ludwig was born and raised in Tampa Florida. She is a college student at USF studying pre med with the goals to apply to Veterinary school in a couple of years. She has a strong passion for animals and will do anything to keep them safe and healthy. Dariann parents two Labrador retrievers of who she says, “they are my world, I love them.” She is an intern at Skyway animal hospital, where she shadows the veterinarian, and watches surgery. In addition she also volunteers at Dade city Wild Things. Dariann supports the ASPCA and she is certified pet care technician from the Dognostics Career College.

Estelle Auger, Professional Canine Trainer – Accredited

Estelle-with-Mousse-2014Professional Canine Trainer – Accredited, AKC STAR Puppy and CGC Evaluator and Pet First Aid Certified Estelle grew up with dogs and horses of all kinds and has loved learning how animals think since she was very young! Her career of working with animals has spanned over 30 years and began by volunteering for a local veterinarian throughout High School. She has since worked as a Veterinary Technician, Trainer and handler of Arabian show horses, a SeaWorld Educator and as an Instructor and Evaluator of potential Guide Dogs. Estelle has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology as well as a Master’s degree in Education. She worked as an Elementary School Teacher for many years, but now chooses to use her education in her work by helping people build stronger bonds with their pets. Estelle is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She has obtained her Professional Canine Trainer Accreditation through PPG as well as attending several PPG webinars and seminars including, Helping Dogs Thrive: Tellington TTouch and Other Life Enhancing Techniques, Learning About Fear in Family Dogs and Reducing Problem Behavior with Reinforcement. She currently shares her home with Chocolate Mousse, a Chocolate Labrador Retriever and retired Therapy Dog. Together they volunteered at hospitals, nursing homes and elementary schools in their community for close to 5 years. Estelle’s goal is to help pet parents strengthen the bond they share with their dogs through fun and positive reward-based training. She has special interests in assistance dogs, dog sports, pet therapy and behavior.

Marie Macher, CPCT Level 2, AKC Star Puppy and CGC Evaluator

marieCertified Pet Care Technician Level 2, Dog Behavior Technician, Certified FSG Instructor, CTDI  Since elementary school Marie has been drawn to dogs. Finally in third grade she got her own first dog, he was a golden retriever mixed with sheltie named Jordan. Since then Marie has almost continuously had dogs. She has also parented hamsters, fish and rats. Marie has a dual degree in sociology and nursing. She is also a Pet Professional Guild (PPG) member and Pet First Aid Certified through PPG. She has her Advanced Pet Care Technician Certificate and Fun Scent Games Level 1 Instructor Certification from DogNostics Career College. Marie works as a Canine Camp Counselor and Instructor and loves to watch the day care dogs and boarding dogs play. She has a special interest in Barn Hunt, Dog Dock Jumping and Trick training! Marie is a Kiera Sundance Certified Trick Dog Instructor and in the process of completing the DogNostics Training Meister programs.

Nancy Carlisle, CPCT Level 2

nancy-bio-picCertified Pet Care Technician Level 2 Originally from Chicago, Nancy grew up surrounded by pets of all kinds from dogs to rabbits to an orphaned baby skunk. As an adult, she attended classes with her cocker spaniels, Buckie and Nickel in obedience, agility and flyball. Both dogs were Canine Good Citizens and Nickel worked with “Pets for Vets” a pet-assisted therapy group specializing in visits to veterans homes. Nancy also had a cat, Rustie, who had a special place in the hearts of the residents in the local nursing home, where they would visit as a therapy team. Since moving to Florida in 2008, Nancy has worked with several breed rescues, including Golden Retriever Rescue of Southwest Florida as an evaluator. She also works with cat rescuers and Trap Neuter Release groups to help home cats and kittens and help neighborhood colonies of ferals. She adopted her cat Stripy, after seeing him on the news after being shot in the head and surviving. He is one of several cats living with Nancy, who have disabilities that would make them next to impossible to adopt to anyone else. In 2011, Nancy started the Veterinary Technician program at St. Petersburg College and started working at Seven Oaks Pet Hospital, in Wesley Chapel. She quickly found that taking care of pets was her passion. From emergency surgery and follow up care to a happy nail trim, she loved being with all pets. Nancy’s current household consists of Murphy (cocker spaniel), Taylor (golden retriever) and 12 rescue cats with varying degrees of disability/medical problems. Nancy is a member of Pet Professional Guild and is pet first aid certified and has completed her DogNostics Career College as an advanced pet care technician.

Melissa Jensen, CPCT Level 2, AKC Star Puppy and CGC Evaluator

melissajCertified Pet Care Technician Level 2, Dog Behavior Technician Melissa moved to Florida from New York. As a long time dog owner she soon realized that dogs are her passion and as a result spent five years working at a no kill shelter. This enabled her to find homes for many dogs and cats which was a highly rewarding experience. Melissa has also worked technical support for Verizon which she eventually left to pursue a career in dog grooming. After 4 years of grooming, she became very interested in training and behavior. She began to enroll her own dog, Ziggy, in a variety of classes including AKC Canine Good Citizen. She discovered a passion for dog training and enrolled in DogNostics Career College’s Dog Behavior Consultant program. Melissa enjoys learning about dog behavior and working with dogs. She finds it fascinating to watch dogs playing and to observe non-verbal communication. In her free time Melissa teaches her own dogs new tricks and spends time hanging out with them and family. She and her husband parent 5 dogs , 4 cats, a Russian tortoise and a crested gecko. Melissa is a member of Pet Professional Guild she is currently working as a Canine Camp Counselor and does extensive Operational duties for Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa.

 Sophia Gammerler, CPCT Level 2

sophiaSophia Gammerler was born in Chicago, lived in Germany for eight years before moving to Tampa, Florida. She is a student at USF and is working right now on a double major in marine biology and psychology. Given her major, all of her classes are animal orientated. Sophia has volunteered at Clearwater marine aquarium, where she worked with Dolphins, Otters and Pelicans. Her work there is best described as animal care and training. She also has more internships lined up involving animal care and behavior. From early childhood on has has had dogs around her. For fun, Sophia did some dog walking while attending elementary school. As a member of The Pet Professional Guild,, and being a certified Advanced Pet Care Technician from Dognostics Career College,, she takes the responsibilities, and care of dogs very seriously. Sophia is always committed to safety and kindness in all interactions with animals. She is available for Pet Sitting and Pet Care Services in the Lutz area.

Gayle Billera, CPCT Level 2

Advanced Pet Care Technician providing Pet Sitting and Dog Walking gayleGayle was born and raised on Long Island, New York where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in business. She worked in the auto insurance industry and financial services industries where she was able to bring her sense of honesty and integrity to assist her customers through various changes in their lives. Gayle was the founder of a tax and financial services business which focused on the senior and retirement planning community. Gayle’s first love has always been animals. When given the opportunity, she purchased a pet grooming, day care and boarding facility in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She loved working with animals and provided pet owners many tips on the care and management of their pets. Gayle has since sold her business and moved to Tampa. Her love of animals necessitated her to continue her career in the pet and animals services industry. She is passionate about providing pet sitting and dog walking services and enjoys working with people and dogs in a nurturing and caring setting. Gayle is a member of the Pet Professional Guild and certified as an Advanced Pet Care Technician via DogNostics Career College.

Geena Lang, CPCT Level 2

geenaPet Sitter, Advanced Pet Care Technician Born and raised in the Florida sun, Geena Lang has always had dogs, from Great Danes to Yorkie-Poodles. After trying a few different paths, she found that working with animals was her passion. She hopes to one day work with, and train assistance and therapy dogs for veterans. She has completed her Advanced Pet Care Technician training via DogNostics Career College ( and is continuing her education by having enrolled in their Dog Training Program. Geena has recently gotten her own dog, Athena, an all black German shepherd/ huskie mix, who she adores. She bikes with her new fur-baby, an activity they both enjoy. Geena is a member of the Pet Professional Guild ( and offers pet sitting services in the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel areas. She has a special interest dog training trick behaviors, as they related to assistance dog training and pet therapy.

Beth Napolitano, CPCT Level 2

bethDog Behavior Technician Intern Beth was a staff hospital nurse for 40 years and enjoyed working in Hospice’s Home Care Division for a brief time. She took 8 years off from nursing to own and operate a successful bakery business with her husband. Beth and her husband share their home with a cat and 2 Beagles, Murphy and Sadie. Murphy and Sadie have been in puppy kindergarten, fun scent games, and agility classes at Courteous Canine, Inc. over the last 2 1/2 years. Murphy earned his Canine Good Citizen certification as well. Beth and Sadie have done private behavior counseling with Angelica due to anxiety issues. She learned skills to successfully manage Sadie’s anxiety using the positive methods. Beth is now excited to begin online classes at Dognostics Career College where she is working toward her Advanced Pet Care Technician and also her dog training certification. She is looking forward to joining the Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa Team where she will begin training and assisting with classes. She loves the fun atmosphere and positive, force-free training methods used by all their instructors.

Joni Miccolis, CPCT Level 2

joni-m-pet-sitterCertified Pet Care Technician Level 2 providing pet sitting and dog walking Pets: A Lab mix named Mickey and a Yorkie poo named Coco. Joni grew up with dogs and cats in her home town in New Jersey. She and her husband got their first “child” a yellow lab when they got married and moved to Tampa in 1989. Twenty five years later they have never been without a dog or 2 as a part of their family. Joni has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology she worked as a behavior Specialist providing behavior plans for adults with physical and developmental disabilities. She has also Volunteered for Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida. She has completed her Advanced Pet Care Technician Certification via DogNostics Career College. She is also a member of Pet Professional Guild.

Sheelah Gullion, CPDT-KA, AKC Star Puppy and CGC Evaluator

sheelahCertified Pet Dog Trainer-KA, Pet First Aid Certified Originally from Canada, Sheelah has been active in shelter volunteer work in the U.S. and abroad. Sheelah is interested in dogs that come to their families through shelter or rescue and is on her third adopted Rhodesian Ridgeback, who is currently teaching her all about canine separation anxiety—an education that has the potential to develop into a specialty later on.

Despite being new to Courteous Canine, Sheelah is a Pet Professional Guild (PPG) member and is CPR and Pet First Aid Certified through Pet Tech. She has completed the Karen Pryor Dog Trainer Foundations course and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.

Vréli Corrington

vreliVréli is  a certified professional Clinical Canine Massage Therapist, the owner of K9 Body Works, website co-ordinator for the Canine Massage Guild  and and a teaching assistant on the Clinical Canine Massage Practitioner Program run by the renowned Natalie Lenton of the Canine Massage Therapy Centre

She has been involved with and worked with dogs for over 25 years, including managing a large boarding kennels, working in a veterinary office, participating in showing, obedience and working trials and occasionally breeding working German Shepherds (Lawinick affix). Vréli has a keen interest in dog behavior and has studied the subject to have a better understanding of our canine friends.  She spent time volunteering with Shaun Ellis’s wolf pack management program in the UK and gained invaluable insight into canine behavior.  As you would expect, Vréli has a deep interest in canine anatomy and physiology, complimentary therapies and the more natural methods of feeding, training and canine wellbeing.

Vréli is the Canine Massage Therapist at Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa and provides one on one sessions and group instruction. Vreli is committed to gentle and positive reinforcement training and handling.

Laura Capuana, CPCT Level 2

lauraOriginally from Italy, Laura grew up with many animals, such as dogs, cats, ducks, rabbits, chickens and even had a goat. As a child, she would often find abandoned animals on her way home from school and take them home with her to give them loving care. You could say she is an animal lover at heart and keeps a warm place for rescue animals. Her passion for animals led her to adopting a dog (daughter) named Roxy. Roxy is a Coonhound mix who loves to play and learn new tricks. Laura has an interest for animal behavior; especially dog aggression, which she will pursue in the future. Laura is a Certified Pet Care Technician (Level 2) from the DogNostics Career College and is also CPR and first-aid certified through Pet Tech. Laura is also a member of the Pet Professional Guild.

Scott Poteri, CPCT Level 2

scottSome say Scott still wants to know where he will live, when he grows up. He was born in Nova Scotia Canada, and since moving to the US in the 80’s, he has lived in New York City, Stroudsburg PA, Sarasota FL, San Diego CA, Petoskey MI, Monterey CA, and now back in the Tampa bay Area. Between some of that time, he, and his wife, two Yorkshire Terriers and a Golden Retriever lived in a motorhome and traveled through almost every state in the country.

Scott has always related more to animals than people and has never been without an animal of some kind as a pet in his life. He has worked in animal rescue has volunteered, fostered, and placed dogs with United Yorkie Rescue

His current Golden Retriever” Wish” Has earned her AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and they are a registered pet therapy team with Project Pup. They do weekly pet therapy sessions with the patients at the Suncoast Hospice.

Scott is a member of Pet Professional Guild and is pet first aid certified and is certified as a Pet Care Technician Level 2 from DogNostics Career College  and is currently working on certification in their Dog Behavior program.  Scott is now a CGC and AKC Star puppy evaluator.  Since joining Courteous Canine, he has found he has a strong interest in learning about and understanding dog aggression.

Scott enjoys all dog sports, but his main passion is competitive Dock Diving. With their Golden Retriever, Wish, and with much patience and tolerance from his wife Claudia the 3 of them known as “Team Wish” have earned 3 NADD titles, plus earned an invite to the Eukanuba NADD Nationals in 2016 at our NADD Qualifier. Currently they are one competitive jump from an invite for the 2017 nationals. That love and passion of dock diving has led him to Courteous Canine as one of our dock jumping instructors.

Wendy Grolemund, CPCT Level 2

wendyCertified Pet Care Technician Level 2
Wendy Grolemund is a lifelong Florida resident who lives in Lexington Oaks. She has been around animals her entire life and has had dogs of all sizes since she was 5 years old. Even as a child she was the person in her family who would teach the dogs basic manners and cute tricks. She currently has a 6 year old female Australian Shepherd named Anya who loves Frisbee, playing hide and seek, and helping out around the house. Wendy truly enjoys taking care of other people’s animals. As someone who has traveled extensively in the past two years she knows how extremely important it is to have a reliable and trustworthy person to watch over your pets while you are out of town. She is committed to you having a worry-free experience. Wendy has over a decade of business management experience and also was a registered nurse for awhile before she realized her true passion will always be animals. Wendy is currently an Certified Pet Care Technician Level 2 and Pet First Aid and CPR certified. She is available for pet sitting services in the Wesley Chapel and Lutz area.