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: Two Border Collies named Zoomie and Power, and two Papillions named Bella and Moment

Angelica Steinker

For more than 16 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 Guild, 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 across the country including the famous Camp Gone to the Dogs in Vermont, the 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.

Scott Baggett

Director of Pet Therapy

Scott BaggettScott and LA VIE (LA for short) have been working together for 8 years and they have logged over 2000 hours in the field of Animal Assisted Interactions(AAI). Scott is the Pet Therapy Chairman at our local St Joseph hospital, he has worked and ran 2 special need programs for 2 years with the use of AAI, he has worked with a local Read program using LA to help Pre-K kids at Lutz Elementary school, he and LA have recently completed and are now members of a National R.E.A.D. Program, and in September 2010 our local State Attorney Mark Ober wanted to start AAI in Hillsborough County Courts, Scott and LA VIE worked 28 cases 1.5 years helping abused kids to testify.

Scott has been a licensed Pet Partner Evaluator since 2008. He enjoys educating new teams to this amazing volunteer work that gives back more than we put into it.

At this time Scott and LA VIE are participating the first research study ever between human-animal and the bonding effects. Oncology kids and Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Teams will work together on this study for the next 2 years. Both animal stress and human stress will be measured in this study which will be the first of it`s kind. This study is being administered by American Humane and backed by Pfizer.

Monica Upton

Dog Behavior Technician
CABC – Certified Dog Trainer by Animal Behavior College, AKC Star Puppy and CGC Evaluator, Associate Trainer Member in the Pet Professional Guild, Pet First Aid Certified via Pet Professional Guild

Monica and VinnyMonica has been active in dog rescue all her life and shelter volunteer work for four years. She has a special interest in Dachshunds which she finds mentally more challenging to train because of their level of persistence and high degree of intelligence. She is a graduate of Animal Behavior College and is pursuing her Kay Laurence Clicker Assessment Protocol level 1 and 2. Monica is very passionate about agility and has a broad interest in most dog sports.

She and her husband parent 6 dogs and 2 cats, of which all but one are rescues. Monica loves operant and respondent conditioning and devotes a great deal of time to learning both the science and art of her craft. Monica has a special interest in behavior and plans to continue her education enabling her to ultimately to work with complex and reactive dog behavior cases.

Monica is an active volunteer for Pet Partners Pet Therapy testing at Courteous Canine, Inc./The DogSmith of Tampa and enjoys helping dogs and people achieve the goal of doing pet therapy. Monica loves to read and is always furthering her education by studying dog behavior and training books written by reputable and ethical animal trainers.

Melissa Hagood, PCT-A

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.

Lisa Morrissey

lisaCABC, CTDI, CGC Evaluator

Lisa is a full dog trainer member of Pet Professional Guild. She is also a Silver Level Master Certified Trick Dog Instructor with Do More With Your Dog. She is certified by the American Red Cross for Cat and Dog First Aid. She has also completed Karen Pryor Academy Canine Freestyle I, in addition to several APDT Courses including: Use of Stuffed Dogs in Evaluation and Consultations, My Dog just Want’s to Say Hi and Reactive Rachel, Being aware of your own fears as a dog pro, and A look at interactions between dogs in public dog parks.

At Humane Society University Lisa has attended Interpreting Animal Behavior for Safe Interaction, in addition to E-Training for Dogs: Understanding Canine Behavior. She is also a Certified Dognition Evaluator and has a Career Diploma from Penn Foster Career School for Dog Obedience Trainer/Instructor. Lisa is also a judge for North American Diving Dogs the national AKC affiliated diving dog organization. Her dog Brody a pet therapy dog certified through Pet Partners!

Lisa’s love for pets is in her blood since her parents owned a pet store. While growing up she lived with lots of dogs with her dad being a dog trainer and groomer. Lisa believes in adopting and currently parents two rescue cats and her own ex-shelter dog the famous “Brody the Border Collie Trick Dog”. Brody when adopted was Heartworm positive and behavioral issues. Today Brody knows over 200 tricks all trained using positive reinforcement and has earned the prestigious title of Trick Dog Champion and he is a K9 Artist that paws it forward to help others that are less fortunate by painting, donating his art and performing at Charity events. Lisa says she has learned that all dogs have something special to offer volunteering at shelters is a big part of her life. Her biggest passions are: positive reinforcement training, clickers and treats for training dogs and cats!

Brody the Border Collie Trick Dog, Lisa’s dogs insists his accomplishments are also listed here:

Fox 13 Interview

Daytime TV

Emily Cassell

CGC and Star Puppy Evaluator

Emily-n-Maddie-high-tenEmily has a passion for training that knows no species-specific bounds. While earning a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with an Equine Industry specialization from the University of Florida, she opened her own animal training service, Phins with Fur Animal Training, and began working with dogs and cats professionally. She also collaborated with Class Act for Dogs to develop a new, innovative puppy class.

She completed internships at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and Clearwater Marine Aquarium, gaining experience in the fields of exotic animal husbandry and behavior. Over the course of these internships she had the privilege of working with a variety of species including manatees, otters, cranes, a Florida panther, skunks, dolphins, and African Great White Pelicans.

Emily’s entirely force-free training style has been largely influenced by the lessons taught by her pets. Russell, her Blood Parrot Cichlid, a fish –is credited with teaching more about training than any other source! Russ’s personable nature and knack for learning has shown many that any animal is capable of being taught! To see some of Russell’s trained behaviors please visit:

Emily also shares her home with Kona and Panda, the guinea pigs, and Hemingway, the bunny. Emily has presented a webinar on training rodents for the Pet Professional Guild which was very well received. Her dog training partner is Maddie, a Labrador Retriever, who has helped Emily teach many, about the power of positive reinforcement. Maddie was the first Labrador Retriever to earn her Trick Dog Champion title in the Do More With Your Dog, Kyra Sundance program which is also featured at Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa.

In addition to a love of working with animals, Emily also enjoys educating people about training. Emily has lectured on topics ranging from clicker training for small pets to basic and advanced concepts in training and behavior modification to professionals and students. Currently, she is a trainer at Busch Gardens Tampa, and works closely with orangutans, tigers, gibbons, and other Asian species. She is an active member of the Pet Professional Guild ( and IMATA the International Marine Animal Trainers Association.

Melody McMichael

NCMG, CPCT, AKC CGC and STAR Puppy Evaluator 

IMG_1434Pets: Zephyr the standard poodle, Faye the miniature poodle, Tally the whippet, and the cats Magellan and Sadie.

Melody has been involved with dogs her entire life, attending her first lure coursing trial at 6 weeks old. She began training her first dog at 12, and together they competed in agility, lure coursing, and earned a Canine Good Citizen. She has completed Pet Partners training and certification with her standard poodle and is training her whippet for agility and lure coursing. Her standard poodle also has his Novice Do More With Your Dog Trick Training title! Faye the miniature poodle is very nervous in new situations but with positive reinforcement and confidence building she’s conquering her fears and recently got her Novice Do More With Your Dog Trick Training title!

Melody is a National Certified Master Groomer with the National Dog Groomers Association of America and has been grooming since 2006. She also has placed in grooming competitions in Atlanta and Orlando. She teaches our Grooming Smart class and loves to help owners de-mystify the grooming process for their own pups. Her own dogs can often be seen sporting different hairstyles and unusual colors. Her whippet Tally is Trick Training titled at the novice level and working on her intermediate.

She has completed her DogNostics Career College Pet Care Professional Certification and is working on her Dog Training certification with plans to continue on to Dog Behavior. She is an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and AKC Star puppy tester. Melody has a special interests in grooming behaviors, reactivity and dog sports.

Beth Livesay

Dog Behavior Technician, Certified Pet Care Technician, CGC and STAR Puppy Evaluator, Pet Care Coordinator

bethBeth has had a love affair with all types of animals since childhood. Growing up she had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, turtles, and fish. She has had sleepless nights bottle feeding litters of kittens and puppies and she would not trade that experience for anything. Beth’s dog Zoe has her Novice Trick Training Title, her rescue Roscoe has obtained his AKC Canine Good Citizen and her Springer Beau has his Novice Barn Hunt title!

She is a long time member of English Springer Rescue America. For the past 7 years she has lovingly fostered, volunteered and devoted her time to help these rescued dogs. She has also volunteered with other rescue groups to help transport their rescued dogs to their foster homes throughout the state of Florida.

Beth is an AKC Community Canine and Star Puppy evaluator. Beth provides pet sitting and also monitors doggy day care. She is in training to become a dog trainer. She has a special interest in behavior, trick training and Rally Obedience. She excels at reading dog body language and matching dogs for play in addition to managing play so that is ideal for all dogs involved. Beth is  a Fun Scent Games Level 1 Certified Instructor and is pursuing training for level 2 certification.

Beth is a member of Pet Professional Guild and plans to pursue her training certification through the Pet Professional Accreditation Board. She is enrolled in DogNostics Career College for Dog Training and she has completed her Pet First Aid Training through Pet Professional Guild and her Pet Care Technician program at DogNostics Career College.

Beth’s household consists of 3 dogs: all rescues, a cat and a 23 year old cockatiel named Doc. She had a 75 gallon saltwater fish tank for 5 years and she is now considering to converting it to a fresh water fish tank.

Alex Walker

Dog Behavior Technician, CGC and STAR Puppy Evaluator

alexAn avid animal lover Alex has had a passion for animal training and care since early childhood where she grew up around dogs, cats, fish and even a collection of mischievous rats!  A graduate of the University of South Florida, Alex holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Anthropology and remains an active member and participant in both Psi Chi – 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 is a longtime volunteer at the Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Services and has worked alongside technicians within their foster/rescue program and has had 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 as well as the Puppy Kennel participating 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, an AZA accredited institution where she also works within the Education Department to help facilitate behind the scenes animal encounters, children’s events and education programs as well as offsite promotional events to spread the zoo’s message about animal care and conservation with some very adorable outreach animals.

Alex is Pet First Aid Trained and a member of The Pet Professional Guild and is currently enrolled in Dognostics Career College Dog Training and Behavior programs. Alex is looking to expand her skills and experience within the field of animal training and care with the help of her rescue dog Leo and the wonderful clients and staff at Courteous Canine, Inc.

Dariann Ludwig

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

Estelle-with-Mousse-2014AKC STAR Puppy and CGC Evaluator, Dog Behavior Technician,  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 and has attended 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 is currently enrolled in DogNostics Career College in order to expand her knowledge of training and behavior.

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

marieCertified Advanced Pet Care Technician

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 from DogNostics Career College. Marie works as a Canine Camp Counselor and loves to watch the day care dogs and boarding dogs play.

Khoreen Vetter

Khoreen-White-Bio-shotCertified Advanced Pet Care Technician

Khoreen has had a passion for animals since childhood. Often bringing home strays of numerous species. Her passion blossomed into a career when she started working for Wildlife Encounters contracted by Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. There she learned about “Trust Training” and positive reinforcement training techniques. She got the opportunity to train animals with fur, feathers, and scales. While traveling the country and educating the next generation on conservation.

As her life shifted she made her way down to Florida and now works as an educator at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. She is a pet parent to an amazing Dachshund Princess, an old Maine Coon named Stanley, a boisterous conjure named Jager, a soulful tortoise named Lola, a inquisitive bearded dragon named Dos Equis, and a magnificent python named Sambuca.

All her animal experiences enable Khoreen to take care of a wide array of animals. Khoreen has completed her Advanced Pet Care Certificate at DogNostics Career College. She is committed to continuing her education and is a member of Pet Professional Guild.

Nancy Carlisle

nancy-bio-picCertified Advanced Pet Care Technician

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

melissajCertified Advanced Pet Care Technician, 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.

Heather Peterson

Advanced Pet Care Technician

heatherHeather Peterson has completed the Advanced Pet Care Technician program via DogNostics Career College. She has worked with animals since her junior year in high school. Her first formal experience was in school where she earned her Veterinary Assistant certificate. She has also volunteered at the Humane Society of Pasco, Pennant Horse Farm and last but not least a private horse farm in New Port Richey. Heather is happy to be part of Courteous Canine, and is always motivated to improve a pet’s experience in day care or boarding. Heather is a member of Pet Professional Guild and is committed to continuing her education.



Sophia Gammerler, APCT

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.

Morgan Stevens

Advanced Pet Care Technician

morganMorgan grew up in central Florida with a family that fostered dogs. She has never lived in a home without a pet, and wouldn’t want to.  She’s a student at HCC studying to be a Veterinary Technician and to finish a BA in Integrative Animal Biology at USF. Given the program she is in, all of her classes are animal-oriented. Morgan has completed her Advanced Pet Care Technician Certification through DogNostics Career College. She is a member of Pet Professional Guild and committed to continuing her education.

Morgan lives with three cats and has a dog currently residing with her parents. During high school she volunteered at her local humane society. Morgan is very excited to be a part of Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa and works to provide a great experience for any animals she is caring for.