A graduate of the University of South Florida, Alex holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Anthropology and remains an active member of The National Honor Society of Psychology as well as The National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Alex is proud to be a Professional Canine Trainer accredited through The Pet Professional Guild as well as a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine – Knowledge Assessed through The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. She currently operates as the Director of Training at Courteous Canine Inc. one of the largest positive reinforcement-based dog training schools in the Tampa Bay area.
Alex got her start in the animal training field as an exotic animal trainer and handler while working at Busch Gardens as well as Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park as an Animal Ambassador Trainer. It was here that she was first exposed to the power of positive reinforcement training and how to apply these methods with a variety of species both domestic and exotic before choosing to focus on helping pet parents and their furry family members.
She is a regular columnist for the animal training-based publication BARKS from the Guild and has written pieces detailing her work with both domestic and exotic animals.
Alex believes that as a professional trainer we never really stop learning and education and access to information are some of the most important tools that we have to grow as professionals in the dog training field. A guest lecturer at Eckerd College in Florida during their Enrichment and Animal Welfare course. Alex believes in spreading information about humane training methods for all species. Regularly attending educational conferences and workshops Alex has completed Precision Behavior’s Advanced Animal Training Workshop sponsored by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium among others and is currently pursuing additional training accreditations.
In addition to her professional credentials Alex also has a passion for animal rehabilitation and rescue, working closely with organizations like Animalluvr’s Dream Rescue where she adopted two of her three dogs and still frequently provides her services in rescue dog evaluations and training prior to adoption. She has also completed internships through companies like 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.
Alex looks forward to continuing to grow with the help of her dogs Leo, Dante and Trace as well as the wonderful staff and clients at Courteous Canine Inc.
Christopher Tiller’s journey into dog training starts as many have started. He fell in love with a dog. Stanley was abandoned in a shelter and as Chris soon learned had experiences with humans that shaped his distrust of all of them. Slowly Chris was able to earn Stanley’s trust and he began to seek the counsel of professional trainers. Quickly, Chris learned that there were two fundamentally opposite ways of training dogs, one, forceful using choke, prong, and shock collars; and the other, based on science, fun, and play. To Chris using force with a scared dog that distrusted humans made no sense and so Chris committed to force-free training.
An avid reader, Chris started reading science-based dog training books as fast as he could. Next, he started enrolling in online webinars. None of this was enough to feed his passion for learning about dog training so he began volunteering at a shelter. While he found the work tremendously rewarding, ultimately Chris felt he could make even more of a difference being part of a dog school and so he joined the team of Courteous Canine, Inc.
Chris has completed online training in canine communication and is certified in pet first aid. Chris is completing requirements for his CCPDT certification as a professional dog trainer. He has a special interest in trick training, shy dogs, fearful dogs, and an intense passion for the science of behavior and learning.
Chris teaches Puppy Kindergarten, Basic Manners and is available for Private Training and would love the opportunity to work with you!
Aiden is passionate about working with animals of all kinds. He has a deep connection with his standard poodle Toby, who introduced him to the dog training world. Aiden is particularly passionate about canine communication. He also enjoys keeping and educating people about many different kinds of reptiles.
Academically, Aiden is interested in linguistics and is fascinated with the intersection of language and animal training. Aiden is enrolled at USF and pursuing a degree in Applied Linguistics.
Previously, Aiden has worked for other dog training schools and has years of experience with both pet sitting and fostering rescue pups. He is currently a group class and private training instructor at Courteous Canine, Inc. and also leads our office management team.
Aiden’s special interests in training include service dogs, pet therapy and educating about responsible guardianship.
Melissa moved to Florida from New York. As a long time dog 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..
Julie is a graduate of the University of South Florida and Franciscan University of Steubenville. While living in Steubenville, Ohio she decided to pursue her life long passion of working with dogs. Moving down to Tallahassee, Julie began her work as a Dog Trainer with The Puppy Ladies and is now certified by the Council of Professional Dog Trainers. After obtaining her certification she moved to Tampa to be closer to family and friends and, joys of joys, stumbled upon Courteous Canine!
She is a member of the Pet Professional Guild and is a volunteer puppy escort for Valor Service Dogs, an organization whose mission is to help post-9/11 through the training and placing of mobility assistance and PTSD service dogs. Her dream is to eventually expand to assistance and service dog training. She’s also volunteered with C.A.R.E. Ruskin Animal Shelter socializing puppies and dogs to prepare them for adoption.
When not working with pups of all shapes and sizes, you can find Julie dancing away at Zumba class and interacting with her two hilarious guinea pigs, Cocoa and Pumpkin.
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 studied at DogNostics Career College and is now a CPCT, level 2 and pet first aid certified. She also teaches classes at Courteous Canine and says that she loves the fun atmosphere and positive, force-free training methods used by all their instructors. Beth is a member of the Pet Professional Guild and has even had a couple of her articles published in their “BARKs” magazine!
Originally 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 is our Dock Diving instructor here at Courteous Canine. He has always had 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. One of his Golden Retrievers, Wish, has earned her AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and is a registered pet therapy team with Project Pup, and do weekly pet therapy sessions with the patients at Suncoast Hospice.
He is also a Senior Judge with North American Diving Dogs which requires intensive training and the completion of judging thousands jumps, as a result he is also a field rep for the southeast area of the US and member of the Rules Committee for NADD. Besides teaching at Courteous Canine, he also judges at most of the mobile dock events and 3 other Diving Dog facilities in Florida and Georgia. Scott has an intense passion for all dog sports, but his main passion is competitive Dock Diving, with his Golden Retrievers, Wish and Doobie.
Alicia graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, minoring in Zoology. She focused her education on animal behavior and participated in conducting ongoing research on canine cognition. She has spent 8 years working in animal shelters/rescues helping cats, dogs and small mammals find and stay in their forever homes as well as counsel people about their pet’s behavior issues to help keep them in their home and out of the shelter. She has a passion for animal behavior for all animals (including humans!) but particularly loves working with cats. She has expertise in working with all sorts of cat behavior topics including litter box issues, cat introductions, cat-human aggression and clicker training cats – yes, you CAN train cats! In addition to training dogs and cats, Alicia teaches high school Marine Science and Anatomy & Physiology.
Melissa Stamm parents three cats and a Doberman Pinscher and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Deaf Studies from USF. Melissa has a special interest in animal cognition, animal emotions, and assistance/service dog training. She is committed to continuing her education by attending seminars and plans on pursuing her PhD in Animal Behavior.
Melissa’s Dobie has some anxiety issues so she is familiar with helping dogs work through fear and she plans on pursuing her certification in dog behavior consulting to help more dogs overcome issues.
Currently Melissa is teaching Puppy and Basic Manners and is particularly passionate about teaching durations behaviors such as stay. Melissa oversees all of Day Care and Boarding Staff in addition to monitoring all activities for safety. She is instrumental in keeping all of us on track with providing ideal services.
In addition to training, Melissa is also available for some pet sitting services and other more exclusive services such as Latch Key Pet Sitting which combines pet sitting with training.
Donald was born and raised in California. In June 2018, he and his wife moved to Tampa from Switzerland after living there for almost 40 years. He worked as a Biologist. He also took an extracurricular class, Animal Psychology at Smithsonian’s National Zoo. He had 2 dogs, Bonbon and Brooklyn, that both could understand sign language. Often, he brought Bonbon to some classes at university. Donald, also had a deaf cat “Flocon” who made his own few signs or gestures to help Donald understand what he wants or needs. During his life, he has had 5 dogs, 3 cats and many small animals.
Lisa loves the large breed dogs and currently parents a Staffy/Cane Corso mix named Phoenix and a calico cat named Rita. She is a former horse person who grew up competing in dressage, event riding and show jumping. She has parented birds, ferrets, guinea pigs, snakes and lizards.
In school Lisa loved learning about history, even finding and completing a course on dog history! But when it comes to dogs, she enjoys all topics, so much so she is completing her CATCH Dog Training Academy program. Lisa is happily married to her hubby of 16 years, Jon, and they share their life with a beautiful daughter who’s first word was: dog!
Lisa is pursuing certifications in canine communication and pet first aid. She recently became interested in lure coursing and is interested in learning about all dog sports. Lisa specializes in adolescent dogs as this is her favorite age of dogs.
Christy has been working as a Professional Figure Skater traveling the world for 12 years. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, she decided to settle down in Florida when she accepted a figure skating contract at Busch Gardens. During this time, she began studying animal behavior in her spare time and hasn’t stopped learning since.
Her passion for animals has existed since the day she was born. She believes she was put on this Earth to help animals; specifically, teaching dogs and their families how to build a strong bond through training.
She went on to start working in a dog shelter where she found a profound love for rescue. Christy got hands-on experience rehabilitating, training, and fostering a wide variety of breeds, as well as those exhibiting fear, aggression, anxiety, and reactivity. Christy is an active volunteer for multiple different rescues such as Husky Haven of Florida where she assists in fostering, transport, and performing behavior assessments on dogs entering the rescues.
Christy is proud to share her life with her 4 rescue dogs Keela (Flat-Coated Retriever), Lumen (Siberian Husky), Teegan (Husky/Malamute mix), her first “foster fail” Zayn (Siberian Husky mix), and their roommate Shelby (Beagle mix).
Currently pursuing a Behavioral Consultant Certification, she regularly attends dog training seminars, workshops, and looks forward to growing with Courteous Canine!
Yesmin Feliciano is an experienced positive-reinforcement based animal trainer. With over 11 years experience, she enjoys training and caring for animals profesionally. Her career began at The Puerto Rico Zoo in 2009, where she had the opportunity to work with amazing animals such as tigers, lions, giraffes, sea lions, and chimps. Feliciano was then employed by Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in 2006, where she had the privilege of working with animals such as cheetahs and primates. From there, she took an internship working with the elephants at Zoo Tampa. She is currently working in the bird and reptile team at Busch Gardens in addition to work with Courteous Canine.
Her background in Dog Training consists of over 4 years teaching private, group classes, and caring for dogs in different pet-care facilities. Her favorite thing about dog training is helping pet parents and their dogs learn to communicate more effectively and build a stronger bond together. There is truly nothing greater than seeing a dog and their build a happy and healthy relationship with each other.Feliciano is very passionate about her career in animal care and training, and she looks forward to furthering her knowledge and experience as she continues her journey with Courteous Canine.
Joe is a professional applications engineer by trade, but he’s the happy dog-father of three great Labrador Retrievers affectionately named “Team Ripped K9”. With many years of dog training experience under his belt, he decided to embark on a study of canine conditioning and he now works exclusively in that realm. Joe found that there are many exceptional obedience trainers, a plethora of sport-specific trainers, and a vast number of quality working dog trainers… but there are few trainers that specialize in physical conditioning, and studies show that a dog in top physical condition is less likely to suffer injuries than a weekend warrior. No matter if your dog is a working dog, excels in dog sports, or a couch potato, your dog can benefit from a custom designed training program.
On the fun side, Joe is a swimming, dock diving, and lure coursing instructor here at Courteous Canine, and he’s a certified judge with the North America Diving Dogs (NADD) organization. He’s also an instructor holding a 5th Degree “Master” rank in the martial art of Tang Soo Do, a private pilot, and an avid hiker and scuba diver… oh, and let’s not forget the father of two great human kids!
Janet is most interested in why dogs do what they do, which is fundamentally the most important and interesting question of all dog behavior. She currently has one dog, a gorgeous Sheltie named Gypsy, and two domestic shorthair cats. She has a deep interest in agility and scent work training and has competed in both.
In her free time Janet likes to bird watch and bike ride and has gone skydiving. An interesting fact about Janet is that she grew up in the Middle East as her dad worked for the airlines. Because of this she has had the ability to travel the world including seeing Australia and its barrier reef! Her favorite topics in school were art and biology.
She plans on getting certified as a scent dog instructor and has a special interest in pet therapy in which Gypsy is certified. Janet also loves trick training which dovetails nicely with her pet therapy passion. Janet loves grooming Gypsy and finds this activity calming. Janet is pursuing pet first aid and canine communication certifications while working towards her general dog training certification.
Solangie is considered friendly, respectful, approachable, and funny which is ideal for a dog trainer! Just like all trainers she is an animal lover and loves all dogs and especially puppies. Solangie is working on her pet first aid certification and is also completing her canine communication training. She comes to us from the field of behavior analysis which is academically one of the closest fields of study in terms of dog behavior. Her favorite subject in school was math and for fun she likes to paint, dance, spend time at the beach and try out new restaurants. She is passionate about psychology and human behavior especially emotions and relationships.
She currently parents a min pin x chi mix who is a rescue. Solangie is originally from Chicago but has lived here in Tampa most of her life. She is specializing in puppy training and is particularly fond of enhancing the dog and parent relationship via fine tuning communication.
Josh is originally from Massachusetts but moved to Florida right after high school. He is lucky to have married his high school sweetheart; together they have one amazing child.
He has been around animals his entire life. Currently he has 4 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds and a snake! Josh has always found spending time with animals to be very rewarding. He is particularly interested in learning more about what helps to strengthen the bond between us and our dogs. Josh gravitated to a positive reinforcement and rewards based method even before his formal education.
Josh completed a training program with Animal Behavior College, graduating with distinction. Josh had a special interest in ethics and of course bond increasing training methods. He is currently teaching puppy and basic manners and is available for both on campus and in home private training. He plans on continuing his education with a special focus on behavior.
In his free time, Josh is a football fan and enjoys watching and playing sports. He spends his free time hanging out with my family and playing with the animals. Sometimes you may even find him playing some pool.
Naomi Marsh has maintained a lifelong passion for animal training, particularly for dogs. Naomi was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her Bachelor of Science in Zoology at Ohio University and received her doctorate degree before moving to Florida.
Naomi has taught dog training classes in Clearwater, Florida and is an avid student of positive and motivational education techniques.
She enjoys working with private and group training dogs and their clients, and derives much gratification from training and assisting the each dog and parent team.
Loving Musical Freestyle because of its unlimited training possibilities, Naomi founded the Doggone Dancers and performed movement to music with several dogs and handlers and brings this to the Courteous Canine, Inc. team. Naomi’s favorite time is spent with her two retrievers, Murphy and Wren.
Naomi is a valued member of the Courteous Canine team and is always seeking to enhance her teaching and learning.
Julia was born and raised in Houston, Texas and moved to Tampa with her Pitbull & lab mix in 2021. In high school she worked with a Husky Rescue for 4 years as well as earned her Veterinary Assistant certification. She has owned 2 dogs in her life and fostered 5 Husky mixes. From a young age, she has helped friends and neighbors take care of their animals and had her own pet-sitting business. She has worked as a veterinary technician, personal pet-sitter, kennel technician, and daycare attendant. Now, she is working toward completing her dog training certifications as well as helping in customer service. Julia has a passion for dogs and kids and is in college to get a degree in education. She loves to read, play video games, and watch movies, particularly anything fantasy. Her current obsession is the Marvel universe.
Kathy is Courteous Canine, Inc.’s Accountant and specializes in helping us operate more efficiently in terms of evaluating our process flows and technology and generating ideas for improvement. She has worked in corporate America and traveled the Caribbean and South America.
Kathy adopts homeless senior dogs and has a preference for scrappy wire haired terriers. She grew up with all kinds of animals ranging from cows to cats! Her hobbies are spending time with her dogs, music and anything related to nature.Kathy was originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She moved to Florida in 2009 with her husband and five teenagers. She volunteered at a shelter then worked at a dog daycare.
Kathy was originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She moved to Florida in 2009 with her husband and five teenagers. She volunteered at a shelter then worked at a dog daycare.
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, and the science of how animals and people learn.
Shanice has a Bachelor’s Degree and is pursuing gathering hours and experience to become certified in dog training. Her favorite breeds are miniature poodles, beagles and golden retrievers, although the behavior of all dogs fascinates her. She is particularly interested in enhancing dog and human non verbal communication and improving dog and parent bonding.
In the past Shanice has worked as a dog walker and at Courteous Canine, Inc. she is working as a Daycare Play Coach, Pet Sitter and more! In her personal life she is interested in environmental causes particularly relating to the ocean and photography. Growing up Shanice shared her life with a gold fish, a bird and a toy poodle. She has traveled to Hati and is originally from Ohio.
Shanice has a special interest in behavior analysis and how it relates to dog training and dog behavior. She is currently working toward her pet first aid and canine communication certifications.
Dejour moved to Florida in 2021 and parents a ball python named Chloe. Dejour grew up with a Doberman Pinscher named Ice and has also had guinea pigs, rabbits and a hamster! Her hobbies include reading, gardening, writing, nature walks and video games. Dejour loves to learn about insects, microorganisms and prehistoric animals and of course dogs!
Dejour is currently certified in canine communication and is completing her pet first aid certification. In High School she completed vet assistant 1 and 2. She plans on pursuing further education in biochemistry, specifically sustainable engineering inspired by nature! Dejour is currently part of the dog daycare team but plans on expanding into dog training.