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!
Lia is originally from St. Petersburg, Florida where she grew up with dogs. She parents a Wheaten Terrier who is an extravert and so she likes to take him everywhere. Lia is enrolled in the University of South Florida where she studies human behavior and communication. In high school she spent a few years volunteering at an animal shelter.
Lia works at Courteous Canine, Inc.s Dog Daycare and loves playing with the dogs. She is certified in Pet First Aid via Pet Emergency Education. Lia says she loves all dogs but that small dogs have a special place in her heart.
Sandra is a native Floridian, born and raised in Titusville, Florida (on the east coast). She moved to the Tampa area in 1999 with her husband, Allen. She has two children, Sara (20 years old) and Jess (17 years old) and two dogs, Bibble (11 yr old Shih tzu) and Pookie (4 yr old Shih tzu mix). Dogs have had a special place in her heart for most of her adult life.
Her family and faith are the most important things to her. She loves spending time with her family and her dogs. She also spends time volunteering for her church working with the youth and the production team. She also volunteers as the club secretary for the Tampa Bay Junior Bass Club.
She graduated from USF in 2000 with a BS in Management of Information Systems. After that, she, thankfully, was able to stay home with her children while they were young and worked part-time as a substitute teacher when they started school. She has worked as a bookkeeper since 2013, as I enjoy working with numbers and math.
Graduated from Pet Emergency Education Pet First Aid and CPR training.
Valentino Lipscomb is a first-generation Cuban-American, originally from South Florida, and has spent his life with a huge variety of animals including guinea pigs and horses. Val helped train to the highest levels in Western Trial and Showmanship using only force-free methods.
He currently lives with dogs, a tortoise, and chickens, ducks, and geese. And considers his hobbies to be herpetology, homesteading, and cooking. Val is easy to talk with and is chronically intellectually curious being most intrigued by the “why” questions when it comes to dogs and animal behavior. Val loves traveling to national parks and has been to most of them in the United States.
In terms of dog sports, he is most interested in dog dock jumping, lure coursing, rally obedience, scent and hunt training. He has a special interest in working with adolescent dogs and has a personal preference for large dogs.
Academically he is interested in psychology, early childhood psychology, and sociology. Val is available for group class training and private training, dog dock jumping, lure coursing, puppy training, and basic manners. He is also available for service dog training. Val is fluent in Spanish and is happy to work with Spanish-speaking clients! He is certified in Canine Communication via DogNostics Career Center.
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.
Pet Care Technician, NADD Dock Diving Judge | He/Him
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.
Erin has an amazing animal training background! She has worked with a wide array of species but her favorite has been primates specifically chimps and orangutan. She parents two dogs a Pom x Chi and a Border Collie mix. Erin grew up with cats and dogs. Other than animal behavior, Erin is deeply interested in animal cognition. She is also very passionate about dog body language and the concepts of consent and preference testing.
She has completed extensive training in dog training including a Victoria Stillwell Behavior Conference. And has a degree in Musical Theater Performance.
In her personal life she enjoys history, crafts and singing! Erin also loves math.
She is pursing her CPDT-KA and is also Pet First Aid Certified via Pet Emergency Education. She has a special interest in service dog training, scent work and cooperative care. While she loves dogs of all sizes, elderly dogs have a special place in her heart.
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.
Lindsay has a B.S. in Zoo Science and has worked with a huge amount of animals including giraffes, parrots, monkeys and hippos. She is pet first aid certified by DogNostics Career Center. She loves learning about behavior and is especially motivated to help people and their dogs deepen their bond and improve their communication.
Lindsay was born in a small town in IL, USA. She loves traveling and especially the Smoky Mountains. In her free time she likes to read, to bake and anything related to nature. She loves all dogs being unable to pick any favorites in terms of size but she does love fluffy coats! She is most fascinated by observing dogs, especially subtle communication signals. She has attended many training sessions on enrichment in the zoo world. In the dog world she is pursuing certification with CCPDT while working for Courteous Canine, Inc. Her special interests are puppy training and basic manners.
Kristina has a Bachelors in Psychology with a focus in Applied Behavior Analysis and am obtaining my Masters in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law. She has worked in the zoo industry for 10+ years specializing in positive reinforcement training and behavior with a wide array of animals including tigers, elephants, dolphins, koalas, African painted dogs, and emu! She enjoys learning about all aspects of behavior and cognition and has been fortunate enough to do behavioral research with dolphins and elephants in her career.
Kristina loves to travel some of her favorite places are Portugal, Slovenia, Costa Rica, and Morocco. Her hobbies include: cross stitching, embroidery, watercolor painting and photography. In terms of dog training and behavior she is most interested in antecedent control and dog cognition. She has a special interest in dog emotions particularly eliciting happiness and joy. Kristina is available for group class instruction, private training and behavior consulting.
Ashleen was born in paradise between the Bahamas and Haiti in Turks and Caicos Islands and she was raised in South Florida! She was raised with an Aussie German Shepherd mix and two cats and some farm animals. As a child, she would catch turtles, frogs, and lizards.
In addition to loving all things dog related, especially their history and innate behaviors, Ashleen loves to read, write, do gardening, and to sow. Her favorite topics in school were literature, art, history, science, and most recently behavior analysis which creates an ideal basis for dog behavior. She is currently in school pursuing a degree in behavior science.
In the past Ashleen has volunteered at an animal sanctuary and she plans to become a certified pet dog trainer via CCPDT. She believes that animals are truly a gift to this world and that working with dogs furthers her love and respect for all animals.
Graduated from Pet Emergency Education Pet First Aid and CPR training.
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!
Lauren Cathey, better known as Lo, is a Florida native, having been born and raised in Orlando. Lo has always loved animals of all shapes and sizes. Her parents remind her of how she fearlessly walked right up to a giant horse at only 3 years of age. Although she hasn’t been riding for several years, she still has a love for these beautiful animals.
Speaking of loving animals, Lo has always loved dogs. Her first dog was a GSD/Husky/Lab mix named Buddy who was a Hurricane Katrina rescue. He was adopted by her family when Lo was in preschool and they were fortunate to have him for almost 14 years! When she was 16 her parents surprised her with her own dog, Hero, who was a dog fighting survivor. Hero was an American Staffordshire Terrier, and he is what led her to wanting to change career path from managing a horses to animal behavior. She only had Hero for about two and a half years before discovering he had chronic kidney disease. Losing him made her realize she wanted to work with animals, primarily dogs, for a living.
After losing Hero, she got her AA from Florida State University, then transferred to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, in order to get a degree in Animal Studies. This was so she could learn how to help dogs who had been through trauma, like Hero. At Eckerd College, her favorite classes included Animal Cognition, Animal Behavior, and Animal Learning and Behavior Modification.
Lo’s current dog is a ‘tripawd’ named Ellie, who’s missing her back left leg. Ellie is an American Pitbull Terrier/Chinese Chongqing Dog/American Staffordshire Terrier mix. Ellie entered Lo’s life on November 1st of 2020, and has been by her side ever since. Ellie is a very smart dog, who loves to learn new tricks while helping her mom refine her training skills!
Lo is currently looking into getting several certifications, such as CPDT-KA, and is exploring IAABC certification programs. Lo loves working in our Doggy Daycare and seeing all the different dogs that come in every day!
Outside of work, Lo enjoys gardening, painting, singing, video games, makeup, watching anime, reading, browsing TikTok, and naps!
Will is a serious dog person because he states his hobbies are competition obedience and agility and only digital art as a side note. He has a special interest in ethology and genetics. In terms of dog training he loves anything trick training related and has trained both dogs and birds to perform them. He is also deeply interested in scent training and highly skilled service dog training.
Will is an active person that enjoys canicross, dog assisted jogging which includes a harnessed dog that pulls the human a bit to enable further distances. This sport includes competitions but sadly none are currently being held in Florida. Will also enjoys hiking with his dogs.
In school Will loved the subjects of history, anatomy and of course psychology. Will is a former paramedic that is pet first aid trained. He is currently completing his IAABC Dog Behavior Consultant certification.
Will is happily married and his husband shares his love of all matters dogs and dog training. He has lived in the Washington DC area and Hawaii! They currently parent six dogs including fostering dogs in need. They also share their home with 32 ducks and a pigeon! Will is available for private training, dog sport training, service dog training and of course behavior consulting!
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.
Russ has traveled to the United States and Mexico. He grew up with terriers and cats and even a parrot. In terms of small pets, he has parented hamsters, guinea pigs, and iguanas! He is interested in the how and why of animal behavior and play-related concepts.
In his free time, he likes to listen to music, read and participate in martial arts. He also enjoys going to movies and playing along with game shows. He is pursuing certifications in canine communications and pet first aid.
Russ’s personal favorite are large dogs, especially the breeds related to water rescue. When it comes to type or length of fur Russ has no preference for loving all dogs regardless of type of coat.
In the past, Russ has worked at Busch Gardens caring for animals by cleaning and preparing food. Our daycare dogs give Russ a huge paws-up rating as they enjoy their time with him!
Lindsey is a long time trainer of dogs and many other animals including parrots, alligators, turtles, primates and many other species. In the past she has managed a primate sanctuary and completed her Bachelor’s degree from University of Florida in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. During college she worked for the ASPCA rehabbing former dog fighting dogs while helping to convict the people behind the dog fighting rings. Her favorite animals to train are dogs, cats and parrots! In college she traveled to South Africia and recently she also traveled to Alaska to help with bear conservation. Her personal dogs are a rottie mix and a coonhound mix. She considers the rottie her “souldog”. The coonhound mix was a found dog, so she has a big spot in her heart.
In her free time she likes to read fiction novels, going hiking, visiting the beach, and tending to plants. She is also interested in the environment and ecology.
Lindsey is passionate about learning about how animals learn and studying animals in their natural habitat, including species history and wild behavior. She finds it valuable to draw from this in terms of her domestic dog training skills. Lindsey is certified in Dog Body Language and Group Play via Dog Gurus. She is pursuing her dog behavior certification.
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.
Jazmine is originally from Chicago, IL but moved to the Tampa, FL area when she was young. She and her partner are the parents of their one dog named Winston and their two cats named Butter, and Speed-Wagon.
Jazmine became very passionate about everything dog-related when she first adopted Winston as a puppy. He is very high energy and eager to learn which made Jazmine very interested in training him. She hopes to one day soon work towards becoming a dog trainer.
In her free time Jazmine loves to crochet, read books, cook with her partner who is a chef, and of course, spend time with her animals. In the future, she would love to foster animals and rescue them.
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.
Allie is originally from Georgia. She and her partner parent two dogs and a cat! Her dog Layla is extremely active and has “pushed” Allie into agility and other dog sports such as dock jumping. Allie and her family are outdoorsy who enjoy horseback riding and other outdoor activities in the Tampa bay area including hiking on nature trails.
Allie loves learning about dogs, science, Italy, a country she has visited. She has a special interest in Pet Therapy, Trick Training, Agility, and dock jumping. Allie is working toward her certification as a dog trainer. In college Allie focused on psychology which she continues to have an interest in. In terms of breeds Allie is most interested in working with very active dogs because of her two active herding breed mixes.
In her former life Allie worked as a pet sitter and she currently works part time for a human grade quality dog food company. Allie is known for her contagious smile, positive attitude and endless passion for learning about dogs and their behavior.
Iris is originally from the Netherlands in Europe and has visited many European countries, including Spain, France, Italy and Malta.
Iris has a deep love for Saint Bernards. Her current Saint Bernard pup is a beautiful female and shares her life with Iris, her husband and their four kids.
Iris has parented not only humans, but also dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, and horses. She is a former professional groomer; a profession in which she worked for more than 10 years. Her favorite topic in school was biology. In her free time she enjoys learning about cooking and going with her family to the beach.
She has an interest in clicker training. She plans on getting certifications in pet first aid, canine communication, canine massage and, due to her strong interest in it, clicker training as well. Iris is currently pet sitting for Courteous Canine and plans to move into training.
Kimberly has loved animals for her whole life so she got her B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Florida and has been training animals ever since. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed through CCPDT, a Certified Trick Dog Instructor through Do More With Your Dog, and a Certified Canine Scent Instructor through the UK College of Scent Dogs.
She loves dog training of all kinds but is especially passionate about advanced skills like scent work, tricks, and task training. She also loves puppy training and basic manners because of the impact it has on a family’s life when the humans and dogs are able to better communicate with each other.
Her love for training extends past just dogs, she also has a passion for the training and behavior of small pets. Two of her guinea pigs, Maple and Java, each hold trick titles, and her newest two adoptees, Lemondrop and Kahlua, are working towards titles as well. She’s also teaching all four of her guinea pigs button communication so she can better understand how these little furballs think and feel.