Meet Our Team

Owner & Certified Obedience Trainer

Kate is the local owner of Happy Tails Learning Center for Dogs.  Kate was born in Michigan and her family moved to Syracuse, New York when she was 8 years old.  In New York, she was the known dog-sitter in the neighborhood.  Little did she know that the rest of her life, she’d be taking care of dogs!

In 2006, she started working at Invisible Fence Brand and eventually became a franchise owner in Michigan.  She sold her Invisible Fence business in 2014 to focus on her true passion — training dogs.  Kate graduated from National K9 School for Dog Trainers where she earned her Master Trainer Certification in Puppy Development, Beginner and Advanced Obedience, Behavior Modification, Scent Detection & Tracking, and Personal and Police K9 Protection Training.  Her biggest passion is puppy development because setting dog’s and their owners up for success early can prevent issues from forming in the future.

Kate & and her husband Mike rescued Princess, a husky mix, from a humane society in NY in 2007 and then rescued Ginger in 2010. They brought a third dog into their home in January 2017, a 5-year-old Shiba Inu they named Pickles.  They are committed to giving you an amazing experience to keep your pets safe, happy and well-behaved at home.

Certified Obedience Trainer
Head Resident Trainer

Nick has been training dogs since 2004. Throughout the majority of Nick’s life, he had many dogs. Most were friendly behaved appropriately, but a few didn’t. According to Nick, one in particular, Duffy a Cairn Terrier, was a terror. “He was my first dog, and when I was five; he bit my face and the scar remains to this day. I remember the feeling of guilt I had when Duffy “went to a different home”. I also remember pleading with my parents to keep him. Our second dog, a Shi-Tzu named Ruffles, had anxiety and marking issues. Eventually my parents grew tired of her behavior as well. Knowing what I know now, all we needed as a family was the knowledge to teach acceptable behavior to not only our dogs, but also ourselves. We loved and wanted dogs, but we gave up on being pet owners. We needed to know that puppies need guidance and dogs need structure. Pets are special, they mean the world to their owners, and most of us shower them with love. As with all relationships, they need work and communication. All of this led me to pursue an education in dog training. I had a desire to help people teach their dog appropriate behavior at home, in the park, at the vet, everywhere all the time.”

Nick graduated from the National K-9 School for Dog Trainers, a world renowned leader in teaching dog trainers. Puppy Development, Advanced Obedience, and Behavior Modification are Nick’s main areas of interest, but he is also certified in Retrieval, Scent Detection and Tracking, Utility, Personal Protection, and Police K-9.


Certified Obedience Trainer

Courtney has been successfully training dogs since May 2009! Courtney has a warm, inviting and sweet personality that you are guaranteed to love her! If you meet Courtney, you may meet her dogs Cloud (a pit bull) and Buck (a Brussels Griffon) too!

“With a background in education and several years of working with children, training dogs and their owners has been a fun, challenging and refreshing position over the past few years. Much like kids, dogs require solid leadership and consistency. When an owner can learn to give their dog these two things through obedience, the outcome, without doubt, is a better behaved dog. It has been a pleasure teaching, learning and growing with dogs and their owners and seeing everyday frustrations or even small nuisances turn into moments of joy, amazement and fun! Obedience can make a tremendous difference in the lives and relationships of dogs and people. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to help take part in that.”


Certified Obedience Trainer

Ashley joined our team in July 2017. She graduated from National K9 School for Dog Trainers in Columbus, OH and received her masters in dog training certification.  She earned certifications in Puppy Development, Beginner and Advanced Obedience, Behavior Modification, Scent Detection & Tracking, and Personal and Police K9 Protection Training.

Ashley started as a Kennel & Training Assistant at Happy Tails and we quickly recognized her talent and drive to work hard.  Her cheerful, happy personality was the perfect fit for our team.  She was also passionate about becoming a dog trainer and her passion is what got her promoted to become the next Happy Tails dog trainer!   Ashley’s instincts with dogs are unmatched.

“Being able to help people enjoy and love their dogs again is the most rewarding part about being a Happy Tails dog trainer.  Showing people that once the lines of communication have been opened, they never have to yell or get frustrated with their dog is such a great feeling.”



Certified Obedience Trainer

Chris joined the Happy Tails team in 2015.  He has had years of experience working with dogs in many capacities.  He worked for 5 years as a veterinary assistant at a local vet hospital and then joined Happy Tails as a kennel and training assistant.  Chris graduated from National K9 School for Dog Trainers in March 2017 with his Master Trainer Certification in Puppy Development, Beginner and Advanced Obedience, Behavior Modification, Scent Detection & Tracking, and Personal and Police K9 Protection Training.


Certified Obedience Trainer 

Amanda joined Happy Tails in 2013 as a kennel and training assistant.  Before becoming a trainer at Happy Tails, she also worked closely with our partnering veterinary clinics and you may see her at The Mall at Partridge Creek when our booth is set up.  Prior to working at Happy Tails, Amanda had worked at a local kennel facility that encompassed doggy daycare.  She is a lover of animals and a great member of our team.  She has a two dogs named Laney & Rizzo that you’ll sometimes see at work!

Amanda received her Master Training Certification from National K9 School for Dog Trainers in May 2016.   She finds the most rewarding part of being a trainer is that final point people can enjoy their dogs again.  She explains, “having a well-trained dog means you can communicate expectations with them and once you open that line of communication, it makes owning a dog easier and more fulfilling.”


Certified Obedience Trainer – IN TRAINING

Lauren started at Happy Tails in June 2015 as a customer.  Her dog Riley had some behavior issues that needed curbing including dog reactivity and some aggression issues.  She started with private lessons and then moved into a resident training program.  She was inspired by her dog’s transformation and was interested in learning more about becoming a dog trainer.  She reached out to Happy Tails and long story short, we took her on as a Kennel & Training Assistant in August 2017, fully knowing her end goal was to become the next Happy Tails trainer.  She is currently shadowing and learning with the existing Happy Tails trainers and she will attended National K9 in April 2017.

Customer Service Representative

Terri joined the Happy Tails team in April 2014.  She spent the previous seven years working with animals at Marysville Animal Clinic.  She assists the trainers in all aspects, including during resident programs & Puppy Preschool.  Terri brings the most joy to our team keeping things fun, light-hearted and organized.  She is the glue that holds us together!


Customer Service Representative

Karen has been with Happy Tails since the beginning – in 2012. She joined the team at our inception and has grown with us. She will greet you with a smile when you come to the center or call on the phone.


Kelsey, Lia, Rose, Justin, Lauren & Megan
Kennel & Training Assistants (KTAs)

Our amazing kennel assistants that take care of the dogs staying at Happy Tails.  They make sure all the dogs are pottied, fed, walked and well-loved.  They also help to keep our place clean as a whistle!   This team of people are top notch!  They all work great together and make Happy Tails a better place (for us, for owners and especially for your dogs)!

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