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2023 Speakers



Andre Yeu is the founder of When Hounds Fly Dog Training and is responsible for growing it to over 6 locations across Canada, with a talented team of 20 dog trainers and behavior consultants. He is one of only two Canadians to be part of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy Faculty, where he delivers the Karen Pryor Academy program and certifies other talented trainers across the country. Andre is often sought out by the media for his dog training expertise, and has appeared on television programs such as CTV Your Morning, eTalk Daily, Global TV News, and CBC News. In print, he’s often interviewed by publications such as Canadian Living and the Toronto Star. Andre lives in Toronto, Canada, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, with Honours, from the University of British Columbia.

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Simon Gadbois, Ph.D.

Simon Gadbois integrates ethology, animal experimental psychology (learning theory and olfactory psychophysics mostly), and behavioural neuroscience to study wild and domestic canids. He completed his Ph.D. in behavioural endocrinology at the Canadian Centre for Wolf Research (CCWR) examining the hormonal correlates of social behaviour in wolves, as well as action sequences in wolves, coyotes and red foxes. When the CCWR closed in 2007, he opened his lab at Dalhousie University and focussed his research on canine scent processing and search within the framework of two main research programs: biomedical alert, and wildlife conservation canines. He is interested in the fundamental science of olfaction and olfactory learning, applying modern neurobiological and behavioural models of motivation.

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Allie Bender, CDBC, CPDT-KA, SBA

Allie Bender, CDBC, CPDT-KA, SBA has been working and volunteering in various animal welfare-related fields since 2006 and professionally training since 2012. She is the founder and co-owner of Pet Harmony animal behavior and training, co-author of Canine Enrichment for the Real World, co-host of the Enrichment for the Real World podcast, has made TV & commercial appearances, and is a national speaker.

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Amy Learn, VMD, DACVB

Dr. Amy Learn grew up outside Philadelphia, PA and spent summers visiting family at the Jersey Shore where she still loves to visit. She attended received a BS in Biology and worked at a wildlife conservation park in Texas before being accepted to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, she completed an internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in NJ. Dr. Learn remained in general practice for many years before she began her residency in Clinal Behavioral Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Radosta in South Florida, and Dr. Amy Pike in NoVA. She completed her residency training and was certified as one of only 90 board certified behavior specialists in the world by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. She is currently the Chief of Clinical Behavioral Medicine at the Animal Behavior Wellness Center in Richmond VA. Dr. Learn has contributed to several veterinary behavior textbooks, journal articles, blogs and received the prestigious RK Anderson Resident Achievement Award for outstanding research in the field of applied animal behavior.

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Ferdie Yau, MA, CPDT-KA

Ferdie Yau is the Director of Shelter & Community Outreach at Behavior Vets, Staff Trainer at the Humane Society of Westchester, and Instructor at CATCH Canine Trainers Academy. He is an animal trainer and wildlife biologist who trains dogs and studies urban coyotes. He specializes in treating behavior cases related to fear, anxiety, and aggression at Behavior Vets. Ferdie started his animal training career at the Bronx and Central Park Zoos where he trained dozens of exotic species including California sea lions, river otters, Arctic foxes and polar bears. He has an MA in Conservation Biology from Columbia University and has studied jaguar in Belize and coyotes in New York. Ferdie’s dog Scout is a retired coyote scat detection dog. He works with the Gotham Coyote Project to understand urban coyote behavior in the NYC area in order to reduce human-coyote conflicts.

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Ken McCort

Ken McCort resides in Doylestown, Ohio, and lives in a multiple species household. Since 1986 he has been training full time and with many different species. Presenting at universities, veterinary conferences, and other groups, he travels both nationally and internationally. Wolf Park, in Indiana, has had Ken give many seminars and help train with their animals since the 1990s.

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Emma Parsons, KPT-CTP, CDBC

Emma Parsons is currently a Canine Behavior Training Consultant at Gemini Dogs in Littleton, MA as well as owning her own business, Emma Parsons, LLC. She specializes in managing and rehabilitating the reactive and aggressive dog and has authored three books on the subject. Emma also works with agility competitors who are having emotional difficulties with their dogs. Emma is a faculty member of Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPA-CTP) as well as of the Karen Pryor Clicker Expo conferences. She is also certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. (CDBC). She taught reactive dog classes for twelve years at Masterpeace Dog Training in Franklin, MA. Emma holds a BA degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and shares her life with her husband, Greg, and their three clicker-trained competition dogs—two Golden Retrievers, Austyn-Roque and Spirit-Rayne, and a Border Collie, Joshua Lee Hunt.

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Linda Randall, DVM, ABVP, KPA-CTP

Dr. Linda Randall is a veterinarian focused on the behavioral aspects of training in dog sports. She also brings positive reinforcement handling to junior handlers, who excel under her tutelage. A proponent and practitioner of the LIMA methodology, Linda brings multiple fields of expertise to the work of trauma informed care. She is certified in Living and Learning with Animals (LLA), Tag Teach (Level 3), and is also a KPA-CTP of distinction. Linda is a past president of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board, past president of the Board of the Medina Battered Women’s Shelter, and currently heads the Leadership Medina County Agriculture Day, where she emphasizes farms working with increasingly positive reinforcement handling and care with beef and dairy cattle. She was recognized by The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine as an Outstanding Alumni 2022, and Medina County’s Outstanding Leader, 2022.

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Tiffany Chen

Tiffany Chen is the owner of Pawsistant, LLC, a business dedicated to helping dog professionals grow their business via social media and content marketing. Her mission is to help educate pet parents with credible information from certified pet professionals.

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Kathie Nurena, M.D.

Kathie Nurena is a doctor and a dog trainer. She graduated for Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1999. She completed her Family Medicine Residency at Stamford Hospital. She is now faculty at that program, with an interest in social determinants of health and scholarly activity. She also graduated from Karen Pryor Academy (KPA-CTP) and earned her Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI) certification. She currently teaches nosework classes at Port Chester Obedience Training Club. She is a member of APDT and IAABC. Kathie helped organize the first interdisciplinary conference for animal control officers, Department of Children and Families social workers, and other professionals in Connecticut, when cross reporting of child abuse and animal abuse became a law in that state. She has long appreciated how the principles of learning theory and the positive reinforcement principles she learning in animal training were relevant to her work with human learners. And, perhaps, some of the theories in the medical literature may be useful to animal trainers.

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Marsha Penner, PhD, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA

Marsha Penner is a behavioral neuroscientist with a specialization in the neurobiology of learning and memory. She spent the last 10 years teaching at the University of Washington and at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she has been recognized for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Her interest and research into how organisms learn and remember ultimately led her to the wonderful world of dog training, which she now does full-time.

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Mandy Eakin, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP

Mandy Eakins CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, is a VSDTA Faculty Advisor, a certified CGC evaluator, and the owner and head trainer of Manners Matter Dog Training and Day Care. Along with these certifications and her passion for continued education, Mandy embodies skills that far surpass what education can teach. Mandy sets herself apart from other dog trainers as she is willing to meet people where they are at, encourage a playful and engaging relationship between human and dog, as well as thoroughly communicate highly individualized training goals for each team she encounters. With a focus on modern dog training and using effective techniques without the requirement of correction collars, fear, or intimidation, Mandy has established a flourishing, fear-free business that is well-loved by both clients and their dogs. Furthermore, Mandy has multiple years of veterinary technician experience, allowing her to approach dog training with a wealth of health and behavioral knowledge. In addition to running her daycare and training business, Mandy also contributed to the Fear Free Resource Library through AAHA, spoke at the Association of Professional Dog Trainers 2021 Conference, and was a co-developer for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers CPDT Prep Course. In her free time, Mandy enjoys caring for cows, donkeys, goats, and other animals at her small farm, which also includes hosting dog sport competitions during the summer months.


Sassafras Lowrey CPDT-KA, CTDI

Sassafras Lowrey is an author and multimedia educator about dog training and LGBTQ+ culture. Sassafras' books have been honored by the Lambda Literary Foundation, the American Library Association, and the Dog Writers Association of America. Sassafras has lectured and taught about LGBTQ+ culture, art, and community at colleges and conferences across the country. Sassafras is the author of the dog training books Tricks In The City and Chew This Journal. Her work with dogs focuses on engagement, enrichment, play, and competitive trick training. Sassafras' dog Sirius has been the #1 Newfoundland in the AKC National Trick Dog Competition in 2020 and 2022. Sassafras' dog training articles have regularly appeared in leading dog magazines like Dogster, The Bark, Modern Dog, and The American Kennel Club as well as publications including WIRED, Apartment Therapy and The New York Times.

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Megan Stanley, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, FFCP (trainer)

Megan Stanley has has over 20 years experience as a dog trainer and entrepreneur. She is the owner of Dogma Training, which consists of two canine behaviour & education centers in Calgary and an Academy for aspiring dog trainers and canine professionals. Dogma works with all breeds and behaviours and specializes in modifying complex behaviours. Through a wide range of programs, Dogma focuses on integrating dogs back in with their canine companions and helping dogs be successful in our families and busy human world. Megan provides education to dog owners and trainers through her business, online resources, and through speaking engagements. An active volunteer, Megan recently served 5 years on the Board of Directors for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. She currently serves on the board for The Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers and will be Chair in May 2023. She is also a Board Member of Licensing & Community Standards Appeals Board with the City of Calgary. She believes life is too short to not do what we love, so strives to inspire and encourage others to follow their dreams.


Heidi Meinzer, J.D., CPDT-KSA, NWI

Heidi’s background is unique as she is both a practicing attorney and a trainer. She obtained her law degree in 2000, initially serving as a public defender for six years before joining a civil litigation law firm for seven years. While at the firm, Heidi’s practice naturally gravitated to animal law. In 2013, Heidi established her own law firm to focus on animal law and small business and nonprofit law. Heidi has devoted her efforts to civic activities, including with the Maryland State Bar Association’s Animal Law Section and on various legislative work groups studying companion animal law issues in Virginia. Heidi’s civic work includes serving on the boards of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies, and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, Inc. In 2011, Heidi began her work as a dog trainer with the award-winning company Fur-Get Me Not. Since 2013, she has been a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and a Certified Nose Work Instructor. She learned a tremendous amount from her beautiful but reactive German Shepherd, Sophie, and her amazing partner, Boomer, an English lab who achieved his ELT-CH title in 2020. Heidi has continued the lab/Shepherd combination with her current canine companions, Hannah and Arwen.

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Sean Will, M.S., Doctoral Candidate

Sean studied under Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz and earned a master's degree in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas. While studying at UNT, he spearheaded the development of Constructional Affection under the instruction of Dr. Rosales-Ruiz and developed constructional shelter programs to increase efficiency in local animal shelters. Currently, Sean is a doctoral candidate at Florida Tech researching problem-solving and animal training. In 2020, Sean and Maasa Nishimuta Sean and Maasa founded the Constructional Approach to Animal Welfare and Training (CAAWT). CAAWT is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help dogs in shelters get adopted and help dogs living with humans stay together. To fulfill this mission, CAAWT aims to remove financial barriers preventing people and organizations from accessing needed behavior support and training. CAAWT has helped develop programs that have improved the lives of animals and their caretakers across the globe—helping to resolve issues relating to hyperactivity, anxiety, fear, aggression, and more. Through connecting with trainers, shelters, rescues, zoos, and people living with animals, CAAWT has been able to continue to reach the animals and their humans in need of behavioral and training support.

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Maasa Nishimuta, M.S 

Maasa Nishimuta studied under Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz and earned a master's degree in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas. In her master's thesis, she studied the reinforcing effects of affection in the form of petting and gentle scratching with rescued equines. She modified Constructional Affection for use with equines and continues to apply Constructional Affection with animals in shelters where she volunteers. In 2020 Massa and Sean Will founded the Constructional Approach to Animal Welfare and Training (CAAWT). CAAWT is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help dogs in shelters get adopted and help dogs living with humans stay together. To fulfill this mission, CAAWT aims to remove financial barriers preventing people and organizations from accessing needed behavior support and training. CAAWT has helped develop programs that have improved the lives of animals and their caretakers across the globe—helping to resolve issues relating to hyperactivity, anxiety, fear, aggression, and more. Through connecting with trainers, shelters, rescues, zoos, and people living with animals, CAAWT has been able to continue to reach the animals and their humans in need of behavioral and training support.

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Josh Boutelle, CTBC, CSAT

Josh Boutelle, CTBC, CSAT, is the founder of and is focused on helping pet care professionals succeed online through automation, client education, and digital marketing. Combining a 10+ year career in the pet care industry with a background in web design and development, Josh and his team regularly help industry professionals create systems to educate pet guardians while marketing their services. Josh’s goal is to make technology and online marketing more accessible to qualified pet professionals with education and resources to succeed.


Risë VanFleet, Ph.D., RPT-S, CDBC, CAEBI

Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, CAEBI, is a licensed psychologist, registered play therapist-sopervisor, certified dog behavior consultant, and certified animal ethology and behavior instructor from Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, with 48 years of professional experience with children, families, animals, and 20 years of volunteer work with rescue organizations. She is the founder and president of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy®️ (AAPT), an organization dedicated to the well-being of animals involved in multidisciplinary professional AAI work. She trains people and their dogs internationally for AAPT work and also specializes in helping highly fearful, unsocialized, and traumatized dogs, often using dog-friendly, play-based interventions. Dr. VanFleet has received numerous awards for her teaching and writing, including 3 Maxwell Awards, 2 Special Awards, and 4 Finalist recognitions from the DWAA, including for "Animal Assisted Play Therapy", "Play Therapy with Kids & Canines", "The Human Half of Dog Training: Collaborating with Clients to Get Results", and several other articles and series. She can be reached through her website atë

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Karen Deeds, CDBC

Karen Deeds began her career with canines competing in the obedience show ring. Following an incident with her show dog in 1990, resulting in a major behavioral problem, Karen learned the importance of understanding canine behavior and how to manage and modify it. Karen was the Tarrant County Veterinary Medical Association’s, 2009 “Community Service Award” winner, for her work in the field of canine aggression. In 2010, Karen received the “Community Educator of the Year Award”, from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. In 2013, Karen earned the distinction of becoming one of less than 200 Certified Dog Behavior Consultants in the United States through the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants). Requirements included logging over 500 hours and a minimum of three years’ experience in behavior consulting, 400 hours of continuing education, three written case studies and written discussion of four case scenarios including questions regarding terminology, techniques, assessment, and history taking. Due to her expertise in behavior, specifically reactivity and aggression, Karen is sought after to present seminars nationally and to teach her customized Reactive Integration class that she teaches online and taught in both Dallas and Tarrant County of Texas. Karen competed and titled her rescued Golden Retriever in Obedience and Rally. She is training another rescue, "Dempsey", for Frisbee and is training him and her new Labrador, Stoney in the sport of Treibball.

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Nick Hof is a dog trainer in Cincinnati, OH and is the owner and trainer of Paws Look Listen, LLC . Nick is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed, Karen Pryor Academy-Certified Training Partner, a licensed presenter for Family Paws, and a Professional Premium Member of the APDT. Nick believes that having a good relationship with other trainers, both in his area and from afar is an integral component of his business. He often networks with other trainers bouncing ideas off of them, requesting assistance or referring out cases that he does not have the skills to properly help. Nick works closely with both veterinarians and other animal professionals to ensure that his clients receive the best service possible.

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