Stephanie Bennett, CPDT-KSA - Owner
Stephanie Bennett, CPDT-KSA, is considered one of Houston’s top dog trainers and behavioral experts, as well as one of the city’s most innovative dog education and enrichment entrepreneurs, helping to create balance between mind, body, and spirit.
Stephanie is recognized as Houston’s original puppy expert and is the founder of the city’s first all-encompassing, puppy-focused training programs. Her unique and effective puppy programs were developed under the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Ian Dunbar, who revolutionized dog training when he designed the world's very first off-leash puppy class.Stephanie has made it her mission to educate new puppy owners and local veterinarians on the importance of early puppy training and socialization.
Stephanie is passionate about her education and has had the pleasure and distinction of working and studying with some of the world’s best dog trainers, including the great Dr. Ian Dunbar, who continues to be her valuable mentor today.
Over the years, Stephanie served as the Director of Training at LA Dogworks in Los Angeles, started her own company, Get Along Little Doggie, and co-founded Peace Love and Dogs in Houston.
In 2017, she had a vision of a new Canine and Training Enrichment Center. She decided to build and develop something fresh and innovative —what she considers to be the next stage in the evolution of dog education and enrichment—Believe in Dog Training.
As a result of her comprehensive education and hands-on experience, Stephanie has expertise not only in dog & puppy training, but also a wide variety of solutions to dog behavior problems, especially fear and leash reactivity. Because each dog is unique, Stephanie works with her clients to create a custom training program addressing the individual dog’s needs while meeting the goals of their human companions.
With over a decade of experience, she has helped thousands of dog owners develop better relationships with their pets. Stephanie regularly contributes her expertise to TV news segments, Houston Pet Talk magazine, and she is the official trainer of Houston’s Channel 2 station dog, TV Tex!
Hayley Kenner, CPDT-KSA - Training Manager and Behavior Consultant
Hayley has had the pleasure and experience of working with a variety of animals throughout her lifetime. A habitual dog lover from an early age, Hayley has dedicated her life to her true passion of working with people and their pets. Her focal point as a trainer is to keep up with the newest developments and most effective behavior solutions regarding canine psychology and behavior modification in order to pass on that knowledge to her amazing clients. While in Houston, she has successfully trained hundreds of dogs and educated their people, while dealing with the complete spectrum of dog and puppy behavior.
Hayley is fully committed to a training style that is force free and built on a mutual respect that deepens the human-canine bond.
Hayley earned her CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed) title in 2012 and her CPDT-KSA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Skills Assessed) in 2019. She is a Professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and is currently earning her FitPAWS Canine Fitness Trainer certification through The University of Tennessee.
Hayley resides in Houston with her three dogs, Otto, the Great Dane, Medusa, the Shepherd mix, and Lincoln, the Labrador.
"What is possible between a human and animal is attainable only within a relationship." - Suzanne Clothier
Ura Krieg, MBA - Operations Manager
Ura’s compassion for animals started at a young age trying to rescue every stray she came across. She was born in the Big Apple, but raised mostly in Texas. She spent years volunteering and fostering for rescues and was the Volunteer Manager for Friends For Life Animal Shelter for two years. Her confidence in animal behavior science makes her an advocate in educating others of responsible pet ownership and communication with animals.
Her passion for traveling and experiencing other cultures turned her hobby of learning about animal behavior into good use because of volunteer needs in other countries. She has lived in South Korea, China and India for both work and school. She uses skills in organizational development, leadership, problem solving, and accounting/finance for Believe in DOG Training. Ura has a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and a Masters in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Her pet is a rescue Staffordshire terrier named Molly Weasley from Cleveland. She also has an American Bobtail cat that was found on the construction site of our training center named Luna “Lotus” Lovegood. We heard meows from a trash can and Ura fell in love, spending a month with the one pound kitten quarantined in her closet, full of ringworm and coccidia. Lotus is now thriving at home and is trained to walk on a leash, sit, and high five.
Victoria Thibodeaux, KPA-CTP - Puppy Day School Manager/Behavior Consultant
Victoria is originally from the small town of Crowley, Louisiana, first moving to Houston in 2015. She is a dog mom to her Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Zelda, and her step-dog Rajah, who is a Super Mutt from Alabama.
Over the years, Victoria has trained a large variety of breeds, ages, sizes, and temperaments of dogs to treat an even larger variety of behavioral problems. She has worked with everything from basic puppy nipping, severe resource guarding, to rehabilitating feral dogs to make them adoptable. Her favorite area of training is preventing behavior issues from showing themselves in the first place, which is why she focuses on training puppies and intervening early on.
Victoria is a true behavior geek. She is passionate about staying up to date on the latest behavior science, consuming any and all credible educational material she can get her hands on. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner. She is currently working towards the CPDT-KA certification as well.
With her own dogs, Victoria has ample experience with resource guarding, herding behaviors like nipping and barking, fear and reactivity, dog-dog aggression, cooperative care (nail clipping aggression), and more.
Yennifer Mejia - Trainer/Puppy Day School Teacher
Yennifer’s knowledge and experience with dog group play and play behavior is unsurpassed. During her many years of supervising and analyzing individual dog play styles in a group setting, she has gained an extensive education and understanding of canine body language and behavior. Her passion for dogs grew even more as she incorporated her knowledge into training her own dog, Odie, who is CGC Certified and a Certified Therapy Dog.
Yennifer then decided to combine her knowledge of dog behavior and her passion to enhance dog/owner relationships, and pursue a career in dog training. During this process, Yennifer has put in endless hours of shadowing and learning from her mentors Stephanie Bennett and Hayley Kenner. Yennifer is well on her way to earning her certification through the Council of Professional Dog Trainers in the Spring of 2019. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and an American Kennel Club CGC Evaluator. Yennifer has earned a degree in Science and is currently majoring in General Business at the University of Houston-Downtown.
“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.” – Roger A. Caras
Erin Richardson, KPA-CTP - Trainer/Puppy Day School Teacher
Erin’s love for animals was cultivated at a very young age. She spent much of her childhood at her grandmother’s ranch, interacting with and caring for horses, dogs, and barn cats.
During college, Erin got her first personal dog, Charlotte. While taking her through basic obedience classes, Erin realized her love and passion for dog training. She learned how fun and rewarding it can be to develop a relationship and bond with your dog through positive reinforcement training.
In 2017, Erin graduated with great distinction from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Anthropology. After graduation, she began volunteering at the Houston Wildlife Center and HSPCA to get hands-on experience with animals, while also pursuing a teaching certification in Social Studies with the goal of becoming a high school teacher. However, it didn’t take long for Erin to realize that her passion was not to teach teenagers, but instead to teach people and their furry companions. Soon after, she began interning for Believe in DOG Training with the goal of becoming a professional dog trainer.
Erin recently earned her KPA-CTP (Karen Pryor Academy-Certified Training Partner) certification through the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional program in 2019. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and is currently working towards her CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed) certification.
Katarina Wakil - Puppy Day School Teacher/Receptionist
Katarine used to be terrified of dogs, but she was determined to get over her fear, which she did tenfold. Now she couldn’t imagine life without them. Two years after her mom got Oliver, a King Charles Cavalier, Kat and Oliver had a sleepover. Since then they have been inseparable, so much so that Oliver became Kat’s Service Dog through rigorous training. After Oliver turned Kat’s life around, she has wanted to share the communication skills and life changing joy between animals and humans with others.
Eventually Kat wants to become a Service Dog Trainer, but in the meantime, she is working on receiving her CCDT (CATCH Certified Dog Trainer) certificate. She is currently also earning her degree in Kinesiology at the University of Houston.
“It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.” -Anonymous