Dog Training Instructors

Alisha Ardiana

Alisha Ardiana, CPDT-KA, has a Biology degree from the University of Notre Dame and had a 20 year career as a California Registered Veterinary Technician. In 2016, she graduated from the Dog Training Internship Academy.  After graduating from DTIA, she completed an internship with the San Francisco SPCA Behavior & Training Department. In addition to successfully completing the internship, she enrolled in the Karen Pryor Dog Professional Program, which she completed in 2017. Alisha is also an AKC-certified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.

Alisha teaches Puppy Manners and many other classes for the San Francisco SPCA, and is the former trainer for the SF SPCA's Animal Assisted Therapy Program, which incorporates the MESCAAT (Mastery, Empathy and Social Conscience through AAT) Program. She is also the owner of emPAWthy- positive reinforcement training for pups and their people. Alisha lives in the Mission with her wife & their rescue cat named Lada, who loves to do clicker training for Bonita flakes. 

Marie Bennett

Marie Claire Bennett grew up with many kinds of pets and always had a passion for caring for and learning about animals. Her first job was working at the Berkeley Animal Shelter and has over fifteen years of professional animal experience from being a grooming salon manager to an intern working with lions, tigers, bison and elk. After working with all types of animals Marie found that her heart had gone to the dogs. In 2016, she graduated from the Dog Training Internship Academy.  She has been teaching group classes, private training sessions and running puppy socials at SF Puppy Prep since 2016. She is thrilled to be part of the SF SPCA team.

Steve Bialek

Steve has a PhD in Biophysics from U.C. Berkeley.  He is published in the Journal of Physiology and American Journal of Physiology.  Steve graduated from the Marin Canine Behavior Academy as well as the San Francisco SPCA Volunteer Intern Program, and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). 

Steve teaches seminars in dog body-language and dog-dog social behavior to volunteers, staff and the public at San Francisco SPCA.  He has lead adult dog playgroups for shelter dogs at the San Francisco SPCA since 2011.  He also developed an intern program to teach volunteers to lead playgroups for shelter dogs.  Steve co-hosts public puppy playgroups as well as our new public adolescent playgroup, and teaches Freestyle Heelwork classes to the public.  

Steve and his dog Popeye do Freestyle Heelwork demonstrations and compete in Musical Freestyle.

Rachel Biello

Rachel Biello is a New York City transplant who came to dog training through a circuitous route. She has lived and volunteered with dogs for over 20 years, but it wasn't till 2014, after leaving her corporate job in SF to start her own dog walking business, that she realized she wanted to involve herselft more deeply in the life of dogs.

After graduating DogTec's Dog Walking Academy in 2014, where she received her certification in CPR, First Aid, and in-depth knowledge of play safety and off-leash management, she started her own dog walking business; WagAlong Dog Walking.  Soon after, she enrolled at the Dog Training Internship Academy and earned her certification as a Trainer and Behavior Consultant. She has been training privately around San Francisco since 2016. She teaches Young Puppy Kindergarten and Junior High classes at SF Puppy Prep and is excited to join the SF SPCA team to help more people live enriching lives with their dogs.

Rachel says: "My work as a trainer is dedicated to Walter, my sweet bluetick coonhound who struggled with PTSD and separation anxiety, but who taught me so much about the inner world of dog! Your memory lives in the work that I do now."

Rachel lives in Bernal Heights with her husband, their bluetick coonhound Smitty, and cuddly polydactyl cat Toez!

Drew Cottrell

Drew is currently a student at the Academy for Dog Trainers and a member of the Pet Professional Guild.  He is dedicated to low-stress and fear free handling, developing and teaching a workshop for both staff and volunteers, Shelter Medicine: Fearful Dog Treatments.  He also earned his Bachelor of Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ and works for Levi Strauss & Co. here in San Francisco.

Drew and his dog, Beulah, TKP, have titled in tricks (AKC Trick Dog Performer) and also take SF SPCA public classes together including tricks, agility and nosework.  Drew completed an internship at the SF SPCA before earning his CPDT-KA and is also certified in Low-Stress Handling and Pet First-Aid and CPR.

Drew is passionate about animal rescue and in addition to the SF SPCA he is also a volunteer member of the Humane Society of the United States Animal Rescue Team and the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team.  

Emily Fleisher

Emily graduated from the Dog Training Internship Academy as a Certified Trainer and Behavior Consultant and is DogTech CPR and First-aid certified. She is the founder of Mindful Paw, a San Francisco based company offering private dog training services.

Emily has a Bachelors degree in Public Health with a focus on human behavior from the University of Florida. She spent 5+ years teaching people in a number of capacities, and counts her ability to empathize and communicate with the human end of the leash as one of her primary strengths. She is dedicated to using only force-free training methods and helping people understand the importance of following suit.

She has a Havanese named Rafiki and has a special interest in helping families smoothly integrate their new dog into the home.

Michele Garlick

Michele is a Certified K9 Nose Work® Instructor and owner of Whole K9, LLC. She is a graduate of The Marin Humane Society's Canine Behavior Academy and Bob Bailey's Chicken Camps.

Michele's active memberships include the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, The Police and Working K-9 Foundation and Golden State German Shepherd Rescue. She shares her home in the East Bay with Loic, a 6 year-old German Shepherd.

Michele’s specialties include K9 Nose Work, puppy foundation skills, focus work, obedience, clicker training and tracking.

Susie Garcia

Susie Garcia is a graduate of the SF SPCA Volunteer Internship Program, a DocTec Certified dog walker, Certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, and is the owner of Teeny Dogs. She is the proud owner of a maltipoo named Wendall, and specializes in small dog training and small dog leash reactivity.  She enjoys working with the public, and is currently involved wtih the SF SPCA's Community Cares Program, providing dog training and education to underserved populations in San Francisco. She teaches Reactive Rover, Reactive Rover 2, Advanced Reactive Rover and Pup Prodigies at the SF SPCA.

Sheelah Gullion

Sheelah Gullion is a CPDT-KA certified trainer, Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, and PetTech First Aid Certified. She joined the SF SPCA public dog training team in 2019 and has been a professional dog trainer since 2016. Her special interests include separation-related issues, canine conditionoing, and scent games. 

Althea Karwowski

Althea Karwowski, CPDT-KA, is a graduate of the SF SPCA Volunteer Intenship Program.  She owns Sit Stay SF, providing private training and dog walking services.  Althea is a DogTec certified dog walker and certified in pet first aid.  As a volunteer trainer at the SF SPCA, Althea focuses on behavior modification with shy and fearful shelter dogs, mentors volunteers, and is a member of the Special Care Unit.  Althea apprenticed with Brenda Cawley in Bravery and Just the Basics for Shy Dogs public classes.  Althea teaches Just the Basics, New Dog 101 and Bravery Class for Shy Dogs at the SF SPCA.

Amelia Lindbergh

Amelia has grown up with a positive reinforcement training idol in Karen Prior, a pioneer in the field. From a young age she used clicker training to teach tricks to her cats, cockatiel, ferrets, dogs and any other critter who was interested in learning. Life led her in different directions but eventually, the truth of her passion for working with dogs came through and took charge. 

Amelia graduated from the Dog Training Internship Academy and has been training and teaching ever since. Amelia is the owner of All Ears, a dog training and behavioral consultation business, and the starry-eyed guardian of a large fluffy dog named Foxy. She is a trainer with SF Puppy Prep, SF Outdoor Education where she also assists with classes and puppy socials. Amelia specializes in puppy and adolescent dog training and has been a volunteer with the SPCA since 2016 and on the professional training team since 2019. 

Michelle Martens

Michelle graduated with honors from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers in 2008.  After graduating from the Academy, she completed an internship with the San Francisco SPCA Behavior & Training Department.  In addition to successfully completing the internship, Michelle earned speciality certificates in Curriculum Design and Puppy Socialization.  Michelle is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and a DogTec certified dog walker.  She is also certified in Pet First Aid.  Michelle has been teaching a variety of classes at the San Francisco SPCA since 2011. 

Michelle is also the owner of Contemporary Canine, a dog training and behavior consultation service.  She specializes in puppy and adolescent socialization, development, and training.  In addition to specializing in all things puppy and basic manners training, Michelle frequently works with shy and fearful dogs, reactive dogs, and resource guarders.

Michelle is the guardian of two rescue pups named Izzy and Frankie, and one vision impaired cat named Leo.

Steph Miller

Steph holds an Honor's Certificate in Training & Counseling from the SF SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers (class of '01) and a post-Academy honors Certificate in Curriculum Development & Design in 2002.  Steph is probably best known locally for co-founding San Francisco’s first puppy-only daycare and training center, SF Puppy Prep, so has worked extensively with puppies and adolescent dogs for the last 13 years. Prior to SFPP, Steph taught dog training classes at various locations throughout the Bay Area and has worked with hundreds of families and their dogs to prevent and resolve all manner of behavior issues. She currently teaches Puppy, Adolescent & Adult Manners classes at the SF SPCA.  She also owns Recess With Steph, a private dog training company specializing in Kids/Babies & Dogs family counseling and offers an off-leash dog walking / outing service in a private fully fenced ranch for San Francisco families. Steph is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and is Pet First Aid and CPR certified.  She lives in Bernal Heights with her son, Dylan, her son’s papa, and 2 rescue dogs, Mabel and Curtis

Shoshi Parks

Shoshi Parks is the owner and head trainer at Modern Hound Dog Training and Care at its original location in San Francisco and its new branch in San Jose. Shoshi is a CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed) and a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT).  She holds a Ph.D. in the social sciences from Boston University. Shoshi has completed internships in dog training and in teaching public classes at the SF SPCA, an intensive Separation Anxiety Training program and graduated from the Canine Behavior Academy (I & II) at the Marin Humane Society. She is certified in Pet First Aid, is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Shoshi also volunteers as a trainer for senior dogs at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. Shoshi writes about dog training and about the Bay Area's dog rescue community for publications including Rover.com, 7x7 Magazine, Bay Woof and Vitabone.

Lilly Pritchard

Lilly owns Positive Force Dog Training and specializes in fear and aggression in her private training. She has completed an SF SPCA Academy internship in dog-dog aggression. She holds an honors CTC / Certificate in Training & Counseling from the SF SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, is a CPDT-KA, (Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed), and is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

Lilly was voted as the Bay Woof "Beast of the Bay" Best Private Dog Trainer for 2014 and runner-up for 2015.

Lilly shares her home with her cat, Hamachi, and her Norwegian Elkhound, Olive (both of whom love to do tricks!).

Erika Slovikoski

Erika is a CPDT-KA, (Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed.) Additional Certifications completed:

  • SF SPCA Dog Training Internship Program
  • Canine Behavior Academy
  • Animal Law Enforcement Academy
  • Investigation Procedures
  • Illegal Animal Fighting
  • Animal Law Enforcement 
  • Pet CPR & First Aid- Pet Tech

Erika teaches public dog training classes at the San Francisco SPCA. She has two dogs, Orion and Loba. Orion is a 4 year old Cattle/Jack/Schipperke mix who is a graduate of Basic Training 101 and 201, as well as tricks, canine circus and stunt dog classes. He is currently learning freestyle and agility, where they continue to build his repertoire of tricks and moves. Loba is a 4 year old Sable German Shepherd who is a graduate of Reactive Rover 1 and 2, and is excellent in nose work. She is currently developing her skills as she hunts for the scent of birch both indoors and out.

Erika has experience in shelter dog enrichment with Give a Dog a Bone, the custody dog program at SF Animal Care and Control. She also has experience in shelter management, including behavior evaluations, and dog rescue community work. She teaches SF SPCA volunteer classes and is a volunteer mentor. She teaches Reactive Rover classes, as well as many others.

Her interests include working with reactive dogs, reactivity prevention, basic training, fun tricks, and nose work. Her emphasis is on compassion and fun for both dog and handler, to develop a team dynamic with fun as part of the solid foundation.