Dog Training Instructors

Alisha Ardiana

Alisha 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 teaches Puppy Manners classes for the San Francisco SPCA, and is the 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. 

Maureen Backman

Maureen Backman, MS, CTC, PCT-A is the owner of Mutt About Town, which offers private dog training services in the San Francisco Bay Area. Maureen’s particular strength is combining her knowledge of counseling along with her studies in animal learning and behavior to help humans understand how to communicate and work with their dogs. She is strongly committed to using only force-free training methods.

Maureen is the founding director of The Muzzle Up! Project. Through partnering with local businesses, rescues and trainers, not only in San Francisco but across the world, Muzzle Up! aims to educate the public about dog behavior, safety, and why we don’t need to fear muzzles.

She graduated with honors from Jean Donaldson’s prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers, is certified in training by the Pet Professional Guild, and has a master’s degree in rehabilitation psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

She lives in San Francisco with her senior dog and Muttville rescue, Earl.

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. 

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.  

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

Stacey Campbell

Stacey is a 2006 graduate of the San Francisco Academy of Dog Trainers, where she also earned a training certificate specializing in dog/dog aggression. She has been teaching a variety of classes for the SF SPCA since 2007, and her specialties include Obedience and Dog Sports classes.  Stacey owns and operates Go Fetch Dog Training which specializes in training for aggression and separation anxiety related issues.

Stacey currently has one rescue dog, Roo!, a twice returned SF SPCA shelter dog.  Stacey and Roo! have competed successfully in obedience, rally and agility.  Roo! is currently one of the top agility dogs in the country.  She was the 2012 AKC Invitational Champion, 2013 and 2016 AKC National Agility Champion.  In 2013, she became the first All American to earn a spot on the U.S. Large Dog Team at the European Open.  In 2014, Roo! made history by winning the 24 inch class and the Best All American trophy at the Westminster Kennel Club’s first annual Master Agility Championship.  She was presented with her award on National TV at Madison Square Garden.  She went on to win that award again in 2015.

Nicole Corson

Nicole, CTC, CAP1, ANWI, AKC-CGC, is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and Behavior Counselor.  Nicole is the owner of Calling All Dogs in Utah, where she has a team of trainers helping dogs and families in Salt Lake City.  She started her dog-training career as a volunteer at the SF/SPCA and graduated in 2003 from the SF/SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers.

She specializes in puppy classes, K9 Nosework, tricks and integrating dogs into their forever home through personal experience.  She has designed and developed a unique puppy curriculum that focuses on the foundation of creating a sound and healthy puppy while helping families teach their puppy manners.  Nicole also enjoys working with children and incorporating dogs into homes with two-legged children!

Nicole lives with Jackson, her SPCA adopted 14 year old German Shepherd/Chow, Savannah, a perky 8 year old Yellow Labrador, her husband and their 10 year old daughter.

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, and the owner of Teeny Dogs. She is the proud owner of a maltipoo named Wendall, and specializes in small dog training and walking.  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 and Pup Prodigies at the SF SPCA, as well as running Puppy Playgroups.

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.

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.

Kimberlee Miller

Kimberlee Miller is a graduate of Marin Humane Society receiving her CBA 1 and 2 and Behavior Counseling Certificate. She is currently studying at the Academy for Dog Trainers, in pursuit of her Certificate of Training and Counseling. She will also soon be receiving her CPDT (Certified Pet Dog Trainer) credential.  Kimberlee is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR. She has several years of experience training dogs and their humans, most recently at Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF).  Kimberlee teaches Puppy Manners, Puppy Socials, Adolescent Manners, Just the Basics, Just the Basics 2 and Reactive Rover at the SF SPCA, in addition to private training on a wide variety of topics. She shares her home with her two dogs, Jet and Bella.

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. Steph is a dedicated professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and is Pet First Aid and CPR certified. She is probably best known locally for co-founding San Francisco’s first puppy-only daycare and training center, SF Puppy Prep. An innovative program based on the preventative power of early socialization, SF Puppy Prep was one of the first of its kind. 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 is excited to be back in the classroom at the SF SPCA, helping families train their newly adopted dogs!

Jeff Murray

Jeff holds a CTC / Certificate in Training & Counseling from the SF SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers. He is also the trainer for the SF SPCA's Animal Assisted Therapy Program, which incorporates the MESCAAT (Mastery, Empathy and Social Conscience through AAT) Program. Jeff works part time at a small dog daycare in the Sunset as well as boarding dogs in his South San Francisco home. He is an evaluator for the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Program and the guardian of Sophie, a yellow Labrador and two 17-year old cat sisters.

Shoshi Parks

Shoshi Parks is the owner and head trainer at Modern Hound Dog Training and Care in San Francisco. 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 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 and is certified by San Francisco as a professional dog walker. Shoshi also volunteers as a trainer for senior dogs at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. Shoshi writes about dog training and about San Francisco's dog rescue community for publications including Bay Woof, Hoodline, 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.