Our Team

The team here at Cultured Canines is the heart of our business. Our amazing trainers have gone through over 100 hours of hands on and classroom training so they are able to tailor their support for each individual dog and owner. Every instructor has their own approach and their own training experience to bring to the table.

This is not just a job for our instructors. All of our team members are here because they loved the relationship they were able to build with their dogs as Cultured Canines clients before they became trainers. They are passionate about sharing their knowledge and helping you achieve your goals with your dog.

 

Beth O’Connor

She/Her
Founder & Owner

Team member since 2011

Quill, Leia, Jake, and Kirk

Before I became a dog trainer, my first dog, Jett and I were at the off leash park when he saw another dog across the street. Jett ran after it, and was hit by an SUV and died shortly after in my arms. This was, without a doubt, the worst day of my life. My family and I were convinced that Jett’s behaviour was “good enough” so we never did a proper training class with him. We just used treats to bribe him to listen.

After this horrible incident, I got a new puppy, Jake! I was determined to do everything right with him. I took a course through Pawsitive Dawgs with Jake when he was four months old, and we loved every minute of it. I saw that the training organization that Pawsitive Dawgs was a part of was offering a course in Calgary to become a trainer, so I jumped at the opportunity (the course was usually only taught in Kelowna). After a year of hard work and dedication, I received my training certification.

I became a dog trainer so that I could help show dog owners that having a dog that is “good enough” is not enough. I don’t want anyone to have to endure what my family and I went through with Jett. The single biggest killer of pets is not disease; it is behavioural problems.

I want to help you have the best possible relationship with your dee-oh-gee! The relationships I have been able to build with my four dogs, Jake, Leia, Kirk, and Quill has shown me just how amazing and complex the relationship between dogs and humans can and should be.  I love helping people have this level of understanding with their own dogs. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the bond between a dog and their owners grow and blossom.

I am extremely passionate about the things that I teach and my personality comes through in all of Cultured Canines’ courses. I am not the kind of trainer that just tells you the theories, I get in there with you and I’ll be right there by your side through your struggles. I have dogs too, and none of them are perfect. I don’t just bring my “good” dog to class, I’ll bring the dog that I know will struggle in a particular lesson so I can show you how to work through it. I’m never afraid to be completely transparent with my clients when it comes to realistic expectations and how hard training a dog really is. Training is a PROCESS, not a quick fix!

In my free time I participate in a variety of dog sports with my pack. We do herding, barn hunt, agility, rally obedience, nose work, and tricks! The foundation that Cultured Canines provides has given me the ability to have sport dogs that are also wonderful pets. I am also a Certified Trick Dog Instructor!

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Jessica Green

She/Her
Assistant Instructor

Team member since 2016

Nala

Dogs have been a part of my life since I was born. I grew up with all sorts of animals, but dogs just have something about them that truly makes them your best friend, the most loyal friend of all. After the passing of our first dog, we got Nala. Life just isn’t the same without a furry friend to spend time with.

Unfortunately, Nala was more than I could handle with the treat training knowledge I had, she was not interested in listening and I was at my wits end. We did a ton of research and finally found Beth. Her “no treat” training, outdoor classes and overall approach sounded perfect for our energetic, and slightly out of hand puppy (the OG Land Shark!). I have never had a bond with a dog quite like I have with Nala and it is something I can attribute to the training and hard work. I knew that Cultured Canines and their methods was something I could 100% stand behind.

It is so fulfilling helping people gain a relationship with their dog that is everlasting, while also having a well-behaved dog they could be proud of. Seeing the changes in both owner and furry friend throughout the courses is something I am happy to be a part of.

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Taylor Kipnes

He/Him
Lead Instructor

Team member since 2016

Maple

I started out as your typical “hard sell” client. My wife looked in to Cultured Canines and my IMMEDIATE RESPONSE was “pffft I’ve had dogs my whole life. I know how to train them…”

Spoiler alert – I did not. Once we started attending classes with Maple I immediately realized that there was so much more to dog training than I ever realized.

We came in to this with a 6 month old Bernese Mountain Dog that pulled, barked, jumped, a digger, a chewer and we totally justified it because she was cute…

Training is a journey. It’s about understanding behaviour (yours and your dogs) and building a strong foundation and even stronger relationship.

While we have been trainers since 2016, even for us, training is an ongoing process.

We have moved homes, dealt with a pandemic, welcomed a baby…and while “life” happens, your training will require you to be versatile and come up with a plan. We can help with that!

Every client has very high standards and goals they want to accomplish with their dogs. If you are ready and willing to put in the work and take on this tough but very rewarding challenge, then I look forward to helping you throughout your training journey.

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Lisa Axelson

She/Her
Lead Instructor

Team member since 2018

Emma and Ernie

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Rebecca Neale

She/Her
Lead Instructor

Team member since 2018

Arlo

I got Arlo in the Spring of 2018 and knew right away that I wanted to sign up for classes. Arlo was a very challenging puppy and I was at a loss. Arlo was the type of dog who would do anything for a treat, but did not care to have a relationship with the person giving the treat. I felt like a vending machine! All I wanted was trusting, loving relationship with my dog. When looking for training classes Cultured Canines came highly recommended to me from more than a few friends and I was intrigued by the ‘treat free method,’ so I began the course in July. After each class my relationship with Arlo got stronger and stronger and I began to feel like a much more confident dog owner. Our training really paid off and I am amazed at the dog Arlo is today. Cultured Canines not only helped Arlo and I with behaviour training, but it also strengthened our relationship.

I was eager to begin my own training as an assistant trainer because I wanted to help others who were in the same boat as me. Building a solid relationship with your dog is a such a rewarding experience! I hope to continue helping struggling dog owners just like the amazing staff of Cultured Canines helped me.

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Ashley Miller

She/Her
Lead Instructor

Team member since 2018

Nash

Animals have always been a large part of my life. From family dogs, training and competing in show jumping to fostering behaviour dogs at local organizations.

I adopted Nash as a 1 year old and quickly learned that he had some serious socialization issues. I became a ball of anxiety anytime I had to take Nash outside.

This wasn’t the life I imagined with my dog so I began searching for a dog training program and stumbled across Cultured Canines. Their philosophy and no treat training sparked my interest, I signed up for the C.O.O.L. course right away.

Nash was the loudest and craziest dog in our class but with the support and guidance of the Cultured team, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Every day my bond with Nash grows stronger and I am now living the life I wanted to with my furry adventure buddy. 

I love that I now get to be a part of helping others who are facing their own challenges with their dogs. 

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Kayla Mathison

She/Her
Assistant Instructor

Team member since 2017

Ash and Zoey

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Bryanne Kipnes

She/Her
Admin and Assistant Instructor

Team member since 2016

Maple

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Becky VanTassel

She/Her
Assistant Instructor

Team member since 2019

Olive, Briar and Louie

Dogs have been a constant part of my life since I was very young. I grew up in family that ethically bred dogs, and we often had puppies underfoot.

As an adult, I have participated in many forms of dog training. When I got my youngest dog, I realized that these other forms of training just were not enough, and seemed to actually make our relationship harder. I also found that reactivity was getting worse.

When I found I found Cultured Canines I knew that this was a perfect fit for me and my three dogs. It was through this training program that I was able to build a real relationship with all of my dogs. Through balanced training I was able to to have the kind of life I wanted with all my dogs. Thanks to Cultured Canines we are now able to participate in other forms of dog spots. This experience has sparked my passion to help others with their dogs.

I now feel great fulfillment in helping other people build relationships with their dogs. I am motivated to help people with their dogs in a fun and accessible way. I am also a Registered Social Worker and educator and love to bring these skills into my dog training work.

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Sarah Kapiczowski

She/Her
Assistant Instructor

Team member since 2019

Moose

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Tara Waterhorse

She/Her
Assistant Instructor

Team member since 2021

Gracie

I’ve always been a dog lover and surrounded myself around dogs. Working with them and volunteering with shelter dogs.

The first time I saw a photo of Gracie I laughed and said good luck to whoever adopts her, she’s gorgeous but she has crazy husky eyes. Little did I know I’d fall in love with her…

Turns out I wasn’t wrong though; Gracie has been a challenge! From jumping fences, being overly friendly, and even becoming reactive on leash. It didn’t take me long to reach out to Beth to see if there was room for Gracie in a class.

A lot of work later, a ton of support from the cultured team and I have my sanity back and am so excited to join the team to help others build stronger relationships with their dogs. With my experience working in vet offices, I bring a lot of unique knowledge to the Cultured team!

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Amanda Wagner

She/Her
Assistant Instructor

Team member since 2021

Riggs and Rue

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Siohbahn McNeil

She/Her
Assistant Instructor

Team member since 2021

Arlo and Mabel

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Ali Anderson

She/Her
Assistant Instructor

Team member since 2021

MJ