Helping YOU to be your dog's best friend!


All of this – Courteous Canines, The Happy Hound and my dedication to doing what’s right for dogs; comes from being inspired by all of the dogs in my life. Ever since I can remember there has been a dog by my side and in my heart. And I am a better person because of them. I’m grateful to have shared my life with all of them. Each and every one of my dogs has shaped who I am and the trainer I’ve become. But there was one special dog that captured my heart and soul – and that was Chloe.
She was and always will be my inspiration.

O.K, so dogs are my dharma. In other words, dogs are in my blood. They are what make me tick. One of the reasons I'm on this planet is to help dogs.

I learned a lot at a very young age from my grandfather and parents. They were breeders of English Field Setters. We had a kennel on our property and dogs were always part of the family. A typical day growing up would be to run back to the kennel and play with a new litter of puppies, clean runs out, go to the vet, feed, water and walk the dogs. Just watching a dog was sheer bliss for me. I’d watch my father and grandfather train the dogs for hunting in the field. I credit my family for teaching me how to respect a dog. As a young adult, I was blessed to have Chloe, my first Labrador Retriever. I took her to every dog training class there was. I even enrolled in local obedience classes with her completely trained just so I could learn from other trainers. Over time, I volunteered as an assistant trainer at a well known dog training school; St. Huberts Giralda Farms for over two years. Following that, I traveled around the country to attend positive reward based behavior and obedience conferences; all while taking copious notes on dog behavior. I lived, breathed and slept dogs. I did everything to get inside of a dog’s brain so I could offer help to them. Finally, I offered my training services for free for one year to people and their dogs. Following that, I opened Courteous Canines. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful trainer, Jonelle Marchese assisting me. Clients and dogs alike just love her! Over the years I have adopted other dogs and they continue to educate me. All of the dogs in my life have taught me far more than I have taught them. I continue to research, read and attend seminars, but the best teachers are the dogs themselves.

I have been working with dogs for more than 30 years and with Jonelle for over 13 years. She shares her life with Madison, a gentle Shetland Sheepdog who just happens to be deaf . Jonelle took what was a so called disability that her dog had and cultivated him into a well rounded canine. Because of this, she is a trainer that can see beyond any issues a dog may have and help them attain their true potential. Her gentleness, kindness and ability to read dogs is invaluable. Clients and dogs alike always gain a lot when she works with them.

I am thrilled to welcome Kimberly Fela to Courteous Canines family! Kim has been a devoted animal lover her entire life and has been surrounded by animals since the age of 3. At the beginning of her journey she was given the opportunity to work at a local animal hospital and it became clear to Kim that this was just the beginning of her journey. After working as a vet tech for many years Kim decided to transition and pursue her dog walking and pet sitting business. She is a smart and caring woman that will lead and support you and your dog to optimum wellness! She has over 20 years of animal experience, specializing in dogs and canine behavior. A successful veterinary technician for over 15 years and well respected in the dog community. I’m grateful that Kim chose to pursue her passion with Courteous Canines and join me on my mission as a steward to improve dogs’ lives! Together we will all bring about awareness on dog behavior, nutrition and clean happy living.

"Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened" - Anatole France

Chloe was breathtakingly beautiful – on the inside and out! She was intelligent, gentle, patient, kind-hearted, wise & determined. She was a survivor. She was my teacher, companion and my kindred spirit. I raised her from a pup but she was really the one who raised me. We were and always will be kindred spirits. Read Chloe's Story...

Thank you

Throughout my life I’ve been inspired by countless canines and supported by good people. Because of this, I’ve been able to give back to dogs. To my family, John you are my heart’s purest inspiration. Your wisdom is magnificent! Nick, my greatest friend, thank you for letting me live my dharma , Mom & Dad, thank you for raising me with dogs and teaching me that they have a voice. Thank you Mom-Mom and Mady for showing me that dogs need real food to live. And to my Pop-Pop I wish you were here. May you see how your love for dogs lives on in me. Thank you also to Drs. Donna Alfieri, Frank Marmur, Jeglum and Fred. Your guidance and support has been invaluable over the years. And to the dogs in my life - Chloe, Max, Queeny, Sandy, Dottie, Susie, Mabeline, Thumbelina, Rod, Patches, Freckles, Heidi Cindy, Suki, Toro, Cochette , Stoli, Clover, and Sammy. I’m in awe of you all. You taught me life lessons that no one but a dog can teach. I’m so very grateful to you.


"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" Hippocrates

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