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DBU Faculty

Meet your dogbiz University faculty

DBU faculty are:

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The best business minds in the dog world

Our faculty have driven the cutting edge of business education for dog professionals since 2003. You’ll learn from the same dog pros who wrote the best-selling business books in our industry, who write the definitive business columns for central industry journals like the APDT’s Chronicle of the Dog and PPG’s BARKS from the Guild, and who are invited to speak on business topics at conferences and seminars around the world.

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Highly experienced instructors

Not only do our faculty know business, they know how to teach. With degrees in education and communications, and many years of experience developing curriculum and teaching in a myriad of formats to a wide range of audiences, you’ll benefit from the best instructional practices and strategies and clear, engaging delivery of material.

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Experienced, credentialed dog professionals

Best of all, you’ll learn business knowledge and skills from instructors who understand the work you do and what it’s like to be on the front lines of a dog business. Our instructors are credentialed dog trainers with experience owning and running dog businesses offering various services, including training, walking, daycare, and the like.

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dogbiz U Faculty

Courses taught:
Starting a Dog Training Business, A to Z
Mastering Day Training
Marketing Made Easy
Money Matters 101

Gina Phairas, Bs.Comms., CTC

DBU Founder & Director

Gina is a former instructor at San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, where she taught fellow trainers alongside Jean Donaldson and Janis Bradley. Gina brings extensive experience in the dog service industry to her teaching work, including serving as Behavior Rehabilitation Coordinator at the SF/SPCA, co-founding a consulting non-profit for shelters and rescues, consulting for and managing one of the first premier dog daycares in the California Bay Area, and running her own successful dog training business focused on young families.

A dynamic speaker and gifted teacher, these days Gina supports dog professionals by leading our talented consulting team and running dogbiz University, her brain child for providing effective, easy-access business support to R+ dog professionals. She also regularly shares dog business wisdom at dog training conferences and seminars, including those held by PPG and APDT, and as KPA Expo faculty.

Courses taught:
Starting a Dog Training Business, A to Z
Best Classes in Town
Marketing Made Easy
The Dog Walking Academy

Veronica Boutelle, MA Ed., CTC

dogbiz Co-founder

Veronica is the author of How to Run a Dog Business and The Business of Dog Walking, the co-author of Minding Your Dog Business, and writes for multiple industry journals, including regular business columns in PPG’s Barks from the Guild and APDT’s Chronicle of the Dog. She is a sought-after speaker at conferences and dog training schools across the country and internationally, teaching dog pros how to help dogs for a living in countries ranging from North America to South America, Europe to Down Under.

Veronica holds a masters degree in education and has made good use of her previous career as a high school classroom teacher, teacher educator and university lecturer, and curriculum developer to bring more effective education and instructional strategies to the dog industry.

Veronica is the former Director of Behavior & Training for the San Francisco SPCA, and a valedictorian graduate of Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers. She got her start in the industry as a dog walker, owning and running a small dog walking company before turning to training. She founded dogbiz (then dogtec) in 2003 in response to fellow Academy graduates’ struggles to master the business side of their important work to change the lives of dogs.

Courses taught:
Money Matters 101


Lead Business Consultant

Tia has been a professional dog trainer and instructor for more than two decades, with experience in virtually all facets of the dog services industry. Tia was the first and founding director of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior, assisting in the creation of its flagship Dog Trainer Professional course. She also played a central role in the creation of the Victoria Stilwell Academy curriculum.

Tia understands what it is to start and run a dog business, having opened a daycare, training, and boarding facility back in 1999 when dog daycare was practically unheard of. Sold in 2004, that business continues to thrive. Today, Tia revels in helping fellow dog professionals do the same through her work as a dogbiz business consultant and DBU faculty.

Tia is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, an Associate Certified Animal Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a Level 2 TAGteacher through TAGteach International, a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, and a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator for the American Kennel Club.

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Courses taught:
Facebook & Instagram Ads: The Ultimate Guide for Dog Businesses
The Dog Walking Academy

Josh Boutelle, CSAT, CPDT-KA


After more than a decade of helping San Francisco dogs and their people, Josh turned his attention to helping fellow dog professionals grow their businesses online. He builds digital marketing campaigns (social media ads, e-book and webinar marketing, and more) for dogbiz clients and, through his business Digiwoof, writes and creates professional websites and logos for R+ dog pros.

Before jumping into the world of online marketing, Josh operated City Pups SF in San Francisco, supporting dog owners struggling with leash reactivity & separation anxiety in dogs. City Pups also served as a model and widely respected dog walking service for well over 10 years. Josh is a graduate of The Dog Training Internship Academy, Malena De Martini’s Separation Anxiety Trainer Certification Course, and also holds his CPDT-KA through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers

dogbiz University Support Staff

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Deborsha Lashway

Client Support & Program Manager

Deborsha supports DBU staff and is the first stop for anything you may need as a DBU student. She can answer your program-related questions, help you troubleshoot any online tech issues, and probably take care of just about anything else you can think to reach out about. And if not, she’ll cheerfully figure it out or find the right person to do so. Behind the scenes we refer to her as “Awesomeness Incarnate.”

Before joining dogbiz in 2008, Deborsha held administration management positions in the health-care industry.

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