About Us: Meet Our Lovely Team

Katherine Vooys

Thanks for visiting our website! I am the founder and head trainer at The Crunchy Canine (formerly Canines In Balance). I have had a passion for animals from a very young age, having owned several dogs and a horse, but there was one special dog that sparked my desire to get into training. That dog was Jackson, a German Shepherd/Doberman mix that had a variety of behavioural issues, and is the reason behind The Crunchy Canine. We tried several “Positive Only” trainers to work on Jackson’s issues, without any results. Having personally owned a dog with serious behavioural issues, I knew I wanted to take my passion for animals and help other dog owners who are struggling with these same issues. I sought out a “Balanced Trainer” who took me on as an apprentice and we worked side by side with several serious behaviour cases.

dog training german shepherd puppy

With rescue dogs being so near and dear to my heart, I began working closely with a few local organizations. Seeing the number of dogs who are brought in to just one of the hundreds of rescues in Ontario, one of the thousands in Canada, and one of the tens of thousands in the world, has truly been an eye opener. My goal is to help dog owners before they feel the need to surrender their dogs, in hopes that there might be a few less dogs in the shelters waiting for their new forever home. I have also made it my mission to help the dogs who do unfortunately end up in a shelter become amazing canine citizens, increasing their chance of finding a new home. 

Over the past seven years I have made a commitment to expanding my knowledge in dog training and will continue to learn more in order to serve you better.  

Training experience:

Lia Horta

Lia is one of our Head Dog Trainers in the Burlington/Hamilton area! Lia has loved dogs & animals for as long as she can remember. Her true passion for training began with rescue! She began fostering & retraining rescue dogs to provide them with the best chance at a new home. With each dog that transformed, her love for training grew stronger and she knew then it was something she wanted to pursue a career in.Providing dogs with a balanced & enriched life is something that is truly important to Lia. Dogs are such a meaningful part of our lives and it’s our job to set them up for success so that we can enjoy life together in harmony. 
Lia’s current dog Zita has been her guinea pig for all her dog dreams, they do agility, herding, frisbee and LOVE hiking off leash sometimes even on horseback!
 Lia brings many years of experience working with dogs in a structured pack setting as well as with obedience, agility & dog nutrition.

Training Experience

  • 5 day Trainer E-Cademy with Robin MacFarlane
  • Canine Communication 101 Course at Family Pet Services
  • Senior Dog Handler at Family Pet Services
  • Darn Good Dogs Drill Team at BRB K9 Services
  • Pack Leader at Dogs Reformed Daycare & Boarding
  • Sales & Nutrition Associate at Global Pet Foods

Katie Dion

Katie is one of our Head Dog Trainers at The Crunchy Canine. Katie is currently taking Maternity leave after the birth of her son Elias! Katie began her passion for dog training with her dogs Aubrey and Reddington who proved to be challenging dogs to train. With several group classes, and lots of private training under her belt, then shadowing another well respected local trainer, Katie came on to join our team! Since 2018 Katie has been assisting with all of our private and group classes. She is very passionate about dogs and is a very talented trainer! Currently Katie covers our Puppy Privates, Puppy Training Visits, and Puppy Preschool.

Training Experience

  • Don’t Blame ‘Em, Train ‘Em Level 1 Obedience Training
  • Don’t Blame ‘Em, Train ‘Em Level 2 Obedience Training
  • McCann’s Level 1 Obedience Training
  • McCann’s Level 2 Obedience Training
  • McCann’s Training Class on Walking with Reactive Dogs
  • Invisible Fence Perfect Start Plus Training Course
  • Invisible Fence Academy Dog Bites & Aggressive Dogs
  • Shadowed Drew Hawyard in Private Training for Reactive Dogs
  • St John’s Ambulance Pet First Aid Training
  • Michael Ellis Puppy Training online course
  • Training Between the Ears Level 1

Tara Szymezko

Tara is our Assistant Dog Trainer servicing the Brantford and surrounding areas. Tara has always been an animal lover, and currently has her dog Matt, 2 cats and a horse. After adopting Matt she hired a trainer to help her with his behaviour, which sparked her passion for working with dogs. Since then she has shadowed two trainers, and attended multiple workshops where she met Katherine and decided to join the team to help owners learn how to build relationships with their dogs!

Training Experience

  • 3 weekend workshops with Brad Pattison www.bradpattison.com
  • 1 weekend workshop with Monika Stuehler Creating a Calm Dog
  • 2 weeks shadow with Monika Stuehler
  • Chad Mackin’s Pack To Basics Dogmanship 2 day workshop http://www.packtobasics.net/
  • 1 week at Trainers United Summit
  • TBTE workshop with Mark McCabe
  • Nelson Hodges Relationship Based Behavior Modification 2 day workshop https://sites.google.com/site/k9content/
  • Large Field Socialization with Jason Vasconi
  • 10 Day workshop Through a Dog’s Eyes with Karen Laws Ontario Dog Trainer www.ontariodogtrainer.com
  • 12 Day workshop Dog’s Eyes with Karen Laws
dog training hamilton

Tracy Millette

Tracy is our amazing Office Manager. If you email or call, you are talking to Tracy and she provides the best customer service! She started out as a client of The Crunchy Canine when her new puppy Rigger proved to be more challenging than she expected! Over the past year and a half Tracy has participated in all of our programs from Puppy Privates to our Freedom From the Leash program! She is very passionate about dogs and customer service! You might also catch her teaching some of our Dog Sport classes! She is the Agility and Rally-O queen!