Meet Our Dog Trainers 2017-11-22T14:18:07+00:00

Meet Our Dog Trainers

Jen Larson, KPA-CTP | Training Manager

1857e14f-d8a3-497d-a2e4-5eade0ff1a19-1Jen moved to Austin from the frozen North – Madison, Wisconsin in 2014, with her dog and her cat, and hasn’t looked back since!

She is a multi-species trainer and veterinary technician with years of experience in dog daycare and boarding facilities, animal shelters, sanctuaries, vet clinics, and private training. Jen graduated from the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy as a Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP) and is also Pet First Aid Certified through the American Red Cross. Jen is a member of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the Pet Professional Guild, and Doggone Safe, a non-profit aimed at educating children and their families about bite prevention.

Over the years, Jen has been privileged to work alongside some amazing animal trainers and has experienced teaching and learning with all kinds of animals including dogs, cats, pigs, goats, horses, and even fish! She is forever grateful to her favorite college professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and renowned animal behaviorist, Dr. Patricia McConnell, Ph.D, CAAB, for opening her mind to the wonderful possibilities of animal behavior and learning.

While dogs have always held the biggest place in Jen’s heart, some of her proudest accomplishments have been training other species – clicker training a “project pig” to come, sit, and touch a target stick with his nose, training cats to go through mini agility courses, and even using a laser pointer to light train a Betta fish to swim through a hoop for a food reward. Jen is very passionate about positive reinforcement training and truly believes that every animal deserves to learn in an encouraging, compassionate way that deepens the bond between them and their handler.

Some of her favorite jobs include: working as a trainer out at Dogtown in the gorgeous Best Friends Animal Society Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, an adoption counselor/cat caretaker/trainer at Austin Pets Alive!, and as the manager of a luxury boarding facility, supervising up to 30 off leash dogs in play groups in Madison, Wisconsin.

Since moving to Austin and becoming a foster parent through Austin Pets Alive, Jen has acquired a few more pets as a “foster failure”! She now lives in South Austin with two dogs, 7 cats, Betta fish, a few varieties of tarantulas, and scorpions. She is preparing to eventually enter graduate school with a focus on animal behavior, specifically how emotional and psychological well-being is affected by environment and enrichment. She enjoys hiking, reading any training or animal behavior book she can find, and playing guitar and ukulele.

Amanda Ott, CPDT-KA | Trainer

Amanda came to Dogboy’s with a broad and accomplished background in animal training. Most recently, she spent 9 years providing health care and training to over 100 chimpanzees living at the National Center for Chimpanzee Care.

Amanda is a respected canine handler and trainer in the Texas search and rescue community. As head of the canine handler team in a local search and rescue organization, she helped the team’s canine handlers train and nationally certify their dogs so they could be utilized in search and rescue call-outs from  law enforcement agencies. Utilizing the positive training methods, Amanda has trained her own dogs to national certifications in trailing, human remains detection, and wilderness live find search.  

Prior to becoming involved in search and rescue work, Amanda enjoyed training and showing dogs in agility and obedience.

She attended Texas A&M and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Animal Science.  Currently she lives with Izzy, a Golden Retriever nationally certified as a trailing dog, and Cyrus, a chocolate Lab nationally certified as a human remains detection dog.  She lives in Pflugerville and spends her free time hiking with her dogs, kayaking and relaxing outdoors.  

Neil Coleman | Trainer

Neil is an East coast native who came to Austin in 2007.  His work with animals began on a volunteer basis while living in Mexico, where he ran his own restaurant in a sleepy beach town.  A lifelong dog lover, he  began rescuing street dogs in his spare time; nurturing them back to health, training them to adapt to domestic life and then finding them homes.  Through this, he became involved with a like-minded group of animal lovers who needed assistance in organizing and funding spay/neuter clinics for the local dog and cat population.  He organized and hosted several fundraisers through his restaurant, raised the necessary money and assisted in the clinics themselves once they got underway.  The initial successes enabled the group to become a self-sufficient rescue operation that continues its fine work to this day.

Neil had planned to only make a quick stopover in Austin when he returned to the U.S., but has remained since.  Having fallen in love with Austin’s pet-friendly vibe, he began volunteering at local shelters, and eventually discovered that his long-term goal was to train dogs for therapy.  He was fortunate enough to cross paths with DogBoy’s Dog Ranch, who have welcomed him into their Training and Wellness Center and are helping him work towards his necessary certifications.

In his free time, Neil manages to balance a side career as a writer with the knowledge that he is the worst musician in Austin.   His dog Linus and his cat Sid don’t seem to mind.

Ashley Fischer | Trainer

Ashley is a Texas native, originally from the Dallas area. She has spent the last four and a half years studying Rhetoric and Writing with a minor in communication at the University of Texas. Before coming to Austin Ashley spent a lot of time on a Therapy ranch working with horses and children with special needs.

Ashley has always had a deep love for animals of all kinds but that love grew exponentially when she got a dog of her own, a King German Shepherd, named Harley. Ashley wanted to find a way to get involved with the community and involve Harley so she began her investigation and ended up finding a therapy dog organization called Divine Canines. Harley is now a certified therapy dog serving many local sites (over 120) such as the Settlement Home in Austin.

Through Ashley’s volunteer work as well as her work here at DogBoy’s she has gotten a chance to learn from some of the most awesome dog trainers the area has to offer and loves applying that knowledge to the pups she gets to spend time with.

In her spare time, Ashley loves to hike different locations, visit secret water holes, kayak on Town Lake, play sports and relax with friends. After graduation, she plans on staying in the Austin area and continuing to allow her love for animals to grow.