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Owner / Head Trainer

I became a police officer in 2009 solely to become a Police K9 Handler. It was a lofty dream I had after obtaining my Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science in 2007 from SCSU and working with many different clients achieve their athletic goals. I had been training a few police officers as clients when I realized the fast pace, high risk, dangerous law enforcement job was more my speed... It was a career that spoke to me, but with one caveat.................I had to do it with a dog!

In 2012, I was picked to become my departments K9 handler. I spent 4 months in rigorous training with the 156th Patrol Dog Class from the  Connecticut State Police Emergency Serices and Public Protection Unit. Here I was certified by New England State Police Administrative Conference in obedience, man trailing, building searches, suspect apprehension, evidence recovery and obstacles with my partner, K9 Kendo (pictured above). We also spent another 2 months in narcotic detection and were also Certified by NESPAC. We were successful in finding criminals, apprehending suspects and locating hidden drugs during our time together. K9 Kendo was retired in 2018 and is currently relaxing at home with my family collecting his pension in dog treats. (Fun Fact: During that time, I learned that I had become the 9th female patrol canine handler in the state). You will most likely still see K9 Kendo at our facility relaxing on a place bed. His new retirement job is to oversee all training being conducted. Depending on the day, he may give you a piece of his mind....

In January 2019, I started "Best Paw Foward Dog Training" as I saw owners with young dogs and massive behavioral issues. There was and still is, a need in the pet dog industry for more balanced dog training.

Beyond my 6 years of Working Dog Training and experience, I strive to attend conferences, working seminars, and continuing education, as much as possible to enhance my technical skills and methodologies for my clients.

March 2021 - 3-day workshop with Kait from Kane9 - Madison ,Wisconsin

June 2022- 5 Day workshop with Monks of New Skeete. Learning the art of Gentle Ecollar Training. Cambridge, NY 

Oct 2022 - 2 Day Audit Spot with Training with Bria Boston, MA

I am also a AKC evaluator for CGC, CGCU, CGCA, S.T.A.R. Puppy and AKC trick titles.

I believe there is no “cookie cutter” answer to dog training and each and every dog is deservedly different. Each client has specific need, wants, and their own issues to resolve. Each dog program is individualized, tailored and designed to suit their specific needs and goals. My goal is to help those in the community have better relationships with their dogs through educating the owner, creating structure in the home, and holding the dog accountability for its actions.

Meet Your Trainers: About


Lead Assistant Trainer

In 2019, Haley began apprenticing under Shannon after being offered the opportunity to learn about dog obedience and behavioral training. Following apprenticeship, she began working as Shannon’s assistant trainer and transitioned to full-time trainer in 2022.

Haley holds firm to the belief that dog training cannot be put in a box. No two dogs are the same, and as a trainer, Haley values teaching open-mindedly. The use of classical and operant conditioning paired with dog psychology in training allows her to guide dogs to learn how to handle with excitement, stress, fear, and conflict with confidence—which in turn, produces a well-rounded dog that can make good decisions without owners having to micromanage. While psychology and core methodologies remain the same, techniques can be adjusted to offer the most individualized training experience.

Champions are made through challenges, and Haley believes that building trust and respect cultivates a foundation for success. Different dogs will have different thresholds, stressors, strengths and weaknesses, and it is the trainer’s job to elevate the handler-dog team to shine in all areas. This is done by appropriately challenging a team, and knowing when to praise and when to push for more.

Haley is a Certified Veterinary Technician in the state of Connecticut with an AAS in Veterinary Technology. She has been a certified Fear-Free Veterinary Professional since 2019. With this background, Haley understands that some dogs struggle with routine vet visits and is confident in equipping dogs (and their owners) to be comfortable with common restraint techniques as well as muzzle training.

Striving for excellence is a priority for Haley and she has invested in continuing education opportunities and working seminars featuring Justin Rigney (K9 Services Unlimited), Mike Nezbeth (Grassroots K9), Courtney Robbins (Global K9 Protection Services), Larry Kron (Pak Masters), Dave Kroyer (Canine Headquarters, DKA), Jerry Bradshaw (Tarheel K9), Jonas Black (K911), Jacqui Zakar (Dog Sense Training and Behavior), Julie Starbuck (Florida SAR) and Nino Drowaert (STS K9). 

Additionally, Haley encourages her clients to have fun with their dog and pursue genetic fulfillment as well as providing daily structure and balance. For this reason, Haley is a AKC evaluator for CGC, CGCU, CGCA, S.T.A.R. Puppy and AKC trick titles.

When not training, she enjoys hiking and gardening. Haley lives with her husband, 4 personal dogs and is honored to be a part of Coastal K9.

Meet Your Trainers: About


Assistant Trainer

Katelyn grew up surrounded by dogs through her mom’s dog grooming business. She had
owned many different breeds but had met her match with her rescue pit bull, Theo. In 2020,
Katelyn began working with Shannon, as a client, to curb Theo’s all-around misbehavior.
Through working with Shannon and implementing various balanced dog training techniques,
Theo grew into a well-balanced dog and Katelyn found training of interest as it strongly
paralleled her work as a Special Education Teacher.
In 2022, after 5 years of working with students with intensive behavior disabilities, Katelyn took
a step back from the classroom and joined Coastal K9 full time. While the two fields are vastly
different, Katelyn’s years of behavior-modification experience with Applied Behavior Analysis
and Operant Conditioning translate directly to behavior modification in dogs.
In the classroom, Katelyn strongly believes that “kids do well when they can”, meaning students
who are misbehaving are doing so due to a challenge in their environment they have not been
taught to handle or cope with. While her students are no longer children, Katelyn still believes
the same is true –“Dogs do well when they can”. Dogs with behavioral challenges simply do not
have the skills to handle what is being asked of them or a stressful situation in their
environment. She believes that with consistency, clear boundaries, and strong reinforcement
that all dogs and owners are able to conquer challenging behaviors.
Outside of teaching and training, Katelyn enjoys spending time with her husband and dog at
local hiking trails and beaches. The next training adventure for Theo will be relaxing on a
powerboat to make him a truly coastal-K9

Meet Your Trainers: About
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