MEET THE TRAINERS:
FALLON HOUSER – (Regional Director) Fallon has always believed in “walking what you talk,” and leading by example. That passion is what led her to found Tennessee Doberman Rescue Plus (www.TDR.dog), and attain her MBA degree while running a rescue, working full time, and having a child. She is a firm believer in education, whether it be for dogs or people, and loves doing what she can to help dogs and dog owners better their relationships and bonds through training and communication. In the 10+ years that Fallon has been Founder and President of TDR+, she has personally been involved in the rescue of thousands of dogs (and still counting), and grown the organization from a fledgling group of fosters – to a 501(c)3 rescue with volunteers and fosters throughout TN, KY, and in parts of NC and VA. In her 4 years with OLK9, Fallon has likewise grown her reach from one territory as a single trainer, to 8 cities and a staff of 25+ as a Regional Director and Owner through a combination of relentless work ethic and only the highest respect for client satisfaction.
Today, Fallon splits her time between working with her crew of trainers via continuing education opportunities, competing in multiple AKC venues like scent work and conformation, working personally with the clients involved in OLK9’s Service Dog Program, pursuing her Clinical Pet Nutrition Certification (a 500 hour course), and is a member of the DPCA, DPCN, UDC, AKC, UKC, SMDD, and TPU organizations.
With a wealth of training experience and almost 2 decades of K9 rehabilitative, training, and behavioral management experience – Fallon is available for private consults by appointment and can be reached by email at [email protected]!
SANDRA GUDGER – Raised in a military family, Sandra had the opportunity to travel the world over – her passion for dogs and animal welfare traveling right along with her. As a young adult, Sandra became employed as a veterinary technician where she worked closely with the staff (assisting in routine care and surgical procedures). The experience she gained there became a valuable asset to her and the dogs she loves. Over the years, Sandra took numerous animals in need into her home – nursing them back to health at her personal expense. Once recovered from their emotional and physical traumas, she then found them loving forever homes. During Sandra’s years rehabilitating dogs, she became an active foster and volunteer for the dog rescue – For Pet’s Sake Animal Rescue. Sandra considers herself to be a Pit Bull advocate, and enjoys doing what she can to change misconceptions about this highly misunderstood breed. Beyond simply being a professional trainer for OLK9 clients, on her own time Sandra utilizes her training skills in our East Tennessee community by volunteering with local rescues and shelters to help dogs become more adoptable. Sandra has now brought her rehabilitative knowledge to Off Leash K9 Training and the Sevierville area in order to provide pets and their owners a better bond through communication and respect for each other!
SHANNON THURSTON – Shannon brings a valuable combination of life skills to the OLK9 team! With her history as a social worker and special needs adoption coordinator for children and teens in state custody for over 20 years, Shannon understands what it takes to help those dealing with traumatic life experiences. Shannon has always been drawn to “dog people”, and it’s no secret that her life-long passion has been working with animals. Shannon has been involved with numerous all-breed dog rescue organizations since the late 90’s, but primarily with German Shepherd rescue since 2007. In that time, she has been instrumental in rescuing, fostering, transporting, rehabilitating and coordinating adoptions for hundreds of German Shepherds and in 2010 became an active member of Southeast German Shepherd Rescue serving as the East TN area coordinator, adoption coordinator, and officer. While she is no longer active in rescue, she served as the longest running area coordinator with Southeast German Shepherd Rescue and feels that giving back to animals in need will always be her life passion, whether that’s through dog rescue or dog training. Shannon is located in the Knoxville area OLK9 region.
JENNIFER “JEN” BELLE – Jennifer’s love of dogs came early in life; growing up, there were always dogs in her life and she knew her career goal was to work with dogs in some capacity. After entering college, Jen realized that biology and chemistry were not her strong suits so she reluctantly changed her major from veterinary medicine to finance. During her time in college and after graduation, she found her niche in transportation management where she spent 17 years. During that time she still maintained her love for dogs while rescuing, fostering and training dogs in need.In 2012, she entered the community of dockdiving when she realized her lab was a natural at it and fell in love with canine athletics. After that, Jen became very passionate about canine nutrition, training, first aid, and behavior – and how all of that related to making a canine athlete. She became a board member of Smoky Mountain DockDogs in 2015 and actively helps dogs not only to dockdive, but learn how to swim as well. In 2015 and 2016, she and her dog, Buckeye have earned several invitations for different disciplines to the World Championships. Jen brings a somewhat unique approach to OLK9 Knoxville with her background in canine athletics, passion of veterinary procedures and the K9 body, and business experience. She lives in Knoxville with her 10 year old rescue, Mojo, 4 year old lab, Buckeye, and 2 year old lab, Sloopy.
SARAH MORIN – Being around dogs her entire life, Sarah has always had a soft spot for any animal that truly needs help, especially dogs. At a very young age, Sarah’s parents instilled compassion towards animals in need, bringing any stray cat or dog found into their home until the owner or a new home could be found. As Sarah got older, her capacity for care did not change, but her capabilities sure did! Sarah began fostering for Tennessee Doberman Rescue Plus, helping to rehabilitate behaviorally troubled dogs via balanced training; helping them go from un-adoptable to finding their forever homes! As a trainer, Sarah’s passion remains with the dogs whose spirits have been broken. She understands that obedience is a staple in keeping troubled dogs with the family and household that loves them, and strives to guide these dogs back to a place where they enjoy life, and where their family can enjoy them. Beyond her work with aggression and anxiety however, over the last year and a half here with us at OLK9 Knoxville, Sarah has also taken a lead role in our scent-based Service Dog courses, going above and beyond to insure each K9 and Handler team is prepared for the challenges of service work in public and at home – no matter what they may face! Sarah is an AKC evaluator as well as an evaluator for Therapy Pets Unlimited.
SCOTT “SCOTTIE” GREENE – From childhood, dogs and dog trainers surrounded Scottie. His grandfather and uncles were avid working, sport-dog trainers. This exposure to dogs and training impacted his life, and influenced his interests and career. From elementary school 4H competitions, through high school and beyond, Scottie continued to compete in K9 competitions including herding and agility. After high school, Scottie joined the Army and was deployed several times, all over the world, throughout his 16 years of service. After the military, he then went to work for K9 LOGOPS, a military dog contractor, providing working dogs for the US Air Force, Special Forces, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In 2005, Scottie began his career as a K9 Handler and his wealth of experience presented him with the opportunity to to start the very first K9 unit in Greene County, where he was the Head Trainer. Dogs employed by the GCSD were pulled from area shelters and rescues, and were transformed into working K9s under Scottie’s watch
Scottie came to came to Off Leash K9 in 2017, bringing decades of dog training experience with him, and quickly became a client favorite in Knoxville and Sevierville, both. He is also integral to a sister program here in Knoxville, being the Head Trainer and Trainer Evaluator for Protection Plus K9 Training locations in TN, NC, and AL, where personal protection skills are taught to evaluated K9s in real-world situations and environments using a positive reinforcement approach. While Scottie’s down-to-earth, frankly honest, and often hilarious approach to training makes him a valuable member of the tram, don’t let his experience or outward appearance fool you into believing he is only interested in training the roughest and the toughest! He admits that one of his favorite clients to date is a Goldendoodle named George.
VANESSA PETTITE – Vanessa recognized her connection with dogs at a very young age, and know that she wanted to have them in her life as much as possible, beginning her training career about 10 years ago. In the beginning, she started by fostering for her local animal shelter in Oak Ridge, helping some of their harder-to-adopt dogs improve their manners and behavior. Through Vanessa’s volunteer time there, she witnessed how imperative training is so saving lives for dogs in need, and helping them find a forever home. Her handling abilities and compassionate approach with dogs quickly grew her reputation locally, and Vanessa began operating her own small business that focused on obedience training for people and their pets. However, seeking personal growth of knowledge and opportunity, she set our to join the OLK9 team, and in September of 2017, that dream became a reality!
A full-time dog trainer, mother, and wife, Vanessa has a 5 year old little boy and a husband that supports her professional goals. In her increments of free time, she enjoys crafting and spending time with her family, her friends, and her dogs: Snoopy, her 7 year old beagle, Helios, her 1 year old pitbull, and Isis, her 4 year old pitbull (named for the greek/roman deity). Vanessa genuinely believes that training is always the right choice for pet owners. For her, she has seen first-hand that training is so much more than tricks that a dog can do, although trick-training is a bonus for dogs who master Basic Obedience. She believes that real obedience training is a bond that you develop with your dog, and a trust that you build. REAL obedience results in a dog that connects with you under all circumstances, and REAL training is the part of dog ownership that makes the experience enjoyable rather than stressful. Vanessa is an AKC evaluator as well as an evaluator for Therapy Pets Unlimited.
You can reach OLK9 Training Knoxville at: