Meet the office team at Heart of Texas Dog Training 

John Van Olden – President/CEO

John is a recognized and respected member of the community of canine professionals. His twenty years of dog training experience began in the military and continued to grow as he started the very first dog training franchise in the country, K-9 Advantage, and helped found the International Association of Canine Professionals. Today, he is the president of the dog trainer network, Canine Trade Group.

Canine Trade Group’s mission is to connect frustrated dog owners with professional in-home trainers. The network includes trainers all over the country who have been screened, educated, certified, and approved by John to ensure clients are getting the very best aid in their quest to help their pet become a more ideal part of the family.

Cristin Ellis – Operations Manager

Cristin has been training dogs in agility for ten years but decided to focus on behavior after bringing home her Border Collie, Sike!. Sike! came with bad habits stemming from fear and anxiety.

Although Cristin had a good handle on behavior modification and canine psychology, it took working for Canine Trade Group and attending their in-depth training courses to help fix Sike!’s problems for good.

As Operations Manager, Cristin will not only answer a potential client’s call, she’ll be able to relate to and understand the client’s problem.

She lives with her husband and three Border Collies, Sike!, Elsa and Phineas.

Nicole Zulkowski – Veterinary Relationship Manager

Ever since she was a child, Nicole knew that she wanted dogs to be involved in her life and her career. She attended Ursinus College and graduated with a BS in Biology, aiming to work in the animal field. All throughout high school and college, Nicole worked various jobs involving animals. Later after graduating, she worked as a veterinary technician and as a handler at a dog daycare. It was here that her interest in dog behavior came to full fruition, and began seeking opportunities in the dog training industry.

Nicole found Canine Trade Group and joined their office staff, talking to owners about their dog problems and guiding them to the right training program that would address all their needs and training goals. She has studied the dog training course that Canine Trade Group’s trainers take, which has built her understanding and experience in complex canine behaviors.

She lives happily with her two dogs: her Pitbull mix named Willow and a Boston Terrier/Pug mix named Brooklyn.

Dr. Karen Usselman V.M.D. – On Staff Veterinarian Consultant

Dr. Usselman is originally from western New York, attended Cornell University and then the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia.  She graduated in 1996 and joined Brenford Animal Hospital in May 1996.  She is currently a partner with the practice.  Dr. Usselman enjoys working with dogs and cats.  She is particularly interested in internal medicine, ultrasonography, behavior and dentistry.

She serves as the treasurer of the Delaware Veterinary Medical Association and has taught in the Delaware Technical College Vet Tech program.  Dr. Usselman is married to Dr. Jeff Booth and has two children, three dogs and a cat to keep her busy at home.


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