North East Orlando Team Members

chrismcgroartyChristopher McGroarty, Business Manager/Trainer

Chris was (and still is) a cat guy who suddenly found himself a part of the canine world. Now he doesn’t know how he ever lived without these canine friends in his life! He has been a supporting instructor for Puppy Kindergarten, Basic, Intermediate Skills, Sniff ‘n Seek, and Tricks classes since 2013. He is Lina’s husband and assists with the business side of DOG WILLING. 

Chris is a Provisional Member of The Pet Professional Guild and a member of the Central Florida Force-Free Trainers Network. He is CPDT-KA certified and hopes to one day extend his training expertise to felines.

Jamie Popper, Lead Trainer

Jamie Popper has been a professional dog trainer since 2011. She specializes in advanced trick Jamie and Roodog training, therapy dog and service dog training. She enjoys organizing hiking events with fellow dog guardians, crafting new and convenient tools to simplify training, and learning something new about canines every day. She has a strong enthusiasm for teaching and presenting to the general public. Jamie takes great pleasure in helping others build the bond with their pets. She is passionate about using the least aversive training techniques in order to train dogs new behaviors and replace undesirable behaviors. She enjoys discussing the nuances of reward based training including Clicker training.
Jamie is owned by a boisterous Australian Shepherd with whom she participates in dog sports. Her dog holds the CGC, BN, and CD title and has received multiple 1st place awards while trialing in Competitive Obedience. Roo has also appeared in the Orlando Weekly newspaper, won first Prize in the inaugural Pet Professional Guild International Celebration of Force Free Training trick contest, and has performed in many demonstrations to include performing at the Global Pet Expo 2015 for Wham-O Pets. Jamie and Roo have also been invited to be on local news stations, and the well-known nationally broadcasted show Daytime TV!

You will enjoy working with Jamie as she guides you through beginner to advanced skills using positive reinforcement. Her upbeat personality and lively teaching style will make the time fly by as you are having fun building the bond with your dog!
Jamie is currently continuing her education through DogNostics and is studying to obtain a Dog Behavior Consulting diploma. She is a member of the Central Florida Force-Free Trainers Network, and is an Associate Member of the Pet Professional Guild. She also is a UCF graduate and earned a degree in Exceptional Student Education K-12.

Elycia Tenney, Lead Trainer

elyciatenneyElycia has always been a lover and rescuer of animals. She has never known a life without animals. It is Elycia’s passion to strengthen the relationships between pets and their guardians by fostering better communication between them without the use of force, pain, or intimidation. Instead, it’s kindness, education, and the application of science-based training techniques that allow Elycia to be a voice for animals and an intermediary between them and their people. After an early start training her family’s dog, Dakota, in elementary school, she began training professionally at eighteen by assisting Cheryl Brown, a force-free trainer in Bradenton, Florida—a method of training Elycia used herself to train her new, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog puppy, Hannah, into a joyful, gleaming example of the power of kindness and patience. Elycia then attended the University of Central Florida and received her Bachelor’s of Sciences degree in Psychology. At the same time, Elycia fostered and then adopted Ginger, a scared, anxious stray, and helped Ginger to be awarded her AKC Canine Good Citizen certification. Ginger now acts as Elycia’s “demo” and neutral dog during group classes and private lessons. Elycia has completed over a year long internship with Leah Roberts and has attended every class DOG WILLING has to offer—multiple times! Leah Robert’s and DOG WILLING truly changed Elycia’s life and she hopes to continue educating others. Elycia’s qualifications include CPDT-KA certified, a Provisional Member of the Pet Professional Guild, a member of the Central Florida Force-Free Trainers Network, and an active Volunteer at shelters and rescues throughout Central Florida.

Megan Sullivan, Assistant Trainer

megansullivanMegan has always surrounded herself with dogs and could be found in the backyards of family members training their pets just for fun. She found her way to DOG WILLING in the Fall of 2011 and hasn’t left since. What started as training classes for her new puppy turned into a chance at something she had always wanted to pursue. She has been personally mentored by Leah Roberts, who taught her just how important early socialization and positive training methods are.

Megan has been assisting in classes ever since that first puppy class with her dog Ony. She has since added a Papillon named Banshee to the family. Megan enjoys training her dogs new tricks. She excels at a clicker training technique called shaping, which requires a good eye and great timing! She has a keen interest in puppy socialization and learning through distractions, as seen in our Downtown Hounds outings and service dog skills.

Megan is an Assistant Dog trainer at DOG WILLING and can often be found helping with group and private classes and Puppy Socials. She is currently studying to become CPDT-KA. Megan is a Provisional Member of the Pet Professional Guild, and a member of the Central Florida Force-Free Trainers Network, We are thrilled to have Megan as part of the DOG WILLING team!  

 Peggy Spencer, Lead Trainer

Peggy Spencer is a professional dog trainer with over 30 years of experience in group classes Peggy Spencerand private lessons. In 1992 Peggy started Follow My Lead, which New York Magazine recognized as one of the best training schools in New York City. A founding member of the Society of New York Dog Trainers, Peggy has made frequent appearances on both national and local news stations as an expert consultant on dog behavior. As both an owner and a trainer at Follow My Lead, Peggy developed a reputation for her ability to understand the root causes of dogs’ behaviors and how to improve communication between dogs and their owners. Peggy provides practical, realistic answers for people wanting to develop the skills necessary to understand the unique needs of their dog.
In 2013 Peggy moved to Florida to retire but soon found that dog training was too much a part of her life to leave behind.

Lauren Kowalske, Pet Care Technician

Lauren is the newest member of Dog Willing. Growing up she was constantly surrounded by dogs; being part of multiple animal rescues and organizations. She has fostered and trained over 100 dogs of all shapes and sizes ranging from Chihuahuas to St. Bernards. Lauren’s main goal is to provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere for your canine friend while teaching them socialization skills and proper play etiquette.

Lauren is currently majoring in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Central Florida and uses her knowledge every day in her work. With a background in psychology she is able to quickly understands a dog’s needs and what is necessary for them to succeed. Lauren is a kennel technician at DOG WILLING and can be found assisting with puppy socials and watching over your dogs at daycare.