Meet the Philadelphia Dog Training Office Team 

The office team at Independence Dog Training works to help assist our trainer and her clients. We have office hours Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. Please give us a call if you have any questions about our Philadelphia Dog Training programs! 

John Van Olden – President/CEO

John is the founder and president of Canine Trade Group, a network of experienced, professional dog trainers from all over the U.S. who are committed to helping frustrated owners. All trainers undergo a rigorous screening and training process before they are allowed to become a part of the network, ensuring the trainers’ ability and dedication.

When it comes to choosing the best of the best in canine professionals, John is the perfect man for the job. He possesses over twenty years of experience as a dog trainer, starting with his years of service in the military and including his time on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Canine Professionals, founding the very first dog training franchise in the U.S., and at one time heading PAWSitive Solutions, the largest in-home training company in the U.S.

Cristin Ellis – Operations Manager

Cristin is Canine Trade Group’s Operations Manager and an accomplished trainer. She’s spent a decade training dogs for agility competitions and has earned several titles, including two Master Agility Championship titles on her Golden Retrievers, Rocky and Hunter.

Her knowledge of canine thinking and behavior is sound, and since joining CTG her knowledge of how to curb behavioral problems in dogs has grown immensely. From training her own dog, a Border Collie named Sike!, to address his fear aggression and anxiety, to helping countless CTG clients feel more secure in the relationship they have with their dogs, Cristin has proven to be a compassionate and knowledgeable addition to the CTG family.

She currently owns 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 Veterinary 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.

Get in Touch Now!

If you’re looking for professional, commitment-based dog training, throughout the Philadelphia area, look no further!  Call us today at 215.709.2560, or use our contact form, to have a better relationship with your dog.