Meet the Dog Nerds

We have the skill, knowledge, expertise, and desire to help alter the life of both you and your dog through real behavior change.

Lisa Radosta,

Lisa Radosta

DVM, DACVB: Co-founder of Dog Nerds

In every part of my life since I was 6 years old, there was an animal who grounded me, gave me purpose on those really hard days, and loved me unconditionally. Whether a dog, cat, horse, or turtle, they were always there for me.

I fell in love with training animals and trying to understand how they learn when we brought our first dog into the family, a black Lab puppy. I was six years old. As I grew up, training dogs gave me joy and I trained and showed my dogs in tracking, herding, and obedience.

I rescued Rottweilers and learned plenty about how to help dogs who are reactive, fearful, and anxious, and feel less scared through proper positive reinforcement training. That love of animals brought me to veterinary school (University of Florida), and a residency in clinical behavioral medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2006, I have owned the Florida Veterinary Behavior Service, a clinical behavioral medicine specialty service where we treat animals of all types with serious behavior problems.

I am fortunate enough to be a sought-after speaker and have lectured from Miami to Moscow and pretty much everywhere in between. I coauthored From Fearful to Fear Free, a guide for fearful dogs, but I am most proud of Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat, 4th edition, a comprehensive, practical textbook for treating behavior problems. I have been lucky enough to write book chapters for many textbooks. Through my media work, whether it be blogs, interviews in print, documentaries, or major television outlets like Nat Geo Wild, Animal Planet, or CNBC.

I have worked to get the word out that there are no bad dogs, just misunderstood dogs. I always say, there are many answers to every question. There is always hope.

Here are other facts about Lisa she did not include:

  • Mentoring: She has continued to mentor and coach residents in her practice until they are ready to take the board exams and go out on their own. At this writing, there are only just over 80 board certified veterinary behaviorists around the world.
  • Awards: During her residency at U of Penn, she was awarded the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists Resident research award two years in a row.
  • Publications: She has authored research articles published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science, Journal of Veterinary Behavior, and The Veterinary Journal and written review articles for Advances in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Compendium, NAVC, Veterinary Team Brief, Clinician’s Brief, and AAHA Newstat.
  • Service: Lisa has served on the Fear Free Executive Council and the AAHA Behavior Management Task Force.
  • Sought-after expertise: She has been interviewed for many publications including Cat Fancy, Dog Fancy, Palm Beach Post, NAVC Clinician’s Brief, Sun Sentinel, WebMD, AAHA trends, Real Simple, Good News for Pets, DVM 360 and AAHA News Stat. She has appeared on Lifetime television, Laurie Live, local news in southeast Florida, Mitch Wilder’s Amazing Pet Discoveries, Nat Geo Wild, Animal Planet, Steve Dale’s Pet Talk and Dogs, CNBC, and Cats and Scapegoats.

Mindy Cox

B.S., CPDT-KSA: Co-founder of Dog Nerds

From my earliest memories, I have been drawn to animals of all kinds. I have cared for many furred and feathered friends including dogs, cats, horses, parrots, and even an injured red-tailed hawk. (While doing raptor rehabilitation at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, she came in with a wing that had been shot. The wing was unable to be saved and I continued to care for her. I called her Mariah).

I continued to pursue my passions and graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. While there, I had the most amazing dog, Sabra. She came with me everywhere, including to my classes (which was allowed at the time!). I learned as much from her as she did from me.

From there I attended the University of Georgia for a master’s degree program in Veterinary Anatomy where I met my future husband, David, in the veterinary school.  I developed critical thinking skills and the ability to research and think through problems from different angles. This would prove to be critical in my future work with behavior issues in dogs.

As an adult, I always had a companion dog and faithfully took them to obedience classes, but I was quickly disillusioned with the punishing methods of using pain, fear, or coercion to get results. I was thrilled to discover positive reinforcement training.  No more punishing methods. My dog and I were much happier and learned quickly! It was a pivotal life moment for me.

My interest grew, while my husband and I were creating and building Harmony Animal Hospital, with me as the Hospital Administrator overseeing all aspects of its internal and external growth. David and I built it into a well-respected practice with over 40 employees. During those years, I engaged in all kinds of dog-related activities and competed in dog obedience and agility. I also provided animal-related opportunities to the animal hospital clients in the form of programs such as pet therapy and puppy kindergarten, as well as to the staff with education on kinder animal handling, and understanding behavior.

I built Lucky Dog Training Club, the largest dog training facility in the area, and began to apply my full energy to helping people create the best possible partnership with their dogs. It was serendipity that Dr. Lisa Radosta agreed to teach Reactive Dog classes where I assisted her. She became my mentor in better understanding dog behavior, as well as a good friend.

I studied, took courses, and continued to learn.  I became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with two certifications, a Professional Member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and a Certified Fear Free Professional.

With the desire to bring help and solutions to many more people struggling with dog behavior issues, Lisa and I created Dog Nerds and we offer professional and expert online solutions. Our friend and fellow pet professional, Cheryl came aboard later as a Dog Nerds coach.

I have two happily married sons, Joshua and Michael, and spend a lot of time with my 4-legged companions, including multiple dogs, and a horse. By helping people far and wide with their dog’s behavior issues,  my earliest animal passions have been fulfilled.

Cheryl VanVoorhies

Cheryl VanVoorhies

M.Ed., CTC

I transitioned into the animal world after a successful career in education. I worked with underprivileged children, children with behavior challenges, and eventually moved into administration as an Assistant Principal.

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock University, and my a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University.

The time I spent working with challenging students led to a nice transition in my present career path of working with dogs with behavior issues. I received my dog training professional certification from Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog trainers, which many regard as the “The Harvard school of dog training.”

My evolution into working with animals occurred after I brought my 8-week-old German shepherd puppy home. Seele was not like any puppy I had ever raised. She was fearful and anxious, and taught me so much about helping dogs like her live a more enjoyable and full life. It also gave me insight to help others with the same issues.

I started out assisting Lisa and Mindy in Reactive dog class in 2008 after working with my own reactive dog, Seele. I could relate to the pet parents in class struggling with their own dogs’ issues.

I began teaching dog classes at Lucky Dog Training Club which was owned and run by Mindy. I taught many classes such as puppy class, Nose Work, obedience, and fun, games, and tricks classes.

I progressed into working as a Veterinary Behavior Technician at Florida Veterinary Behavior Service, a veterinary behavior specialty practice owned by Lisa, where I worked since 2012. I implemented and troubleshot behavior modification treatment plans to ensure my patients’ success. I dealt with many anxious and aggressive animals with a wide range of emotional disorders.

I have lectured at the largest Veterinary Conference in North America speaking about noise aversion, and a Veterinary Technician Summit addressing noise aversion and motion sickness. I have also lectured locally on dog-related topics.

When Lisa and Mindy asked me to join the Dog Nerds team, I gladly accepted. I am so grateful to be a part of this team and to be able to help you and your dog become the best.