Joann Rechtine, CPDT-KA, MS, MPH, RN


Certified International Dog Trainer

Joann has been working with dogs professionally for nearly twenty years, and specializes in educational event and seminar planning. In addition, she is a Fear Free™ Certified Trainer who focuses on problem-solving of dog behavior issues. She was selected as the 2018 Member of the Year by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the founder of The Loose Leash Academy. Joann received her education in dog training from the renowned Turid Rugaas International Dog Training Program; she’s one of twelve US-based dog trainers who has received an International Certification in Dog Training. The Turid Rugaas Program is one of the most prestigious in the world, and Joann is experienced in resolving dog behavior problems with the most effective, current, and humane training methods.


A LEader in Education

Joann has over 20 years of experience organizing educational events for the medical field and for dog training professionals.

She was awarded the Association of Professional Dog Trainers' (APDT) 2018 Member of the Year award for her outstanding commitment, passion and professionalism, and dedication for advancing the dog training profession and advocates for the pet industry profession. The APDT states Joann "continues to impress with her commitment and hard work. She enthusiastically takes on her committee projects and does incredible work.”


Joann excels at educating and training people. She loves to see people have that “aha moment” when big concepts and hard work come together. Having been a Registered Nurse for thirty-six years, an Adult Nurse Practitioner for twenty- one years, and a Certified Professional Coder through American Association of Professional Coders for nineteen years, she has done everything from patient care, to management, to running continuing education programs for medical professionals. Joann currently organizes educational events for dog training professionals in subjects like dog aggression, therapy dog training, and obedience. Joann is an expert at organizing events, and has planned everything from 1-hour seminars to multiple-day international conferences. These events attract dog trainers, behavior consultants, rescue and shelter workers, animal control officers, veterinarians, vet techs, groomers, among others.

The Loose Leash Academy is the culmination of career and calling for Joann, bringing together her passions, talent, and years of experience in education and dog training.



Joann has trained therapy dogs and taught therapy dog seminars for seven years. She has been a therapy dog handler for the past nine years, and has volunteered hundreds of hours with her own dogs. Active in local therapy dog chapters, she has worked tirelessly to mentor new therapy dog/handler teams, preparing them for their final certification evaluation. Additionally, Joann served on the board of a rescue organization that places companion animals with veterans in Rochester, New York. For six years, she was a therapy dog handler for Therapy Dogs International. She’s the co-founder of two Therapy Dogs International Chapters; one in Rochester, New York and the other in St. Petersburg, Florida. Some of Joann’s professional achievements include:

  • Member of the Education Committee for Association of Professional Dog Trainers

  • Chair of C.L.A.S.S. Committee for Association of Professional Dog Trainers

  • Member of Español Committee for International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

  • Evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program

  • Professional Member of Association of Professional Dog Trainers

  • Supporting Member of International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

  • Associate Member of Alliance for Therapy Dogs

  • Past Co-chair of Conference Development for International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants


Fun Facts About Joann!

  • She serves as a representative for the United States with the Pet Dog Trainers of Europe.

  • She has assisted with therapy dog testing and was a handler with her own three dogs for Therapy Dogs International.

  • She co-founded two Therapy Dogs International chapters in Rochester, New York and St. Petersburg, Florida.

  • Joann mentors therapy teams and teaches therapy dog seminars.

  • Besides her membership with APDT, Joann is a member of Pet Dog Trainers of Europe, International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, American Kennel Club, and the Alliance for Therapy Dogs.

  • She holds a Master of Science degree in Nursing.

  • She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Occupational Health.

  • She was a Certified Professional Medical Coder for 19 years.

Linda Landers


Administrative Assistant 

Linda joined The Loose Leash Academy team in 2019. She has worked in administrative roles for over 15 years. She grew up in Indiana and now lives in St. Petersburg, Fl with her wife, two sons and a menagerie of animals. She and her dog Nettles have been a registered therapy dog team since 2013. They visit schools, libraries, and hospitals.  Linda and her family are active fosters for a local rescue.  They have been fostering dogs since 2012, they have successfully helped 40 dogs find their forever homes. She takes great pride in fostering pups that are in need and having a therapy dog that helps people when they need her the most.