Meet the Staff

Alfredo Ayala – Owner, Professional Dog Trainer

professional dog trainer, Alfredo Ayala

As a professional dog trainer, Alfredo has been called the “Dog Whisperer of Charlotte,” but if you see the way the dogs follow him in the yard, you would understand why his wife calls him the Pied Piper! Clients have brought their dogs from other trainers and programs to Alfredo and lamented that they did not find him first! He has something very special with the dogs that is a rarity. He truly does speak their language and is an amazing trainer!  Alfredo has years of experience as a dog trainer of all sizes, types, breeds and temperaments. After initially learning the old school “yank and crank” style of training back in the 90’s, he realized he needed a different method. He was thrilled to find the teachings of professional dog trainer, Michael Ellis, and reward based training. This re-ignited his passion for dogs and training and he opened his own business, DSL Dog Training and Boarding in 2010. It has been thriving ever since. His unique understanding of dogs and their signs of communication makes him a great trainer. He is also an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator and professional (dog trainer) member of the IACP (International Association of Canine Professionals) and APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers). To say that dogs are his life, would be somewhat of an understatement.


Sunny Ayala – Owner

As the “other” owner of DSL, I’ve watched the blood, sweat and tears my husband has put into starting and growing DSL into what it is today. Dogs truly are his passion and in my “unbiased” opinion he is the best dog trainer around! His heart is for every dog in the world to be happy and every owner of those dogs to be knowledgeable in how to facilitate that! I enjoy working “behind the scenes” to help make sure things run as smoothly as possible. When I’m not being dog-mom at DSL, I run my own Holistic Health business, “A Practitioner in Your Pocket”, where I help people suffering from all types of illness/disease and discomfort to regain their health naturally. I do it all online which enables me to be accessible to people from all over the country, while still being accessible to my amazing DSL staff.  I love sitting on my beautiful back porch enjoying my garden and starting up our new DSL parkour and free running team affectionately named, Barkour! If you have any concerns that my staff are not able to address for you, please do not hesitate to email me! Your happiness with our business is extremely important to me!



Shelby Hallman

I am the Manager at DSL. My time at DSL is spent ensuring the day is running smoothly and safely for your dog. I oversee Managers, Yard, Helpers, and Office. I really enjoy working with our clients, both human and furry! I love all dogs and even have one of my own! Pictured to the left is my smiley Mini German Shepherd, Luna. In my off time I enjoy spending time with my family, baking with my little sister, and hiking with Luna. DSL has helped me realize that we all truly love dogs and want to spend every possible moment getting love and playing! It’s wonderful to see this company evolve and I am proud to be a part of that evolution.


Ali Little

I have the privilege of being Creative Director and Office Manager here at DSL. I get to handle all of our community outreach, public relations, and marketing events for the company AND I get to love on the fur babies daily! I’ve been working in dog care for a few years now and it is absolutely my passion. I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else! I also help monitor for safety and different behaviors for fun play times, when I’m not at the desk, or at an event. Giving “our” dogs all the snuggles and belly rubs they could want is probably my favorite thing about this “job”.  I make sure your pups have all they could ever hope for while they enjoy their stay. In my off-time from DSL I love spending time with my husband, my daughter, and my newborn son, Gryphon. I love roller skating, dancing, and singing with my little girl, Leilani!


Cera Adams

I am an Assistant Trainer here at DSL. I train Boot camps, One-On-One sessions, and Training While Boarding/Daycare! I work directly under Alfredo as he has been my own trainer to get me where I am today. He’s taught me well, and I am honored to be a part of his dream, that is DSL. Nothing makes me more fulfilled than being able to calm a client’s frustrations with their dog by bridging that communication gap between dog and human. Knocking down training goals brings me so much joy! In my off-time I enjoy playing with my own pups, Chevy and Guthrie, who have two of the biggest hearts you’ll ever encounter! They definitely make life fun!



Drew Moore

I work in the yard and drive DSL’s school bus! I love being able to play with the dogs all day, and even drive some of them home in the evenings. This is my first dog related job; but I hope to make it a career! With my pup Brody by my side anything is possible, and everything is fun! DSL has made me realize what I want to do with my future! It is my dream, and goal, to learn to be a Dog Trainer, and eventually train the great K-9s of the Police Academy and maybe even the military! I’m sure with the knowledge I receive at DSL and my family, friends, and Brody supporting me, I can achieve anything! I am excited to see what the future holds for me here at DSL! In my off time, I like to play golf and watch football! GO PANTHERS!



Cat Matheny

It is my honor to be one of the yard staff at DSL, as well as training to be a trainer! As a former firefighter, safety is always my first concern; and nothing brings me more joy than spending my days taking the utmost care of your dogs! I love being able to come to work and it not feel like work! Working with dogs has always been the career path I’ve chosen for myself and I am so proud to finally be here, beginning this journey! In my off hours, I keep busy with my three children, ages 18, 14, and 2 years old! I also have 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 bearded dragons, 1 gecko, and 8 fish, so I guess you can say I keep my hands full! It helps me prepare for the busy seasons at DSL! I feel like working at DSL has made me a better person all the way around and that the staff here truly love each other as well as have an unending love for the dogs and I am so happy to be a part of that!



Kathryn Cannupp  

I am the operations and facility manager at DSL and I love it! I have years of experience working with dogs and it truly is my passion! I’d love to become a trainer at some point in the future! I have 2 dogs, Shay and Loki! They are my whole heart and we are happy with our new “home” in DSL. I can’t wait to grow with DSL and expand my dog knowledge!





Natalie Armstrong

I  am a yard attendant and helper at DSL which means it is my job to make sure your dogs are happy and healthy during their time with me! I love these dogs just as much if not more than my love for Harry Potter and Elton John! I am also a sucker for a doggone good pun…get it…. doggone!  I have a rottweiler named Mozart and he is so special to me!





Patricia Schmitt 

I am Lead Yard at DSL and I love it! I get to spend every day at work playing with dogs and making sure they come home tired! I am newly married to an amazing man named Cody and we rescued this beautiful girl in the picture, her name is Samoa because her colors are the same as the girl scout cookies! We are so excited to be a part of the DSL family and see where the future takes us!





Choncho, Bunny, Sophia, and Reina Ayala – Work Dogs

The work dogs can’t type their own bios as they don’t have thumbs, but they surely are a big part of DSL. When a new doggie comes in, our work dogs are used to help “introduce” the new dog to the big packs in our play yards; they help us in evaluating temperament. Where would we be without the joy, the love, the laughs and the warmth of our four little “babies”?  Choncho reminds us daily that living in the present means that everything and everyone is awesome all the time. Bunny’s sweetness is a real example that a rough beginning in life doesn’t have to end with a hard heart. Sophia teaches us how to work hard and play harder. Reina, is a work dog in training, because she is still young!  Who could ask for better teachers?





“We want to express deep thanks to trainer Linda Taylor for her encouragement and inspiration; without which, DSL would not be. She was the first to see dog training as our family business and helped speak our future into existence.”



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