About Our Team
Dog Behaviorist & Lead Trainer
Stasia Dempster began training dogs recreationally at ten years of age when she joined 4-H with her Golden Retriever puppy, Honee. Within a few years, she had trained for and participated in conformation, agility and obedience competitions. Eventually she began training dogs and horses, utilizing species specific learning theory to achieve training goals and effectively modify unsafe or undesirable behaviors.
Stasia’s professional training career expanded in college, where she used her knowledge of animal behavior to help other students and local families train their personal dogs. While in college, Stasia studied psychology, biology and ethology, graduating with a degree in Psychology and another in Communications and Public Relations.
After graduating from college, she worked in a high traffic boarding and training facility as a trainer and kennel technician. During this time, she learned how to safely manage large play groups by reading body language during interactions and identifying potential issues before they could escalate.
Later, she gained employment as a veterinary technician for a mobile clinic where she became Fear Free Certified. In addition to helping conduct standard veterinary medical procedures and laboratory work, she also assisted the lead doctor with clinical behavioral diagnosis and the implementation of treatment plans for disorders in client’s companion animals.
Stasia eventually moved from Florida to North Carolina in order to pursue a Master Dog Trainer certification from the International School for Dog Trainers. This was an intensive six-month, in person program focused on the effective training of police K9s, SAR dogs, detection dogs and service dogs. The program also enabled her to simultaneously work with several complex and high-liability behavioral cases. She graduated this program with honors, and was officially certified to train pet dogs, police and military K9s, search and rescue dogs and service dogs.
After graduating from this program, she gained employment as a behavioral specialist and working dog trainer, eventually becoming certified as a FEMA Canine Search Specialist. During this time, her additional projects included being hired as a Canine Olfaction Expert consultant for Proctor & Gamble on a short-term research based project.
For the next several years, she specialized in training detection dogs, trailing dogs, HRD K9s, urban disaster search dogs and wilderness area search dogs. During this time, she worked with hundreds of behavioral cases and conducted group classes. She was eventually hired by an animal welfare society to assist in implementing a shelter-wide enrichment and behavioral program aimed at minimizing behavioral decline in long stay dogs.
After this project, she became a Certified Dog Behavioral Consultant (CDBC) through the IAABC and began her graduate education in Clinical Animal Behaviour through the University of Edinburgh, where she is currently pursuing her MSc.
She currently resides in Mooresville, NC with her husband and daughter. She has four dogs – Sophie, a nine year old Labrador mix; Lylah, a five year old German Shepherd; Castora; a four year old Belgian Groenendael trained in live find trailing, AKC Scent Work and Rally Obedience; and Halo, an 18 month old Belgian Tervuren training for Human Remains Detection and bite work.
At Synapse Canine, we have the education and experience to bring out the best in your dog.
If you have dog training goals, we want to help you achieve them!
Business Operations Manager
Originally from the UK, Tom Dempster grew up with a Jack Russell Terrier named Spot. Spot was a beloved member of the family and his affectionate nature left a lasting impression on Tom in his formative years, preparing him for a life surrounded by man’s best friend.
Since moving to the United States in 2018, Tom has worked with several small-to-medium sized businesses to help expand their online marketing efforts. Many of his clients have been in the dog training industry, which has led him to research and write extensively on various aspects of the world of dogs.
At Synapse Canine, Tom helps with the smooth day-to-day running of the business behind the scenes, working on finance and client operations. He also regularly runs trails and finds suitable hiding places for Synapse Canine’s search and rescue clients.
Tom lives in Mooresville, NC, with his wife Stasia, their daughter, Ariella, and four dogs (and counting…).