Hearts and Paws
Together for Life
Get to know us a bit more...

We have an awesome, well-experienced team dedicated to bringing out the best in you and your canine companion.

Diana Smith, CPDT-KA

Founder of Hearts and Paws, Canine Behaviorist and Trainer

Diana Smith has over 25 years of training experience and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). She has over 2,000 hours of study with some of the world's leading dog behaviorists including Dr. Ian Dunbar, John Fisher, and John Rogerson. These course studies focused on treatment programs for separation anxiety, phobias, aggression issues (over ten types), obsessive compulsive disorders, as well as genetic and medical influences on these problems. As a charter member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the largest international body of dog trainers, she has also provided an additional venue for continuing education and professional support.

In addition, Diana has worked with local animal shelters and rescue groups to train volunteers on temperament testing and behavior management. Most notable of these is the Austin Humane Society’s Behavior Rehoming Adoption Training Team (BRATT) which is still being used today. Diana is a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator and holds classes and tests for this program several times a year. Diana has also shown dogs competitively in obedience, agility, rally, conformation, field trials, and working trials and holds several titles. Fourteen years ago, Diana developed Club Pup--the largest and longest running kids with dogs camp nationwide and Austin's favorite summer program for children and teenagers with their dogs.

Kelly Springer, CPDT-KA

Canine Behavioralist and Trainer

Since she was little, Kelly's passions in life always revolved around animals, and she dreamed of becoming an animal trainer. Her family instilled in her that every animal in need was a life worth saving. From an early age, she was known as the neighborhood go-to for rescued animals. She would never turn down the opportunity to help any animal. To this day, she still does everything she can for an animal in need. Kelly teaches agility as a tool to build the relationship with both dog and owner, whilst giving the dog a work out of the mind and body. Students come with dogs who are excited, energetic, and ready to get started, and leave with a dog who is ready to take a nap!

Karin Liebrand, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP

Canine Behaviorist and Trainer

Gentle, fun and effective are words that describe Karin's approach to dog training. She uses rewards-based training to jumpstart positive communication between pet parents and their four-legged best friends, giving them a valuable skillset that fosters a spirit of teamwork, collaboration and trust.

She is a graduate of the highly respected Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior, a rigorous program that focuses on positive-reinforcement training methods, learning theory and hands-on dog training. In addition to training, she has expertise in canine body language and basic behavior modification.

In 2000, she first witnessed the power of training while working with a trainer to address her own dogs’ behavior issues. She quickly became a training enthusiast, attending Obedience, Tricks, Agility and Rally classes with her dogs and joining a canine drill team that performed at dog shows, nursing homes and parades. She also started volunteering at the Austin Animal Center which is now the largest no-kill shelter in the country.

A desire to become a professional trainer began growing in Karin, and after much soul-searching, she decided to follow her heart and pursue a new career goal. Before entering the pet services field, Karin worked as a magazine writer and editor, a technical writer and a corporate trainer after earning a Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Karin lives in Austin, Texas. Her pet family includes training superstar Squiggy (a skateboarding Border Collie mix who was adopted from the Austin Animal Center) and Flash, a goofy, loveable German Shorthaired Pointer.

Paul Mann, NADOI-C 

Canine Behaviorist and Trainer

Paul became interested in therapy dog training after searching for ways to fuse his love for animals and his desire to help individuals with disabilities, inspired by his early experiences accompanying his father on visits to nursing homes and hospitals. He began working with dogs at the Lee Mannix Center for Canine Behavior in 2005. Impressed by what he saw, Paul decided to pursue his passion. Paul is a Certified member of the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI), an evaluator for the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program, and a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. He has a degree in Psychology from the University of Texas and has worked with individuals with multiple disabilities at the Austin State School and at special education programs in public schools. Today, he continues to work with individuals with disabilities as a trainer for therapy dog programs. He has volunteered for Safe Place and the Austin Humane Society/SPCA. When Paul is not busy working, he enjoys spending time with his wife Krislyn, their kids Henry and Jocelyn, and their two dogs, Tricksy and Farmer. He also loves to play music, cook, hike and fish.

Kelley Corson, KPA CTP

Canine Behaviorist and Trainer

Kelley has always had a passion for dogs, especially those that need a little extra help. Coming from working in animal shelters, she has a soft spot for rescue dogs. Kelley loves to help the newly adopted dogs adjust to their new homes. She describes her number one priority when training dogs is making sure that the dog is happy and comfortable in their environment. To Kelley, training isn’t all about learning to sit, but also building a lasting relationship.

Kelley is a graduate of the highly respected Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior, a rigorous program that focuses on positive reinforcement training methods, learning theory and hands-on dog training. In addition, Kelley is Fear Free Shelter Certified, a program that emphasizes the need for low stress handling of animals in veterinary environments and making sure the animal is comfortable at the veterinarian. Also, Kelley is a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) to help foster her passion to learn.

She truly felt a calling to become a dog trainer through her work/volunteering at animal shelters and her rescue dog, Pepper. Pepper has been her biggest challenge and also her biggest supporter. She is a reactive and fearful rescue who has taught Kelley more in their short time together than any other dog.

When Kelley isn’t working, she spends time hiking or training with her two dogs, Pepper and Clove (a young Border Collie).

Natalie Barnes, CPDT-KA


"Natalie has always felt a calling to work with dogs and considers herself a "dog whisperer". Her love for all things canine paired with her passion for psychology made her a great candidate for our Trainer Apprenticeship! She studied under Diana Smith and recently completed her Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) certification. She is working on her certification to be a Canine Nutritionist.

Her friendly smile and bubbly personality are perfect for our puppy classes which she loves to teach. She aims to bring people and their puppies together through fun training sessions and lending a helping hand through the whole process. Natalie hopes to have her own Nutrition class in the future to help educate others on the impact that a healthy diet can have on their dogs!

When she is away from work, Natalie spends her time with her boyfriend (Matthew) and her Doberman (Ruby) hiking, camping, and doing anything outdoors!"

Kathryn Butts

Nose Work Coach and Judge

Kathryn Butts is an avid competitor, instructor, and judge for AKC Scent Work and UKC Nosework. She and her Scottish Terrier, Bentley, were the fifth team in UKC Nosework to earn the Elite Nosework title. Her classes are light-hearted, engaging, and driven by a passion for setting dogs up for success.