(727) 744-5914

6735 Gulfport Blvd. S.
South Pasadena, FL 33707


STK9 Training Company is a leading dog training company. We are licensed, insured, and a family owned and operated dog training company. The owner, Samantha Taylor, is a Certified Master Trainer and our other trainers are certified in their specific fields of expertise.

Samantha Taylor

Training Director

Samantha Taylor is STK9 Training Company’s Certified Head Master Trainer. Samantha received her certification through The North State K-9 Academy of Tarheel Canine Training, Inc.

Her certification includes:

  • Professional Obedience Training 
  • Patrol
  • Detection 
  • Man Tracking and Trailing 
  • Behavior Modification

Samantha began working with pet dogs at the age of thirteen at The Pasadena Pet Motel. Soon after, she began training dogs for a Schutzhund club and kennel. Samantha attended the University of South Florida, where she graduated with a double major in Criminology and Political Science. To pursue her passion for dogs, Samantha decided to attend North State K-9 Academy of Tarheel Canine Training. There she received hands on training with police, military, sport and pet dogs. She graduated as a Certified Master Dog Trainer and returned home to open her own business, STK9 Training Company.

Samantha is also a working member of The National Tactical Police Dog Association, The International Association of K-9 Professionals, The American Pet Dog Trainers Association and is listed as an American Kennel Club Trainer, and Certified Pet Dog Trainer.

Samantha is the president of Tampa Bay Protection Sports Association Club. She now competes in Protection Sports Association with her Belgian Malinois, Badfish. Prior to Badfish, Samantha competed with Ruco at PSA Nationals in 2014. Ruco earned his SVV1, PDC, PSA 1, and had several showings for his PSA 2. Ruco is also a trained narcotics detecton dog for STK9. Samantha also owns a German Short Hair Pointer, Scarlett Begonia. Begonia is a narcotics detection dog for STK9. Scarlett Begonia competes in Ultimate Air Dogs Big Air, where she qualified and placed for Nationals in 2017 and 2018. Samantha also competes in Ultimate Air Dogs with her German Shepherd Dog, Tatonka, who qualified and placed for Nationals 2017.

Samantha and Badfish earned their PDC in 2022 and are currently training for their PSA Level 1. Samantha graduated from DNM University in 2023 as a Raw Dog Food Nutrition Specialist, Pet Food Nutrition Specialist, and as an Avcanced Pet Food Nutrition Specialists. Samantha also become an official PSA Judge in 2023 has several trials already planned for the upcoming season.

Matt Taylor

Head Personal Protection Dog Trainer

Matt graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s in Biomedical Sciences. He went on to graduate from The North State K-9 Academy of Tarheel Canine Training, Inc’s Protection Sport and Decoy Trainer Certification course. Matt is a certified PSA Decoy and the Head Decoy of The Tampa Bay PSA Club. He is a working member of The National Tactical Police Dog Association. Matt was selected as a National Select Decoy for Protection Sports Association's (PSA) 2019 Nationals, 2021 Nationals and 2022 Nationals. Matt was also promoted to a Senior Decoy for PSA in 2019. 

Matt has a Dutch Shepherd, Kados. Together they compete in Protection Sports Association. Kados recieved his PDC and PSA 1 and also competes in Ultimate Air Dogs where he qualified and placed for Nationals 2018. Matt and Kados achieved their first leg of their PSA Level 2 and are currently training for their second leg of their PSA 2 Title. Kados is also a trained narcotics detection dog for STK9. 

DJ Trantham

Professional Trainer

DJ graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College with her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Social Work.  DJ then spent 9.5 years in the United States Army. During that time she completed 3 combat tours as a Criminal Investigator. Upon leaving the military she wanted to find something she could be just as passionate about as serving our country. That passion was working with dogs. In addition to being a dog trainer for STK9, DJ owns a Goldador, Ben. DJ and Ben were selected to be members of Sarasota K9 Search and Rescue. This is where DJ received her SARTEC III Certification and is studying to earn her SARTEC II. DJ also competes in Ultimate Air Dogs Big Air with her German Shorthaired Pointer, Classified. DJ and Classified qualified and placed for Ultimate Air Dog Nationals the last three years. DJ enjoys doing therapy dog visits with her other dog Nettles, a Yorkie mix.  She frequently opens her home up to foster rescue dogs. During this time she gives them a soft place to land, teaching them basic obedience and socialization skills until they find their forever home.

Danielle Higbee

Pet Dog Trainer

Growing up in a small pet sitting business, Danielle quickly became familiar with dogs of all shapes and sizes. She graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and went on to work in the field. Although she enjoyed her time in social work, she knew deep down that her passion for the pet industry was one worth pursuing. Danielle began working at a veterinary hospital while continuing to pet sit on her own. She then moved on to gain experience in various daycare and boarding settings. She has always enjoyed training her own pups and helping owners understand their dog's behavior. As basic obedience became more of an interest, she started to incorporate training into her professional work life, helping young puppies learn simple behaviors and aiding first-time owners in essential canine care. Wanting to explore more theory-based training, Danielle moved on to grow with STK9 Training Company. Here, she has been able to gain immense experience and learn alongside the entire STK9 team.

Danielle has two dogs of her own, a Catahoula mix named Tucker, and a Pitbull mix named Tophee. She is currently working with Tophee in agility training and one day hopes to compete. Outside of training, she enjoys taking her dogs on hikes or relaxing with them at the beach.

What makes us different?

STK9 Training Company is a licensed and insured company. Our trainers have gone to and graduated from a dog training school for their specific certifications. STK9 Training Company’s Training Director is a Master Trainer; and one of only a few in the state of Florida. STK9 Training Company has a kennel permit and therefor has random inspections from Animal Control, which they have always passed with the highest rating. STK9 Training Company is a part of The Pasadena Pet Motel family, and therefor able to utilize their amazing staff and facility for our students needs. STK9 Training Company gives back to the community by taking in foster dogs, training them, and finding their forever homes.