Steve DeBono

Owner & Head Trainer/Behavior Guy

Steve and CharlieSteve began working professionally with dogs in 2002. Steve moved to Austin in 2007, where he trained at several dog daycares before starting DeBono Dog Training in 2010 or 2011. He’s also worked as the Austin Pets Alive! Behavior Manager, run after-school dog training programs for elementary schools, and is the behavior consultant to Dogs Out Loud.

While running DeBono Dog Training, Steve was also attending the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with an MA in Psychology studying dog behavior as part of Dr. Sam Gosling’s Animal Personality Research Lab. Friends didn’t see Steve very often during this period.

Steve’s approach is based on logic, science, and above all, empathy for both the dogs and their people. He takes pride in helping relationships develop and improve.  “People can learn so much from dogs about being present and living in the moment,” Steve says, “and all we need to do is open our eyes, hearts, and minds to what they are communicating.”

Steve is best known for the work he does with dogs exhibiting complex dog behavior problems such as those related to fear or “aggressive” behavior. He is also well known for using creative analogies, such as describing dog training as being almost exactly like ordering drinks at a bar. Steve’s straightforward style might not be for everyone, but he promises he is a nice guy. “Trust me and I will help you”, he says.

Steve finds writing about himself in the third person pretty amusing and thinks maybe he should do more of it.


Rebekah Lemaster

Trainer/Tricks Guru

Rebekah came to Steve not knowing how much dog knowledge she already had filed away in her back pocket. A few years later that knowledge has only grown (and now she is well aware!). Her interest in dog training was sparked when she adopted Winnie, a Border Collie mix that now knows more tricks than Steve’s past, present, and future dogs combined will ever know. Rebekah also has a knack for showing young puppies the ropes. Having cut her teeth working in child daycares as well as doggie ones, Rebekah is also great at working with kids. A tireless learner, Rebekah’s passion and dedication to mastering her craft is what DeBono Dog Training is all about. Rebekah is currently working on attaining her CCPDT dog training certification this summer.