MEET YOUR TEAM

ERIKA LESSA
IAABC Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC)
CCPDT Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
AKC Certified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator (CGC)
ABC Mentor

Erika’s path to working with dogs unknowingly began 10 years ago when she adopted a dog with developing aggression issues. In the course of his rehabilitation she was introduced to the world of dog behavior. Her education came by way of hands on experience, multiple apprenticeships and self-education. She received her Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) from the IAABC, has her CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed), is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), and is a certified American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen (AKC CGC) Evaluator. Erika worked at the RISPCA for 2 years teaching group classes for puppies and adults, assisting with evaluations and adoptions. Now she provides services to shelters through the 501(c)3, non-profit she founded called UnShelter Me, which brings behavior and training services to difficult-to-adopt and dogs in adoption transition. She is currently living with three adopted dogs. Erika is focused on continuing her education by completing advanced coursework, attending training and behavior workshops and conferences, and participating in mentorships with industry leaders. 

JILL GANLEY
CCPDT Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)

Jill started working with dogs through shelter work. She volunteered for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in Santa Cruz, CA for 4 years while completing her Bachelor's degree at UC Santa Cruz. There she assisted in many areas of the shelter from socializing dogs to triaging client needs at the reception desk. After graduating and moving back to the East Coast, she began working at the Potter League for Animals as an Animal Care Associate. She continued to soak in knowledge and skills from her peers and mentors. After a year there, she started a job at the Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL) as an Animal Care and Adoption Specialist. She was quickly promoted to the position of Dog Program Coordinator where she managed the behavioral needs of all the dogs in the shelter. During her time at PARL, she mentored under a variety of professionals in the medical and behavioral fields. She received her CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed) and continues to volunteer with shelter dogs while mentoring under and working with various behavior consultants in the area. She currently lives with her fiancé and rescue dog Nate. 

I CAN ONLY PROMISE THIS.

With me they will be safe. A dog will never fear me. They may be afraid but in my hands they will know nothing but patience, kindness, and guidance. That applies to their caregivers as well. I have been on the other side - holding the leash of an aggressive dog that I did not understand, that made me cry - and I know how overwhelming it is to try and find help. I will use every skill, every ounce of knowledge I have gained, to support each being in the process.

 

What I have learned is behavior change is not about forcing an animal into situations that are based on unreal expectation. It is about helping that dog and family learn to work with the environment, restore choice, and reinforce different responses. I practice evidence-based training methodologies to address the underlying causal relationship between environment and behavior. No dog should ever be intimidated for communicating their feelings. 

Dogs teach me everyday and I am willing to learn. I promise to watch and listen intently. I believe in empowerment, confidence and joy. I believe in honoring a dog’s superpowers while respecting their limitations – momentary or not. I am committed to teaching people and dogs how to navigate the world they share through education and communication, empathy and compassion; Here to help people understand the vital connection between human and animal and love their dogs for who they truly are.

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© 2019 | Jones Animal Behavior and  Cooperation Canine, llc