MEET YOUR TEAM
ERIKA LESSA, dipCBST
AABP Certified Dog Behavior Technologist (CDBT)
IAABC Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC)
CCPDT Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
Role: Team Lead and Behavior Change Technologist
Erika’s path to working with dogs unknowingly began 18 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 most recently received her diploma in Canine Behavior Science & Technology from the Companion Animal Science Institute requiring approximately 500 course hours. She also holds her Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) from the IAABC, CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed) with CCPDT, is a member of the Pet Professional Guild and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She has been published in the IAABC Journal as well as local publications, developed and co-presented webinars, workshops, and programs on canine social interactions. Erika has worked with many shelters and rescues with adoption transition support for difficult-to-adopt and marginal dogs. Currently, She is currently living with 3 rescue dogs of her own. This year, she will be traveling to shelters and rescues to help with the development of dog-to-dog social programs.
CCPDT Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
Fear-Free Shelter Graduate
Role: Client Support Specialist
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 at UC Santa Cruz. There she assisted in many areas of the shelter from socializing dogs to triaging client needs. 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 moved to Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL) as an Animal Care and Adoption Specialist. She was quickly promoted to Dog Program Coordinator where she managed the behavioral needs of all the shelter dogs. During her time at PARL, she mentored under a variety of professionals in medical and behavioral fields. She received her CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed) and continues to work with shelter dogs while mentoring under various behavior consultants. She now lives with her fiancé and rescue dog Nate in Santa Cruz, CA where she is currently employed by Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter
CTC The Academy of Dog Trainers
Role: Training & Behavior Apprentice
Sam found her way to working with dogs via a 10-year stint as an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapist. After adopting a dog with aggression issues, she realized the skills she'd learned throughout her career could be modified to help train dogs. To facilitate the change of clientele, she enrolled in The Academy for Dog Trainers, where she gained a more in-depth understanding of dog behavior and learning theory. She was awarded her Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) upon completion of the program and is working toward her CPDT-KA while she volunteers with her local animal shelter. Currently, she lives with her husband, Dave, and their two rescue dogs and cat - the Three M-migos.
Role: Guardian of our Social Media Galaxy
Lauren is a content marketing and social media professional with over 8 years of experience. During her career, she has created and owned social media strategies and held a number of copywriting and marketing positions for companies both big and small including Philips Lighting and Montreal startup, Plotly. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University.
After growing up with dachshunds (she's a self-proclaimed crazy wiener dog lady!), she and her husband adopted a dog, Oliver, in 2016 from Save One Soul Animal Rescue League. Last year, she began volunteering with Save One Soul to help with their retail store's social media and external communications—combining her passion for dogs and marketing. She's excited to continue this passion with Cooperation Canine!
She lives in Cumberland, RI with her husband and their fur baby, Oliver.
NOTE: Lauren owns her own social media marketing company and is available to help other small businesses with their goals in the ever changing digital landscape. Her email is .
I CAN ONLY PROMISE THIS.
With us 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 limits – 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.