Jessica was first introduced to Trainers Academy, LLC and clicker training for dogs in 2010 shortly after adopting Max, a mix breed puppy who was shy/fearful, and dog reactive. Her vet recommend day care at Trainers Academy for Max, which he started that same week. With slow, proper introduction to other dogs, Max became a confident reliable player, and Jessica was amazed at the transformation in him. Max and Jessica had tried classes at a different training places, but ended up dropping out because they were not a good fit for Max's nervous temperament. After seeing how well Max did in day care at Trainers Academy, she immediately signed up for an intermediate class, where she became hooked on clicker training. Jessica started as a volunteer Training Coach right after she and Max graduated class and from there, her little Max went from being a shy/fearful and dog-reactive dog, to earning his Canine
Good Citizen and Therapy Dog Certifications.
Jessica has a Bachelor’s degree in Equestrian Studies from the University of Findlay, and she's been around horses and dogs since she was a young child. She first tried her hand at dog training by teaching the family’s Samoyed to pull a sled. Jessica starting riding horses at the age of 7, and after years of begging her Dad, finally got her own horse at 15. Okie was a 5 year old Appendix Quarter Horse who had been abused and whose fear was leading to dangerous behaviors. Jessica recognized early on that the advice she was getting to deal with Okie’s behaviors was making things much worse, not better. It didn’t make sense to her to punish him or force him to "face his fears" when he was terrified. Not knowing how else to deal with his fear, but realizing punishment wasn't the answer, she began to ignore his outbursts and speak to him quietly and calmly instead. Very quickly Okie's unwanted behaviors became less severe and less frequent, and he began to look to her when afraid versus panicking. Okie went from being a horse who wouldn't tolerate a bridle being put on, to a horse Jessica could ride bareback with just a halter and lead rope, 100 feet from a working backhoe, which previously terrified him. This was her first real experience with how well positive reinforcement works to help a fearful animal.
Jessica got her first dog of her own while in college – Dante, a little Shepherd mix. After college she spent 12 years in the horse world working as a groom/barn manager for Dressage horses up to Grand Prix level, and as a Mare Barn manager working with Spanish Horses. While working in Virginia she got her Schipperke, Chaucer, and fell in love with the breed. After 12 years of traveling between states and going to Florida for the winter with her dogs and sometimes Okie, she decided it was time to stay home in Michigan and started working in Human Resources.
Jessica has been a Training Coach for Lisa, Sue, and Devene for more than 8 years, and is working towards obtaining her CPDT-KA credential. Jessica currently fosters Schipperke’s for Mid West Schipperke Rescue. She shares her life and home with Roscoe (a Lab/Boxer mix), and her long term foster Schipperke, Dutch.
Comments from former students:
"Jessica & her volunteer...Ellen gave us their undivided attention. Any & all questions were answered no matter how big or small. Teaching safety as well as a fun learning experience were the highlights for me.They both were VERY upbeat with each class."
~Pam Parowski with Riley
"Jessica is a great asset to your team! She is extremely friendly and is able to adapt her style to each dog in the class providing individualized guidance for each dog. Never did I feel forced to do anything and I looked forward to attending class each week. Jessica has great experience and tips to help us out!"
~Alex & Alison Batt with Mia
"Jessica is an awesome instructor and has a valuable, positive energy. Extremely helpful and very nice."
~Steve Lyles with Ruby
"Jessica provided a detailed email with suggestions to resolve some problems we were having. She is very attuned to the specific needs of each dog."
~Van Wagner with Molly
"Jessica was extremely helpful in class and providing email follow-up to specific concerns we had with Clio."
~Karen Rosenstein with Clio
"Jessica was amazing! We loved going to the classes. She made it fun, yet a wonderful learning experience! She answered any questions and gave advice when asked!"
~Grace Farr with Gibson