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Dog Academy

Meet the Team

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Meet the Team
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Dog Academy Team Members

Meet the Team

Jen Heil, Founder, President and Professional Dog Trainer ABCDT
Jen has worked with interactive technology and software development since 1995. In March of 2007, she left her role as Chief Technology Officer at MonsterCommerce and later Vice President of E-commerce at Network Solutions to pursue her passion for pets. Combining technology experience, expertise in starting and growing small businesses and her love for animals, Jen set out to make a positive impact for dogs through education, awareness and community support.

Jonathan Dakins, Director of Training Education
Jonathan graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with a Bachelor's in Psychology. After graduating with honors, he taught at a high school in North Carolina. Jon became a Professional Dog Trainer in 2007. His education in psychology, experience as a teacher and knowledge of canine obedience training and behavior modification all lend perfectly to his role as the creator of training materials and course programs available to Dog Academy Students.

Tolga Tanriseven, Director of Systems Operations
Tolga has a Master's in Computer Engineering from Southern Illinois University and a Bachelor's from Isik University in Turkey. Tolga has managed multiple web properties including a shopping portal, social networking community, content management system and internal billing and customer relationship management tool. He leads software development, systems operations and quality assurance to ensure our technology offers the ultimate educational and entertainment experience. The only thing that lures him away from his computer is his Golden Retriever, Figo, who stars in many of our dog training photos.

Clair Jordan, Marketing and Promotions
Clair attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a major in business administration. She has over 5 years experience creating presentation and marketing materials for small businesses and large corporations. She is well versed in online marketing strategies and events management. Clair successfully balances her busy career, 3 wonderful children and many volunteer activities through her church.

Melissa Brown, Customer Service Representative
Melissa graduated from Culver-Stockton College with a Bachelor's in Education. She has worked with dogs since she was 8 years old through a local 4-H Youth Group. Melissa specializes in dog training obedience and basic agility. Her love for animals is exceeded only by her desire to help people build a healthy bond with dogs through positive training programs.

Kym Williams, Dog Trainer and Agility Instructor
Kym Williams has been a life long animal lover and became serious about dog training in 1999. She rescued a badly bruised and broken Australian Shepard, named Kodiak, on a whim. She writes, "I was walking by a pet store that was hosting a rescue site. I took one look into his eyes and knew he was coming home with me." Once she entered the world of agility with Kodiak, this former competitive gymnast was hooked. She uses positive training techniques and focuses much of her time in helping dog owners learn to communicate with their dogs and build a healthy bond that lasts a lifetime, in and out of the ring.

Marilyn Gaffney, Dog Trainer and Owner of On the Spot Dog Training
Marilyn is one of only three NADOI (National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors) - certified instructors in St. Louis. She has trained more than 850 dogs. Her experience includes teaching puppy, beginner and competition classes, boarding training, private lessons and in-home training. She earned advanced titles in obedience competitions and raised puppies as service dogs for the blind.

Junior Team Members

Our Junior Team Members contribute dog training videos demonstrating how kids can - and want to - get involved in dog training. We are delighted and impressed by their ability to teach obedience and tricks to dogs of all sizes, ages and breeds. Dog Academy believes that by educating and involving our youth, we build a better tomorrow for future generations of our furry friends.

Morgan, Junior Agility Handler and Training Instructor
Morgan is one of the junior instructors with Dog Academy. At 14 years old, Morgan already has an impressive dog training resume. Unlike most agility handlers, Morgan did not begin training with her own dog. In fact, you might say this little black and white Border Collie named Bug, did the real foundation training! Morgan and Bug participated in many agility trials together before Morgan began training her own Pomeranian, Poof. True to her breed, Poof is full of spunk and sass, perfect traits for a budding agility star and her junior handler. We expect to see Morgan in the show ring one day!

Bailey, Junior Agility Handler and Training Instructor
At 10 years old, Bailey, with his young Border Collie, Grace, are just beginning their competitive career in the agility ring. However, much training and preparation has gone into Grace's development prior to her entering the ring and young Bailey has done it all. Wise beyond his years, he follows the positive training techniques taught at University level and has a natural ability to bond with and help rehabilitate dogs with a troubled past.

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