Walter demonstrates "shaking hands" with his trainer


from expert trainers

Meet Our Trainers

Eileen Holst-Grubbe, CTC
Coordinator of the School for Dogs

Eileen joined the Richmond SPCA School for Dogs in September 2017, about a year after her graduation with honors from The Academy for Dog Trainers. The comprehensive and rigorous “Harvard of dog training schools” provided Eileen with the skills to help dogs be dogs in a human world.

Since beginning her time at School for Dogs, Eileen has honed a love for working with dogs trying to conquer problems such as leash reactivity and discomfort with body handling.

Eileen shares her life away from School for Dogs with her 10-year-old dog Willow and cats Kurt and Kit.

Emma Bailey
Behavior and Training Associate

Emma started her journey with the Richmond SPCA as an adoptions counselor and transferred to the School for Dogs in 2019. She believes that a mutually beneficial relationship between a dog and his guardian is built through positive reinforcement and understanding the specific needs of each dog.

Emma recently began her studies at The Academy for Dog Trainers, where she aims to acquire her Certification in Training and Counseling. She spends much of her time with her brother’s dog Floyd, who helps her practice her new skills. Emma plans to continue gaining experience and education as she pursues her career in the training field.

Jacob Burnheimer
Behavior and Training Associate

Jacob believes each dog has a different set of skills and strengths that are unique to that dog’s personality. He likes to use each dog’s individual skills and strengths to help with training, rather than prescribing the same routine to each dog he works with. Jacob is currently pursuing his PCT-A (Professional Canine Trainer – Accredited) certification through the Pet Professional Guild.  

Jacob has three adopted pets at home: a 9-year-old hound dog named Floyd, and two Richmond SPCA alumni, a 4-year-old black cat named Frankie and 1-year-old Gracie, a Maine Coon mix. 

Lesley Gurule, CPDT-KSA
Behavior and Training Associate

After volunteering in shelters for 10 years, Lesley began her dog training adventure as an apprentice with Amanda Gagnon Dog Training, NYC. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge and Skills Assessed. Lesley is an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator, a member of the Pet Professionals Guild and a supporting member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. 

Lesley shares her home with two cats, Chet and Albee, and her dog, Tammy, a Richmond SPCA adoptee.

Rheanna Miller, ABCDT, CPDT-KA
Behavior and Training Associate

Rheanna joined the School for Dogs as a trainer in 2018. She specializes in basic manners, loose leash walking, fixing problem behaviors and, as an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator, preparing dogs to pass this rigorous test. She knows that all dogs and guardians are different, so she modifies her training plans to fit the needs of the dog in front of her at the time. Training sessions should be bonding time (and enjoyable!) for both dog and guardian, and Rheanna makes sure to steer her lessons in that direction.

Rheanna was certified through the Animal Behavior College dog training program and is certified in Pet CPR. She earned her CPDT-KA certification in 2021. She has two dogs of her own: an 8-year-old Boxer/Lab mix named Simba who she has had since a puppy, and a Rottweiler named Grady who came from the Richmond SPCA in 2019.

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