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 owner is built through positive reinforcement and understanding the specific needs of each dog.

Emma shares her home with Fenway, a dog she rescued with her family in 2008. She recently adopted a quirky 3-year-old cat named Petey from the Richmond SPCA. Additionally, she spends a lot of time with her “nephew” dog Mr. Floyd.

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 two adopted pets at home: a 7-year-old hound dog named Floyd and a 2-year-old black cat named Frankie whom he adopted from the Richmond SPCA in March of 2019. 

Lesley Gurule, CPDT-KSA
Behavior and Training Associate

Lesley is a transplant from Brooklyn, New York. After volunteering for more than ten years at a local rescue and seeing how behavior issues brought dogs into the shelter, and often kept them there, Lesley decided to become a dog trainer. She was accepted into the dog training apprenticeship program at Amanda Gagnon Dog Training in New York City and completed her certification as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed.

Lesley shares her home with her two cats, Chet and Albee. Now that they no longer live in a closet in Brooklyn, negotiations about getting a dog have commenced. 

Rheanna Miller, ABCDT
Behavior and Training Associate

Rheanna joined the School For Dogs as a trainer in 2018. She specializes in basic obedience, helping correct problem behaviors and crate games. Rheanna is a certified Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer and is certified in pet CPR.

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