About Melissa Fenstermaker
Head Trainer & Instructor
CPDT, KPA-CTP, CCC, CTDI, AKC Stunt Dog Judge
Melissa has always had an interest in working with dogs. She started working at Union Lake in 2003. Shortly after joining us here, she went to school at National K-9 to become a Certified Dog Trainer. Melissa is a Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Certified Training Partner. Melissa is also a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI), Canine Conditioning Coach (CCC), Certified Stunt Dog Instructor and AKC Judge, and AKC Canine Good Citizen Approved Evaluator.
Melissa enjoys working with every dog that walks through the doors. Training dogs to learn behaviors that make their owners happy is what she enjoys most. This might mean obedience or trick training, confidence building, or any other behavior. The look on an owner’s face is the most satisfying reward. Her goal is to improve the bond between owner and dog by opening lines of communication through positive reinforcement training.
Melissa currently teaches the Puppy Pre-School, Basic Obedience, Advanced Obedience, Agility, Trick Training, Stunt Dog Training, Canine Conditioning, Therapy Dog Classes and the Drop-off & Kennel Training Programs. Melissa also oversees Daycare Introductions and leads the entire training team.
About Trainer - Rebecca Lane
Rebecca started as a kennel attendant, veterinary assistant, and daycare attendant at Union Lake Pet Services in 2011 and has been a part of the Union Lake training team since 2012. She continues to immerse herself further into the training and behavior world and is especially excited about working with dogs with behavioral problems like anxiety and aggression.
She enjoys working with dogs of all ages and sizes, but her main passion is working with dogs with behavioral issues involving fear and aggression to develop ways of resolving those behaviors. Her passion for dogs with behavioral problems is fueled by her own quirky Jack Russell Terrier. With Leo being her first dog, she quickly sought out the advice and expertise of Union Lake’s training team and veterinary staff for help. After working with her own dog and seeing how many other owners dealt with issues similar to her own, she started learning more and more about dogs with behavioral problems.
Rebecca is a Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Certified Training Partner and an AKC-Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. In 2017, Rebecca also became certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.
Rebecca currently runs our behavior training department which includes the following services: Quirky K9s classes, private in-home and private in-facility behavior modification, and drop-off training services. She takes pride in using positive training techniques that are based on modern scientific studies and that are completely force free to reduce the fear and anxiety of dogs in these programs. Her personal goal in any of these programs is to improve the quality of life for the dog and therefore improve the quality of life of the owner.
About Trainer - Austin Simmons
Austin started as a kennel and daycare attendant at Union Lake Pet Services in spring of 2015 and joined the Union Lake Training team by the next spring of 2016. Austin was trained by Melissa and Rebecca on how to understand and apply learning theory effectively with a positive reinforcement based training approach. With years of hands on training experience, Austin is currently pursuing his goal of becoming an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator. Austin continues to educate and immerse himself in the field of animal behavior and dog training by attending many educational seminars and lectures whenever he can find them.
Austin has always had a passion to work with all sorts of animals ever since he was young and very much enjoys learning about how animals learn, communicate and behave. Austin loves dogs and helping owners gain a better relationship with their animal through understanding dog body language and creating training plans to help manage and adjust unwanted behaviors. Austin trains other animals as well as a hobby and hopes to one day work with plenty of unusual and exotic animals.
Austin currently teaches the Puppy Preschool, Basic Obedience, Advanced Obedience, Agility, Trick Training and Drop-off & Kennel Training Programs.
"I don't help people with dog problems. I help dogs with people problems."—Austin
About Trainer - Jeff McKenna
Jeff started working at Union Lake Pet Services in 2016. He works as an assistant at the veterinary hospital in addition to teaching Basic Obedience, Advanced Obedience, Puppy Pre-School, Therapy Dog Classes and the Drop-off & Kennel Training Programs. He also oversees Daycare Introductions and hopes to be a veterinarian. Shortly after joining us, he went to school to master the basic principles of dog training through Karen Pryor Clicker Training Academy and is a Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Dog Trainer Foundations graduate.
About Trainer - Jay Clement
Jay has worked as an engineer, writer, teacher, kennel attendant, and a veterinary assistant. Jay came to Union Lake as a training client and joined the Union Lake Training team in 2017. His love for German Shepherd rescue dogs and a desire to train them to be “Good Citizens” lead him to search for more effective training practices to achieve the desired outcome. He found that method at Union Lake with their training team. At the same time, he found a new passion and a new occupational direction as a canine trainer.
Jay continues to study canine training, latest canine training methods and feels a strong calling to expand traditional training to include enrichment training as well as researching, promoting and developing a canine fitness program.
Jay currently teaches Basic Obedience, Agility and Canine Enrichment as well as Drop-off Training and Kennel Programs.
About Trainer - Kathleen Eales
Kathleen has had a lifelong love and passion for dogs. As a young adult she lived in the country where pets were all too often abandoned. Many found their way to her doorstep where they were taken in, nursed back to health if needed, and often rehomed to loving families. Kathleen volunteers with a bully breed dog rescues in many capacities – kennel care, dog care, outreach and serving as an officer and board member. These experiences convinced me that I wanted to do more to help dogs and their people.
In May of 2017 she graduated from the Victoria Stilwell Academy of Dog Trainers, thus fulfilling a long held dream of learning how to properly, and positively train dogs and their people. During her time as a student of VSDTA, she was fortunate to be mentored by Melissa Fenstermaker of Union Lake Pet Services.
Kathleen works part time at Union Lake – having a full time position with a national non-profit environmental organization for the past 20 years. She looks forward to the day she can fully pursue her passion of helping shelter and rescue dogs find loving families, and through positive training help families keep the dogs they have.