Meet our Trainers

tekla

 Tekla Viker – K9 Trainer

Tekla has been involved in showing and training English Springer Spaniels for 20+ years. She has bred springers that have been nationally ranked. Her dog, Evy, was one of the
first 10 springers in the country to earn her grand champion title and also competed in the 2011 Westminster show. Tekla’s experience, however, is not limited to the breed ring, she has also shown in obedience where she has won two specialty high in trials. Most recently she has competed in rally and agility. Over the years she has attended many seminars and clinics on handling, breeding and canine structure and health. Tekla is currently a member of ESSFTA (the national Springer club) and TCVESSA (a local Springer club).

Current Dogs


alice-howe

Alice Howe – K9 Trainer

From Saint Bernards to Papillions and puppies to MACH/OTCH dogs, Alice Howe trains
them all. Alice has been teaching for 30+ years. She has trained/handled multiple High in
Trial Dogs in AKC and CKC venues. In fact she and her Golden Retriever Bobbi were the 1st
Minnesota team to achieve both Agility and Obedience Championship titles!

Current Dogs:

 


tina-hince

 Tina Hince – K9 Trainer

Tina originally started training at Leashes and Leads in March of 2009 when she got her first border collie, Max. Max showed her the ropes and helped Tina understand the patience and excitement of learning and taught her many things about dog behavior. Tina has apprenticed under Alice Howe for 4 years and attends many seminars throughout the year. She trials in AKC agility with her two border collies, Rhap and Jive.

Current Dogs


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 Kate Thornton – K9 Trainer

A lifelong collie person who also has had a Newfoundland and a beloved mix. Kate’s life with dogs has been an education from, “I tell the dog what to do”, to “Let’s learn this together!”. Kate started her serious dog training in Rally Obedience at Leashes and Leads in 2009 and it remains one of her favorite dog training & competing activities. Kate trains in Rally, Obedience, Agility and Herding. Kate loves traveling to dog shows and seminars for competition and education, but sharing what she knows with students (dog teams!) is her passion.

Current Dogs:


 Mikaela

 Mikaela Gustafson – K9 Trainer

Born and raised in Minnesota, Mikaela has always had a passion for animals.  That passion carried through in raising and training dogs.  Mikaela has interests in many dog sports such as Agility, Disc, Tricks and Obedience.

“Angel” and “Chloe” are Mikaela’s current Miniature Schnauzers. She also has a Border Collie name Flash.  She has competed in agility with Angel and excelled every time they went on the field, earning multiple titles.  Angel and Chloe both earned their Trick Dog Championship- the first miniature schnauzers in the United States to earn this title! Recently, Flash has earned his Advanced Trick Dog title and is working on agility and disc foundations for his future sports career!

Mikaela is very ambitious and dedicated to continuing her education by working to improve her abilities as a dog trainer.

 Current Dogs:


 

amye

 Amy Edstrom – K9 Agility Trainer

Amy’s background is primarily in horses. She has been teaching, riding and training horses for Western Pleasure, Dressage and Hunter Jumper for more years then she will say.
Agility follows many of the same principals. From her horse background her strengths are in the ability to see the most efficient lines between obstacles, bring the awareness of body
language use for communicating, and years of adapting training techniques to meet the animal’s individual needs. Amy started training in dog agility and got hooked. She is currently competing in AKC, USDAA & CPE agility with her English Cocker Spaniels Fern & Thorn. Fern also competes in field trials and hunt test which means she splits her training time between agility with Amy and field work with her husband.

Current Dogs


 

amy-gau

Amy Gau – K9 Conformation Trainer

Amy has had collies her entire life. She has bred/handled/trained multiple nationally ranked collies. She has bred multiple dogs that have done well in obedience, tracking, agility and rally. She received her AKC judge’s license and is currently approved to judge collies and working on judging other breeds as well junior showmanship. She is very involved in the RMKC and the Collie Club of America.

Current Dogs


ashleybio

Ashley has had a love and deep desire to work with animals since she was a child. She saw her passion through when she attended the Petropolis Academy of Dog Training and Grooming in Chesterfield, Missouri. Upon graduation, Ashley received her certification in Professional Dog Training. With her Labrador Retriever, Dakota, she completed training in narcotics, advanced obedience and force retrieve. Ashley helps assist in classes and helps with one on one training as well.

Current Dogs:


 

The Vaughans

Don & Stephanie Vaughan – Therapy Dog Trainers

Don has had a lifelong love of animals. His dog handling experience includes Tosa Inus (Japanese mastiff), Saint Bernards, Neapolitan mastiffs, Boxers and English Springer Spaniels. Outside of the dog world, Don has extensive experience in herpetology as well as equestrian photography, specifically hunter/jumpers and saddlebreds. Stephanie’s love of giant breed dogs began many years ago when she spotted an English mastiff for the first time at a dog show near Milwaukee, WI. Her dog handling experience includes Tosa Inus, Saint Bernards and Neapolitan mastiffs.
Don and Stephanie began volunteering in animal-assisted activities with their Japanese mastiff, Majo, in 2002 through Therapy Dogs Inc. Their second therapy dog, Gaag, a rescued Saint Bernard, worked for just under 5 years with Alliance of Therapy Dogs (formerly Therapy Dogs Inc.), regularly visiting an adult detention center, a juvenile detention center and hospice patients.
Current Dogs:
Vita Sophia (Neapolitan mastiff)
Dizzy Bell (Great Dane mix)

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