30 Years Serving the Great Lakes Region
Professional

 


CEO, Clinical Animal Behaviorist
James F. Lessenberry
CEO, Clinical Animal Behaviorist

My first dog, born in 1973, was a Labrador Retriever, named Ebony. She was a cornucopia of behavior problems, yet I loved her. For five years I tried books, classes and tears all to no avail. The books I used were poor at best; the classes I attended were cruel at the least. Eventually, I was forced to make a decision. This animal didn’t deserve to die because of her impractical behavior, but I didn’t deserve to live with her behavior either. As a compromise, Ebony was moved to a large run in my yard, where she was well cared for until she died at the age of fourteen.

Memories of Ebony bring about much sadness and guilt. She was a victim of misunderstanding and misinformation.


Since Ebony I have enjoyed the companionship of many dogs: Labrador Retrievers, Shelties, German Shepherds, Spaniels, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Terriers, and mixed breeds. I was always captivated by their common traits as dogs and their uniqueness as individuals.

Because of my experiences with Ebony I began developing my approach to training in the early 1980s, later earning a degree in the biology of psychology and behavior. I have been working professionally with pets and their families since 1986.

Today, I am responsible for the oversight of our services and products, which are build on a solid academic foundation of biological and environmental influences on behavior, combined with over 30 years experience as an animal trainer and behaviorist. I look forward to educating and helping you.


Trainer and Instructor
Evan Towne
Trainer

Evan joined us in the spring of 2012 as a Caretaker in our Urban Dog Campus. Evan was a pre-veterinary medicine student, but after experiencing our behavioral work with companion animals, he switched majors and earned a degree in Psychology and Animal Behavior at Oakland University. Evan is a full-time trainer and course instructor, and works as an assistant to Mr. Lessenberry in behavioral work with our client companions.



Administration

 


Bookkeeper
Rita Badalament
Bookkeeper

Rita brings a diverse background of business experience to our organization having responsibility for all aspects of our company’s bookkeeping. Outside of the office she keeps busy at home as an accomplished gardener and exquisite cook. She and her husband, Mike, have enjoyed the company of two Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen dogs – both graduates of our Off-Leash Training Programs.



School Programs

 


Trainer and Instructor
Evan Towne
Trainer

Evan joined us in the spring of 2012 as a Caretaker in our Urban Dog Campus. Evan was a pre-veterinary medicine student, but after experiencing our behavioral work with companion animals, he switched majors and earned a degree in Psychology and Animal Behavior at Oakland University. Evan is a full-time trainer and course instructor, and works as an assistant to Mr. Lessenberry in behavioral work with our client companions.


Teaching Assistant
Carmelle Flanagan
Teaching Assistant

Carmelle spends most of her days spinning yarns as a creative editor for commercials and films in the dog eat dog world of advertising. After brushing off those canines, she looks forward to moonlighting with the lovable Fidos and Spots that come to Animal Learning Systems for guidance in our group training courses. As a full time dog lover, she and her husband, Chris, have two rescue dogs, both proud graduates of our courses.



Urban Dog Campus

 


Senior Caretaker, Kennel Supervisor
Kim Ledford
Senior Caretaker, Kennel Supervisor

Kim is a caretaker in the fullest sense of the word. She has worked with homeless people, at-risk children, and shelter animals in a variety of settings. She is all about improving the lives of people through community education and programs, including: community gardens, livestock management and husbandry, special needs pet sitting, shelter volunteering, and work in spiritual communities. We are fortunate to have her overseeing the animals in our care.


Caretaker, Installer
Alex Emming
Caretaker, Facilities Maintenance

Although a graphic artist, Alex has a long love for animals and lives with a Jack Russell Terrier. Since joining us he has developed canine husbandry skills that make him an asset to our team. In addition to caring for the animals in our facility, Alex helps take care of our physical environments, too.



K9-Corp

 


In Training
Maverick
Headmaster

Born May 3, 2009, Maverick comes from fine German bloodlines of working Schutzhund dogs. "Made in Michigan," Maverick was bred by John O'Neil in Munger, Michigan. The pick of the litter, Maverick was selected for confidence, intelligence and looks. While residing with Mr. Lessenberry, Maverick goes to the office daily, accompanies him on many client appointments, works in our class programs and provides play therapy for dogs in our resident training programs. He will be crossed trained to work in all aspects of our business, with the eventual goal of achieving Headmaster status.


In Training
Axis
In Training

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In Training
Razor
In Training

Born September 2, 2002, at eight weeks Razor became Mr. Lessenberry's answer to those who suggest that he not understand the problems of little dogs. She could be walked off-leash by the age of 6 months, but required two years to earn the title "house trained". From 18 to 30 months and for no apparent reason, if unsupervised, she clawed random peep-holes into the drywall at he nose height. As a puppy she had no use for children, rules, or rodents. Today, she loves children, follows the rules and happily keeps the rodents at bay at her rural home. She is instrumental in developing the personalities of dogs undergoing one of our Off-Leash Training Programs. She is the optimal distraction in teaching dogs to pay attention to their handler and to be responsive under the competing stimulation of a terrier.



Under the Rainbow Bridge

 


In Training
Yukon
In Training

Born January 12, 1996, Mr. Lessenberry first saw him at three weeks, again at 7 weeks and brought him home at 10 weeks. Yukon went to work at dog school the following day and continued to earn a comfortable life in canine academia until his death in the the fall of 2008. He lived to the age 12 1/2. Yukon oversaw all of our canine programs with exemplary paternal skills. In addition to being hight trained as a working companion and teaching assistant, he had valued skills for teaching dogs to be better dogs. Not an aggressive dog, he was nonetheless the keeper of the peace.

Bred by Windrock Rottweilers', Jane Justice, Jane's naming convention for this litter was each puppy's registered name contained the word "Justice". He lived up to his name in every aspect: Yukon Duit Justice.



In Training
Frankie
In Training

Born Happylegs Croonin' Hearts, on January 6, 2006, Frankie outgrew his family in size and attitude and was adopted by Animal Learning Systems days before his 1st birthday. Because of his size, Frankie had been taught to lie down whenever children approached to help contain his excitement for them. Frankie, resided at our kennel, assisting in behavior therapy and training of dogs in our resident programs. At last check he weighed a lean 145.

Our Business Office

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Animal Learning Systems, Inc.
Business Office

18540 Mack Avenue
Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan 48236
phone: 313.882.6180
fax: 313.882.6151

Urban Dog Campus

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Animal Learning Systems, Inc.
Urban Dog Campus

210 Campbell Street, Suite D
Rochester, Michigan 48307
phone: 313.882.6180
fax: 313.882.6151

Birmingham Courses

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Birmingham Unitarian Church
Birmingham Courses

38651 Woodward Avenue
Bloomfield Hills MI 48304
phone: 313.882.6180
fax: 313.882.6151

Grosse Pointe Courses

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Grosse Pointe Academy
Grosse Pointe Courses

171 Lake Shore Road
Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan 48236
phone: 313.882.6180
fax: 313.882.6151

Plymouth Courses

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Happy Hounds Day Care
Plymouth Courses

673 S. Main Street
Plymouth, Michigan 48170
phone: 313.882.6180
fax: 313.882.6151