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About Me
Laura Mees, Trainer


Working with animals has always been a labor of love for me. I began my journey working with foster dogs and apprenticed at an animal control shelter, where I helped dogs learn how to build impulse control, walk well on leash, and the skills they would need to be successful in their forever homes. I also took on dogs that were returned to a local rescue for behavioral issues providing pre-adoption training and post adoption support for higher need dogs. After years in sheltering and rescue, I began taking on training, specialized house sitting, walking & enrichment clients privately.

I am deeply passionate about collaborating with dog owners to help them learn how to set their dogs up for success and to strengthen the canine/human bond. 

In addition to working closely with private clients, I spend my spare time studying training mechanics and the science of how dogs learn. 

More About My Skills & Qualifications

Contra Costa Animal Services
Behavior Team Apprenticeship

  • Participated in behavior intake evaluations/re-evaluations; used low-stress handling techniques to help dogs safely exit & return to kennels, & coached volunteers in safe exits/returns as needed

  • Filmed & assisted behavior team with dog/dog introductions & playgroups using SPA guidelines

  • Under behavior team guidance, applied principles of learning theory to create and implement training plans; assisted training staff with public group classes 


Contra Costa Animal Services
Lead Volunteer

  • Mentored, trained & supervised new volunteers in handling, enrichment & adoption counseling

  • Handled dogs in introductions between adoptable & resident dogs; educated adopters on body language in interdog interactions

  • Planned, prepared & delivered enrichment to shelter dogs; used standard training protocols to improve quality of life & adoptability (e.g. click to calm & treat/retreat games)

  • Worked with potential adopters to match them with a dog who meets their needs; counsel on behaviour & integration with other animals in the home

  • Partnered with shelter leadership to advocate for volunteer program needs & provide feedback from participants & adopters; communicate leadership meeting outcomes to the volunteer group to help build engagement/motivation within the program

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Contra Costa Animal Services
Foster &
Field-trip Program Management

  • Created processes needed to launch & run foster/field trip program, affording dogs decompression & enrichment opportunities with members of the public.

  • Used LIMA based handling techniques to put on and remove harnesses, leashes, and martingales prior to field trips or foster placements

  • Analyzed surrender notes, behaviour evaluations,& volunteer walk notes to match field trip & foster applicants with compatible dogs

  • Spearheaded fundraising/donation efforts & established wholesale partnerships to supply the foster program with enrichment supplies, safety equipment, gear & food.


Underdog Animal Rescue
Foster & Behavior Support

  • Fostered & placed 90+ dogs in the last four years.

  • Fostered dogs returned for reactivity, impulse control, timidness & other behaviours; under the trainer's guidance, implemented behavior modification plans to improve likelihood of safe & successful placements

  • Advised on pathing for behaviour cases

  • Provide adopters & other foster families with  resources & support when dogs in their care had to be euthanized or transferred to a sanctuary due to behaviour

  • Develop standards for selecting foster dogs for the general program & evaluate dogs for the rescue to pull; Assist rescue in evaluating the needs of dogs coming from homes & shelters; making placement recommendations based on history, behavior & foster home capacity



100+ hours of continuing education including but not limited to: 


  • Fear Free Shelters (General, Intake/Admission, Housing & Environment)

  • Contra Costa Animal Services Volunteer Training: 25+ hours of classroom education; and then assisted with the courses on an ongoing basis

  • Shelter Playgroup Alliance workshops & 2020/2021 conferences 

  • Clicker Expo 2020 & Lemonade Conference 2020

  • Defensive Handling Webinar with Trish McMillan & Michael Shikashio 


Currently studying to sit for CPDT-KA exam; completed 300+ hours of in-person & virtual training in accordance with requirements

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