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ABOUT

John E. Lugo (founder, head trainer)

John has had a long time passion for animals. He grew up riding horses and helping his mom rescue dogs. He developed an interest in animal behavior early on, which evolved into a love of training dogs.

In 2008, his passion became a career when he joined the D.A.S.H.A. Program in Puerto Rico, as one of their service dog trainers. While working with the D.A.S.H.A. program, John trained the first hearing dog and the first dog to accompany its handler to public schools on the island of Puerto Rico.

In 2010, John was contracted by Highland Canine Training Center in North Carolina to train 3 groups of military working dogs for the Nigerian Army. During this time he trained dogs in detection, explosives, narcotics, as well as cadaver dogs. 

While working with Highland Canine Training Center John earned his

- On and off leash obedience certification

- Canine modification certification

- Police K9 instructor and police K9 patrol certifications

- Explosive detection training certification

- Human remains detection certification

- Scent discrimination (tracking and trailing) certification

- SAR (search and rescue)

While at Highland, John met Kosta Koilias, a dog trainer from Greece, who took him under his wing and helped John become the trainer that he is today. This is also when John developed an interest in protection dog training and was introduced to ring sports (specifically mondioring). In 2014 he traveled to Greece and trained as a decoy under Dimitris Korolis. Under his guidance, John was able to learn all of the fine details of mondioring and decoy work.

He continued his education in Belgium in 2014, where he trained under Phillip Von Abeele. With Phillip's guidance, John was able to earn his Belgium Brevet (mondioring certification) in 2015.

He returned to the states and quickly earned his mondioring certification with the USMRA and has been decoying across the country since. 

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Jesse (Trainer)

       Jesse grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa, where he encountered many opportunities to work with dogs from a young age. He grew up with dogs of all breeds and sizes, including his first dog, a 150 pound bloodhound named Chewbacca, to shelter dogs, english setters and malamutes. As he got older, he took his family dogs through local obedience classes and helped friends with their dog’s training needs.

    Jesse took a brief pause from dog training when he moved to Minneapolis, and then New Orleans to pursue his love of music and attend music school. It was while in NOLA playing with local musicians, that Jesse decided to make dog training his professional career. 

    He moved to North Carolina and enrolled in Highland Canine School for Dog Trainers. Jesse graduated from their Master Dog Trainer Program in 2022. While at Highland, he had a unique opportunity to be exposed to many different dog training disciplines and was certified in training working police dogs, service dogs, pet dogs and in behavioral modification. 

    Since graduation, Jesse did not stop educating himself and continues to research new dog training concepts and attends a variety of educational opportunities/seminars. He is also a member of First in Flight Ring Club, where he trains his personal belgian malinois, Zappa, in the very challenging sport of mondioring.

    Jesse strives to help his clients improve their relationship with their dogs, establish clear communication and a solid working relationship. He enjoys working through behavioral difficulties, helping relieve stress for both the dog and owner, as well as training dogs to perform specific tasks in the service and sport dog world.

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