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2020 Shelter Behavior & Enrichment Conference

Speaker Bios


Dr. Susan Friedman, Ph.D. is a psychology professor at Utah State University who has pioneered the application of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to captive and companion animals. ABA, with its roots in human learning, offers a scientifically sound teaching technology and ethical standard that can improve the lives of all learners. Students from 22 different countries have participated in Susan's online courses, Living and Learning with Animals for Professionals and Living and Learning with Parrots for Caregivers. She has written chapters on learning and behavior for three veterinary texts (Behavior of Exotic Pets, Clinical Avian Medicine, and Manual of Parrot Behavior), and is a frequent contributor to popular magazines. 


Jean Lessard, MCP (CDT) is a trainer, author and host of the TV show "On s’aime en chien" on French CBC, has published “Comme un chien” (Like a Dog) at Le Jour; was editor and collaborator on “Comportement chez le chien et le chat; observer, comprendre, modifier” (Dog and Cat Behaviour, Observing, Understanding and Modifying) at Éditions CCDMD; and co-author of “Mon Chien Chez le Psy” (My Dog at the Psychologist) at Édition Transcontinental. Jean works with his clients at a veterinary hospital on Montreal's south shore and gives trainings and seminars for trainers several times a year throughout Europe. Jean also trains and teaches occasionally at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana.


Dr. Lindsay Mehrkam, Ph.D is an applied animal behaviorist, animal welfare scientist, and doctoral-level Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. Her primary areas of interest include animal behavior, behavior analysis, and human-animal interactions with an emphasis on how the environment influences play, aggression, and stereotypic behavior in companion and exotic animals, how to promote behavioral choices and welfare of captive animals, and how to best conduct formal evaluations of training and enrichment practices in a variety of animal settings, as well as the assessment of human-animal interactions in therapeutic applications and in broader society. Dr. Mehrkam’s research has published widely in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at national and international conferences. She has been recognized through popular media outlets, grants, and scholarly and industry awards, including the Association for Professional Dog Trainers, Maddie’s Fund, and the Animal Behavior Management Alliance. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Mehrkam serves as the Vice President for the Applied Animal Behavior Special Interest Group for the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and as an advisory board member for Big Oak Wolf Sanctuary.


Mik Moeller, CCPDT-KA, CBCC-KA is a nationally certified professional dog trainer and a certified specialist in dog-dog aggression, Mik Moeller's skill in reading dog body language and working with dogs is well known and respected among his peers. His leadership in the training field is reflected in his committed efforts toward improving the quality of life for dogs and building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Mik started his career at the SFSPCA and now currently works in the behavior and training department at the Arizona Humane Society. Mik's expertise in successfully working with dogs of all types reflects his love of animals and a passion for what he does.


Lisa Mullinax, CDBC is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Behavior Manager at the Dumb Friends League in Denver. She has been working with dogs and their owners for 15 years and specializes in fearful, reactive, and aggressive behavior. Lisa also provides consultation and staff training for shelter, rescue, and veterinary professionals.


Lisa runs the popular 4PawsUniversity Facebook page, as well as writing blog articles which are shared by dog lovers in over 40 countries and have been featured by other behavior professionals.

Mara Velez, Ivy and Nala-3.jpg

Mara Velez, MA, CPDT-KA is the Executive Director of the Shelter Playgroup Alliance and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. Mara was formerly a behavior and training consultant at Contra Costa Animal Services where she collaboratively designed, developed, and implemented behavior program structures, including a robust volunteer training program, revised behavior evaluation, canine enrichment and playgroup guidelines. Mara holds both a bachelors and master’s degree in psychology and completed all of the course work for a doctorate in education.


In addition to completing KPA, LLA, and several other animal behavior and training-related programs, Mara continually develops her skills and knowledge of canines by attending seminars and reading science-based canine literature. To date, she has completed over 2,000 hours of continuing education.


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