Peach on a LeashÂ® is a full-service dog training company based in Alpharetta, Georgia and serving Metro Atlanta and its northern suburbs, from Midtown to Cumming.
Utilizing the most modern, science-based training techniques, head trainer and pet behavior expert Alex Sessa, CPDT-KA, CDBC and her team of certified, highly experienced trainers will deliver the results youâre looking for.
We provide your dog with a positive and effective learning experience that provides quick results and dramatically improves behavior while strengthening your bond with your dog.
Regardless of your dogâs breed or behavior issues, youâll be amazed at how quickly your dog responds to our training.
Meet Our Team
Owner & Head Trainer: Alex Sessa
Peach on a Leash owner and head trainer, Alex Sessa, (formerly Andes) CPDT-KA, CDBC, VSPDT is a pet behavior expert who has been training dogs and studying dog behavior for nearly a decade.
Alex is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, a certification that requires hundreds of logged training hours and passing a comprehensive exam. She is also one of only five trainers in the state of Georgia to receive full certification as a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. This high-level certification requires a rigorous application process that’s assessed by a panel of experts in dog training and behavior, and you must demonstrate the knowledge and ability to handle complex behavior cases in order to be certified.
Additionally, she has attained the prestigious Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) certification, and has successfully completed Michael Shikashio’s Aggression in Dogs Master Course.
She attended the University of Georgia, where she began honing her training skills while helping improve the behavior of local shelter dogs to reduce euthanasia rates. She graduated with honors in 2012 and worked as both a pet adoption counselor and an assistant dog trainer before being offered a job with celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planetâs âItâs Me or the Dog.â
Alex traveled the world with Victoria and had the opportunity to learn from her in all facets of training and behavior for five years before deciding to pursue her dream of founding Peach on a Leash. Their work together allowed Alex the opportunity to work hands-on with both pet dogs and working dogs, including police dogs and accelerant detection dogs.
As the founder and owner of Peach on a Leash, Alex manages our training program as well as our team of eight exceptional, highly qualified training and behavior experts. She leads the training for our VIP Puppy Development program, which has provided professional training for celebrities, athletes, CEOs, and other high-profile clientele. She has been featured on HLN, WSB-TV, 11Alive, and various print publications.
Alex also serves as both a faculty member and a mentor for students in the Victoria Stilwell Dog Training Academy, as well as consulting for other training companies and non-profit organizations needing guidance with their dog training programs.
These experiences have helped her to become one of the most studied, well-rounded trainers in the area, and her results-oriented training utilizes effective and humane techniques that are backed by the latest modern behavioral science.
She shares her home with her husband Will, who is a police K-9 officer, their son Caden, and their beloved dogs.
Client Care Manager: Abby Freeman
In addition to being one of our certified dog trainers, Abby is our exceptional Client Care Manager, and may be the first person you speak with before beginning training with us.Â
For the last six years, Abby has worked in various industries in the pet world, from running pet supply stores to running a doggie daycare. Working in these facets has made her passionate about helping pet owners find the right solutions for their pets.
Abby graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Georgia in 2016 where she earned her Bachelor of the Arts in Business majoring in Marketing. In 2019, she graduated with distinction from the prestigious Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, which launched her career as a professional dog trainer. Â
At home, Abby is a mom to a spunky human toddler, a high-energy German Shorthaired Pointer, and various other farm animals.
Certified Trainer: Amelia Cosmas
Certified Trainer Amelia Cosmas, CPDT-KA is a passionate dog trainer and puppy expert. Amelia is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, a certification that requires hundreds of logged training hours and passing a comprehensive exam. After Graduating With Distinction from the prestigious Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training, Amelia was hired by her Academy mentor as a trainer. While working in the nursery school at her mentorâs facility, Amelia trained countless 8-16 week old puppies, taught group classes and trained privately in clientâs homes.Â
She is committed to results-oriented, science-based, and fun training. Amelia continually furthers her education and experiences in the dog training world by attending conferences and seminars as well as belonging to several professional organizations.
As a Certified Volunteer at Canine Assistants in Milton, Amelia takes great pride in helping dogs to become amazing service animals who go on to improve the lives of their recipients in immeasurable ways. Amelia is very active in this organization, currently fostering and teaching three incredible future service dogs.
She shares her home with her wonderful husband and their two awesome dogs, Rhett, a Mixed Breed and Ronan, a Golden Retriever.
Certified Trainer: Dana VanSickle
Dana has spent more than 15 years working with a variety of domestic and exotic animals at some of the nation’s leading animal organizations. She is experienced evaluating and rehabilitating dogs of varying breeds, sizes, and dispositions, and is committed to bringing you evidence-based behavior solutions that fit your lifestyle and goals.
Dana is a Certified Shelter Behavior Dog Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. This high-level certification requires a rigorous application process that is assessed by a panel of experts in dog training and behavior, requiring the knowledge and ability to handle complex behavior cases in order to be certified. Dana is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, a certification that requires hundreds of logged training hours and passing a comprehensive exam.
Dana graduated with distinction from both the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior, and the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior. She also completed Michael Shikashioâs Aggressive Dogs Workshop. Dana graduated from Regent University with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management. She is also a Certified Grief Recovery Method Specialist through the The Grief Recovery Institute.
In addition to her work doing online dog training for Peach on a Leash, Dana currently manages the training services at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society and is a Faculty Advisor for the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior. She previously worked for The Humane Society of the United Statesâ Puppy Mills Campaign & Animal Care Centers, the ASPCA Field Investigation & Response Team Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team, and other animal shelters and rescues. She also contributed to the Interdog Playgroup Guidelines by the Shelter Playgroup Alliance, and pet parenting blogs.
Dana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) and enjoys hiking the trails of Northern New Mexico. She grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs and is fluent in Spanish. Dana and her rescue dog, Hope Rising, currently reside in Santa Fe, NM.
Certified Trainer: Jackie Audette
Jackie graduated from Rutgers University, where she received her Bachelor’s in Animal Science with a minor in Companion Animal Science. While attending college, she spent her free time teaching group and private lessons at a local pet store.
After graduating, she worked as a trainer at North Shore Animal League, the largest no-kill animal shelter in the United States, where she specialized in working with hard-to-handle dogs and cats.
Jackie then participated in a three-year apprenticeship program to become a certified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor where she has trained and placed countless service dogs for those with visual impairments.Â Additionally, she has worked with veterans and first responders by training and providing mobility and PTSD dogs to those in need. Realizing that she had a strong skillset working with service dogs, Jackie progressed to become the Apprentice Program Manager, where she would mentor new trainers to become certified service dog instructors.
Jackie believes in maximizing positive reinforcement training techniques and loves to attend conferences to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and studies.Â She believes that training should be fun for not only the dog, but the whole family as well.
Jackie is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, a certification that requires hundreds of logged training hours and passing a comprehensive exam.
Certified Trainer: Jenny Gough
Fearful and aggressive reactions to people and other dogs with her oldest dog, Porter the Lab/Hound mix,Â led Jenny to pursue training as a career. She continued to apply her growing training knowledge in puppy manners, household obedience, and behavior modification for the next four years as a professional dog trainer in North Carolina.
After completing hundreds of logged training hours, Jenny is scheduled to finalize her certification as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer during the next offered testing date in September 2020.
Training Manager: Julia Skrotzki
Julia is a CPDT-KA, VSA-CDT trainer as well as our Training Manager. Having worked closely with owner Alex Sessa for over 3 years, she shares a commitment for achieving excellent results using compassionate training methods supported by the most up-to-date behavioral science.
A Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Julia is also a graduate with distinction from the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior. These achievements come after logging hundreds of training hours and passing comprehensive exams. She is dedicated to continual studies and seminars designed to progressively enhance her training methods.
Julia uses years of experience to guide owners through behavior modification techniques. This is her passion – whether it is creating a fun approach for getting families started with a new puppy, or positive ways for owners to overcome difficult cases like dog aggression or leash reactivity.
In addition to her training work with our pet dog clients, Julia is also our lead trainer for animal acting. She has worked on location for numerous brand name promotions. She works with dogs one-on-one to prepare for specific roles and also leads âtricksâ and âanimal actingâ group classes.
Originally from a small town in Germany, for more than 10 years Julia has called the north Atlanta suburb of Milton home. She lives with her 3 dogs, husband and two children. Julia is also an active volunteer and foster mom at the Atlanta Humane Society.
Service Dog Training Director: Hallie Wells
Hallie Wells CPDT-KA, UW-AABA is the Peach on a Leash Service Dog Training Director. For over four years, she was the puppy program manager for a guide dog and service dog school that placed over 100 dogs a year with clients that were visually impaired, blind, or veterans needing assistance dogs. Many of the dogs went on to careers in autism support dogs, accelerant detection dogs, and service dogs for civilians. Through that experience, she developed our service dog training program to focus on the client community, ongoing client education, and owner trained service dogs for people across the country!
She attended the University of Georgia, where she worked as a veterinary assistant and animal caretaker at a dog daycare and boarding facility. While in college, she fostered dogs with Helping Paws rescue, with a focus on the dogs that had behavioral issues, including aggression and resource guarding. Working with her foster dogs, Hallie began to understand that positive reinforcement was the most effective way to provide clear communication and guidelines to any dog, especially those with undesirable behaviors.
Hallie loves providing puppies a solid foundation with our VIP puppy development program, giving our service dog clients the independence and lifestyle improvement they’re looking for with a service dog partner, and helping owners to modify unwanted behaviors so their dog can be a happy part of the family! She believes that teaching the people on the other end of the leash and making training enjoyable and effective for everyone is the most important component to training dogs with Peach on a Leash.
Hallie is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, a certification that requires hundreds of logged training hours and passing a comprehensive exam. She also completed the University of Washington Applied Animal Behavior Analysis certificate program. The UW-AABA program is a 9 month, graded program that furthered her education on learning theory for humans and animals, biology to better care for the animals we work with, and methods intergrate theory to real-world training and behavior with clients. Because continuing education is extremely important to Hallie, she is continuing her education with Fear-Free Certification and is applying to become a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the International Association of Behavior Consultants.
Certified Trainer: Kaya Forstall
Kaya graduated from Elon University in North Carolina where she majored in Psychology. For the last 9 years, she has worked in the zoo field as a Zookeeper and animal trainer using positive reinforcement training methods to train voluntary husbandry behaviors and natural behaviors incorporated into public demonstrations and educational opportunities. She has worked with a variety of animal ambassador species including parrots, owls, porcupines, bobcats, goats, snakes, rats and Madagascar hissing cockroaches to name a few. She currently works with gorillas, orangutans, and golden lion tamarins when she is not training humans and their dogs.
Kaya graduated from with distinction from the CATCH Canine Trainers Academy Master Course and is a CATCH Certified Dog Trainer (CCDT) after completing the intensive studies and a mentored externship with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer in the field. She will take the Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) exam through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers at the next designated testing date, COVID-19 permitting. She values the importance of continuing education and has participated in training conferences, workshops, and virtual learning opportunities, including Michael Shikashio’s Aggression in Dogs Master Course.
When Kaya is not at the zoo or with Peach On A Leash, she volunteers at the Fulton County jail as a member of the Canine CellMates Training Team and spends time with her very spoiled shelter rescue dog, Sugar, from Lifeline Animal Project where she is also a volunteer.
Certified Trainer: Mandy Grace
Mandy has transformed her lifelong obsession with dogs, psychology, and the science of learning into a training career which began in her home state of North Carolina. After adopting a dog who had above average behavioral requirements and catching the training bug, she took the plunge to become a professional in 2013, and worked at the largest positive reinforcement training company in Raleigh, NC. Over the years, Mandy fulfilled roles as a Board & Train Trainer and a Lead Trainer in the Doggie Dayschool program, then a Class Instructor and the Office Manager for the company.
Mandy earned her CPDT-KA in 2017 after logging many hundred hours of hands-on instruction and passing a comprehensive exam. Over the years, and through her work with rescue, Mandy adopted two more dogs who also required behavior modification. Through these dogs and her clients, she developed not only an interest in helping families establish deep bonds with their pets through building basic training skills, but also helping to overcome behavior issues and find the joy in their dog’s individuality. She has a passion for trick training and has also used it as a therapeutic tool in helping dogs overcome fear and anxieties.
In addition to building on experience, Mandy believes strongly in lifelong learning as a vital part of providing excellent training service as a professional. She enjoys continually pursuing new learning opportunities, attending conferences, and keeping up with the latest research. Currently, she is pursuing two additional independent credentials. The first is aÂ Certified Trick Dog Instructor credential, which supplements the classes she has taught in recent years. She is also working to become a Certified Control Unleashed Instructor, which will hone her skills in areas ranging from facilitating bonds between puppies and their families, to helping family dogs build focus, to guiding dogs with anxieties to find peace.
Mandy’s family consists of her husband, Steven, and their three rescue mixed breed dogs, Brugge, Ozzie, and Holder.
Certified Trainer: Taylor Reardon
Taylor graduated from Atlanta Dog Trainerâs Certified Training Academy. There, she learned to use effective methods of positive, science-based dog training in order to address aggression and behavior management.Â
During her time in the Academy, she also studied puppy manners and dog obedience. She completed the most advanced course to train dogs with phobic and fear-based behaviors as well as separation anxiety. She then worked as a professional dog trainer for a local training company before coming on board with Peach on a Leash.
She has qualified as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a certification that requires hundreds of logged training hours and passing a comprehensive exam, and will complete the certification process as soon as COVID restrictions are lifted.
She volunteers weekly as a dog trainer for Patient Paws Service Dogs Inc., a non-profit organization in Milton, Georgia.
Taylor shares her home with her young German Shepherd, Dominic, who displays talent in Dog Agility.Â
We are passionate about staying up-to-date on the latest modern behavioral science. Our methods are rooted in positive reinforcement, providing effective and long-lasting results without causing your dog any fear or pain. Just like those in the medical community take a pledge to “do no harm,” we make the same promise to our clients and their dogs. That means consistently providing you the fastest, most effective results possible, and without sacrificing ethics in the process.
We do not utilize prong, choke, or remote collars in training. We instead guide dogs into making appropriate choices, implement discipline strategies that are fair and effective without being painful or scary, and set clear and consistent boundaries, providing you with the results you’re looking for without frightening your dog in the process.
You donât need harsh training equipment to achieve the results youâre looking for â you just need someone with the skills and experience it takes to train using the most modern methods!
Want more information on our training methods? Read this blog we wrote on the subject.Â