Owner & Head Trainer: Rebecca Golian
B.A. Degree in Psychology
15+ years dog training experience
Qualified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Professional Service Dog Trainer
Canine Behavior Specialist
Member of the IACP
Pet CPR/First Aid Certified
Licensed, certified, and insured
Rebecca grew up in Frederick County, Maryland and found her passion for working with animals at a young age. At the age of five, Rebecca began riding horses and joined the United States Pony Clubs (USPC). Rebecca trained and competed horses, taught private lessons and conducted clinics throughout high school. Rebecca also grew up working with dogs and volunteered at local rescues and shelters.
During college, Rebecca continued to compete in the equestrian sport of Three-Day Eventing, working under some of the best trainers and equestrian athletes in the world. She started her own equestrian business in 2009, offering training, competition, sport horse sales and private riding instruction in Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Rebecca also continued to work with dogs throughout college. While attending the University of Maryland, Rebecca offered private in-home training, group obedience classes, puppy development classes, and board & train programs for dogs with severe behavioral problems in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Rebecca also raised and trained German Shepherds for The Seeing Eye, a Guide Dog school based in Morristown, NJ.
In 2013, Rebecca decided to pursue working with dogs full time and moved to New York City to start a professional dog training and behavior modification business. Rebecca offered basic to advanced on and off-leash obedience, puppy development and socialization, service/therapy dog training and certification, and behavior modification for dogs with severe behavioral problems.
In 2015, Rebecca was offered a rare opportunity to complete a three year apprenticeship program to become a Qualified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) at Guide Dogs for the Blind. A GDMI trains guide dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired, matches trained guide dogs with clients, conducts client training, and offers follow up services for clients throughout the United States and Canada.
In 2019, Rebecca decided to move back to the east coast to be closer to friends and family. She moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and started Love in the Lead Canine Training, LLC. Rebecca continues to train and place guide dogs for various east coast based schools, and is training and placing other types of service dogs including mobility assistance, seizure response, medical alert, and psychiatric service dogs.
Rebecca also continues to work with family pet dogs and offers a variety of training and behavior modification services. Her mission is to empower owners to communicate effectively with their dogs and to help facilitate trusting and respectful relationships between owners and their dogs. The company motto, “love through leadership” embodies that mission.
Outside of running her business, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her personal dog Benji, spending time with her family and friends, and participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, paddle boarding, horseback riding, and skiing.
Assistant Trainer: Meagan Karas
Meagan is from Norfolk, VA and spent most of her life with dogs- her family members were avid outdoorsmen who bred dogs and trained/competed in various dog sports. During college, Meagan got a kennel attendant job while also volunteering as a puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and it was from these experiences that she realized her passion for dogs should be developed into a career.
Over the years, she has worked or volunteered in various areas, from veterinary kennels to rescues/shelters, and has over 9 years management experience in dog daycare and boarding facilities. Overseeing playgroups of large numbers of dogs with distinctly different personalities was always a challenge for her, and Meagan enjoyed addressing the needs of dogs that had some quirks or needed extra time to
feel comfortable, as well as offering guidance to owners that always wanted the best for their dogs but sometimes weren’t sure how to handle the issues they were having. It was working with those clients that pushed Meagan to explore the idea of dog training when she moved from Richmond to Charlotte.
She worked as a trainer in Statesville, where she taught basic obedience, potty and crate training, and house manners to puppies ranging from 6 weeks to 1 year old. But she was missing the challenge of working with dogs that needed more complex training, and of helping them and their owners develop a more rewarding relationship, which led her to meet with Rebecca and join Love in the Lead. She is excited to gain more knowledge in training while helping dogs become better focused and more confident.
In her free time, Meagan and her partner spend time with their 3 dogs (a Boxer/Pitbull mix, an English Golden, and a Shiba Inu), hiking or adventuring around Charlotte, Durham and Asheville. Meagan also enjoys working her personal dogs in agility, rally, dock jumping and field trials.
Assistant Trainer: Mary McArdle
Mary, originally from CA, has been passionate about animals and especially dogs her entire life. Her career in the dog industry began at an independent pet food store teaching pet parents about dog and cat nutrition. After working in pet food for over a year, Mary soon decided she wanted to help more and started looking into dog training.
Soon after she found a job at Petco and fell in love with training dogs and helping their owners learn to communicate better with their pups. Shortly after she moved to a private company to get even more client and dog interaction in real world scenarios, which led her to Love in the Lead.
Outside of work Mary spends her time with her beagle mix Lacey and her tortishell cat Wednesday. She can also be found hiking and exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Dog Care Assistant: Lauren Howard
Lauren is originally from Canton, Michigan and has lived with dogs for most of her life. School was never a great passion for her, but animals are. Lauren has a lot of personal experience with dogs, and realized that working with them was the only thing she wanted to do.
During her free time, Lauren likes to spend time with her boyfriend and bluetick coonhound, Cobalt. We mainly enjoy our time taking walks on the greenway and lounging around the house.
Lauren is responsible for the general care and management of the dogs and the facility. She also assists with training, and is interested in learning more about dog training and behavior.
Situated on almost 4 acres, our home facility offers a peaceful, safe training environment. One of the unique aspects of our program is the type of environment that we provide the dogs during their training. Instead of a noisy and stressful kennel environment, the dogs stay in a quiet, tranquil home environment.
The dogs are housed in a large section of the home, equipped with large wire crates, crate pads, and individual water pails. The area is temperature controlled, with air filtration, and is cleaned daily. We play relaxing music, and create a calm and welcoming environment.
Due to our home training environment, we are able to simulate more “real world” training scenarios. All the things that your dog would experience in your home, we simulate in our home facility.
We utilize the entire property for training; we have over a half acre of fenced in grass areas which we utilize for play time as well. The dogs receive individual and group training sessions throughout the day, and plenty of off-leash play time!