Leader of the Pack Canine Institute

“Creating Happy and Balanced Dogs, One Leader at a Time”™

Leader of the Pack Canine Institute is family owned and operated, founded by Lisa McDonald. Lisa has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business with an accounting major from DeSales University where she graduated summa cum laude. She has held positions in corporate accounting and controllership during her professional career and has successfully passed the Pennsylvania Certified Public Accountant exam. Lisa is also proud to have served in the military as she is a US Army veteran.

Lisa has earned and successfully completed knowledge assessment testing for certification as a professional dog trainer through the Certification Council For Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA). In addition to belonging to the CCPDT, Lisa is a Professional Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and a Professional Member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP). She is an Evaluator for the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Award. Lisa continues to further her knowledge base by attending professional conferences, seminars and learning opportunities throughout the US. Her skill set and experience enable her to work with all breeds, sizes and temperaments of the canine family.

Lisa's husband John McDonald is also a member of the IACP and is involved in the training programs at Leader of the Pack. John is director of franchises for LOPCI. If you are interested in franchise opportunities, click here. 

The McDonald's son, Thomas, has also successfully completed knowledge assessment testing for certification as a professional dog trainer through the Certification for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA). In addition to the CCPDT, Thomas is an evaluator for the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Award.

Throughout her lifetime, Lisa has owned German Shepherds, Rottweilers, English Mastiffs, a Yorkie-Poo, a Bichon-Poo, a Chihuahua, a Pomeranian and a Labrador Retriever.

As a canine behavior specialist, Lisa believes in using a balanced approach that uses positive reinforcement techniques. By leading the dog into the proper decision through consistently marking the behavior in a timely manner, we can create conditioned responses to our cues. Timely reinforcement, displaying calm and confident energy, and being consistent in our words and actions will help the dog learn without being forced into a position or command. It is Lisa’s belief that dogs learn faster when given the opportunity to make the proper decisions on their own, instead of being forced or placed into a position for a quick response. Her lifelong experience, along with her years of studying canine behavior and psychology, has given Lisa the ability to teach families how to respond in a timely manner to their pet’s behavior and reinforce the proper action for the proper response. This is also how the pet family will earn the trust and respect needed to be seen as the human pack leaders inside the home. Lisa’s mission in life is to teach as many human pack leaders as possible and create happy and balanced dogs, one leader at a time.

Leader of the Pack Canine Institute is dedicated to providing a disease-free facility for the well-being of all of our canine guests. We are proud to announce that we have been certified as a “Heroes for Healthy Pet” facility. Through this certification program, Leader of the Pack Canine Institute utilizes the best practices for disease prevention and control as recommended by the professional community.

Participating in this program helps our team to be educated in the overall best practices for disease management and prevention. As a certified facility in the program, we have a better understanding of infectious diseases and preventative care, including strategic vaccination, based on the 2017 AAHA Vaccination Guidelines and effective cleaning protocols. Following this program on a daily basis in our facility enables us to provide the best care for our canine guests. We look forward to serving the community and thank you for your support.

LOPCI’s 6-week training courses include puppy classes focusing on manners and socialization, and adult dog training, including Adult Basic Obedience and Intermediate Obedience and Advanced Obedience. For those pet families that do not prefer group instruction or for dogs that require behavior modification, LOPCI also provides private instruction at our facility or “In-Home” dog training in the convenience of your own home. Lisa’s experience has shown that many behavioral problems can be intensified in the home environment and sometimes In-Home training with an expert dog trainer can be the first step in your dog’s rehabilitation process. If you are in the Allentown, Bethlehem or Easton, PA area, contact us today!

Client Testimonials

Since 2009 we have helped countless pet owners create a lifetime bond of trust and respect with their beloved dogs. Below are some of their stories.
  • Isabella A.
    My husband and I had rescued our pup at four months old. We were on and off debating if we should start training. We did lots of research for best places to go. Through my husband's co-worker, he insisted we take Bear to training classes at Leader of the Pack Institute. After looking into the many different classes provided. My husband and I decided to enroll Bear in their Adult Beginner class (as he was over 6months). The class absolutely exceeded my expectations. The trainers went above and beyond to help guide me and properly train my dog. They always offer to have a trainer with you for the majority of the class when you first start as well. They even offered an at home training day if Bear needed it. After the first class, I saw a huge change in my pups behavior. Which I was shocked at how effective the class was for him and for me (being a new dog owner). A couple weeks into the class.. my pup started resource guarding… which can be scary. Especially, not knowing how to approach the situation. So after a class, I spoke to a woman named Lisa (owner) and her advice was life changing and I’m so grateful for that as that was the last time he had repeated that behavior. As we continue on to the next course Adult 2, we will definitely be continuing our training with Leader of the Pack. Thank you for everything you have done for us and the thousands of others moving forward. If you are debating on taking your pup here, I would absolutely enroll in a class. You will not regret it. 1000/10 recommended!!
    Isabella A.
  • Robin W.
    I have a Samoyed show dog and Gabby grooms him. She is a really nice and sweet person, who is the same way with the dogs she grooms. She does an outstanding job grooming him. I couldn’t be happier!
    Robin W.
  • Erin B.
    We adopted a dog that we were told was likely a herding/working dog breed, which I have a lot of experience with. However, what he turned out to be was a majority husky breed with a penchant for crazy, unbalanced energy and a hard time focusing or relinquishing the "pack leader" attitude (or maybe we just had a hard time adjusting to a puppy after 10+ years with our Corgi.) We were able to teach him basics and socialize him, however, we were in over our heads with controlling the energy. This created an unhappy living situation for us and the dog. I cannot say enough good things about Leader of the Pack and all of the employees with which we interacted. Professional, confident, knowledgeable, funny, kind and patient, we learned so many tools to help tame our crazy, energetic beast! At less than a year old, he is exhibiting control and composure you usually only see in mature dogs, not teenage pups! I highly recommend Leader of the Pack to train all dog owners how to be the best pack leaders.
    Erin B.
  • Karen W.
    Truly a great experience! The facility was spacious and very clean. The trainers were so friendly, knowledgeable and patient, and went above and beyond with all of their advice and support. Not only did my rescue learn so much, but so did I! I can’t wait to sign up for the intermediate classes, and to start taking advantage of their doggy daycare so my Chloe can have fun and socialize with the other dogs there. Highly recommend!!
    Karen W.
  • Amanda R.
    I cannot say enough good things about this team! I saw an amazing transformation in my dog in just 6 short weeks. I truly have learned so much about canine behavior and how to effectively train my dog. It takes a lot of work but having the skill set to know how to keep working with him, is so incredibly helpful. The trainers were phenomenal and my Jeter just loved them and their tasty treats. We are already signed up for the next level adult class and cannot wait! Thanks you again to Leader of the Pack Canine Institute for an amazing experience and helping me get closer with my dog! 10/10 recommend!
    Amanda R.
  • Theresa M.
    Leader of the Pack is awesome! Very professional, knowledgeable and helpful. Lexi and Bobby graduated today, and plan to go further in their training. Following Leader of the Pack training techniques and socialization advise has opened up a whole new world for us and our dogs. They started at regular pet friendly stores, to busy tourist attractions and even eating out with the family at pet friendly restaurants. All while showing excellent behavior and people/other dog skills. We are working on them coming with us on a train ride from Jim Thorpe (slowly getting them used to the noise of the train and the very loud horns). Up next CGC award!
    HUGE thank you to Tommy for his excellent guidance and help, and to the 2 ladies who assisted and helped us all! And big thanks to Megan today for a fun and relaxing graduation experience!
    Theresa M.
  • Brynn M.
    Cannot recommend Lisa & John McDonald and the entire LOPCI staff enough! Fergus completed a couple private sessions and then just finished up Adult Beginner Obedience. We are grateful to the staff for being patient and supportive towards our reactive rescue and helping my husband and I feel confident in helping him navigate the world around him!
    Brynn M.
  • Michelle M.
    I just had to let you know how much our first class with Bo meant to me! After having some struggles with our previous pup throughout the years it was extremely important that Bo and ourselves be set up right away with appropriate training. I actually left in tears because I felt like the experience and experiences to come are going to make me a better dog owner and Bo the best dog he can be. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    Michelle M.
  • Karen G.
    We had a great experience at the puppy class we attended. Tommy, our trainer, is excellent. We learned so many helpful training tips. I would recommend coming here for any obedience classes. We will be attending the next class. adult beginner, with Tommy.
    Karen G.
  • Brooke S.
    I recently attended a puppy obedience course and I couldn't be happier with the experience. The class was well-structured, informative, and most importantly, fun for both puppies and parents.
    Tommy, the trainer, was incredibly knowledgeable and patient, answering all of our questions with ease and offering valuable insights on everything from potty training to obedience commands. It was clear that the trainer was passionate about working with dogs and genuinely cared about our puppies' progress.
    One of the things that impressed me the most about the class was how personalized it was. The trainer made sure to tailor the exercises to each individual puppy's needs, taking into account their learning style and personality traits. This not only made the training more effective but also ensured that every puppy received the attention and support they needed to succeed.
    Overall, I would highly recommend this puppy training class to anyone looking to give their furry friend a strong foundation in obedience and good behavior. It's the perfect opportunity to bond with your puppy and set them up for a lifetime of happiness and good manners!
    Brooke S.
  • Andrea G.
    Very friendly and knowledge staff!! I loved the whole family could attend our puppy training! They were supportive when my 10 year old wanted to take the lead with our dog and helped him with his confidence when giving commands!
    Andrea G.
  • Jo'Ana M.
    My daughter and I had a great experience at LOPCI!! Our puppy, August, graduated the Puppy Manners class tonight. It was a nice recap of a 5 week course. We learned not only basic training for our pup but the reasons behind training him in a positive and effective way. Also, training doesn’t stop here. There ate always opportunities for your pup to learn and thrive long after any class. Thank you everyone that worked so hard to help us and many others have successful and happy pups! A special thank you to Jason-a great trainer!! We definitely would recommend LOPCI to anyone with a new puppy or adult dog. Caring, compassionate and effective leadership training where your pup/dog learns to respect and trust their leader—which makes for a lifelong loving relationship with your dog. Thanks again to all of you! We’ll be back!
    Jo'Ana M.
  • Stephanie F.
    We love LOTP!! Delilah gets excited just pulling into the parking lot. The staff is wonderful....always friendly, helpful, and fun! We trust them with our Delilah and know she's enjoying her time with both her canine and human friends.
    Stephanie F.
  • Sarah W.
    Leader of the Pack Canine Institute was amazing. Jason is very knowledgeable about dog training and did a great job of communicating his knowledge to us. He is very patient with clients (human and canine). He is always available through email, we reached out to him and he emailed us back within a day with a solution to an issue we were having. This training not only encompasses obedience commands, but teaches you how to communicate to your dog that you are the leader of the pack. We have noticed such a big difference in our dog Ganny since starting these classes. 5 out of 5, would recommend to anyone with a dog.
    Sarah W.
  • Keri F.
    My experience with LOTPCI was during an adult dog beginner obedience class. The trainer, Thomas, was exceptionally knowledgeable about canines and the humans who own them. I found the class fascinating and professional. The facility was organized, clean, and spacious. When we had an issue with our dog, we received immediate and personalized feedback. These people truly care!
    Keri F.
  • Andres & Norma C.
    I had Lisa for a at home training class and it helped us a lot on how to handle our Pancho. We then attended the six week class with Jason and we fell so good on how Pancho is behaving. I know take Pancho out for a walk and not the other way around. The entire experience with them was excellent. Planning to book a couple of more at home sessions. Perfect place for all types of training. Thank you Lisa, Jason and the entire staff, you were all fantastic!!!
    Andres & Norma C.
  • Joy K.
    Kodi just finished his first puppy graduation class. I am already signed up for the next Adult Puppy Class. Tommy spends extra time with you if you are having a problem. He is very knowledgeable and can help you with any problem. Best doggie school I have ever been to.
    Joy K.
  • Lauren D.
    I love leader of the pack! I first brought my dog Sarah here to work on leash reactivity with the trainer Lisa. Then Lisa recommended I start the adult beginner class with Tommy to further build my dog's confidence and socialization skills. I am so glad I did this class. I would highly recommend coming here. My experiences with Lisa, Tommy and all the staff here have been great. You can tell that they love what they do and that they "speak dog". I have learned so much about how to "speak dog" too. I have learned skills on how to be a better pack leader for my dog, and before coming here I didn't even know what that meant or why it was important. I am now bringing my dog here for daycare and hope to start intermediate class in the winter. Thank you LOPCI for all that you do, you are the best.
    Lauren D.
  • Barbara O.
    A few years ago I reviewed LOPCI and gave them 5 stars. I can honestly say they still earn a 5-star rating. We rescued our Lab in 2014 and realized we needed training help. There were 5 people in our house and we all did things differently. Needless to say, our puppy became very confused. LOPCI not only trained her, they trained us. We all went to class and learned 1 way to teach her things. She is so smart! We started taking her to Daycare not long after training class. She is a high energy pup and needs the interaction with her friends. We have used their boarding services also with absolutely no complaints. The staff is AWESOME!!! My baby even gets her nails done and teeth brushed there! Below is a pix of our Heidi after a day of play at LOPCI! She absolutely LOVES it there!
    Barbara O.
  • Art & Diane A.
    Can’t say enough good things about LOPCI! We’ve been taking our 11 year old Pug Mason there for 10+ years. Started off with puppy training and continued using all their wonderful services throughout the years. We’d be lost without them. Recommend them highly!
    Art & Diane A.
  • Kat S.
    We started using John and Lisa's services in 2010, when we adopted Sadie, a Rescue dog who had reactivity issues. Since then, we have used LOPCI to train 2 additional rescues. Sadie came to us with a multitude of issues. She was reactive to dogs and people, highly anxious and impossible to walk. With the help and dedication of both of them, we are able to walk her in public areas. She has also learned to play with our newest adoptee, something that I had doubts about when we were considering bringing a new dog into our household. But because of Lisa, I knew what traits to look for and how to pick a compatible companion for Sadie. From the day we brought the puppy home, Lisa worked with and guided us in how to introduce and acclimate the two together. Sadie now plays like a dog, enjoying herself with her new brother, Bowser, something I feared she would never learn. We also use the boarding facilities several times a year and daycare for our puppy. I love being able to watch Bowser play (thanks to the Webcams) during my lunch. I never have any concerns about leaving my dogs in LOPCI's care. Lois is a fantastic groomer and has always done a great job with our dogs. Our newest rescue, Bowser, went through the puppy class and Adult 1 training with Megan, who is equally pleasant and competent. This is not a business that is just in it for the money. The staff truly does love dogs and care for their clients--both human and canine.
    Kat S.
  • Megan H.
    I've been using LOPCI for daycare and boarding my dogs for almost 2 years now and we've had nothing but great experiences! I had Archie in beginner classes when he was a puppy and the class was very helpful. Archie barked during the entire class and for every class, but the staff never got frustrated or was annoyed with him interrupting. Now I use LOPCI for boarding and Archie and Lana are always so excited to go in and play with the other dogs. I love that they can also get Frosty Paws or a Kong during their stay. The staff are all extremely nice and helpful with answering any questions I have. There was a time when Archie had a wound healing on his nose and it opened up while playing. They called me to let me know and that they put him aside so his nose can start to heal again. They also pulled a tick once from under Lana's belly while she was boarding. Knowing that they are paying close attention to my dogs even when there are literally dozens there at times, makes me feel more confident in the care they are receiving.
    Megan H.
  • Lindsay C.
    We love Leader of the Pack! The work family of staff is simply that, a family. And the staff treat my Stewie as their own. They are the best all around facility and service for your dog, period.
    Lindsay C.
  • Clare S.
    We are LOPCI super fans! Our 7 year old Labradoodle Stella is well taken care of - whether she is there for boarding, for daycare, or for grooming. The staff is friendly and they get to know your dog and your family. It often feels like the bar "Cheers" when you arrive. We highly recommend Lois for grooming - she does a great job!
    Clare S.
  • Steve L.
    Really excellent boarding experience! Everyone is super easy to work with, and it’s nice to have peace of mind that my dogs are in great care when I’m out of town. Leader of the Pack is flexible and accommodating — private boarding is an ideal option for one of the dogs — and they come home tired and happy. It’s easy to see why they have the excellent reputation they do and why our vet office referred us. My only wish is that I’d enrolled the dogs sooner!
    Steve L.
  • Jocelyn M.
    I have nothing but positive feedback regarding the services and staff at Leader Of The Pack (L.O.P.) I highly recommend their services. I have worked with them on multiple occasions including basic training services for puppy and adult dogs, consultation in advance of adopting and integrating a new dog into our home, and consultation and training to identify the causes of and address escalating aggressive behavior between our dogs. In all instances, the owners (Lisa and John McDonald) and their staff have been knowledgeable, effective and insightful. Courteous and Friendly. The basic training classes I attended focus on positive reinforcement training of basic commands for the dogs and education of the owner on effective practices to maintain a balanced Pack with the human at the top. The trainers in the various classes have always run professional, effective and fun sessions. I want to particularly call out my most recent interaction with L.O.P as I am so grateful to the McDonalds. Aggression between my two dogs escalated to three occasions in as many months which required veterinary care. When I called L.O.P. to consult, I received a call to discuss the problem same day, including advice on some immediate actions and changes in our routine. An in-home consult was quickly available. Their insights, observations, strategizing and guidance were invaluable, and their presence was professional yet kind, calm and assuring. L.O.P is not only a great business with great services, it is also owned and staffed by absolutely wonderful , kind and caring people.
    Jocelyn M.
  • Jessica D.
    Took our 6 month old puppy here for the adult beginner course. After 6 weeks, our dog is completely different. The way he interacts with not only us but our young children is incredible now. I can not recommend this facility enough. The staff is extremely helpful and kind, and genuinely want a good relationship between you and your dog. When you walk in, you feel welcomed, and the trainers have a way of making you feel at ease and in control, which in turn helps you to gain respect from your dog. I'm super excited to try our their grooming and more advanced classes. Great facility and staff. There's a reason they've been voted #1 for so many years!
    Jessica D.

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