About Us

Our Training Philosophy

Communication, Motivation, Relationship

We are balanced dog trainers. That means we are specially skilled at each aspect of training and customize our training approach 100% to each individual dog. We believe strongly in the importance of a good training foundation so we use positive reinforcement to teach basic commands and behaviors. We focus on confidence building, the relationship between owner and dog, structure, rules and meeting the basic needs of each dog. Once dogs in training have a solid foundation, we use training collars, such as prong collars and remote e-collars, as needed, to make sure the training is reliable in public and around distractions. We never train using force or intimidation. Our training always has the dog’s best interest at heart and we use body language, treats, rewards and praise to help communicate with the dog and reward the dog for good behavior.

Our training focuses on three key principles: Communication, Motivation and Relationship. We communicate with the dog to teach him what we want. We motivate the dog to be obedient and responsive to commands. And our goal is to have a good, working relationship with the dog so that the dog is obedient without relying on rewards only. Our training is all about common sense and doing what’s right for both the owners and the dogs.

More About Us

Here at Valor K9 Academy, we strive to offer top notch dog training for our community. We specialize in puppy training, basic to advanced off leash obedience and behavior rehabilitation training. What started as a small, apartment-run business in 2014 has grown to serve clients nationwide from four locations.

Our standard is excellence. We are proud of what we do, and we love the clients we serve. If you’re looking for a trainer who cares about every part of your dog’s quality of life and training, look no further. We have a long list of satisfied clients and more than 160 5-star reviews!

Our Team

Here at Valor K9 Academy, we’re proud of the team we’ve built. Drawing from our clientele base, we have selected individuals who represent our passion for dogs, our commitment to quality and our core values.


Amy founded Valor K9 Academy in 2014. She now oversees operations, runs the trainer course and shadow programs, and provides mentorship for the team. Before training dogs, Amy served in the U.S. Air Force where she was worked in Intelligence Operations while stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina. Prior to that, she was an English as a Second Language teacher stateside and overseas. Amy is triple-certified through The Michael Ellis School, Starmark Academy and Vohne Liche Kennels. She holds bachelor degrees in International Political Economy and Spanish from Carthage College in WI. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, Jiu Jitsu and hiking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Amy and her husband, Justin, live in Horseshoe Bend, ID, with their three dogs: Zoey (8) an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie, Havok (5) a German Shepherd and Yedi (4) an Australian Shepherd. 


Justin oversees location operations, develops curriculum, and is Valor’s lead project manager. Prior to working full-time with Valor, Justin served 15 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Master Survival Instructor and currently serves as a Traditional Guardsman in the Idaho National Guard. Justin has deployed numerous times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom where he worked alongside Military Cadaver Dogs. Justin enjoys riding his Harley, hunting and spending time with his family. Originally from Boise, Justin and his wife, Amy, now reside in Horseshoe Bend, ID. They have three dogs: Zoey, Havok and Yedi.


Canine Training and Behavior Specialist

AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator

Former Veterinary Technician


Courtney Sims is the Lead Trainer of Valor K9 Academy – Spokane. She joined Team Valor in October 2017 and now oversees the Spokane location. Courtney specializes in puppy training, on/off leash obedience and reactive/fearful dog rehabilitation. Before becoming a dog trainer, Courtney worked as a Licensed Veterinary Technician at Pet Emergency Clinic of Spokane for 10 years and as a Technician at Dermatology for Animals for five years. Courtney is certified through Valor K9 Academy’s Trainer Course where she studied under Owner and Head Trainer Amy Pishner. Courtney’s hobbies include gardening, exploring and hiking. She lives next to the Academy in Medical Lake, WA, and has two dogs: Pickles (4) a Boxer mix and Maverick (2) a German Shepherd.


Canine Training Specialist

VK9 Shadow Program Graduate

Associate of Arts Degree


Canine Training Specialist

Valor K9 Academy client since 2015

Bachelor of Arts Degree


Currently in Valor Trainer Course

Valor K9 Academy Client since 2014

Animal Shelter Volunteer


Volunteer Dog Walker at humane society

Valor K9 Academy Client since 2016

Associate of Arts Degree


Registered Nurse at Kootenai Health

Valor K9 Academy Client since 2016

Bachelor of Science


Skye is studying under Owner/Head Trainer Amy Pishner and Valor Spokane Lead Trainer Courtney Sims. Skye is a graduate of the Valor K9 April Shadow Program. She has also completed Starmark Academy’s 12-week Canine Training and Behavioral Specialist Program. Before training dogs, Skye was a dedicated volunteer in animal rescue and worked as a kennel technician for several years at VCA Animal Hospital. Skye was born and raised in Florida but recently made the cross-country move to Washington for this opportunity with Valor K9 Academy. She enjoys hiking, rollerblading and gardening and owns two mixed breed dogs: Ruca (7) & Moose (5).


Sara McCann is a Stay and Play host at Valor K9 Academy.  She is a graduate of the Valor K9 Academy shadow program and has participated in numerous classes and seminars over the years.  Sara works from home as an Innovation Specialist for an innovation research company.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington State University and a master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University.  In her free time, Sara enjoys hiking, camping, painting, and sewing crafted dog collars and leashes.  She also volunteers her time as a dog walker for SCRAPS, the local humane society. Sara and her husband, Chris, live in Spokane, WA, and have two dogs, Kona (12) a Goldendoodle and Lincoln (5) a Poodle/Shar Pei mix.