Valor Grand Rapids

A Strong Foundation is Key to Good Training

Dogs talk, but only to those who listen. Here at Valor K9 Academy, we believe that successful dog training is based on three things: communication, motivation and relationship. We believe strongly in the importance of a good training foundation so we use primarily 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 have a solid training foundation, we use training collars, such as prong collars and remote collars, as needed, to ensure the training is reliable in public and around distractions. 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. Ready, set…let’s train! 


Valor K9 Academy – Grand Rapids opened summer 2019 and is our third Valor location. Trainer Julie Richards offers private in-your-home lessons, stay & play boarding and board & train programs. Julie is located just north of Cedar Springs and can travel anywhere within the greater Grand Rapids area. Dogs of all ages and breeds are welcome to attend training. Contact Julie today to get started with a complimentary consultation. In consultations, Julie meets with you one-on-one to answer your questions, evaluate your dog and recommend the best-fit training program! Right now all private training packages are 30% off. We’re not a new company, but we’re new to Grand Rapids and can’t wait to start working with you all!

Endorsed By:

Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherds


  • Complimentary consultations
  • Veteran-owned
  • Unlimited trainer support
  • Fully licensed and insured
  • Customized training methods
  • In-home training available
  • Family-friendly training
  • Personalized programs
  • Competitive rates

Giving Back

Here at Valor K9 Academy, we’re all about giving back to the communities that support us. Since our start in 2014, we’ve donated $40,119 in training to local not-for-profit animal rescue groups, shelters, charitable organizations and military veterans in our communities.

Our Services

Whether you prefer private dog training sessions for the individual attention, the convenience of training around your busy schedule, or because you want to tackle specific training issues in a private setting, we’re here to help you.

Each private lesson is designed to meet your individual goals. We’ll spend the hour focusing on what you want to teach your dog and what problems you want solved. We’ll then give you a personalized homework plan that works for you and your dog.

Sessions last one hour and can be held at our home, your home or a public location.

Private lessons are currently 30% off! Get four lessons for $497 347.90, six lessons for $697 487.90 and eight lessons for $897 627.90. The travel fee for in-home lessons is $1/mile round-trip.

Don’t put off improving your relationship with your dog. Contact Trainer Julie Richards today to make an appointment or schedule a free consultation: (email)

Our Programs

Valor K9 Academy’s board & train programs are designed to offer expert dog training for all your needs. From puppy training to basic and advanced off leash obedience, our customized programs get amazing results! Skip the stressful kennel atmosphere, in our program your dog lives with the trainer and receives 1-2 hours of training per day plus exercise, socialization and basic care. We only allow 1-2 dogs in our program at a time, so each dog gets lots of 1:1 time!

Puppy Head Start

Allow a professional trainer to jumpstart your puppy’s training the right way. This program focuses on housebreaking, crate training, socialization, basic commands and manners. We give your puppy a solid foundation for future training. Your puppy will learn to love learning and be ready for success as a confident, well-socialized family companion! Private lessons with your puppy’s trainer are included, and all further lessons may be booked at a 10% discount. For puppies under six months of age.


Field Trips

Introduction to Obedience and Manners:  

Sit, Down, Stay, Heel, Come
Place, Crate, Wait, Leave it
No jumping, No play biting/mouthing
Calm in crate
Walking on treadmill
Clicker and marker training


$1997 for 2 weeks
$2997 for 4 weeks
Contact Trainer Julie Richards for more information: (email)

Good Dog Board & Train

In this program, your dog is professionally trained through a comprehensive program tailored to your individual dog. Goals include training reliable responses to basic commands, e-collar off leash training and resolving common behavior problems, with an emphasis on building engagement through positive reinforcement. Commands include: name recognition, sit/stay, down/stay, loose leash heel, come, place, leave it, wait and crate. The Good Dog program also teaches treadmill training, FitPAWS training and socialization time with our balanced pack. The first half of our program is all about foundation training. The second half covers field trips to proof your dog’s training both at home and in public around distractions. Included is a custom training manual, private lessons for the owners and 10% off all future lessons. For friendly dogs six months and up.

Obedience Skills:

Sit, Down, Stay, Heel
Come, Place, Crate, Wait
Leave it
No jumping, No mouthing
Calm in crate
Walking on treadmill
Marker training
Remote collar introduction and training
Field trips for generalization

Home Manners and Problem Prevention:

Calm in the house
Calm around guests, kids and other dogs
Place bed training
No begging or counter surfing
No chasing the cat
Confidence building
Productive play time
Appropriate social interactions with people and dogs
Calm behavior for grooming
Calm and quiet in the crate
Calm in the car


$2997 for 3 weeks

Contact Trainer Julie Richards for more information: (email)

Custom Board & Train

This program is designed for dogs with specific training goals such as service dog training, therapy dog training, fitness and weight loss, confidence building, tune-ups and more. We find out what your exact goals are and create a custom training plan for your dog. This program is especially popular for graduates who would benefit from refresher training, and is a great option for owners going on vacation who need a place for their dog to stay! Program includes a custom training manual, private lessons for the owner, and 10% off all further lessons. For dogs of all ages.

$1,000 per week

Contact Trainer Julie Richards for more information: (email)

From the weekend visit to the multi-week stay, we provide dogs with an exciting and enriching experience!

During their stay, our Stay & Play guests get to play with dog friends, go on long walks, take naps and work with our trainers to achieve the goals on your training wish list. In this program, your dog will stay with Trainer Julie Richards in her home. We believe that a home setting, supervised by professional staff, is the best setting for dogs versus a kennel environment.

Currently offering $10 off! Cost is $50 40 per night for the first dog and $40 per night for additional dogs. Optional add-ons include nail trim ($10), bath ($25) and training ($45 per 30 min). 

This program is open to the public for friendly dogs who are crate trained and house broken. We keep our program small so dogs get lots of one-on-one time!

To make a reservation, email Trainer Julie Richards today: (email)

Our Training in Action

Meet Team Grand Rapids


Amy founded Valor K9 Academy in 2014 and is the Co-owner and Head Trainer. She 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 NC. 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 is the Co-owner and Manager of Valor K9 Academy and 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.


Julie Richards is the Lead Trainer for Valor Grand Rapids. She started out as a client in June 2015 and joined our team in January 2019. Julie is a graduate of Valor’s Trainer Course and specializes in puppy training and basic to advanced off leash obedience. Previously, Julie worked as dispatcher for a police department in Washington state for 12 years. Julie owns four German Shepherds: Lexi (8), Steve (4), Mika (2) and Kora (1). Julie lives just north of Grand Rapids and enjoys training and showing her personal dogs in conformation. She grew up sailing with her family on the Puget Sound and is looking forward to taking lessons on Lake Michigan this year.

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  • In three short weeks Julie took a sweet but completely unmannered little gal who'd spent several months jumping from shelter to kennel across the country and gave her the confidence and skills to help settle her in our family. She now sits, stays, walks on a treadmill, is amazing on leash, loves her place bed and is getting better with her crate each day. Thank you Julie!!!

    Breanna Chance
  • We really enjoyed working with Julie. After only four private lessons, our German Shepherd had completely mastered off leash recall and obedience. Julie’s passion for dog training was so evident from the moment we spoke on the phone. She was available to answer questions and guide me every step of the way. Thank you so much, Julie!

    Julia Hunter
  • Julie has done amazing work with our Golden Retriever-Harlee! Julie has been a huge part of Harlee's training at Valor K9 from private lessons, basic obedience, to even puppy classes. Julie has been able to shape Harlee as she grows and develops into a smart and obedient dog. Even at Harlee's most stubbornest point Julie wouldn't give up! We are so very thankful for all of her hard work and we will greatly miss her! I would recommend Valor K9 and Julie to any who has a dog!

    Torri Pownall
  • I have had the pleasure of working with Julie for several years. She is truly one in a million. Her passion for dogs is very apparent and now her path to pursue that passion in training is a blessing for anyone that is able to learn from her. She is one of the hardest working individuals I know. She will set the bar high for her clients and their furry friends and will keep the bar even higher for herself. You can expect nothing but the best from Valor.

    Kim Arredondo
  • April Shen
  • Absolutely LOVE Valor! In just 3 lessons our pups are so much more well behaved and are learning so fast! Definitely well worth every penny!

    Elisa Wold

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