Get to know Trainer Taya in this fun interview where we ask her lots of random questions about her life, her past, her dogs and her goals! Taya joined our team in September 2021 and has been a valued team member ever since!

1. Taya, what is your favorite hobby or past-time?

Besides training dogs, I love archery, listening to podcasts, collecting crystals and spending time outdoors!

Taya with husband, Brittin, a med student

2. Do you drink coffee in the morning?

I am a big Starbucks lover! I like Frappuccinos and iced coffees best!

3. What’s one of your favorite dog breeds, but a breed you’ll probably never own, and why?

I love Samoyeds. They are stunning and always happy! I’d likely never own one, though, due to the tendency to be more vocal and aloof.

4. Why did you get into dog training?

My service dog Boo got me into training professionally. She was task-trained as my service dog, and I realized just how life-changing having a service dog could be! She gave me back my freedom and independence that I previously was missing. Dog training came easily to me and was a place where I felt things clicked for me. I wanted to help others experience a deeper relationship with their dog, and help dogs be the best version of themselves!

service dog trainer with golden retriever service dog

5. How did you first learn about me and Valor K9 Academy?

I drove past the Valor K9 Academy facility in Spokane, Washington, when I was a teenager. Then I looked up your Instagram and loved your training philosophies and approaches.

6. In your opinion, how is Valor K9 Academy different from other dog training companies?

Valor K9 truly wants the best for the dogs and the clients. It’s not about the money. The dogs come first, and everyone at Valor puts everything we have into providing excellence.

7. What are your favorite types of service dogs to work with, and why?

Medical alert and response service dogs are my favorite to train. I think this is because my two dogs fall into this category, so I have first-hand understanding of just how life-changing those tasks are. I also really enjoy training hearing alert dogs and getting to brush off my ASL (American Sign Language).

8. Tell us about your dogs.

Brittin and I have four dogs total. My oldest is Vixen, who is a nine-year-old female Belgian Malinois and protection dog. My next dog is Boo, a four-year-old female Golden Retriever. She works as an in-home service dog for me. My youngest is Maui, a two-year-old male Golden Retriever. He is in training to be my mobility service dog. Brittin has a two-year-old male Husky mix named Kenai that he does mushing, canicross, bikejoring and skijoring with. These dogs are truly my best friends and family.

trained dogs

From L to R: Kenai, Boo, Maui and Vixen

9. What is one of your goals as a dog trainer?

I want to continue growing my skills, especially in the varieties of service dogs that I train. I’m also trying out new dog sports as well.

10. What is one thing you’ve learned this past year that has helped you grow as a dog trainer?

This year I added Kenai and Vixen to my pack. I’ve learned how to help everyone adjust to new pack members, and I’ve learned how to create relationships and bonds with older dogs who’ve had previous owners. I’ve also learned a lot about fulfilling dogs through their breed purposes via dog sports!

We are so blessed to have Taya on our team! She specializes in puppy training, on and off leash obedience and service dogs.