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.
Valor K9 Academy offers top-notch training for dogs of all ages and breeds. We specialize in puppy training, on and off leash obedience and behavior rehabilitation training. Our services include private lessons, group classes, board & train programs, stay & play private boarding, shadow programs, seminars and more. We offer complimentary consultations for prospective clients. This allows us to meet you, get to know your dog, answer your questions and give you a tour of our facility.
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 350 5-star reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook.
Valor K9 Academy has three physical locations and an online training program. Each location offers puppy training, on and off leash obedience, service dog training and behavior rehabilitation training for difficult dogs.
Founded in April 2014, Valor Chattanooga is our first and oldest location. It offers concierge, in-home training for private lessons, boarding and board & train programs.
Also founded in April 2014, Valor Online offers private lessons and group classes via ZOOM video conferencing. We work with clients around the world helping them train their dogs from home.
Opened in June 2015, Valor Spokane offers in-home private lesson training, small group classes, boarding and board & train programs.
Opened in June 2019, Valor Boise offers private lessons, group classes, boarding, board & train programs, workshops and an annual trainer retreat. Training is currently done in-home. We are in the process of building a training facility to be used for group classes, shadow programs and future trainer courses.
Our training is for all dogs everywhere!
Meet Our Team
A company is only as good as its people. That’s why our owners hand-select each member of our team. We want individuals that stand for excellence, bleed integrity and love dogs.
When we were presented with the opportunity to grow our company, we decided the only way to do it right is by training our own trainers. We knew there were no quality dog trainer schools out there that train the way we train, so we took on the task ourselves. We created a comprehensive curriculum modeled after the curriculum used by the military for training career field specialists. The course is a grueling 450 hours long. It encompasses multiple aspects of dog training and adult education to produce well-rounded trainers.
When you choose Valor K9 Academy, you can rest assured knowing you’re working with the best of the best!
OWNER, HEAD TRAINER
Amy Pishner is the Owner and Head Trainer of Valor K9 Academy. She founded the company in 2014 and now manages the three locations and online program. Amy is triple certified through The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers, Starmark Academy and Vohne Liche Kennels. She has trained thousands of dogs, has directly trained all of the trainers on staff and offers mentoring for dog trainers around the world. Prior to training dogs, Amy served in the United States Air Force as an Intelligence Specialist. She has Bachelor’s Degrees in International Political Economy and Spanish from Carthage College in Wisconsin. Her hobbies include running, hiking and training her three dogs: Havok (6, GSD), Zoey (9, Aussie) and Yedi (5, Aussie). She and husband, Justin, now reside in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, and are expecting their first child in June of 2020!
Justin Pishner is the Owner and Manager of Valor K9 Academy’s three locations. He oversees operations, develops curriculum and works as lead project manager. Prior to joining Valor full-time in April 2019, Justin served 15 years active duty in the United States Air Force as a Master Survival Instructor. He deployed numerous times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom where he worked alongside Military Cadaver Dogs. Justin currently serves as a Traditional Guardsman in the Idaho National Guard. He enjoys riding his Harley, hunting and spending time with family. Originally from Boise, Justin and Amy now reside in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, with their three dogs: Zoey, Havok and Yedi.
Dana O’Lone Long is the Lead Trainer for Valor K9 Academy – Chattanooga. She was the first student to enroll in our Trainer Course and joined our team as a professional dog trainer in September 2015. Dana offers puppy and obedience training and is our go-to behavior rehabilitation specialist for difficult dogs. She is a true miracle worker! Prior to training, Dana spent 15 years as a veterinary technician and was Department Head of both neurology/behavior and internal medicine at RIVER pet emergency hospital in Chattanooga. Dana is an incredible dog trainer and a great person. She enjoys cooking, traveling, running and family. Dana lives in Chattanooga, TN, with her husband, Nick, and their dogs Charlie, a German Shepherd, and Yedi, a Belgian Malinois.
Courtney Sims is the Lead Trainer for Valor K9 Academy – Spokane. She joined our team in October 2017 and was promoted to Lead Trainer in April 2019. Courtney specializes in puppy training and on and off leash obedience and has a special gift for working with reactive and fearful dogs. She is one of the most patient people you’ll meet! Before becoming a dog trainer, Courtney worked for 10 years as a licensed veterinary technician at a pet emergency clinic and for five years as a technician at an animal dermatology specialty clinic. Courtney worked full-time and attended our trainer course full-time, proving that she’s no stranger to hard work. We’ve been impressed with her ever since. Courtney’s hobbies include gardening, exploring and hiking. She lives next to the academy and has two dogs: Pickles (4) a Boxer mix and Maverick (2) a German Shepherd.
Jenna Larson is the primary trainer for Valor K9 Academy – Boise. Her specialties include puppy training, on and off leash obedience, service dogs and behavior rehabilitation for difficult dogs. Jenna previously worked at Valor K9 Academy – Spokane and has been a full-time trainer with Valor since April 2019. We first met Jenna when she attended our Shadow Program in September 2018. When we posted a job opening, she jumped at the opportunity and attended our Trainer Course from January to April 2019. Jenna has always impressed us with her confidence, passion and integrity! She has an associates degree and enjoys hiking, camping and working out. Originally from Battle Ground, Washington, Jenna now lives in Star, Idaho, with her cat and two-year-old Heeler x Border Collie mix, Toby.
Skye Goodwin is a Trainer with Valor K9 Academy – Spokane. We first met Skye in April 2019 when she attended our Shadow Program. We were extremely impressed with her natural talent and work ethic and knew we had to have her on our team! Skye started as a Stay & Play Host and Trainee in June 2019 and then graduated our Trainer Course in August 2019. She specializes in puppy training and on and off leash obedience training. A dog enthusiast, Skye was previously certified by Starmark Academy for Dog Trainers and has attended numerous conferences and workshops for dog training. Before training dogs professionally, Skye volunteered for several years at an animal hospital. Born and raised in south Florida, Skye now lives in Medical Lake and enjoys hiking, rollerblading and gardening. She owns two mixed breed dogs: Ruca (7) & Moose (5).
Meg Rogers is a Trainer with Valor K9 Academy- Chattanooga. We first met Meg in 2014 when she enrolled her dog in our board & train program. Since then she has been a loyal client and in 2018 she joined our team as a Stay & Play Host. We quickly came to appreciate her passion for dogs and invited her to attend our Trainer Course. After nine months of hard work, Meg graduated our trainer course and has been busy ever since with clients. Her specialties are puppy training and on/off leash obedience for private lessons and board & trains. We are so happy to have such an energetic and caring person on our team. Meg and her husband, Matt, a police officer, have two children and three dogs. They live in Signal Mountain, TN. In her spare time, Meg enjoys running, spending time at the lake and being with family.
STAY & PLAY HOST
Lex Silvrants is a Stay & Play Host at Valor K9 Academy – Spokane. Loyal clients since 2017, we asked Lex and his wife, Dana Silvrants, to join our team in August 2018 as our first ever Stay & Play Hosts. They have done an exceptional job with it ever since – always going above & beyond for their clients both two- and four-legged. Lex has a Bachelor of Nursing degree from Washington State University and is currently a Critical Care Nurse at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Lex enjoys renovating their home, hiking and all things medical. He is trained in Canine First Aid & CPR and places each dog’s health and safety as a top priority. Lex and Dana live in Newman Lake, Washington, with their dogs Gretty (2) a Mini Aussie and Neeko (1) a Standard Aussie.
STAY & PLAY HOST
Dana Silvrants is a Stay & Play Host at Valor Spokane. She and husband Lex Silvrants have been clients since 2017 and over the years they have participated in numerous lessons, classes and workshops including Canine First Aid & CPR training to hone their skills. Dana and Lex joined our team in 2018 and have been invaluable ever since. They get a lot of repeat clients. Dana is a Program Coordinator at a local manufacturing company and has an Associate of Arts degree. She and Lex were both born and raised in Spokane Valley and now reside in Newman Lake, Washington. They have two dogs: Gretty (2) a Mini Aussie and Neeko (1) a Standard Aussie. Dana enjoys home projects, hiking, training and playing board games.
STAY & PLAY HOST
Torri Pownall is a Stay & Play Host at Valor Spokane. Torri has been a client since 2018 and joined our team in October 2019. She has participated in numerous classes with her dogs Harlee and Grace including all the obedience classes. Torri is currently a Nurse Assistant at Sacred Heart Medical Center and has a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology: Sports Science from Washington State University. Torri and her boyfriend, Austin were raised in Monroe, WA and recently bought a house together here in Spokane, WA. They have our two dogs: Harlee (1-year-old) a Golden Retriever and Grace (9 months old) a Great Pyrenees/Pyrenean Mastiff. In her free time, Torri enjoys home projects in our new home, learning about essential oils, exploring the outdoors, and playing with the dogs.
STAY & PLAY HOST
Austin Mead is a Stay & Play Host at Valor Spokane. Austin has been a client since 2018 and joined our team in October 2019. He has participated in numerous classes including all the obedience classes with his dogs. Austin is a full time student at Eastern Washington University getting his Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management. Austin and his girlfriend, Torri, were raised in Monroe, WA, about 45 minutes Northeast of Seattle. They have lived here in Spokane, WA, for a year and recently just bought a house. They have two dogs together: Harlee (1-year-old) a Golden Retriever and Grace (9-month-old) a Great Pyrenees/Pyrenean Mastiff. Austin enjoys building and making new things, kayaking, and teaching the dogs new tricks.