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/off leash obedience, service dog and therapy dog training, as well as behavior rehabilitation training for aggressive, reactive and fearful dogs.
Valor K9 Academy – Chattanooga, founded in April 2014, is our first and oldest location. It offers private in-home training, home-based boarding and board & train programs to clients in the greater Chattanooga area and across the east coast.
Valor K9 Academy – Spokane opened in June 2015. It is our largest and busiest location offering private lessons, group classes, board & train programs, shadow programs and various workshops. Valor Spokane is situated on five acres with a 2400 square foot training facility, dog wash station, retail section, outdoor agility obstacle course and sheep for herding. It is just 15 minutes west of downtown Spokane and serves the greater Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas and west coast.
Valor K9 Academy – Boise, opened in June 2019, is our third and newest location. We currently offer private in-home lessons, group classes, boarding and board & train programs for dogs of all ages and breeds. This location is growing. We are now providing dog training workshops and recently hosted our first annual trainer retreat. Valor Boise will someday be home to our official School for Dog Trainers. Now serving Eagle, Boise, Nampa, Kuna and the surrounding areas. Out-of-state dogs also welcome!
Valor K9 Academy – Online was originally started in April 2014 then re-opened in August 2019. Valor Online provides virtual one-on-one video training to clients around the world via Skype, FaceTime and Facebook Video. We’re currently working with dogs and their owners in Finland, Mexico, Canada and all over the United States!
Whatever your need, and wherever you are, Valor K9 Academy is here to help.
Meet Our Team
A company is only as good as its people. That’s why we carefully hand-select every single one of our team members. We want talented individuals who stand for honor and integrity and bleed passion.
As Valor K9 Academy grew, we found there were no quality dog trainer schools in existence that uphold the standards we believe in and train to every day; so we created our own. Valor K9 Academy’s Trainer Course program is a grueling 12 weeks and 250 hours of intensive hands-on training, academics and observation. The course is modeled after the same curriculum the military uses to train their career field specialists. Attendance does not guarantee completion. We hold our trainers to the highest standard and currently offer this training only to those committed to working for Valor K9 Academy upon graduation. Our trainers are the best of the best because we trained them to be that way.
We are proud of the team we’ve built and continuously strive to provide our clients with a five star experience. Click the drop-down menu below to read our team member bios.
CO-OWNER, HEAD TRAINER
Amy Pishner is the Founder, Owner and Head Trainer of Valor K9 Academy’s three locations and online program. Training dogs is a passion turned career for her. Growing up, Amy’s best friend was her Collie dog, Lady. In high school, college and the military, Amy volunteered her time helping to rescue, train and rehabilitate over 100 dogs in need. After graduating magna cum laude from Carthage College, Amy served four years in the United States Air Force working as an intelligence specialist. Following her military service, Amy pursued her lifelong passion for dogs and dog training by attending Starmark Academy for Dog Trainers, Vohne Liche Kennels (whose specialty is military & police dogs) and The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers. She founded Valor K9 Academy in 2014 and since then has worked with thousands of dogs and their owners while honing Valor’s training philosophy and methods. Additionally, Amy has trained and certified eight dog trainers and has mentored more than 30 aspiring and professional dog trainers in her shadow and mentor programs. Amy now resides in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, with her best friend and husband of four years, Justin Pishner. Together they have three dogs: Zoey (8), Havok (5) and Yedi (5).
Justin Pishner is the Co-owner and Manager of Valor K9 Academy’s three locations. He oversees operations, develops trainer course and shadow program 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 both stateside and downrange. 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. Justin 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 three dogs: Charlie (5) a German Shepherd, Yedi (3) a Belgian Malinois and Isadora (11) an Italian Greyhound.
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 a Trainer at Valor K9 Academy – Spokane. We met Jenna in September 2018 when she attended our second Shadow Program. At just 19 years of age, she made her mark as a confident, passionate and potentially top notch young trainer. Jenna had worked for two other trainers prior to attending our program, but didn’t agree with their training methods. We posted a job opening in December 2018 and, after having seen our balanced and fair training in action, Jenna jumped at the opportunity. Four months later, in April 2019, she graduated our trainer course and was hired on as a full-time trainer. Her specialties are puppy training and on and off leash obedience. All of her clients rave about her! Originally from Battle Ground, Washington, Jenna now lives next to the academy in Medical Lake, Washington. She has an associates degree and enjoys hiking, camping and working out. Jenna has a one-year-old Heeler mix rescue named 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.
TRAINEE, STAY & PLAY HOST
Haley Schapka is currently enrolled in our Trainer Course. She is doing academics under Head Trainer Amy Pishner in February 2020 then moving to Spokane in March 2020 to complete 7-9 weeks of hands-on training and provide care for stay & play dogs. Upon graduation, Haley will move to Boise, Idaho, to work as a Canine Training Specialist for Valor K9 Academy – Boise. Haley has an Associates degree in Business Management, she volunteered for 18 months with a local rescue group in Oklahoma training their special needs dogs, she spent a year interning with an agility training specialist and she has worked with a handful of clients on her owner over the past few months. Last September Haley participated in our Shadow Program then returned in November to attend our Trainer Retreat. When we met Haley, we just knew we’d have her on our team someday! Her energy, drive and passion for training are contagious. She loves Valor K9 Academy, our training philosophy and the way we treat our team. Haley currently lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and has a Labrador Retriever named Charlee.
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.