Our Training Philosophy
We are balanced dog trainers. We are specially skilled at each aspect of training and treat dogs like individuals. Our training is never one-size-fits-all.
We believe strongly in the importance of a good training foundation so we use positive reinforcement (rewards) to teach basic commands and behaviors in a fun way. We focus on confidence building, the relationship between owner and dog, structure, rules and meeting the basic needs of each dog. All of our foundation training is done using a slip lead and food reward as our “training tools.”
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 use training collars on young puppies and we never train any dog using force or intimidation. Our training always has the dog’s best interest at heart.
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 strive to foster a working relationship with the dog based on mutual trust and respect. Our goal is to have an obedient dog without relying on rewards or equipment. We use a common sense approach to training and seek to do what’s best for dogs and their owners.
A well-trained dog is a pleasure to own and has a great quality of life!
We focus on quality over quantity and keep our training programs small. Here at Valor K9 Academy, we offer private lesson training, small online group classes, board and train programs and stay and play boarding. We’re proud of the reputation we’ve built and work hard to meet the needs of our clients, both two- and four-legged. All of our services are done in-home; we do not have a facility at any of our locations currently.
Private Lessons can be done in your home, our home, in a public location or online via Zoom. Each lesson is one hour and it’s catered to meet your wants and needs. We work individually with you to help you train your dog. We offer lesson packages to ensure that we have enough time with you to reach your training objectives. And we welcome all types of training topics: puppy training, obedience, off leash training, service dog training and mild rehabilitation training.
We offer several online Group Classes for your convenience. These include Puppy Classes, Basic and Advanced Tricks Classes and Basic Obedience Class. These curriculum-based class sessions are designed to reach specific training objectives. Classes are offered a few times throughout the year.
Board and Train
Our Board and Train program is our best program for getting results quickly. You drop off your dog, and we do the work for you! We put in the thousands of repetitions it takes to teach all the behaviors on your goal list. We have programs specifically for puppies, for friendly but untrained dogs, for service dogs and for behavioral cases such as aggressive and fearful dogs. And we have a catch-all option called the Custom Board and Train that’s open for any and all training goals.
Stay and Play Boarding
Our fourth program is called Stay and Play. This program was created when we realized that our clients were leaving their dogs at boarding facilities who weren’t taking good care of them or with family members who didn’t understand their dog’s training. The dogs were getting injured or getting away with murder! You put a lot of work into your dog’s care and training and just want to go away for a quick trip or a long vacation. We’re here for you. We take great care of your dog so you can leave and trust he’s in good hands. We maintain your dog’s training and even offer add-on training so you come home to a well-behaved, happy, healthy dog.
Service Dog Training
If you are specifically interested in Service Dog training, we can help! We offer PTSD, TBI, Anxiety and Cardiac Alert and Response, Mobility Support and Autism Service Dog training. We can help you find the right dog and get the dog through training from start to finish. (Our Boise location is our Service Dog specialty location, but all three locations can help with different aspects of the process.)
Meet the Owners
Amy Pishner is the Founder, Owner and Head Trainer of Valor K9 Academy’s three locations and online program. She trained thousands of dogs from 2013 to 2020, and now runs the business side of things including mentoring the trainers on the team. In 2021, she opened her newest business, Valor Protection Dogs.
Amy grew up with dogs and spent her childhood surrounded by her four-legged friends. After graduating college in 2008 with degrees in International Political Economy and Spanish, Amy went overseas to teach English in Ecuador. There she found her passion for teaching. After returning from Ecuador, Amy joined the Air Force as an Intelligence Specialist. In her free time, she volunteered at the local shelter and fostered nearly 40 dogs to adoption. After five years of service, Amy separated from the military to pursue her passion for dog training.
Amy attended Starmark Academy for Dog Training, Vohne Liche Kennels’ Handler and Trainer Courses, and The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers. Fun fact, she was the first person to go through Vohne Liche’s handler and trainer courses back-to-back. Normally the trainer course is reserved for trainers with 10+ years of experience, but VLK saw Amy’s potential and offered her a course spot! Amy is triple-certified and has also attended countless workshops, seminars and events over the years to grow her skill set.
Amy and her husband and business partner, Justin, have a beautiful toddler named Emma Grace, three personal dogs (Zoey, Duke and Havok) and a cat named Kat. They are also raising several German Shepherds for their protection dog business. Amy’s dogs live a fulfilled life and are versatile as demo dogs, protection dogs and dog sport enthusiasts. Over the years they’ve helped train and rehabilitate thousands of dogs.
Amy, Justin and Emma live on 67 acres in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho. Amy enjoys pack walks with her dogs, working out and rollerblading.
Justin Pishner is the co-owner and lead instructor for Valor K9 Academy dog training. After attending Boise State University, Justin joined the U.S. Air Force. He was selected to be an elite SERE (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape) Specialist. He served for 15 years in numerous locations across the US, along with a year-long assignment overseas and two deployments. After 15 years of Active Duty service, Justin transitioned to the Air National Guard in Boise, Idaho, where he continues his work as a SERE Specialist part-time.
For Valor K9 Academy, Justin wears many hats. He built and equipped our facility in Spokane. He helped create the curriculum for our 450-hour Train-the-Trainer 3-level course. And he helps with Taxes, Human Resources, Business Management and other various aspects of small business ownership. Justin’s sub-specialty in the military was Adult Education. He teaches our trainers how to grow their skill sets to best teach our clients.
In 2022, Justin plans to continue building our training center here in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho. We have plans for a 60×80 building that will be fully customized to meet our training needs for group classes and events.
Justin enjoys riding his Harley, hunting and being with family.