Founded in 2014
All Breed Training
Valor K9 Academy was founded on April 14th, 2014. We started as a one-woman operation in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where founder Amy Pishner worked out of her two-bedroom apartment. Her hard work paid off, and in one year her business had doubled in size.
She then moved to Spokane in May 2015 to open a second location for Valor K9 Academy with husband Justin who was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington state. She trained a former client to take over operations in Chattanooga and continued training new dog trainers for each new location. The Spokane location included a large training facility. Valor worked extensively with the local dog rescue groups in the community and donated tens of thousands of dollars in dog training.
Then in May 2019, Amy and Justin moved to Boise, Idaho, and opened the third Valor K9 Academy location in the foothills of Horseshoe Bend.
At its largest size, Valor K9 Academy had nine dog trainers and five boarding hosts on staff. However, due to staffing issues and Covid restrictions, as of December 2022 we now have four trainers and four boarding hosts on staff.
We are a veteran-owned and operated small business. We were named the March 2022 Small Business of the Month for Idaho, and we’re proud of our standard for excellence. We work hard to provide top-level customer service and dog training to each and every client. Many of our clients are repeat clients or referrals from happy customers! We have hundreds of 5-star reviews on different platforms for our various dog training locations.
Family Dog Obedience
Small Group Classes
Board & Trains
Stay & Play Boarding
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!
Meet the Team
Justin and Amy Pishner
Justin and Amy Pishner are the Owners and Founders of Valor K9 Academy, LLC. They opened the first location in Chattanooga in 2014, the second location in Spokane in 2015 and the third location in Boise in 2019.
Amy is triple-certified and has trained thousands of dogs since her start as a professional dog trainer in 2013. She hand picks and trains all of the Valor K9 Academy trainers, and offers workshops, seminars, shadow programs and retreats for dog owners around the world.
Justin heads up the curriculum department and is in charge of adult education for the team. He is a handy man extraordinaire and is currently constructing the new training facility for Valor K9 Academy – Boise. Together, Justin and Amy run Valor K9 Academy and continuously strive for excellence in all they do. They are excited for what’s ahead in 2023!
Justin and Amy have a two-year-old daughter named Emma and two personal dogs: Havok and Zoey. They live in the foothills of Boise, Idaho, in Horseshoe Bend. Justin and Amy enjoy camping, hunting and spending time outdoors.
Sam is a Trainer for Valor K9 Academy – Boise. She joined the team in November of 2020 and brought with her a decade of experience in dog training.
Originally from Lake Almanor, California, Sam’s passion for training began more than a decade ago when she volunteered for Guide Dogs for the Blind. From there, she pursued her passion and spent six years working for various training and boarding companies in California and Texas.
Sam has a long list of credentials. She attended National K-9’s Master Course in 2014 and is also certified as a Master Canine Fitness Trainer from the University of Tennessee. She has attended various workshops and seminars over the years under various trainers. Upon joining Valor K9 Academy, Samantha studied under Owner and Head Trainer, Amy Pishner, to learn The VK9 Method of dog training.
Sam has four personal dogs and enjoys hiking and traveling with her dogs. She lives in Northeast Boise.
Taya Hekking is a Trainer for Valor K9 Academy – Boise. She joined the team in September 2021 and specializes in puppy training, family dog obedience and service dogs.
Taya attended The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers in 2018 and worked for a dog training company in Utah for three years before joining Valor K9 Academy in September 2021. Taya was personally trained by VK9 Owner and Head Trainer, Amy Pishner.
She has an Associates Degree in Communicative Sciences with an Emphasis in Deaf Education from Utah State University and is fluent in American Sign Language.
Taya and her husband, Brittin, enjoy camping and being outside in nature. They have four personal dogs and enjoy all things Disney and dogs! They reside in Nampa, Idaho.
Kelsi Long is a Trainer for Valor K9 Academy – Chattanooga. She joined the team in June 2021 and specializes in puppy training and family dog obedience.
Prior to joining our team, Kelsi worked as a kennel attendant and veterinary assistant, and then as a state tested nurse aid. She attended our six-day Shadow Program in August of 2019 and then completed our 240-hour six-week trainer course in July 2021 and has hit the ground running ever since!
Originally from Ohio, Kelsi now resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She has an Australian Shepherd and enjoys hiking, swimming and running.
Lindsay Pelazini is a Trainer for Valor K9 Academy – Boise. She joined our team in June 2022 and specializes in puppy training.
Lindsay is a former VK9 client who’s passionate about dogs and training. She previously worked as a manager at a pet resort and currently volunteers at the Idaho Humane Society. She has attended various dog training workshops and seminars over the years and recently earned her CCPDT certification. Previously, Lindsay worked as a Special Education School Teacher for 12 years; she specialized in working with children with Autism.
Lindsay, her husband Rico and their three children live in Meridian, Idaho, just a few minutes from Settlers Park. They have three dogs.
Cody and Sam Duval
Cody and Sam are Stay & Play Hosts for Valor K9 Academy – Spokane. They joined the team in September 2021 after spending three years as clients.
Cody and Sam are both from Spokane and graduated from East Valley High School together. Cody is a U.S. Navy Veteran who is currently studying Forensic Science at EWU. Sam is a Registered Nurse with a bachelors degree from WSU. She currently works from home, so someone is always home with the pups! They also enjoy spending time outside with their dogs and hiking.
They live in Spokane Valley and have three personal dogs. Cody and Sam enjoy home renovating, hiking and spending time outdoors.
Abby and Wiley Rowland
Abby and Wiley Rowland are Stay & Play Hosts for Valor K9 Academy – Boise. They joined our team in October 2021 and offer boarding out of their home to our clients.
Originally from Alabama, Abby has a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Biotechnology from the University of Kentucky and went to the University of South Alabama for medical school. She currently works as a Family Physician for Saint Alphonsus in Nampa. Wiley does IT Consulting.
Abby and Wiley live in Meridian and have two dogs and three cats. They spend their free time binging shows on Netflix, training the dogs, hiking and kayaking.