At AZ Dog Sports we follow CCPDT guidelines in our training.
You may book a class or private lesson with our trainers by calling our registration desk at 602-237-6775.
Ken has been training and competing in a wide range of dog sports since 1982. He and his canine partners have been successful in obedience, conformation, rally, agility and field. Ken has trained and competed with Irish Setters and Flat-Coated Retrievers. He has competed at the top level in Obedience (3 UD titles, 5 CDX titles and 7 CD titles), Rally (an RAE2 title and RE on a 2nd dog) and Agility (MACH2). His oldest dog, Colter, was inducted into the Flat-Coated Retriever Hall of Fame in 2008, while young Talisker is coming up in the field and competing in agility, obedience and field with an eye on qualifying for the Hall of Fame. Ken’s philosophy is that no two dogs are the same and what works for one handler or team isn’t necessarily what is best for another. His idea is to have fun in training and competing while helping each dog to be successful and confident. His classes are not only enjoyable for both handler and dog, they produce results. His students regularly qualify and place. By competing in obedience, rally and agility, Ken teaches how each area can help be successful in the other areas.
Darcy Rohats began training her first Elkhound in 1994 for conformation, obedience and agility. From that experience she was lucky to conduct pet obedience classes for the SPCA of Texas, private kennels, as well as with Petco and asked to develop pet partner instructors for some of their local stores. This experience allowed her to work with many different dog breeds and human/canine teams. Darcy is actively training at Contact Zonies Agility Club and competes in agility, rally and conformation. Over time she has attended seminars including Suzanne Clothier, Christine Zink and Rachel Sanders. She is also a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator with the AKC. Working with canine/human teams is rewarding and fun to Darcy. She feels it makes the relationship that much more solid.
Lynn Brand, CGC Evaluator, BS Southern Methodist University
Lynn has been actively training companion dogs at AZ Dog Sports for five years at all levels of Obedience as well as all levels of AKC CGC titles. She is an AKC CGC Evaluator up to the AKC Urban Canine level and the AKC STAR Puppy program, and also an APDT Professional Member. She began training German Shepherds in the sport of Schutzhund in 1997. She has taken her dogs through all phases of this sport including the IPO3 level and tracking titles. Her dogs also have their CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certificates. She is an active member of the Phoenix Schutzhund Club and currently Club president. She believes it is important the handler and the dog form a strong bond of trust and love from the beginning and she tailors her training to fully developing this bond through positive reward and reinforcement. She believes it is important for you and your canine friend to enjoy being together by having a dog who is fully under control and a joy to be around.
Julie has been working with therapy dogs for the past 10 years in the Valley of the Sun. She has given presentations on “What is a Therapy Dog” and also on “Training Deaf & Blind Dogs”. She has taught classes at the Arizona Humane Society Kids Camp on different subjects about dogs. Topics such as; basic training, sign language for deaf dogs, animal rescue and adoption, and fun sports and games to dog with dogs.
As a Tester/Observer for Alliance of Therapy Dogs Julie helps other dogs get certified to become official Therapy Dog Teams. When going through testing and observations to earn your certification, she helps guide students and give advice on technique and safety during visitations.
Julie earned her Psychology Degree from Arizona State University and Clinical Research Certification from the University of Delaware. Through the years Julie has also enjoyed volunteering with; The Epilepsy Society of Arizona, The Special Olympics, Amazing Aussies Lethal White Rescue of AZ and Alliance of Therapy Dogs.
For the past ten years Karen has been training dogs of all breeds and experience levels and she is a Certified Master Trainer. She has experience working with reactive dogs, teaching agility and obedience at all levels. Karen’s German Shepherd has titles in Rally Novice, Advanced and Excellence, along with receiving her Canine Good Citizen certification. Her Sheltie and enjoys Agility for fun and she is a certified Therapy Dog. As a trainer working with various companies and private clients Karen has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of dogs and feel that each dog learns differently and no one method is perfect for all dogs- training needs to be flexible for the dog and owner. Her goal is for no one to give up on their dog.
Monika has been actively working with, training, and devoting her time to improving canines since 1998. She is a professional member of APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) and a certified AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) Evaluator. She is committed to turning difficult situations into the most effective and convenient solutions for her clients’ dog training needs. Her passion is working with reactive canines by creating structure in the family environment and strengthening the relationships of pets and owners. Monika avidly pursues continuing education and professional development by attending several seminars per year and keeping current on all industry literature and training techniques. When she is not helping clients enjoy better lives with their canine companions, Monika competes in AKC Obedience, Rally Trials, and French Ring Sport.
Jessa Parker, CPDT-KA
Jessa has been training dogs professionally for the last five years, and recently completed her CPDT-KA. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University (2013) with a degree in Agricultural Communications and Journalism and a minor in Psychology.
Jessa moved to Phoenix in 2014 to train service dogs for a local non-profit, specializing in mobility assistance and diabetic alert training. She has a passion for helping owners achieve their training goals through positive reinforcement training.
Jessa’s goal is to help humans and their pets understand one another and communicate clearly, while having fun and strengthening their bond.
Kwanho, a native of Seoul, South Korea; is a certified professional dog trainer and also certified in working with behavior modification. He owned his own business in Korea specializing in positive dog training, clicker training, and tricks training. He strives to understand each dog’s temperament and personality. By designing a customized curriculum to appeal to both the guardian and the dog’s strengths, Kwanho maximizes efficient learning for both. He also does private lessons and assists in the mentorship program for AZ Dog Smart Academy for new trainers.
Kwanho participated in the mentorship program with Will Bruner at AZ Dog Smart Academy in 2017. In his spare time he volunteers for Power Paws. Kwanho is adding this exciting new skill set to his repertoire, and his love of helping people work with dogs in new ways.
His other love is Music. He has both his Bachelor of Music degree from Seoul National University, and his master of Music degree from Indiana University, Bloomington. He is a professional Trombonist and now resides in Arizona, with his wife, also a professional musician. His interest in dogs was first in learning to train his wife’s two therapy dogs, and the rest is history!
Debbie Nichols – Trainer, CGC Evaluator
Debbie has been working with dogs her entire life. Her love of dogs started early on with 4-H, then as Vet-Tec and as a shelter manager, in L.A., Las Vegas, and Maricopa County. Debbie’s passion for working with dogs introduced her to the sport of Agility. Her love of Agility is one of the reasons she teaches her favorite leisure past time at AZ Dog Sports.
Debbie has been an instructor for Contact Zonies Agility Club since 2006, when she was training her own competition dog. She teaches foundation, novice, and competition Agility. Her creative courses are now part of our indoor venue all year around. In her spare time, Debbie also fosters many rescue dogs for Boxer Love Rescue and has fostered and trained over 30 dogs in the last 10 years for that organization. Debbie provides basic obedience and level 1 training as part of our Board and Train program, where the trainer houses and trains the dog over a 2 to 4-week period. This is a great way to have your dog develop the practical obedience and manners that most guardians would like for their pets.
Debbie is a Realtor by vocation and loves living and training in her space designed for dogs to have fun and exercise in her own spacious home venue, including outdoor agility field! She also shares her passion for clean living with her dogs and has educated herself in raw feeding. In addition she has interests in Natural/Homeopathic care for them as well.
Michael Brand – BS, CPDT-KA
Michael has been a lover of dogs since he was four years old. His first dog was an American Eskimo called Freeway, so named because the dog was rescued from a freeway in San Francisco. Freeway was one tough cookie, who provided Michael his first, early lessons in understanding the complex needs of dogs, from the reactive and unsocialized to the easy-going and gregarious.
Early work as a pet sitter and dog walker fueled Michael’s commitment to learn as much as possible in the field. As his interests and involvement with dogs grew, he studied for and obtained the CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer) certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.
Michael was the General Manager of AZ Dog Sports, working closely with clients to learn their needs and then prescribing appropriate training classes. As a principal trainer for Zen K9, Michael worked with dogs on everything from basic obedience to aggression. These experiences greatly increased Michael’s practical knowledge of canine behavior and his ability to “speak dog.”
Michael enjoys working with and educating owners, helping them to understand their canine friends. He is actively involved in developing workshops on subjects important to pet owners and is often called upon to consult with dog-centric businesses to develop protocols for assessing canine temperament.
Michael lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Danelle and their two daughters.
Jaymie Cardin – Trainer, CGC Evaluator
Jaymie’s love for dogs started when she was still in diapers. She grew up around dogs, and always knew that she would make a career out of this passion. She began working with animals as a volunteer at the Phoenix Zoo. After joining the Arizona Dog Sports family in 2016, she attended and graduated from the Arizona Dog Smart Academy.
Jaymie became involved with training service dogs in high school, first raising and training a rescue dog for diabetic alert work through a high school class, and then volunteering with a local non-profit to raise a golden retriever for mobility assistance. Her passion for raising service dogs inspired her to attend and complete the Summer Service Dog Program at Bergin University of Canine Studies.
She is excited to be back at Arizona Dog Sports as a trainer, and wants to share her love of positive reinforcement training with pet parents here in the valley.
The newest member of our AZ Dog Sports training team has been a devoted dog lover her whole life, and started training her own dogs as a child. She has been a professional trainer for 4 years, and has earned the national CPDT-KA designation as a positive trainer for AZ Dog Sports. Her early influences were Karen Pryor, Terry Ryan, and Ian Dunbar. Taking regular academy classes to enrich her training education is part of her daily life. Having worked in a variety of capacities from day training to small group obedience classes at all levels she is currently specializing in private in-home obedience lessons and obedience/activity classes at our indoor facility.
In her free time she and her three dogs love to camp, canoe, and explore! Check out her activity and watch for new classes on shaping and tricks soon. DJ is currently learning agility, scent, and service dog task work with two of her dogs, Chance and Marble. Chance has displayed an early aptitude for skate board training, and Marble is loving paddle boarding! DJ loves to help handlers progress to their highest level as a team, weather it is obedience, sports, or outdoor activity.
As soon as she turned 18 Ashley began her career working with dogs! She volunteered with a local wildlife rehabilitation center, where she learned to work with canids of all types, as well as a wide variety of other wild animals. Following her passion to work with animals, Ashley then went on to graduate from ASU with a B.S. in Animal Behavior, Physiology and Neuro-biology. While getting her degree at ASU, she graduated from a technical school, and has worked for several years in a veterinary setting as a technician and receptionist.
She also has experience in a scientific setting studying animal behavior as an undergraduate researcher at a laboratory at ASU. Ashley also spent four years as an intern teacher and dog trainer for local non-profit organizations that provided service dogs to aid people with disabilities.
Her goals in training are to strengthen the bond between dogs and their owners by promoting effective communication and activities both parties can enjoy. Although she loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, she especially enjoys working with giant breeds, and owns a Great Dane named Ziggy, who holds a CGC certification.
Don is our Certified Dog-Walking Supervisor (certified via AZ Dog Smart Academy). He is also a Puppy Trainer, Day-Trainer and Pet-Sitter. Through AZ Dog Smart Academy, Don has learned positive training methods, handling and equipment skills. He does pet-sitting in your home or boarding at his own home. Don is the Foster Home Coordinator for B.F.F. Rescue and volunteers part time with Caring For Canines. Don brings his years of experience to AZ Dog Sports including work as a Vet Tech.
Emily Hopkins, CGC Evaluator
Emily Hopkins has been raising and training service dogs since 2013. She started out co-raising puppies with the Tucson chapter of Guide Dogs for the Blind while she was a senior in high school. Throughout her sophomore and junior years at Arizona State University, Emily raised a black lab (Quantico) for the service dog organization Power Paws. Though Quantico was career changed out of the program due to health issues, Emily continues his training and he now serves as an exemplary demo dog. While a senior at ASU, she began teaching service dog classes at Power Paws covering task work and public access for puppy raisers. In the spring of 2018 Emily graduated magna cum laude from ASU with a bachelor of science in Criminal Justice and has background in parks and protected areas management as well as homeland security. Emily continues to train service dogs and is starting to explore ways to integrate her passion for law enforcement into her dog training career. Emily is a certified AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator and utilizes positive reinforcement methods in her training. She believes a dog should want to work for you – not feel obligated to. Emily believes training should be a fun activity for you and your dog and when done correctly, can strengthen the bond between dog and handler.
Will Bruner has worked professionally as an animal trainer since 1992 with a focus on zoos and exotic animals. In 1996 he started doing in-home dog training and animal behavior consultation second to his day to day work. He found the same principles he used on dolphins, tigers and birds of prey, transferred easily to helping people with their pets at home. This has led him to not only help dogs, but also conduct cat and bird training workshops as well. He believes strongly in the Canine Good Citizen program and has been an AKC Approved Evaluator since 2010. He has also competed in obedience and agility trials with his own dogs and most recently discovered the sport of Treibball. As part of the first US Treibball classes conducted in Colorado in 2010, Will went on to compete in the first sanctioned Treibball competition in Arizona in 2014. He is also certified as a judge and trainer for the American Treibball Association. Will is a professional member of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA). Will’s passion lies in bettering animals’ lives through training and better communication, whether they are in the zoo or your home. His philosophy on training is based on three basic principles, consistency, honesty and rewards. Training works best, not when you try to control your dog, but when you are communicating with them. Dogs need structure, challenges (both physical and mental), as well as praise to be happy and content.