You deserve to know who you are working with. We employ elite all stars! Unlike many of our “competitors”, our employees are ACTUALLY employees. They’re not 1099 independent contractors.
At K-9 Coach, we provide an environment where people want to work. We nurture employees desire to help animals and be a part of a larger goal. At K-9 Coach, employees know that they are valued, rewarded (financially, emotionally and professionally), challenged and inspired to excellence. We support their professional goals and continuing education endeavors wherever possible.
These practices create accountability – to ourselves, to our employees and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, to you.
CMT, CDBC, CPDT-KA
Certified Master Trainer and Animal Behavior Consultant, Amber Burckhalter is a renowned expert in canine obedience and behavior modification. She has spent 20 years working with all types of dogs on pack mentality, behavior modification and all levels of obedience. She is considered an expert in the canine aggression field, using positive training methods and, in addition to being the Head Coach and directing all K-9 Coach training activities, this is now her professional focus.Amber grew up in a family that was very active with dogs and, in fact, rescued her first dog when she was just 7 years old. She spent much of her high school and college years working in the veterinarian field as a kennel technician, a veterinarian assistant and a surgical technician. After graduating with a Bachelors in Science from Georgia State University, she attended Tarheel Canine Training in North Carolina – a worldwide respected canine training facility. While there, she trained and worked with dogs in search and rescue, cadaver recovery, drug and explosive discovery, personal protection and basic and advanced obedience. In 1995, Amber received her Certified Master Dog Trainer certification and began training professionally.Amber is a Certified Dog Behavioral Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She is the President of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and Co-Chair of their Regional Educational Task Force. She is a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and is recognized as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed® (CPDT-KA®), the only worldwide recognized canine trainer certification, by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). She is active in numerous pet rescue organizations and the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Canine Good Citizen® program. She is also a member of Leadership Cobb and the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce CEO Roundtable and Business U Task Force.
Amber has served as an expert witness in court proceedings and has been featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and other newspapers, both for her expert opinion and her call to action for other trainers. She has appeared in Women’s Day, Parents Magazine, The APDT Chronicle, CNN.com and numerous other publications. Amber has also appeared on local television programs including Good Day Atlanta and in a WSB-TV Channel 2 exposé that profiled Norred and Associates and Amber’s work with busting dog fighting rings and rehabilitating abused dogs. In 2008, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) named Amber ‘Head Trainer’ for the End Dog Fighting Campaign in Atlanta and she went on to co-design the curriculum for the nationwide HSUS program. She has appeared on National Public Radio and several other radio talk shows as a canine expert and is sought after by numerous organizations for her help using positive training methods to successfully train and rehab dogs. She is proud to act as a mentor to other trainers and regularly hosts CEU approved educational conferences with world-renowned trainers.
Vicki Tate Truelove, CPDT-KA
Certified Professional Trainer
Vicki is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed® (CPDT-KA®) with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers®. Vicki has trained dogs her entire life – literally. She and her dog Daisy have earned various Titles in all agility organizations including AKC, NADAC, USADA, ASCA. They have achieved their “Excellent” Title in AKC and qualified for Nationals in the Grand Prix for United States Agility Dog Association. She has one herding title with the AKC and has competed with and against National Champions, Purina Incredible Dog Team members, and World Team members.
Vicki’s professional focus is helping clients achieve obedience and behavior modification through the least invasive and most fun means necessary. She teaches everything from puppies to advanced off-leash work and loves helping nervous pups with the “Who Stole My Zen?” program!
Vicki joined the K-9 Coach team in 2011 and, whether through training or rescue work, she is dedicated to helping people develop a lifelong partnership with their dogs.
The following team members are currently enrolled in our train-the-trainer internship program and, once graduated, will receive their certifications and become K-9 Coach Client Coaches.
Khaz, Training Intern – See Management Section
Rufio, Training Intern – See Comfort Coaches Section
Steve, Training Intern – See Comfort Coaches Section
Bobbi – Bobbi came to K-9 Coach in November, 2010 and is an integral part of our team. Many of you know her well, as she is often seen bringing your pups to you at the day. While primarily part of our front desk team, Bobbi can also be found monitoring our small dog play group when schools are on break, as she works for Cobb County’s school district during the day. In her spare time Bobbi cares for her American Eskimo, Winter, and is active in politics. She often attends rallies and supports a variety of causes. Bobbi has a huge heart and cares deeply about the well-being of all of our pups. She often knows exactly how your dog’s day went and has proven to be a great link in our communications with clients.
Dylan – Dylan came to K-9 Coach in January of 2014. She quickly settled in with her love for dogs and ability to thrive in fast paced environments. Dylan is a music enthusiast, frequently attending Atlanta’s concerts and shows, and is a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie. She and her terrier mix, Roxy, love the outdoors, especially water. Dylan’s long term aspiration is to be a Caribbean scuba instructor! You’ll most frequently see Dylan at our front desk taking care of our clients, but she also spends some time monitoring our small dog play yard.
Jaclyn – Jaclyn is just about as positive as one can be. She has graced us with her endless energy and enthusiasm since March of 2013, when she first came to us to volunteer. We quickly recognized the value of having her on our team and established her as one of our beloved front desk staff. Her favorite aspect of working for K-9 Coach is the extensive relationships she has built over the years with our clients. At home Jaclyn spends her time with her setter mix, Zuzu, and boyfriend of 8 years, Ryan. They love festival season and can be seen attending everything from beer fest to bacon run! She hopes to settle down in Florida someday with family, and pursue a degree in psychology, but insists that while in Atlanta, K-9 Coach is the place to be!
Kerry, General Manager – See Management Section.
Khaz, Kennel Manager – See Management Section
Allison – Allison came to K-9 Coach with extensive professional experience with dogs. Her impeccable attention to detail and genuine love for our pups has her most often monitoring our small dog play yard and supporting our front desk staff. Her favorite aspect of working for K-9 Coach is the opportunity to help coax shy or nervous dogs out of their shell and watch them develop into confident, happy, players. With the help of her study buddy, a Pomeranian mix named Chilli, Allison is completing a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. She also volunteers regularly at both Atlanta’s zoo and aquarium. Her long term aspiration is to care for exotic animals, specializing in their behavior.
Anna – Anna has been with K-9 Coach since October of 2010. It is hard to tell if her passion lies more with dogs or horses, but she has an infectious excitement about her for everything K-9 Coach. You will find Anna caring for our boarders on Mondays and Fridays. Anna frequently reminds us that her favorite thing about working here is our team – her friends – and how supportive of her we all are. Anna spends her free time at Chastain, riding horses and practicing for competitions. She is rarely without her Rottweiler companion, Nala, and loves training and caring for her. Anna aspires to compete in the Special Olympics for dressage.
Aurelia – See Groomer Section
Austin – Coming from experience as a veterinary technician, Austin’s life revolves around dogs. His passion lies with rehabilitating aggressive dogs and has filled his home and his heart with BJ the boxer, Saul the pit bull, Monroe the black lab, and Bastian the Malinois. At K-9 Coach Austin can be found in just about every area of the building ranging from caring for our boarders, to monitoring the play care yards, and is even cross trained to run the front desk and care for our clients. Outside of work Austin spends his free time training in martial arts. His positive attitude and perception of the world are both refreshing and infectious!
Brandon – Brandon found K-9 Coach at a transitional point in his life, knowing that he wanted to work with animals. He quickly fell in love with everything K-9 Coach, and prefers one-on-one time with our boarders and grumpy gus dogs. Outside of K-9 Coach Brandon enjoys videogames and building computers, often with his Rhodesian Ridgback mix, Dixie, at his side. He also coaches soccer and loves a good book. Brandon is working towards a Doctorate in Biology, hoping to one day be a college professor teaching evolutionary biology or animal behavior. You’ll find Brandon most often caring for our boarders, and supporting our front desk staff.
Dan – Dan came to us from New Jersey, where he served in the Army National Guard, completing two tours in Afghanistan. As a veteran, Dan was determined to focus on his passion: dogs. Dan seems to have no limits on his love for any and every dog he comes across, often referring to our residents, Buddy and Harvey, as “his” dogs. Outside of K-9 Coach Dan can be found doing just about anything athletic, and prefers snowboarding and surfing. He is also quite talented in his photography. You will see Dan most often caring for our boarding and grumpy gus dogs. He also spends some time monitoring our play yards.
Drew – Drew came to K-9 Coach in May of 2014 as a junior in high school. Now a senior, Drew can be found caring for our boarders and grumpy gus dogs any time school is not in session! He is our in-house comedian, always lighting up the building with his antics and enormous heart. His favorite task at K-9 Coach is to give private play time, often running full speed with the dogs in our agility yard. Outside of K-9 Coach Drew loves sports and plays basketball for his high school. He is also a fan of parkour and loves, loves, loves sneakers. Drew aspires to play basketball professionally, spending most of his free time practicing with the help of his puppy Great Pyrenees, Motts.
Nishil – Nishil found K-9 Coach in May of 2012 and quickly settled in as a key member of our team. He is most often seen monitoring our small dog play yard, but his incredible attention to detail proves a great asset when caring for our boarders and grumpy gus dogs as well. Nishil stays busy outside of work with his three rescues, Linus, the shitzu mix, Kintyre, the border collie mix, and Kieran the Belgian Shepherd. He enjoys sports, playing tennis and soccer, and enjoys making music. Nishil aspires to be in the field of emergency medicine, already having acquired certification as an EMT and pursuing a degree in nursing.
Rufio – Rufio is another of our naturals, with both genuine passion for the pups and innate ability to work with them. He has been honing his skills through monitoring our large dog play yard, and participating in our training internship under Amber, since March, 2013. Rufio’s companions are Bo, the pitbull, Meeka, the Texas Blue Lacey, and his oddball Pookie, the Chihuahua. Outside of work Rufio keeps himself very busy and physically fit, competing in local body building competitions. He is also an accomplished handy man, and can often be seen making repairs and changes around our facility. Rufio aspires to build his own tiny home and travel with his dogs. He wants to visit and absorb what every state has to offer.
Steve – With little previous experience, Steve came to K-9 Coach in May of 2014, and just radiated natural, raw talent with dog behavior and body language. His favorite aspect of working for K-9 Coach is his constant interaction with dogs and exposure to their behavior. He is practically inseparable from his Rottie Capone, frequently referring to Capone as the best thing to ever happen to him. Steve is a musician and is adept at several instruments including guitar and drums. He frequently plays shows around town with either of the two bands he plays with. Steve is a teacher at heart, giving drum lessons in his spare time and eagerly beginning our training internship under Amber. You will find Steve most often monitoring our large dog play yard.
Tommy – Tommy is a lifer, through and through. His extensive background in canine husbandry and behavior finds him most often monitoring our large dog play yard. Many of you know him through the videos and pictures he sends to clients of their dogs enjoying their time here. A member of K-9 Coach’s team since November, of 2010, Tommy is involved in much of what we do and often assists in classes and events. He spends his free time outdoors, fishing and kayaking with his “children” Smokie, the Dalmatian, and Ranger, his puppy hound mix. His long term goals revolve around the continued success of K-9 Coach, and he looks forward to being an integral part of launching a future farm location.
Aurelia – With us since October, 2012, Aurelia has become a great asset as one of our successful groomers. While you will see her most often in our grooming room Thursdays through Sundays, she insists on making time for our pack, and can be found monitoring our small dog play yard around her grooming schedule. Aurelia is adamant in her investment in our mission and plans to lend her talent to our team for the foreseeable future. She aspires to continue to hone her craft through the exposure our company provides her, as well as attending various conferences and seminars. At home Aurelia likes to relax with her husband, Leagree, and her Husky, Josh. Outside of work her passion is her cars, and she is quick to let us know when the trees are growing too far over the parking lot!
Danielle – Looking to further branch out in the grooming industry, Danielle came to K-9 Coach in March, 2014, from a local veterinary hospital. Her grooming expertise and extensive knowledge of canine health and medicine have made her a valuable asset to our team. Danielle can be found in our grooming room on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and says that her favorite thing about working for K-9 Coach is that we are always putting the dog’s needs first, without exception. In her time away from K-9 Coach she enjoys the outdoors, hiking and running 5ks and 10ks as often as possible. She shares her home with O’Malley, the enormous shih tzu, and hope to one day open an animal sanctuary.
Amber Burckhalter, CEO – Amber founded K-9 Coach in 2000 and has led the organization from the parking lot of a local animal hospital to one of the most well respected and recognized facilities of it’s kind. Her full bio can be seen in the Client Coaches section above.
Jarrette, Director Marketing & Operations – Jarrette joined K-9 Coach in 2008 after selling his marketing and business development firm. At K-9 Coach, he applies his professional experience to ensure that the organization maintains it’s core mission and values while developing and offering products and services that improve the lives of customers and their dogs. When not at K-9 Coach, Jarrette can be found spending time with his family – Amber, their son Jack, Relic (a rescue German Shepherd), Birdie (a rescue, deaf French Bulldog) and Swimmy Swimmy Red Fish (his son’s red Beta)! He also runs the Atlanta arm of My Heroes: A Hippotherapy practice dedicated to improving the lives of persons with special needs through the use of equine related activities.
Kerry, General Manager – Kerry found a home when she found K-9 Coach. After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Animal Science, and having worked for a top-notch veterinarian and boarding / daycare facility there, Kerry moved to Atlanta. She tried a few facilities in the Atlanta area and was less than impressed with all of them. Kerry says that finding K-9 Coach was like finding home. Although her academic and professional background is impressive, Kerry’s best asset is her passion for the industry. As the General Manager of the company you will find Kerry in all areas of the company, ultimately responsible for all of our employees, clients, and pups and the company’s day to day operations as a whole. At home Kerry prefers to spend her time outdoors with her beloved pit mix, Amy, and St. Bernard, Luna. She is also an avid lover of videogames and is an accomplished cellist. Her long term aspirations are to raise a family and enforce K-9 Coach’s position at the pinnacle of quality service, as a leader in the industry.
Khaz, Kennel Manager – Khaz joined the team at K-9 Coach in June of 2011, and has since mastered every area of the company, caring for both our clients, and our pups. Khaz is the newest member of our management team, taking on the role of Kennel Manager while she completes her training internship under Amber. You will find Khaz in all areas of the company at any given time. She is responsible for many of our pool evaluations and temperament evaluations. As the most recent addition to our training team Khaz can also be seen teaching many of our introductory courses, private lessons, and learn for life dogs. At home Khaz spends her time reading and playing videogames. She is also an avid lover of the outdoors and enjoys hiking with her mastiff, Nox, and Rottweiler mix, Xander. Khaz aspires to earn an advanced degree in animal behavior and is particularly passionate about apex predators and conservation.