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 Immediate Past 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.
Becca HancockCertified Professional Dog Trainer
A graduate of Animal Behavior College, Becca has been a Certified Professional Dog Trainer since 2008. Passionate about canine fitness and conditioning, Becca is a guest instructor for K-9 Coach. Currently, she is teaching our Canine Conditioning, Performance Puppy Fundamentals and Disc Dog Foundation group classes. She is active in extreme distance, freestyle disc and dock diving with her personal dogs.
She is a 20 time World Finalist in Disc, both Skyhoundz and USDDN, and is currently ranked 4th in the World in Women’s Microdog Xtreme Distance with her dog Eclipse! Becca has titled multiple dogs in both disc and dock diving and, in addition to her canine fitness activities, she is also an AKC Approved Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and teaches everything from puppy to advanced obedience.
Kathryn began as a student with K-9 Coach several years ago. Since then, she has become a Certified Nosework Instructor and, in 2015, began teaching nosework classes with us. She is an avid nosework enthusiast and enjoys sharing her love of the sport with others. She became involved in the sport about a year and a half ago when she adopted her Weimaraner, Grace.
Since then, nosework has made a tremendously positive impact on their lives. It has increased Grace’s confidence and decreased her anxiety. Most importantly, it has deepened the bond between handler and dog. Kathryn has also taken up nosework with her puppy, Greta. Both dogs have trialed and received numerous titles in competitions throughout the US as part of “Team K-9” at K-9 Coach.
Certified Professional Trainer
Khaz joined the team at K-9 Coach in June of 2011 and has since mastered every area of the company: caring for our clients as a Client Coach and our pups as both a Comfort Coach and Kennel Manager.
Khaz completed her training internship, under Amber Burckhalter’s guidance, in 2014. Today, she can be seen teaching our foundational, basic and intermediate obedience courses as well as private lesson, playcare and learn for life instruction. 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.
Professional Trainer (Certification Pending)
Steve joined 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.
Steve joined our internship program in November of 2014 and graduated in the summer of 2015. He is currently completing his full certification and focuses on setting our young dogs up for a lifetime of success. You can see him teaching off-leash puppy classes, S.T.A.R. Puppy and also conducting training as part of playcare with a focus on leash walking, recall, manners and improved dog-to-dog interactions and socialization.
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 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 hopes 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.