OUR COACHES…

You deserve to know who you are working with. We employ kelite 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.

Canine Coaches

Amber Burckhalter, CEO
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 directinsg 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.


Amy Peacock
Nosework Instructor

Amy joined K-9 Coach’s inaugural Nose Work (NW) class in 2011 with her reactive dog, Bello. She decided to try it out because nose work is an inclusive sport that any dog can do. Bello earned his NW1 title on his first try in the first trial held in the SE United States! Since then, Amy and her dogs have been hooked! She started playing nose work with her Schipperke, Skipper, when he was 13 years old, just for the mental stimulation, never intending to compete. But, his absolute enthusiasm for the activity changed her mind; he earned his NW1 title when he was 14 and played the game until the week before he died at age 15!

Amy continues to have fun and travel to trials with both of her dogs: Bello is chasing his second NW3 title on his way to Elite, and Red has his NW2 and is on the verge of achieving NW3.

Amy is currently enrolled in the NACSW instructor certification program to become a Certified Nose Work Instructor. She truly enjoys teaching and loves to help her students improve their observational skills as handlers, create a closer bond with their dogs by communicating and working as a team, and appreciate the joy their dogs experience as they are encouraged to use their natural instincts.


Becca Hancock
Certified 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 (Skyhoundz and USDDN) and is currently 4th in the World in Women’s Microdog Xtreme Distance. She will be be competing at the World Championship for Skyhoundz Disc in September with three qualified dogs. Becca and Eclipse are also World Finalists in NADD (North American Dock Diving) and will be competing at the World Championships at Eukanuaba in Orlando in December. In addition to her canine fitness activities, Becca is an AKC Approved Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and teaches everything from puppy to advanced obedience.


Kathryn Woods
Certified Instructor

Kathryn began as a student with K-9 Coach several years ago. Since then, she has received numerous titles and, in 2015, began teaching nosework classes with us. She is currently in the process of attaining her certification for nosework instruction. 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.


Laurin Ward
Certified Professional Trainer

Laurin joined K-9 Coach in 2016. We first met Laurin 5 years ago when she was aspiring to become a dog trainer. Fast forward to today and she is an accomplished, professional trainer for everything from puppy to intermediate and advanced obedience, tricks and games. She is a Canine Good Citizenship evaluator and has served as a mentor for other aspiring dog trainers.

Laurin has had a passion for learning about animals, especially dogs, since being a child. She adopted and trained the first dog in the family, Marik, a Rottweiler mix, from a Puppy to a Senior. She is currently “clicker-training” her cat, Katniss, a 2.5 year old Calico.

When she is not working with animals, Laurin enjoys being a visual artist, playing video games and writing stories.


Morgan Gladson
Certified Trainer

Morgan joined the K-9 Coach team in mid-2016 through the strong recommendation of our own beloved Groomer Danielle. He had spent several years as a Veterinary Technician where he worked closely with Danielle and developed a thorough knowledge of dog husbandry and care. Here at K-9 Coach, you can find him everywhere: as one of our trainers, helping customers at the front desk, monitoring our group play activities and serving as one of our team managers.

Morgan aspires to become an animal behaviorist and is currently working towards becoming CPDT-KA certified.

Morgan grew up in Dallas, Georgia and was born with an affinity for all things animal and outdoors.

At home, he spends his time with his German Pincher, Ares and cat, Rocky. He is often found hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and hang gliding.


Steve Brown
Certified Professional Trainer

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 recently completed his certification and focuses on setting our young dogs up for a lifetime of success. You can see him teaching puppy, basic and intermediate obedience and also conducting training as part of playcare with a focus on leash walking, recall, manners and improved dog-to-dog interactions and socialization.

Client Coaches

 

Codie Marcum

Codie’s aspiration of becoming an animal trainer led her to K-9 Coach in the summer of 2017. She grew up in a small town, Ohatchee, Alabama, and graduated from Jacksonville State University with a degree in Psychology. 

Prior to joining K-9 Coach, Codie interned with IK9, a global firm specializing in canine training for defense organizations, law enforcement and private security.

You can see Codie at the front desk and in our group activities playing with the small guys or letting one of them nap in her arms! In her spare time, Codie enjoys taking adventurous trips with family and friends, or simply lounging around the house with her cat Harley. She hopes that her passion about animals will inspire others.

 


Emily

Having worked at a number of different dog and horse facilities, Emily is not only an animal lover, but a true professional in the industry. She attributes her love of animals to her parents. Because they would often give voice to their dog’s inner thoughts, Emily is proud to say that she grew up with the ability to fully participate in canine conversation! Growing up, Emily tried a variety of different sports (cheerleading, soccer, tap dancing, ballet, gymnastics) before settling on competition Hunter/Jumper. Ironically, her favorite animal is not a dog or a horse. It is a Giraffe – an affinity that solidified itself while working at Riverbanks Zoo in South Carolina!

Eventually, Emily wants to own a horse farm that is big enough for half a dozen rescue dogs and maybe a teacup pig. Her love for animals is surpassed only by her love for continuing her education. In true fashion, Emily says that she “devours books like a goat devours radishes!”

Her favorite thing about working at K-9 is “being constantly surrounded by wonderful, caring animal people and their dogs.”

 


Justin

A native of El Paso, Texas, Justin came to Georgia in the summer of 2014 and joined the K-9 Coach family in August of 2016. His sincere and heart-felt approach to serving our customers quickly landed him a spot on our front desk team. What makes Justin feel the most fulfilled at work is the opportunity to make our clients days a little better and a little easier and that he is empowered to do so!

A virtuosic cellist, Justin attends Kennesaw State University and is working towards a degree in Music Performance & Music Education as well as a triple majoring degree in Forensic Psychology. As if that was not enough, Justin further feeds his love of animals and education through studies in Herpetology and Zoology.

He spends his free time hiking and taking walks with Dakota, his 13 year old Cocker Spaniel mix.


Kerry, Client Concierge
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. Kerry serves as our Client Concierge and is responsible for ensuring that every customer experience is worth repeating!

At home, Kerry prefers to spend her time with her husband Tommy and their two pups. She is also an avid lover of videogames and is an accomplished cellist.


Kristen
A ball of energy and personality, Kristen began making her mark here at K-9 Coach in early 2016. She splits her time between entertaining our clients at the front desk, working hands-on with our pups in the back and serving as one of our team managers. You may have also seen her in the role of “friendly stranger” in many of our classes! Kristen says her favorite part of working for K-9 Coach is “by far one of the best groups of genuine animal lovers that I have ever come across.”

Animals have always been Kristen’s passion and she attended Valdosta State University as a Biology major. She wants to continue developing her knowledge of all aspects of dog care and, although she is not exactly sure where she wants to land in the dog/pet care world, we are sure she’ll be a success!

At home Kristen spends her time with her two young boys and enjoys hiking with her dogs.


Mia

According to her Mom, Mia has loved animals since she was a toddler! She is the fourth of five girls in her family and grew up in Atlanta. 

She has lots of experience in customer service in retail, and can always be seen at the front smiling and helping customers.

She is excited to be a part of the K-9 Coach family!

 
 


Mollie Ann
In 2016, Mollie joined the K-9 Coach team as a temporary, summer position. She quickly became part of the family and has since transferred to KSU to major in business and marketing. Now, she is here with us year round! You’ll find her most often at our front desk, or managing our small dog play groups.

The best part of Mollie’s day is hanging out with our small dogs and helping our nervous puppies develop their confidence.

At home, Mollie entertains her dream of being a rock star (she’s actually a very talented vocalist) and spends time with her boyfriend and her “lab mix” Bentley.


Mollie Tillander

Molly knew she wanted to work with and train dogs from an early age.  Growing up in rural Georgia with dogs, goats, chickens, ducks and working with horses, she  trained the family dogs in various tricks and agility.

She is a member of the Greater Atlanta Disc & Dog Club (GADDC), and was a judge at the Toss & Fetch disc competition during the USDDN World Finals. She is currently working on training with her dog Border Collie, Nymeria for the 2018 Updog International World Finals in Helen, Ga.

Mollie has also fostered dogs through the Atlanta Beagle Rescue network, and was featured on local news for her rescue work.


Morgan

Morgan joined the K-9 Coach team in mid-2016 through the strong recommendation of our own beloved Groomer Danielle. He had spent several years as a Veterinary Technician where he worked closely with Danielle and developed a thorough knowledge of dog husbandry and care. Here at K-9 Coach, you can find him everywhere: as one of our trainers, helping customers at the front desk, monitoring our group play activities and serving as one of our team managers.

Morgan aspires to become an animal behaviorist and is currently working towards becoming CPDT-KA certified.

Morgan grew up in Dallas, Georgia and was born with an affinity for all things animal and outdoors.

At home, he spends his time with his German Pincher, Ares and cat, Rocky. He is often found hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and hang gliding.


Comfort Coaches

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


Anthony

Anthony simply belongs in the dog care industry.  He came to K-9 Coach with years of experience managing playgroups and quickly came to love K-9 Coach because of our focus on dog behavior and acceptance of all breeds.  Here, he is one of our team managers and can most often be seen taking care of our large group play activities. Anthony is also an accomplished artist and, in his spare time, plays various music shows in Atlanta.

He also loves fashion and is particularly interested in fashion design. Anthony has a degree in Computer Science and Information Technology, but has since found that his true passion is dog training and plans on a future in this industry.

 

 

 

 


Aurelia

With us since October, 2012, Aurelia is a tremendous asset to the entire team. While you will most often see her in our grooming salon, she insists on making time for our pack and can be found monitoring our small dog play yard at least once a week.

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 cars!

 

 


Codie

Codie’s aspiration of becoming an animal trainer led her to K-9 Coach in the summer of 2017. She grew up in a small town, Ohatchee, Alabama, and graduated from Jacksonville State University with a degree in Psychology. 

Prior to joining K-9 Coach, Codie interned with IK9, a global firm specializing in canine training for defense organizations, law enforcement and private security.

You can see Codie at the front desk and in our group activities playing with the small guys or letting one of them nap in her arms! In her spare time, Codie enjoys taking adventurous trips with family and friends, or simply lounging around the house with her cat Harley. She hopes that her passion about animals will inspire others.

 

 

 

 


Erin

Erin joined K-9 Coach in 2016 with an extensive professional background in dog husbandry. She had spent several years working for another great company in the Atlanta area caring for pups in their homes and beginning her journey into the world of dog training.

She joined our team with the goal of being exposed to as much of the dog training industry as possible, in hopes of one day joining our training team. Currently, she is a training intern and you can see her assisting in various classes and other training activities. Her favorite aspect of her day-to-day at K-9 Coach is being able to watch our shy or nervous dogs become confident, happy, players.

At home, Erin spends her time with her husband and their two delightful, spirited, Boston Terriers – Sigmund and Edgar.  She also enjoys running, practicing yoga and perfecting her homemade, natural dog treats.

 

 


Matt

Matt is a team manager at K-9 Coach and one of our play group gurus. If you see Matt here, he will likely have a pup in his arms!Part of our team since the summer of 2015, Matt has an intricate knowledge of dog behavior and body language and is a tremendous asset to our team.  What Matt loves most about working for K-9 Coach, is our focus on safety in our play groups.His other passion is all things music – playing and listening and discovering new sounds.

When it’s time to go home, he leaves our play groups for his own and takes care of a slew of rescues at home including Diesel, Mildred, Shadow, Indy, and Sally.

Matt plans to stay in the industry long term, hoping to someday run his own business in the pet care field.

 

 


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.

 

 

 


Will

Will may be new to K-9 Coach, but he is a veteran of the industry! Will grew up in Kennesaw and joined our team in the spring of 2017. He has a great natural ability with dogs paired with a passion for dog behavior, and aspires to join our training team.

He is most interested in the wide spread effects of positive reinforcement training, and how the bond developed between dog and owner through positive reinforcement can improve the quality of life for owners with emotional, mental, and physical conditions.

At home Will spends his free time indulging in music, hiking and spending time with his Great Pyrenees, Sam..

Groomers

Aurelia

With us since October, 2012, Aurelia is a tremendous asset to the entire team. While you will most often see her in our grooming salon, she insists on making time for our pack and can be found monitoring our small dog play yard at least once a week.

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 cars!

 

 

 


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.


Management Team

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. She is a recognized business and behavior expert and regularly speaks at conferences and seminars throughout the United States.

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 serves in various community leadership roles, is a member of Leadership Cobb 2018 and can be found spending time with his wife 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.