2018 Greatmats National Dog Trainer of the Year Contest

Vote for the dog trainer you think should be named the 2018 Greatmats National Dog Trainer of the Year!

Voting runs Nov. 15-29, 2018

BFF Pet Services

Clearly Connected Canine

DogStar Training NJ LLC

Down Home Dog Training LLC

Fido F.I.T.

Fur Paws LLC

Humane Society for Greater Savannah

K9 KeepFit

K9 Positive Training

Noble Beasts Dog Training

Paws & Play Dog Resort & Training Center


Plaza Pet Club

Positive Pet Services

Rock 'n R Ranch

Rock Creek Border Collies

Simply Manners Dog Training

Sublime K9

The Balanced Canine Training Academy

The Fur-Tastic K9s

Two Paws Up Dog Training

Zen K9

BFF Pet Services


Brandywine, MD

Chrissy Joy is an outstanding trainer who deserves recognition! She has created the Bone-A-Fied Talent Group and regularly encourages others to do more with their dog. She recently won the National Stunt Dog Championship with her dog Beasley and is an amazing example of a trainer.


Chrissy Joy works with dogs on set for TV, commercials, and film.

Growing up with debilitating anxiety, depression, and self-esteem issues, Chrissy struggled with an early childhood of bullying and hopelessness. She found her escape through the comfort of animals – especially dogs and horses. Through training her family dog, she found confidence and a purpose.

Chrissy & Beasley do live trick performances with homemade props and storylines that have a dash of comedy and a whole lot of heart driving home messages of anti-bullying and self-worth.

When she isn’t teaching a variety of classes (from obedience, tricks, agility, and more!), she is actively working through their talent division, the Bone-A-Fied Talent Group, to fulfill casting calls for dogs in the entertainment industry. Some of the recent clients include Chewy, PetsMart, Bravo, Animal Planet, Martha Stewart, and more.

To give back to the community, she provides free high-quality photography of animals at rescues and shelters seeking their forever homes.

9007 Votes

Clearly Connected Canine


Bishop, California

I nominate Dusty Trieschman as trainer of the year. She has worked with dogs for many years and and has a good record of success. Being a dog trainer in a small town is challenging, and Dusty has successfully turned around many dogs that were going down the wrong path. She provides numerous classes for dog owners, for pet dogs to competition dogs. Dusty also takes dogs from the shelter and gives them some training to make them more adoptable and has taken in some dogs that needed a home.
6 Votes

DogStar Training NJ LLC


Hightstown, New Jersey

I first met Kathy Medel who helped train my rescue Murphy to overcome his fearfulness. After one session, I had an almost completely different dog. Kathy later went on to help me train my German Shepherd to be a therapy dog. I work with a local rescue and have sent many adopters her way. She is always available for advice and has on many occasions offered her services free of charge in an effort to help some of these rescue dogs. It's clear to me that she has both the dedication, knowledge and compassion that are essential for a good dog trainer.
79 Votes

Down Home Dog Training LLC


Meadville, Pa

Hannah Ernst is the owner and sole trainer of Down Home Dog Training LLC. She is not only a trainer, she is also the K9 Testing Advisor for a local Therapy Dogs United group. Her whole life has been dedicated to dogs since she was about 11 years old when she adopted a stray dog in her town that no one but her could get anywhere near. Ever since adopting her dog when she was a kid, she has always wanted to work with dogs. While attending Penn Foster University for Dog Training, she started her business. While running Down Home Dog Training LLC, Hannah never stopped learning to give back to her clients, she has since became a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals, and a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Hannah is a Canine Good Citizen, and STAR Puppy evaluator for AKC. Since starting her business she has built a bond with our local community by keeping her prices low for group classes, as well as trains 7 days a week so everyone has the opportunity to grow and learn with their pets. Hannah also donates training packages to local shelter dogs to try to ensure the animals stay at their forever homes rather than making their way back to the shelters. Within the last few years, Hannah has created a Demo Team which travels around to different events and help explain the overall importance of responsible pet ownership, the importance of training, and the overall importance of dogs in our lives.
15027 Votes

Fido F.I.T.


St. Louis, MO

I want to nominate Tracy Pritchard, owner and founder of Fido F.I.T (fun, individualized, training).

She is a beacon of hope for many dogs who would be returned to shelters or euthanized, if not for her fun, imaginative, patient and kind way of training.

Tracy takes dogs into her home for day training and board n' trains, to give families and their dogs optimum help. She also holds group classes and private lessons, but Tracy takes it a step above the rest. She does not believe lack of funds should hold anyone back from reaching their dog training goals, so every Sunday she holds a free, live, Facebook session, so even if you can't afford a class, you can still take one.

Tracy Pritchard is the epitome of local and small business and she is doing unbelievable, incredible work, right here in St. Louis, MO.


Not only is she passionate about our canine friends, she is also just as invested in teaching, coaching, and helping the pets' owners. Tracy is the best trainer because her approach to helping humans understand their dogs, as well as making sure the canines are part of a loving, fun, and safe home is unique. Truly, she has been instrumental in helping our household by ensuring that our puppy and we fit each other's "lifestyles."

Tracy is also innovative and motivated to reach wider audiences through her web-based training and educational tools...again, making sure that any lifestyle can benefit from her advice. our puppy adores her, and so do we!

8 Votes

Fur Paws LLC


Houston, TX

Jorge Guerra is the best trainer you can find in Houston at this moment. He’s specialized in aggressive/vicious dogs and is great with all the breeds for all type of trainings!
83 Votes

Humane Society for Greater Savannah

June 2018

Savannah GA

Allisia Vroom is a professional dog trainer who has made it her mission to provide quality training using positive methods in the Savannah area. She teaches group classes and private lessons at the Humane Society for Greater Savannah. She makes the most difference with the animals in the shelter. She implements training programs with dogs who would struggle to get adopted otherwise and improve the overall quality of the dogs stay. In an effort to prevent dogs from being surrendered, Allisia runs the Surrender Intervention program. She offers free training help to anyone who would like to keep their dog and get the training they need instead of surrendering them. In order to provide more free access to training Allisia hosts her own radio show called No Barks About It on WRUU 107.5. Once a week she answers the public's dog training questions to provide easy access to training advice within the community. In her spare time she volunteers as a Tester/Observer for Alliance of Therapy Dogs and is a therapy dog team with her own dog Phoenix. Her goal is to assist other handlers in registering their dogs as therapy dog teams and increase the number of Therapy Dogs within the community.
70 Votes

K9 KeepFit


San Jose, CA

Sybl Saisselin, an experienced certified dog trainer, exemplifies what I believe to be the core of her vocation: helping dogs with various behavioral problems AND helping their families to understand and continue the training and methods she utilizes. She does this for the paying clients, and goes above and beyond by doing this for dogs at-risk in the shelter. She evaluates the dogs, giving rescues and fosters a foundation for understanding the dogs needs, and often following up with continued training for both dog and foster... and, most gratefully, for the dog and the new forever family. It is such an honor and privilege to work with Sybl. It would be wonderful to have her recognized for the lives she has made better... and the lives she has saved.
44 Votes

K9 Positive Training


Warwick, RI

Courtney Gluchacki has dedicated her career to helping dogs and their owners coexist peacefully using positive reinforcement training methods. She gave up everything at the age of 23 to begin her own business and has helped over 600 dogs in just 4 years! She takes pride in training rescue dogs and special needs dogs. She’s the proud mom of a German Shepherd, Ace and a Deaf Australian Shepherd pup named Kal! Courtney is an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen & STAR Puppy Evaluator, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and a Certified Trick Dog Instructor through Do More With Your Dog! Courtney places focus on Puppy Development training and Behavior Modification. She recently discovered her passion of working with deaf dogs since her adoption of Kal. She also competes in multiple venues with Ace.
3447 Votes

Noble Beasts Dog Training


Savannah, GA

In addition to being an amazing trainer taking on dogs with severe aggression, Cindy McManus runs a large rescue and saves and rehabilitates hundreds of dogs yearly. She tirelessly works with rescue dogs as well as pet parents to increase the animal human bond.
5 Votes

Paws & Play Dog Resort & Training Center

August 2018

Fishers, Indiana

Tiffany Lambert’s passion and dedication to enriching the lives of dogs through positive guided behavior training methods (force-free training) and programs is absolutely incredible. Tiffany not only dedicates her life to the animals that come into her facility, but she partners and volunteers with shelters and rescues around Indianapolis to provide individualized training to the homeless animals left behind by their families. She works with the Humane Society for Hamilton County on the Pets Healing Vets program providing veterans suffering from PTSD or TBI with support animals, as well as Indianapolis Animal Care Services and several other local rescues providing customized “Lodge & Learn” training programs to give our city’s most at-risk animals the second chance they truly deserve. Some of her certifications include: canine first-aid and CPR, AKC CGC evaluator, certified trick dog instructor, certified canine conditioning coach, and stunt dog judge. Tiffany goes above and beyond in her dedication to both humans and animals, helping to certifying each member of her training team to ensure their success in their role as trainers. Tiffany works with Love on a Leash to help prepare canine therapy teams for their visits out in the community. She also participates in community outreach, such as seminars for schools and libraries to help educate families on dog behavior and responsible pet ownership. I am humbled to be given the chance to know this amazing trainer, advocate, and voice for the voiceless, and cannot think of a more deserving person to earn the National Trainer of the Year award.
181 Votes



Tullahoma, TN

Robert Happy Allen is the best trainer, rescuer, pet lover around. He is always thinking of the animals. He rescues elderly dogs, mainly min pins. He is an amazing man!!
120 Votes

Plaza Pet Club


St. Clair, MI.

Wendy Mackenzie definitely deserves best trainer of the year. Aside from having her own business and private training she is also the trainer at Plaza Pet Club in beautiful St. Clair, MI. Wendy has worked with 4 of our dogs and has taught us so much. I have watched her train a dog in minutes not to jump, bring a fearful dog out of it shell, and so much more. Wendy is truly amazing. I would and do recommend her to anyone in SE Mi.
92 Votes

Positive Pet Services


Buffalo Grove, IL

Adam Kravit has a ton of experience in both group and private training settings. He uses only modern, positive, force free methods. Adam is incredibly patient with his clients and very flexible when it comes to scheduling his appointments to fit his clients’ needs. He is constantly reading up on new studies of animal behavior and finding ways to help in the most up to date ways.
8 Votes

Rock 'n R Ranch


Hudson, CO

I would like to nominate Mrs. Kelly Roll and Mrs. Margaret Adams from Rock’n R Ranch in Hudson, CO for National Dog Trainer of the Year Award. Kelly and Margaret are true dog lovers and have become a part of my family’s life through our beloved dog, Obi. My family had never had a dog, so we decided that it was time to add that special addition to our lives through adoption from our local shelter. After weeks of searching through websites for pet adoptions and visiting various animal shelters we came upon “Sabastian”. Sabastian was in the lost dog section, no collar or chip, matted from tail to snout, smelling of motor oil, and a nervous bundle as three little girls approached his kennel to greet him. Their high pitched voices got his attention and his tail wagged with joy as he approached the fence to get a closer smell of these strangers. He could go up for adoption in two weeks if no one claimed him. There was something about this pup that melted our hearts. After calling every other day for two weeks Sabastian was cleared and started getting assessed for adoption. Another two weeks passed, and he became ill with kennel cough so we continue to wait. On January 23, 2016, Sabastian became Obi and changed our lives forever. Who would have thought that the human, would have to be trained. Being that we had never had a dog we needed help with being a better family for Obi. He was eating his food one day and our littlest approached him to give him love. Obi was still brand new to our home and his first instincts were to protect his food no matter what and by doing that he bit her in the face. This was frightening both for him as it was for us. We then had to decide if he was the right dog for our family. After some thought and some safety planning we decided that we needed to find a trusted training program because the second option was to surrender him to the shelter. We found Kelly and Margaret at Rock'n R Ranch. He wasn't able to start immediately because he had to be in quarantine because of the bite. We decided to see what they had to offer for this pup so we, as a family, went and checked them out. Rock'n R Ranch is family. We knew the moment we (humans) had our first exchange with Kelly and Margaret that this was the right place for Obi. Once he was able to attend after his quarantine it was just a marvel to see how Obi week by week became a whole new dog and we better masters for him. Kelly and Margaret pin pointed Obi's attributes and areas that needed improvement. He started as a dog without confidence, scared, and combative with new dogs and people. Kelly and Margaret took their time to pin point these behaviors in detail and showed us how to redirect these during individual and one on one sessions. We continued to do trainings that were taught in class at home, and as our pup continued to transform so did his new humans. Obi's tail would wag as soon as we hit the road to head down to Rock'n R Ranch. It's his fun place where he learns and interacts with other dogs. Obi is now as confident as ever. Other children are able to handle him. We are able to take him out in public and trust him as he allows other dogs and humans to interact with him. He loves his family and trust us. He knows that we love him so much. This all in part to the amazing work that Kelly and Margaret did for Obi and us, his family. If it weren't for their fabulous training I believe Obi would have had to gone back to the shelter. We are very glad that wasn't the case. We consider ourselves very lucky because we gained not only a better behaved dog, but family through Rock'n R Ranch.
4383 Votes

Rock Creek Border Collies


Harrah, OK

I'd like to nomination Chloe Bales of Rock Creek Border Collies in Harrah, Oklahoma, for the title of 2018 National Dog Trainer of the year. Chloe began training dogs at the age of four, and now at the age of 8 she's already shown her dog agility training skills on the hit show Little Big Shots with host Steve Harvey - which showcases the nation's most talented kids - and she truly is talented. Chloe shows that age doesn't matter. If you put your heart into something, good things will happen.
16 Votes

Simply Manners Dog Training

April 2017

Salisbury Beach Massachusetts

Kaylene Klingert is a great trainer! She loves exploring new places to train the dogs and she believes that the more exposed they become to different environments, the better the turn out! She hosts trainings at parks, outdoor malls and the beach when the weather permits. My dogs love her and look forward to the classes. My dogs and I have gained so much knowledge through Kaylene's classes.


Kay has been phenomenal and gone way above and beyond what I expected from a dog trainer. She cares about my dog as an entire entity not just his training. In classes, she teaches us about good by bad dog food, overall nutrition, proper leashes, collars, harnesses, safety gadgets etc.. She also teaches us how to have others in our pets' live contribute to the training, and also how to structure things at home/house rules, safety etc... I'm blown away by how much she cares and knows the effective way she gets the message across. There's a lot to train a pet to do and she seems to focus on the most important things and has helped us build a good training base on which to build for our first-time pet, a puppy we rescued from a Texas kill shelter. Growing up I always wanted a dog, and when my wife and I bought our first house together, we finally got the chance to get one, and Kay at Simply Manners Dog Training has really helped us make this as enjoyable an experience as possible.


She takes the time to answer any of my questions, even after training times. She has helped me grow as a first time dog owner by providing me education and support with not only training but dog health and food. You can genuinely see that she cares so much for my pup and the other dogs.

9 Votes

Sublime K9


Tucson, Az

JJ & Nicole Belcher: This is a fantastic, caring, and extremely talented group of people committed to enhancing the human-animal bond. They are passionate about rescue, socialization and training. They offer individual, group, competition, pet dog...the list goes on. Whether you have a competition Malinois or an adorable fluffy Corgi, these folks will work with you to achieve your goals. Sublime K9 rocks!
8 Votes

The Balanced Canine Training Academy


Crossville, Tennessee

I am nominating Annelise Lynch because of her dedication to improving the lives of both pets and their owners. Our talented and compassionate small town trainer provides our community (and surrounding communities) affordable group, private, and inboard training options. She is dedicated to educating our children about responsible pet ownership and safety. Annelise also encourages her students to be an advocate for their dog as well as how to provide to their physical and psychological needs responsibly. Her ability to take on each dog as an individual and create a training plan that fits into everyday routines has helped keep hundreds of dogs out of shelters. She has taken upon animals that needed behavioral modification and goes above and beyond to the dog's owners ensure each of her students succeeds in their training plan. Annelise uses her own dogs sport accomplishments to encourage our community to want to teach their own pets - or even just get out to play with them. She competes in many sports and also helps others with their sport goals. Overall, she is a well rounded, patient, and dedicated animal trainer who deserves to be recognized for every pet and person she has helped.
1989 Votes

The Fur-Tastic K9s


Waco, TX

I am nominating Felicia Foy as trainer of the year because of her strength, courage and inspiration. Felicia has had to overcome many serious challenges; including a horrific abusive childhood that almost took her life, being put out on the streets of NYC homeless in December, and overcoming life and death situations.

Despite being relocated from home to home and having more than her fair share of hardships, she has always kept a smile on her face and has never stopped dreaming or believing in a better life. She always turns to animals as her therapy to help her overcome the hard times. The power of animal therapy has helped her develop a very unique and strong bond with the animals she works with. In a world filled with “I cant's” she said “I will.” She has gone on to become a huge inspiration to many people that are struggling in their lives. She always goes above and beyond to help people who are struggling with their pets even if there's nothing in it for her. Seeing other people happy makes her happy.

Her dogs have now gone on to be featured all across social media with multiple viral videos and having been on the news for multiple media platforms. Her dogs perform some of the most complicated and awe inspiring tricks and stunts out there. She puts on performances all across the US with her dogs in hopes of making people's days brighter and happier even if it's just for a few moments. She is always the last one to go back in after a show; making sure to answer everyone's questions, no matter how silly or small they may seem, she makes sure to give each person individual attention. You can tell she thoroughly enjoys working with the public and helping inspire those around her. Dog training isn't just her job, it's her passion.

I think Felicia deserves to be the trainer of the year because of the fact that she is living proof that no matter how many times you're knocked down, no matter how many times the world is cruel to you, and no matter how dark your day seems to be, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Felicia is a great example of proving that if you work hard and keep on dreaming, you will succeed and surpass anything that anyone ever told you was unachievable. Her favorite quote is " The sky's the limit.” Felicia is an amazing representation of what any dog trainer should be. With her kind ways, her patience and her unique connection with both animals and people. I am certain it would be another dream come true of hers to win this amazing award.

646 Votes

Two Paws Up Dog Training


Lake Bluff, IL

Brenda Belmonte has dedicated most of her life to animals, spending close to three decades managing a veterinary clinic while training on the side. She became one of just a handful of CPDT-KA trainers in Illinois when opening her own training business, and she has built a strong reputation for meeting the needs of dogs and owners alike through primarily positive methods and relationship building. She has a passion and knack for encouraging people of all experience levels to get out and do something with their dogs. She has also been a successful trainer and competitor in a variety of sports including conformation, obedience, and rally with both traditional and non-traditional breeds. She and her team are the pinnacle of what dog trainers should be.
105 Votes

Zen K9


West Palm Beach, Florida

The story of Daisy, a boxer/bulldog mix goes from heart-wrenching to heart-warming… Daisy was an abused case from Miami-Dade county. When she was found, she was in really bad shape, skin and bones, nearly starved to death. After being nursed her back to health, they contacted Tibor Feigel to work with her. She has developed severe animal aggression, and socializing her was not a simple task. Daisy was brought to the Zen-K9 rehabilitation center where she spent several months. Tibor dedicated his time to socializing and working with Daisy until she learned to trust humans and animals again. Over time, she developed into a healthy, well-balanced dog who taught so many other dogs how to get along with each other. Daisy girl was finally adopted and transitioned to her forever home in June. She now has a sister, Vida, a black pit-bull. For more on Daisy, be sure to check out her journey on Zen-K9 NYC – FL and Vida & Daisy – Pups of Palm on Facebook. This page shares their pictures and adventures living in Palm Beach.
2 Votes

Want to honor a dog trainer for his/her outstanding achievements, unique style, humanitarian or animal rights efforts, etc.? Then nominate him/her for the 4th Annual National Dog Trainer of the Year Award, sponsored by Greatmats. The award, part of Greatmats National Award Series, is designed to recognize Dog Trainers who have made a difference in the lives of their clients, animals and communities through the virtues of service, integrity and quality.

Learn more about Greatmats National Award Series.

How to Nominate

To nominate the trainer for this award, visit https://www.greatmats.com/2018-greatmats-national-dog-trainer-of-the-year.phpor email the following information to brett@greatmats.com before Nov. 1, 2018. Nominators will not be identified.

  1. Trainer's Name
  2. Name and location of the training facility (Must be located in the USA)
  3. A brief description of why you are nominating this trainer, including how he/she meets the criteria of high-level service, integrity and quality
  4. A photo and/or video of the trainer

How the winner is chosen:

  1. Voting will take place at https://www.greatmats.com/2018-greatmats-national-dog-trainer-of-the-year.php from Nov. 15 through Nov. 29, 2018. The two dog trainers with the most votes will be named finalists.
  2. Greatmats will judge the two finalists to determine the winner based on:
  3. Demonstration of Service
  4. Demonstration of Integrity
  5. Demonstration of Quality

Grand Prize

  1. $250 in Greatmats Products (or $150 Cash Option) for the training facility
  2. Trainer/training facility profile to be released with the announcement of the winner on Dec. 14, 2018.
  3. National Dog Trainer of the Year Certificate

More than 6,500 votes have been cast in the first three years of the Greatmats National Dog Trainer of the Year Contest.

Voting instructions:

Visit Greatmats https://www.greatmats.com/2018-greatmats-national-dog-trainer-of-the-year.php during the voting period to vote for this year's National Dog Trainer of the Year. Click vote button next to the photo of the Dog Trainer you'd like to win. Feel free to share the ballot with friends and family and encourage them to vote. The two dog trainers with the most votes will be named finalists. From that point, Greatmats will choose the winner (scroll down to see prizes) based on demonstration of service, integrity and quality.

Greatmats is a national dog training, agility and daycare flooring leader based in Milltown, Wisconsin, since 1999. Identified as one of the top 3,000 fastest growing companies in the USA three times since 2008, Greatmats gives back to its local community by donating 5% of its annual profits to local non-profit organizations. It also supports green initiatives through the use of solar energy at its Wisconsin headquarters and by offering a large variety of products made from recycled and renewable resources.

View all of Greatmats' dog agility and dog daycare flooring at http://www.greatmats.com/dog-training-flooring.php.

All media submissions, including text, photos and videos become property of Greatmats.

Read about previous winners of the award:

2015 & 2016 National Dog Trainer of the Year Jeremy Joseph Brown

2017 National Dog Trainer of the Year Sara Carson