Meet Our Certified Professional Dog Trainer Instructors!

All courses are booked through AZ Dog Sports training desk at 602-237-6775.

certified professional dog trainer, Darcy Rohats, CPDT-KA

Darcy Rohats
CPDT-KA, CGC Evaluator

Darcy is a longtime dog trainer with experience that includes teaching with the SPCA of Texas and private kennels in Texas. She was involved with the Texas Kennel Club, Petco, an Agility Club and the last 5 years with AZ Dog Sports. Her professional experience includes standup training and Training Director responsibilities for a large retailer. Darcy has attended numerous seminars by top name dog trainers and holds a Bachelor’s from University of North Texas. She has earned numerous titles on her dogs in Conformation, Obedience and agility venues. In addition she is a member of APDT, an AKC Canine Good Citizen administrator and holds her CPDT – KA certification.

kathy morris, dog trainer, az dog smart, dog training academyKathy Morris

Kathy is delighted to be a member of the AZ Dog Smart Academy staff.  She has been training people to train their dogs since 1986.  Kathy started with a group of trainers in Southern California and went on to found Jump Start Dog Sports, a full service out door training facility in Yorba Linda, California.  Jump Start offered obedience, agility, rally, conformation, tracking, tricks, freestyle and more.  After selling Jump Start in 2008, Kathy moved to Prescott, AZ.  It is here at Whiskers Barkery in Historic Downtown where she currently teaches Basic Home Manners, Canine Good Citizen – all levels, and Rally – all levels.  With a background in education (Kathy taught high school in Colorado), as well as dog training; Kathy brings a rounded perspective to the art of training people and their dogs.  Additionally, after 40 plus years, Kathy is still involved in the hotel industry.  This gives her the business and record keeping skills needed to own one’s own business.

Jaymie Cardin, dog trainer phoenix

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 Seminar 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.

Kwanho Song

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. He attended the mentorship program with Will Bruner at AZ Dog Smart Academy this fall. 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!

Michael Brand

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.

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Emily Hopkins
Trainer, 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.


Karen Burleson
APDT Certified Member, CGC Evaluator

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.

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.


Our next Dog Trainer Course is starting soon!

Call Layne Kizler at 602-237-6775 or click here to request more information!

Learn how to become a dog trainer — and start that NEW career you will LOVE!!Save