Meet Our Certified Professional Dog Trainer Instructors!

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

Karen Burleson
CGC Evaluator, APDT Certified Member

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, CCPDT-KA, CGC Evaluator, Service Dog Trainer

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.

Lynn Brand
CGC Evaluator, BS Southern Methodist University

Lynn has been actively training companion dogs at AZ Dog Sports for five years at all levels of Obedience as well as all levels of AKC CGC titles.   She is an AKC CGC Evaluator up to the AKC Urban Canine level and the AKC STAR Puppy program, and also an APDT Professional Member.  She began training German Shepherds in the sport of Schutzhund in 1997. She has taken her dogs through all phases of this sport including the IPO3 level and tracking titles. Her dogs also have their CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certificates. She is an active member of the Phoenix Schutzhund Club and currently Club president.  She believes it is important the handler and the dog form a strong bond of trust and love from the beginning and she tailors her training to fully developing this bond through positive reward and reinforcement. She believes it is important for you and your canine friend to enjoy being together by having a dog who is fully under control and a joy to be around.

Denise Franczak-Johnson
Trainer, AKC Tricks Trainer, CCPDT-KA , CGC Evaluator

Denise is a retired high school sculpture teacher who has loved animals since she was a young girl growing up in inner city Chicago. Dogs would follow her home and she would clean them up, feed them work with them and find them a good home. Even on a trip to Mexico and Italy the street dogs followed her. Her compassion and intuitive nature for animals makes her a natural trainer who does what is best for her client and their dogs. She has also worked as a trail guide and horse trainer teaching equestrian camps, raised birds, ferrets and has 3 tortoises as well.  Denise rescued her two dogs after her 17-year-old Golden Retriever passed away and discovered one to be extremely fearful and one who was reactive.

It was these two dogs, Levi and Blue that brought her to AZ Dog Sports; as she believes people don’t always get the dogs they want, we gets the dog we need and who needs us.   Denise has worked on helping them become more balanced but knows they will need constant work.  Just like the street dogs of Chicago, she won’t give up on them. Her years as an educator and dog trainer help people and their dogs communicate so their dogs become well-balanced members of the family and society.  Certifications include AZ Dog Smart Academy, certified AKC tricks trainer and CGC evaluator. Denise also is a Doterra essential oils educator for dogs and people! She is currently studying to pass her CCPDT certification now that she is retired as a Phoenix Teacher.


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