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Meet the Trainer

Carolyn Smith, LVT

Carolyn Smith is a certified Master Dog Trainer who graduated from both the Professional and Master Dog Trainer programs at the Tom Rose School in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also a licensed Veterinary Technician with over 15 years of experience in the fields of small and large animal medicine. 

Carolyn’s passion for dog training began with her first mix breed dog she adopted when she was 14 years old. She trained him to be an animal assisted therapy dog, and the two of them enjoyed many years of visiting nursing homes and the local mental health hospital to spend time with patients. In the years since then, she has been involved with fostering dogs that with a little training were able to find great forever homes. She decided to turn her passion for dog training into a career in January, 2014, when she attended the Tom Rose School. While in the Professional Trainer program, Carolyn accomplished something very few students in the history of the school have been able to do. She achieved an excellent rating, also known as a “V”-rating, in the program. This means she passed all of her graduation requirements with an overall average of 96% or better. Those requirements included multiple written tests, pet obedience requirements, and working dog/competition training requirements. This is an extremely difficult rating to achieve in general, and Carolyn did it in 21 weeks. She also excelled in the Master Trainer program where she furthered her knowledge of tracking, specific odor detection, advanced obedience, cadaver detection, and search and rescue.

To date, Carolyn has trained well over 2,000 dogs, the majority of which have had serious behavior issues. She has a soft spot for working with insecure, fearful dogs who gain a new lease on life through an intensive training and behavior modification program. Carolyn enjoys helping clients learn how to clearly and effectively communicate with their dogs, increase their knowledge of dog behavior, and help them find the same joy she feels with a well trained dog in her life. 

Carolyn enjoys a break from training dogs by studying genetics and furthering her Labrador retriever breeding program. Carolyn has been involved with breeding dogs for the past 16 years. She originally started out breeding the Cane Corso, which is a type of Italian Mastiff. Her current breeding program of field line Labradors  has been in the works for the last 10 years.  (*breeding program has been disbanded in 2023 due to a necessary change in life circumstance*)

If she isn't breeding and training dogs, Carolyn also teaches the health and nutrition courses for Top Tier K9's Academy for Dog Trainers. Check out this link to learn more about TTK9, and everything we have to offer. She enjoys teaching new trainers all she can about how to provide the highest quality of care for the dogs in their care. 

In 2018, Carolyn was approached by a film producer to supply an upcoming film with a dog. Her Malinois "Ice" landed several scenes in an award winning horror film titled "The Wretched." The two of them had a blast on the set, and are very appreciative for the experience!

In 2019, Carolyn was nominated for, and won, the Simply The Best -Trainer Award through the Record Eagle in Traverse City, Michigan. She appreciates the support of the community which has allowed her business to grow more rapidly than she could've imagined! At the end of August, 2020, Carolyn closed down her business in Maple City, MI in order to relocate to Lexington, KY. In 2023, Carolyn will be relocating back to Michigan. It is still to be determined how and where she'll be getting back into training.

Currently, Carolyn shares her life with 2 Belgian Malinois (Ice & Riot), 2 British Labrador Retrievers (Dexter & Mac), a Great Dane (Dewey), and the newest addition of a long haired Chihuahua (Fig). 

Carolyn and Ice with director Brett Pierce at the Traverse City Film Festival premiere of the Pierce brother's movie, "The Wretched."

Check out this video of Carolyn

This video features Carolyn working with her two Belgian Malinois, Ice and Nikki. At the time of filming, Ice was approximately 10 months old and Nikki was close to 8 months old. This short film showcases several of the many skills Carolyn is capable of teaching a dog. Enjoy!

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