Dana Brigman

Owner & Senior Trainer

I have had dogs my entire life.  I became involved in dog rescue in 2002. Through rescue work, I developed great skills for working with challenging dogs. Taking on an aggressive foster lead to me participate in intense dog training with a local trainer.   That became a passion and ultimately led me to leave a 21 year career in corporate America to follow a new dream. A dream of helping other people learn how to enjoy their dog.   Still involved in rescue work and supporting local rescue groups through training programs -- The K9 Coach was born in 2011. 

I won't tell you I have seen it all, because I never cease to be amazed at situations humans have put animals in.   But I'm also amazed at animal behavior, resiliency, and spirit.  I am also a life-long student of dog behavior, people and techniques to bring the two together in a happy K9 family.  

I attended the National K9 School for Dog Trainers and today, I'm living the dream as a Certified Dog Trainer -- spending time out doors playing with dogs; teaching them new behaviors and skills to be a happier part of your family. It is a great reward to see a family overcome issues they are experiences with their dog & start to experience the joy dogs can bring.   It's even more rewarding to prevent those issues by starting a puppy off on the right foot!

Nothing brings me more joy that helping a dog and his family --- well making taking pictures to give families memories of a lifetime.

Are we the right trainers for you?

In order to be successful at transforming your dog's behavior, it is important for you to be familiar with our philosophy and the training techniques we use. We make information readily available to everyone on my website and Facebook page. We want you to be comfortable with us and our training tools, and just as excited and committed to train with the dogs as we are. You must put in the work.
 
Here are some qualities in a client that we feel are absolutely essential for success: 
 

  • We want you to recognize that there's a problem. You're not the problem, but there is a problem. Something you're doing is contributing to that problem, and you're going to have to make some changes if you want to get different results.  
  • We need you to be 100% comfortable with our training techniques. You should be open to a balanced training approach. Yes, we will use praise and in many cases food -- but not for treats.   We will also correct bad behavior in a fair and clear way.
  • With a lot of my clients we tell them to take a break from high levels of praise & affection.  That doesn't mean you can never praise your dog or love on him, but we’re talking about over doing it, and reinforcing the wrong behaviors   Right now, your approach is not working. If giving your dog verbal praise, physical praise and food praise was working, you wouldn't be hiring me. We will get to the praise part -- after all we want praise-worthy dogs -- but first we just want them to be present, calm and in a great state of mind, included in your daily life.
  • We ask you to follow up with 100% commitment to the training program and the homework assigned.  Not just for a week or two -- but for life!   Especially dogs who have behavioral issues or temperaments that require it. Our system and philosophy on dog training works. We’re looking for people that are ready and willing to take our advice, embrace our techniques, our tools and make some lifestyle changes to help your dog succeed.
  • The whole family needs to be committed to the process, involved in the training, and consistent in expectations. Dogs are influenced by everyone around them so we need everybody to be on board with everything…our tools, our techniques, our philosophy, the exercise, structure, leadership, and house rules. 
  • We want to make sure that you're going to follow through with the recommended changes and new rules. This can be an emotional issue for many people. The dog might have to get off of the bed, the dog might have to get off the furniture, you might have to start crating your dog at night.   When we make these recommendations, there's a reason to help you dog succeed in creating new success. We want your dog to be happy and fulfilled and living happily and safely in his forever home.
  • Just like people, dogs need daily exercise. We ask all clients to commit to a daily exercise routine. That doesn't mean just letting your dog in the back yard. That means structured walks, runs, endurance level games of fetch etc -- with YOU!
  • Your dog also will need mental stimulation.   That may activities that embrace his breed and natural instincts.   It definitely means keeping him challenged with practice of his skills and learning new things on an ongoing basis.

 

To us, dog training is not a series of commands rewarded by a treat or pet on the head.   Dog training is a lifestyle, rewarded by inclusion in our lives.  -- And isn't that what we really want?

Balanced Dog Training: Philosophy & Methodology

Balanced Training engages 3 Primary Components:  
Praise, Motivation and Correction


You will learn how to communicate effectively and consistently with your dog. You will learn how to be the be the leader your dog needs you to be.  In truth, you may have the most to learn. 

Your dog (and you) will learn a very specific vocabulary and clear definition of the command, clear expectations, what’s right and what’s not right.   Your dog will learn to perform the command the first time it’s issued and hold that command until released or given a new command.  He will learn there are certain skills and rules are not optional.  He will learn to do this under distractions – other dogs, other people, toys, food, nature, etc.   This level of obedience just may save your dog’s life one day.  It will certainly make your dog more enjoyable and make you less frustrated with his behavior.    Basic obedience skills are essential to solving every behavioral problem.

We also want your dog to have fun.  Lot's of fun.  We want you to have fun with your dog.  We will teach you how to let them know when they need to be alert and obedient versus the times they can relax, play, and be a dog.


While we lean heavily into Positive Reinforcement quadrant of classical training, there are times in which the other for quadrants need to be leveraged too. Teaching a new behavior to a dog does not prevent it from a desire or willingness to attempt bad behaviors in the future, given the chance.  Our goal is to prevent those behaviors.

At The K9 Coach, during the teaching phase of any new skill we use verbal markers (Yes!, Good!  Better, and No".  

We use food with puppies, some adults to learn new skills and in our feeding protocols for behavior modification.   Food is powerful when used properly and not as a reward for tricks.     We will show you how to get your dog to work for you, without food, but to take advantage of using food to challenge him and embrace his instincts.  

We believe all dogs are praiseworthy.    In time, your dog is going to learn that your praise and affection is the greatest thing he can earn. We are going to teach you how to praise your dog effectively -- to figure out what his currency is.   He will also be given a chance to think and make a choice in his actions. 

When appropriate to your dog's learning, we will make a correction.    This may be a verbal marker (''No", it may be removal of something the dogs wants/likes, or it may be a leash-based correction.  

In some cases, we may make recommendations for the owner to move to a slip-lead, prong collar or ecollar for the most effective training results and to address very specific issues.

Why us?

The K9 Coach of the Carolinas is the premiere Carolinas (Pinehurst, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington)  dog behavior training service. We are experts in resolutions for dog aggression, human aggression, resource guarding, separation anxiety, fear issues, anxiety issues, leash aggression, leash reactivity, pulling on leash, jumping on people, counter surfing, stealing food, chewing and destruction, barking problems, running away, not listening, growling, snapping, biting, door bolting, cat aggression, and chasing game. 

It's not just about sits and downs or come when called, though these are essential skills.   We will show you how to incorporate consistent language, skills and a calmer dog into your daily way of life.   We'll help you eliminate the stress of bad behaviors and replace it with activities you can actually enjoy with your dog.

Our Board and Train Behavior Modification program is one of a kind and highly regarded throughout the Carolinas and Southeast.  It is a great solution for effective, reliable results in an efficient time period.  Our custom training program, unique environment, and years of experience, create a very unique solution to dog behavior and obedience training.  Programs are personalized to address the needs of each dog, embrace breed instincts and teach the dog to live in the home environment.  We regularly receive client dogs from owners who have exhausted all other possibilities in their local community and still are struggling with their dog’s behavior.

We specialize in behavioral issues. We also excel at obedience training, which includes heeling on the walk, sit and stay, down and stay, place command, recall or come to owner along with structure and leadership for every day life.  Dog Obedience Training is a core foundation to solving behavioral issues and creating a language you both understand.

We are also low-level, remote collar, e-collar off-leash specialists. If you would like to have a dog that comes to you when you call them, sits when you ask, downs anywhere, and will go to place when guests arrive instead of jumping on them,without a leash and at any distance, we have the answers you’re looking for.   Ecollar training is a great tool, but not right for everyone or every dog.   It's an option we'll happily discuss with you.

We take great pride in our customer experience and on-going support and after-care for all of our clients for the life of your dog.  You become part of our pack -- part of our family.