Our Dog Trainers
Sam is the head trainer in Columbia; he grew up in the small town of Bridgeport, West Virginia. He has been dedicated to helping animals, dogs specifically from an early age. During high school he molded his course schedule to help pursue a career as a veterinarian. During his college days at West Virginia University as a part of the Pre-Vet program, he was able to participate in multiple surgeries with the guidance of his professors who owned their own clinics. Sam graduated with multiple Dean’s List achievements throughout college and earning a BSA in Animal and Nutritional Sciences. Sam also has years of experience working as a veterinary assistant performing a large variety of procedures and tests in vet hospitals. It wasn’t until the beginning of his junior year of college that he was exposed to formal dog training. WVU offered a Service Dog Training class that he enrolled in as a foster home for one of the dogs; he immediately fell in love with the program. After receiving great reviews of his training technique and motivation to help the dogs succeed, the head trainer of the program asked him to continue fostering and training his dog for an additional year until the dog had completed its training. The dog that Sam trained is now placed in West Virginia with a client working as a mobility assistance dog. Despite his dedication to the program, Sam denied an offer to teach the class and become head trainer to pursue his own career as a dog trainer. After graduation from WVU with a BSA in Animal and Nutritional Sciences, he attended National K-9 School for Dog Trainers in Columbus, Ohio, where he learned the training methods for all kinds of working class dogs including Police K9, Scent Detection and Tracking, Search and Rescue, and more. Additionally the school provided him with a great knowledge of how dogs learn and the reasons for many behavioral problems that can develop in dogs. After completing the course at National K-9, Sam was lucky enough to find The Dog Wizard in Charlotte, North Carolina through the NK9 graduate directory. After meeting Gretchen Hollifield for the first time, he knew that The Dog Wizard would be a perfect fit for him. After accepting an offer from Gretchen to come aboard the team, Sam’s knowledge of dog training exploded as he found success connecting with people and their family dogs and teaching them how to not only train their dog, but truly enjoy the bond that can grown between a dog and his family.
Calvin, the Golden Retriever, has been Sam’s sidekick since he was 8 weeks old. Calvin has been through extensive training in West Virginia, at National K-9 School for Dog Trainers, as well as many hours in Sam’s free time. Calvin is trained in scent detection, tracking, advanced obedience, but his specialty is retrieving nearly any object, as well as many specific objects by name! While Calvin has been through tons of training, most who have met him agree that he is the happiest dog in the world if he can get a back scratch or a tennis ball thrown. Johnny Cash, the Doberman Pinscher has found an amazing, active and stimulating life as a dog trainers partner.
Amy is a recent transplant to Charlotte, and The Dog Wizard is very lucky to have her on the team! Amy has a very important role with being the first point of contact for Dog Wizard clients. She helps manage the day-to-day needs, phone calls, and appointments which she does flawlessly. The best part about her job is not only getting to talk with clients about their dogs but also having her rescue mutt, Winston, hang out with her all day! We would be lost without her.
Noelle has been part of The Dog Wizard family since she started her path as a trainer in Charleston SC in 2012. After 5 years in the Lowcountry and 4 years of helping dogs and their owners to have a better life, it was time to get back to her roots in New Jersey. It was a tough decision not to be hands on with owners and their dogs but now as the office manager she gets to continue to be part of the wizard family and clients lives! Her first hand knowledge of the training side adds a huge benefit to the day to day operations in the office. It helps us be more efficient, creating processes to help better our clients experience as she understands our clients needs that much more! Whether you are a first time caller or a current client, Noelle’s passion for canine’s and their people exudes from the moment you start talking to her. She has an unending love for her three dogs Lexi, Trinity and her newest addition Huckleberry as well as the man that stands by her side, Evan. Noelle is focusing on field trial obedience with Huckleberry and has the pleasure of frequenting the river with the dogs and exploring the beautiful trails and landscape of The Garden State.
Our Formula for Success
Our “recipe for success” has produced successful results for hundreds of dogs throughout the Midlands already. Together, we will teach your dog things you had no idea he was capable of learning. You will obtain an obedient, devoted, and calmer companion for the rest of your lives. Sure, a reliable dog makes your life easier, but more importantly your dog’s life just got a lot better. Why? Because when you are washing your car in the driveway he can now be with you instead of locked away. He can now go the soccer games instead of staying at home in the back yard. He can now be inside when guests are visiting without jumping all over them. Again, we cannot emphasize enough that obedience awards freedom in the dog world. Your best friend will be forever grateful for this gift, and the connection you will build in the process is priceless. If you live In Columbia or any of the surrounding areas your dog will thank you for inquiring with the Columbia Dog Wizard.
We look forward to working with you and your dog!