Our Dog Trainer
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.
Lead Office Manager
Rachel happily joined The Dog Wizard team in March of 2017! She has grown up with a love of dogs her entire life, so becoming a part of this team was an absolute dream! She and her favorite girl, Lucy, her 11 yr old rescue, handle the day-to-day logistics of the office. Their daily routine includes talking with dogs and their people about their goals in training, scheduling appointments, and managing the office tasks. The best part of her job is being part of such a wonderful team, and helping build positive relationships between people and their pups. In her free time, Rachel loves to play roller derby and macrame. Rachel is a passionate outdoor enthusiast and enjoys spending time outside hiking with Lucy and her two active and energetic sons.
Amy has been with the Dog Wizard Office team since December 2016! 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 so well. Amy has a passion for helping customers at the highest level and ensuring they feel great and know that there is hope for their dog. 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! When she's not helping us in the office she can be found enjoying the outdoors with Winston. We are grateful to have her on our team!
Chloe is a New York native! She began working with people with disabilities while obtaining her bachelor's in Social Work. Throughout this journey, she noticed much of her free time was spent caring for animals, so she began a dog sitting business. She took it upon herself to volunteer and give back to the community at local animal shelters and sanctuaries in her free time. Chloe used to competitively ride horses but now just enjoys riding in her free time. Chloe discovered these experiences brought her immense happiness and consequently to shift her career toward one involving helping animals. Chloe is a proud and loyal member of our Dog Wizard family. When you talk to Chloe about your dog and the troubles you are having you will immediately feel at ease with her compassion for you and your dog! One of the best parts of her job, she gets to spend time at home with her two pups Bax and Benji.
Noelle has been a part of The Dog Wizard family when her path as a trainer started in 2011. She launched the Charleston Dog Wizard location in 2012 there she was able to help a lot of clients and their dogs have a better life and gain more freedom. In 2016 Noelle took over as the lead office manager where she was able to make an impact on the team to better serve the clients and trainers. With her first hand training knowledge of and knowing what it was like being on the other side as a trainer the office support was able to grow by leaps and bounds. She has helped build the office team with a family culture, compassion and passion that can be experienced with every client they talk to. Noelle continues to oversee the office but now spends her time continuing to develop and grow The Dog Wizard trainers and their businesses so that we can help even more people than we already do! She spends most days working remotely on her boat with her sidekick, Huckleberry.
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!