Off Leash K9 Training, Georgia
Bryan & JoAnne Swihart are the owners and head trainers for the Off Leash K9 Training program in Peachtree City, Smyrna, Duluth, Athens, Columbus, Augusta, and Macon. We moved to the Atlanta area to settle near family after opening successful locations in Charlottesville, Virginia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Bryan is an Army veteran with multiple deployments; while deployed he was impressed with military working dog’s impeccable obedience training and high level of confidence enabling them to be the most well trained canines in the world. Bryan has a lifelong love of dogs starting with his first dog “Squeak,” who used to sleep under his crib every night. He has owned and trained a wide assortment of dogs ranging from Chihuahuas to Pitbulls; including his current comrades, a Rejected Labradoodle, American Staffordshire Terrier Mix, and the newest addition a German Shepherd Hound Mix. Bryan has a special love for “Bully Breeds” and wants to empower people to showcase what wonderfully loyal and loving dogs they really are. After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, he can now focus where his passion is. With a degree in business and finance giving him a solid small business foundation, with the precision and passion needed to transform your dog from unruly to obedient, frightened to confident, timid to content.
JoAnne’s passion is transforming fearful and anxious pups into stable confident members of the family! This passion began 4 years ago while fostering an extremely fearful young pup, who soon became a beloved member of the family. Obedience training helped transform the dog from a dog who was terrified of people to a super snuggle bug and constant companion for their 2 year old son. JoAnne has background in business and biological research and left her corporate career to join her husband in running Off Leash K9 Training, Georgia full time 2 years ago.
Bryan and JoAnne are thrilled to bring Off Leash K9 Training to Georgia, specializing in the same obedience training techniques used by the military and law enforcement. This style of training encompasses his core beliefs and philosophy of consistency, fairness, and crystal clear communication that will turn your dog into a well behaved member of society in any situation.
Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)
Taylor Lam was born and raised just outside of Atlanta with a love for all living creatures. She grew up in a multi-dog household, having at one point a total of 5 dogs ranging from small dachshunds to large pitbull/mastiff mixes. From a young age, she had a passion for helping animals of all shapes and sizes. Taylor attended the University of Georgia in Athens where she received her B.S.A. in Avian Biology. All throughout college, she volunteered with local humane societies, kennels, and veterinary clinics. After college, Taylor worked for a canine rescue organization called RescueMe, that specialized in disabled and diseased canines. There she learned about canine nutrition and its role in canine health as well as how to train and assist dogs with disabilities. By combining her animal health knowledge and her knowledge as a dog trainer, she has been able to create a unique learning and training experience for all of her clients and their fur-kids. She enjoys being able to help dog owners gain a deeper relationship and bond with their canine companions through patient, persistent, and positive training.
Jeff and Missy Gettings have had almost every pet known to man, from Solomon Island Eclectus parrots to Egyptian Arabian horses and everything in between. However, it has always been their dogs that have held a particularly special place in their hearts. Jeff has a background in financial analysis, while Missy’s background is in counseling; however, their passion is training dogs. They decided to turn their passion into their careers. As a team, they are committed to providing the most effective and convenient solutions to meet their clients’ needs. They decided to become professional dog trainers in order to help dog owners live better, more fulfilling lives with their pets and best friends.
John Slemp, a native of East Tennessee, grew up with a love for dogs and a passion for education. From childhood through college, John owned and trained several different breeds from miniature Dachshunds to Doberman Pinschers. After completing Basic and Advanced Lessons through Off Leash K9 Training, John and his German Shepherd, Nyla, experienced the amazing results of this training method. Inspired by OLK9 methodology and building upon his background in education, John is dedicated to helping other dog owners develop a well-mannered, obedient dog of their own.
Sam Mirtsopoulos and Dan are both lifelong dog owners and dog lovers. They are both born and raised in New York, but moved to Athens, GA from Connecticut at the beginning of 2017. Sam’s love for dogs all started with her family’s GSD, Lucy, and Dan’s started with his family dog, a golden retriever, Dakota. Sam started volunteering with various rescue organizations when she was just 14 years old, quickly realizing training dogs was her calling. She is an ABC graduate, and attended the Michael Ellis school for dog trainers in California. There, she worked closely with incredible trainers such as Michael Ellis, Forrest Micke, and Andrew Ramsey to name a few, while growing her knowledge of many different training styles and methods. Sam has worked various jobs along the way in police k9 kennels, grooming salons, and for pet dog training businesses. While Dan has loved dogs his entire life, his love for training didn’t truly blossom until he met Sam, and they got their first dog together, a Belgian Malinois, Vandal. With Vandal and Sam’s helps, Dan has learned all about puppy development, advanced obedience, relationship building, communication, and protection work. Now Sam and Dan work together to help clients understand their dogs better, and live a much happier life with their pets, while giving their pets the freedom they deserve.
Ryan Wuelfing started his dog training career training, Therapy Dogs with Paws for Healing out of Napa, CA in 2007. After that he apprenticed with Sonny Henager of Clearview Kennel for almost 3 years as the kennel manager while learning how to train pups in basic obedience, behavior modification, bite work, and detection. He then moved to Potsmouth, RI to work and train with Matt Betts of K9 Instinct with a focus on advanced obedience, puppy management, extreme behavior modifications, bite work, and detection. Ryan love is working with therapy dogs but he is verse in everything dog, from basic to advanced obedience, puppy management, behavior modification, bite work, detection, tracking, search rescue, decoy, and anything else that will allow an owner to enjoy their pup more!
Greg Morris was born and raised in Vero Beach Fl, where from an early age he developed a love and passion for dogs while helping his father raise and train their hunting dogs. A United States Navy veteran, he was deployed on multiple cruises in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. After serving he pursued his other passion of cooking, becoming an award winning Pit-Master at one of Atlanta’s most renowned BBQ restaurants. But his love and passion for dogs never ceased, only growing stronger. After Buster, his chocolate Lab of 15 years, passed away, he decided that life was too short and that if you were going to do something, you should do the one thing you love. He began to spend all of his free time volunteering at local shelters and rescue missions, watching and learning dog behavior at all levels. After researching and observing dozens of local trainers he was most impressed with Off Leash K9’s methodology of obedience learning, confidence building and the extensive knowledge of all the trainers. He lives with his wife Terri and their thrice rescued pup Toby with a backyard that is a doggie heaven. Greg has a special fondness for rescue dogs that suffer from anxiety and fear issues, taking great pride in reforming and building confidence in them. His goal is to help create that special bond between dog and owner that forms with our obedience training programs and to make sure that you walk away from a lesson with all questions answered and a smile on your face!
Rob Summe is an Atlanta native and United States Marine Corps Veteran. He spent 20 years in Law Enforcement and maintains his GA P.O.S.T. certification. Rob worked the uniform patrol division, criminal investigation division and was a member of the SWAT team. Rob was also a canine handler for 8 years and a police canine trainer for 4 years. He is a certified trainer in the areas of obedience, aggression control, tracking/trailing, article searches, area/building searches and narcotic detection. Rob is also the owner of a security consulting business called Konflikt K9 LLC. Rob has dedicated his life to training and working with all types of dogs. He thoroughly enjoys helping build the relationship between dog and owner.
“Coach Herb” Cables brings over 30 years of training athletes, military and people of all levels to Off-Leash K9 Columbus, GA. He has worked with professional and Olympic athletes, Army Rangers, bodybuilding and physique competitors to make them better. He has won several titles including Mr. Georgia!! Herb is currently using the extreme discipline and patience learned in the fitness world to pursue his new passion; training dog owners to make them better! Having owned and worked with multiple breeds throughout his life, Coach feels being a happy dog owner comes from having an obedient as well as confident pup.
Jake Reger was born and raised in Central Michigan and spent time in Green Bay Wisconsin before settling down with his wife in Newnan Georgia in 2015. Growing up he owned and trained German Shorthairs as upland hunting dogs and always had a passion for training we’ll behaved companions. Jake had both of his dogs, two Great Danes, go through the board and train program and found such a passion for the process and the freedom it offered him and his family that he had too learn so he could give that freedom to others.
Mary Webb has always loved and worked with animals. She grew up working on a horse farm got her first one at age 12! She worked with all the barn animals and picked up training as her passion. Mary went to pre-vet school at Berry College for a year and then decided to go change majors and transfer to Kennesaw State University. She graduated from KSU with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice and was a police officer for two years which aspirations to become a K9 handler. Then she decided she wanted to further her career with training dogs. Three years ago she got her first working dog, her GSD Caesar who she competes with in WDA, Lure Course, Dock Diving and more. After making friends with fellow Offleash K9 friends in the sport world, Mary was recommended to apply! She fits in nicely pursuing her dreams of being a trainer.
April Gray developed a love for animals at a very early age. Her first pets were a pair of hamsters that she loved playing with. Around the age of 10 her parents bought her a Miniature Schnauzer that she learned to groom and teach tricks. She quickly realized a passion for grooming and training. In 2004 April attended grooming school and became certified. These skills contributed to her success in various dog show competitions and also lead to a feature article in December 2016 Groomer to Groomer magazine. April has also worked as a veterinary assistant/ technician for over 18 years. Experience includes Oncology, ICU, ER, Cardiology and internal medicine. In 2012 she became professionally involved in wrangling and training animals for the entertainment industry. Her animals have appeared in movies and TV commercials for Tractor Supply company, ADT, Mercy Hospital, CNN and more. She is currently active in therapy dog visits, conformation dog shows, rally, obedience, herding, dock diving, agility and trick training.
Thomas Groves was born and raised in Macon Georgia! He spent some years away at Georgia Southern University but was eager to get back to his home town. Thomas has owned dogs for most of his life and has always been extremely caring when it comes to animals. After hearing about Off Leash through a family member, Thomas knew it was his calling. Being able to strengthen the bond an owner has with their pet is something that really drives Thomas in his training. He’s trained plenty of people in the past, but has found dogs to hold a special place in his heart and a lot more fun!
Greg Gettings grew up with a passion for dogs beginning with his first childhood best friend, Scruffy, a Wire Fox Terrier who accompanied him through a myriad of imaginary jungle adventures in the tree lines of the suburban St. Louis neighborhood where he lived at 5-years-old. As his family relocated to Kentucky, Kansas, Tennessee and eventually Georgia, this passion continued to grow and, as an adult, Greg has had the opportunity to own and train Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Great Pyrenees and number of other working breeds. Greg has expanded his love for dogs and all animals by continuing to give back to the communities that support fostering the bond he first experienced with Scruffy. This commitment led him to co-found two 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations dedicated to reaching at-risk youth through horse therapy and equine-assisted programs. With a bachelors degree in business administration and a strong background in developing training curricula for both two-legged as well as four-legged students, Greg has written and administered training programs for federal regulatory compliance and leadership training on a national scale. In addition to being a full-time dog trainer, Greg is owner of Primus Defense, LLC and is a certified firearms instructor, first aid instructor and personal defense instructor. Greg is dedicated to helping dog owners understand their role as both training partners and pack leaders in order to build the best possible relationship with their dogs.
Kara Dixon started her love of animals from a young age. She grew up with rescue animals and in high school started volunteering at an animal hospital. A few years later she started working in shelters. With a lot of hard work she became a veterinary technician at the Greenville Humane Society. Soon after she realized how much she cares about shelter animals and it is her passion to keep as many dogs out of them and that is why she started learning how to train dogs. Her passion for misunderstood animals is a huge driving force in her work and she looks forward to shaping the lives of many pups in the future.