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Make time for training!
Welcome, sit, stay
The best in Spokane
Where good dogs go
Dogs are our favorite people
Classroom this way
Rules & consistency are key

About Us

Carol A. Byrnes, CPDT-KA

Diamonds in the Ruff offers kind and gentle training for your pets and your family.  

Positive classes for whole families start monthly.  Well-behaved kids welcome!  Class sessions are 4 weeks in length.  Each class is 1-1/2 hours, once per week. 


Our Philosophy

Meet the owners

Carol & Dana opened Diamonds in the Ruff in 1996 with the goal of providing positive, dog and people friendly training for Spokane's pet owners. Their goal is to not just teach the mechanics of training, but provide instruction that helps their students develop an understanding of how dogs learn and view the world.

Behavior is the number one killer of pet dogs. More dogs are euthanized for bad behavior every day than are euthanized for overpopulation. According to the Humane Society of the United States, only 35% of all family dogs live out their natural lives with their original owners.


It is estimated that over 65% of the dogs surrendered to shelters across the country have a behavior problem that could have been prevented with early training, or could have been solved had the owners known some basics about dog training and behavior.


Dogs owned by humans who understand canine behavior and a few simple key components of learning theory will raise dogs who are cherished members of the family. These dogs are more likely to remain in their homes permanently. We also understand that most pet owners do not want to be training "experts." They have busy lives and other priorities.


We teach our students how to train their dogs a few minutes at a time while they are living normal lives. We and our staff of great trainers will strive to give you the tools you need to teach your dog to be the best friend he can be. Carol has developed a curriculum designed to meet the needs of families and their canine friends.

Dana L. Byrnes, CPDT-KA

The Journey.

Both Carol & Dana were long time members of Lilac City Dog Training Club in Spokane, where Carol began her instructing career and over many years served as an officer, board member, and assistant director of training. She helped develop their first Puppy Preschool curriculum. Carol has been involved with training and showing dogs in both conformation and obedience since 1974. She began assisting in 1977 and teaching in 1978. Dana started instructing and assisting for LCDTC in 1989. During the 80's they were founding members of the Inland Empire Doberman Pinscher Club and Doberman Rescue. While following every show circuit competing in AKC conformation and obedience and hanging ribbons on the wall was once a focus, Carol & Dana started traveling great distances to spend weekends at behavior seminars instead of show rings. Captivated by the study of canine behavior, they found their calling: teaching families to better understand their pets. They abandoned their choke chains and military style "forward & halt" training in favor of motivational no-force methods that focused on building great relationships between families and their pets and haven't looked back.  Carol & Dana sat for the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers exam, passing the rigorous test to become Certified Professional Dog Trainers - Knowledge Assessed in March of 2004 and continue to maintain that certification through required continuing education.

Carol & her Doberman Sonny competing in AKC Open.

LCDTC awarded Carol with the Ken-L-Ration Medal for Good Sportsmanship in 1994.


Carol & Dana instructed for The Family Dog from 1992-96. During the years when the greyhound track was operating in Post Falls, ID, they provided occasional foster care for retired racing greyhounds through the Eastern Washington Chapter of Greyhound Pets of America. They continue to work closely with area rescue organizations and occasionally provide foster care/rehab for dogs with special needs.

In the community

In 1991, Carol began work with Spokane area hospitals to research and draft protocols for the first pet-assisted therapy programs which continue to this day. Carol's whippet Rio was the first dog to set paw in a Spokane hospital in 1992. They were well-known by staff and patients at Deaconess, Sacred Heart, St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute, Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children and Sunshine Gardens elderly care center, where Carol & Dana provided pet-assisted therapy visits with their whippets Rio, Spinner, & Eddie for many years. Carol served as a certified Pet Partners evaluator for the Delta Society in Renton to provide Pet Partners® aptitude and temperament screening for potential pet-assisted therapy animals until 2001.


In the classroom


Carol enjoyed providing classroom presentations for Spokane area schools, clubs and libraries as part of her "day job" as humane education director for SpokAnimal C.A.R.E. for 32 years starting opening day in 1984 through 2016.  She has presented bite safety seminars for letter carriers, meter readers and other delivery professions and has spoken at emergency medical conferences and for the Washington Animal Care & Control Association. Carol has also been a CASA volunteer at the Bee Kind Garden for many years visiting with her dog Stanley.   


She offers free body language presentations to shelter volunteers and staff and has also presented "What is My Dog Saying at the Dog Park" as a continuing education program at the local REI in Spokane.

Above, Eddie the Whippet cross gives Carol a "high five" at a preschool visit.  At right, Stanley the Beagle mix has collected an envelope from a student containing a shelter donation and is delivering it to Carol during a visit to Ridgeview Elementary in December of 2014.

In prison

Carol's most rewarding passion is being part of the training team at the Airway Heights Corrections Center's Pawsitive Dog Prison Training Program where offenders attend weekly training and behavior lessons and train shelter dogs to help them become more adoptable.  

Not only are the dogs learning to be better companions, but they are teachers, too, teaching these men lessons of kindness, empathy and patience.  Of all the training assignments she has ever had in her training career, Carol says this program is the most rewarding project she has ever done.

In print

Carol's other interests are website design, graphics and illustration. Carol was the illustrator for "Forward" - the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructor's quarterly newsletter for many years and commissions illustrations for east coast clicker trainer Virginia (Broitman) Dare including the video covers and chapter headings for her video series, including "The HOW of BOW WOW," which won the 2004 Dog Writers Association of America competition.  In 2006 Carol completed cover artwork for Virginia's newest DVD in the series: "The Shape of Bow Wow." In 2011, Viriginia contacted Carol to do the cover for a new DVD called "Fido Refined -The Zen of Bow Wow". "Several of her illustrations appear in Terry Ryan's books "Coaching People to Train Their Dogs" and the "Toolbox" and she provided illustrations for Dani Weinberg's book "Teaching People, Teaching Dogs - Insights and Ideas for Instructors."  She is currently providing illustrations for Diane Garrod's new book, "Canine Emotional Detox."  Carol also served as editor of SpokAnimal's quarterly newsletter, "Companion Animal News" for over thirty years.


In 2006, Carol was interviewed by "Dog Fancy" magazine writer Cherie Langlois for an article entitled "Winter Games" featured on page 17 in the November 2006 issue. She was also featured in the book "Careers with Animals" by Andria Pavia. She was the trainer source for articles in Men's Health magazine in the May 2011 issue and featured in the premier issue of Northwest Pet magazine and has written several articles for Green Living magazine.  In 2014 DITR was featured in the Journal of Business. 

What is My Dog Saying?

Carol released a CD of her Power Point presentation "What is My Dog Saying?" in 2008, selling over 100 copies all over the world in a matter of months. It is part of the curriculum of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy and available for purchase through director Rise Van Fleet's online store .  In 2009 Karen Pryor contacted Carol to sell her CDs through Sunshine Books on Karen's online store at  It is also available through  Carol has presented her workshop on reading body language and understanding canine communication for the Washington Animal Care & Control Association in Oct 2007 and for the Intermountain Search Dogs annual Washington Dog Meet in Sept 2008.


In 2011, Carol started work on "What is My Dog Saying - at the Dog Park?" which was released in the fall of 2011. In January of 2012 she began work on "What is My Cat Saying?" in collaboration with cat behavior specialist, Jacqueline Munera of Positive Cattitudes in Florida which was released in the fall of 2013.

On screen


In January of 2007, Carol's Beagle/Rat Terrier mix Stanley was chosen by North by Northwest productions to play the role of "Buster" in a Lifetime movie channel production "The Family Holiday" which was released Nov 6, 2007 and is available on DVD.

"The Family Holiday"   premiered on the Lifetime channel in Dec. of 2007.  "A Dog. Two Kids. A Nanny & A Loveable Con-Man Unwrap The True Meaning Of Christmas"  

Shown at left, actors Abby, Brant, Stanley and Dave Coulier in a shot from the movie filmed in downtown Spokane. "The Family Holiday" is a story about 2 homeless kids, a homeless dog and people coming together in time of need. It's not a story about a dog per se' but the dog takes you from scene to scene and he guides the viewer to the various settings introduces each of the human characters. Stan's training and social skills were put to the test as they were on set for all but two days of filming over the course of a 3 week shoot.





The Family Holiday                                                                                                                                                     Falling Up

Voted Best in Spokane.

Diamonds in the Ruff's Carol & Dana Byrnes were voted the Inlander's best dog trainers in 2011 and KREM's Best in Spokane 2009, 2010, 2011, runner up 2012 and Best in Spokane 2013 & 2014.  We were also voted Best in Spokane in the A-List competition.


Thanks to all our students for being the best students in Spokane!

In September of 2007 Carol was again contacted for movie work for The Golden Door which was later renamed "Falling Up" which starred Joseph Cross, Sarah Roehmer, Snoop Dogg and Rachel Leigh Cook.


Stanley was requested to play the role of "unconscious dog in an elevator." His training challenge this time around was to play a dog whose leash was caught in an elevator who must be brought back to life via CPR and mouth-to-snout resuscitation by lead actor Joseph Cross.


At left, Carol on-set for the Golden Door keeping the group busy between takes.  Several of our instructors' and students' dogs appeared in the film. We're always keeping an eye out for that special student for future projects!

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