Meet the owners                                             Certified Professional Dog Trainers - Knowledge Assessed

Carol A. Byrnes,
owner / instructor


Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed / APDT Professional member / Associate Member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants / Member of the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals / Charter member of the Association of Force-Free Pet Professionals Guild / Owner of Diamonds in the Ruff

Dana L. Byrnes,

owner / instructor


Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed /
APDT professional member,

Owner of Diamonds in the Ruff

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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.  (more About Us)


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 will become 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 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.



"What is My Dog Saying? - Canine Communication 101"
"WONDERFUL lecture & time well spent! I highly recommend anyone attending ~ whether you've been around dogs all your life, are adopting that first family member or already volunteering at local rescue, shelter or sanctuary... there's always room for improvement & something new to learn! **Highly Informative** and taught in positive & friendly environment that encourages audience questions. THANK YOU, Carol Byrnes & Diamonds in the Ruff - Training for Dogs & Their People for being amazing resource for the animals in our community!!"


- Mary Charbonneau, Washington Basset Rescue (WABR)

Meet Your Instructors

Travis Byrnes, CPDT-KA
Certified Professional Dog Trainer -
Knowledge Assessed

In-home behavior counseling
Diane Baker
APDT member, NADOI endorsed instructor
Ruff Revue member

Travis grew up surrounded by dogs and immersed in dog training with his parents, DITR owners Carol & Dana.  He began assisting classes at DITR in 1996 when Diamonds in the Ruff first opened. After taking a break to start a family, he returned to assisting duties again in 2011 and took on full charge instructing duties in 2014.  He sat for the CCPDT exam to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and passed in April of 2016. Travis shares his home with three human kids, and elderly Italian Greyhound, two Silken Windhound, and three cats.  In addition to teaching at both our locations, he also volunteers with Carol as a class instructor for the Pawsitive Dog prison training program at the Airway Heights Corrections Center, starting in 2018. Travis offers private training and in-depth behavior consultations.

Diane has been a DITR instructor since we opened our doors in April of 1996. Diane has a soft spot for rescue dogs and helping them find success in with their new families.  Her interests are competing in Canine Freestyle (dancing with your dog) and Rally FrEe.  Diane loves tricks, games and relay races and brings them to all of her classes, especially the Foundations 2 Fabulous and Holiday Manners classes.  Her classes are always fun and will leave you and your dog smiling.  coordinates all performances of the Ruff Revue dance troupe.

Kim Imel, CPDT-KA
Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, 
APDT Professional member, 

Pet Professional Guild member
Amy Barker, CPDT-KA
Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, APDT member, owner Prairie Dog Pet Mercantile
In-home behavior counseling

Kim teaches a variety of classes at DITR, from beginning through advanced.  In addition to group classes she also provides early puppy-hood education opportunities through Puppy Primer one-on-one lessons and our Sunday Puppy Confidence sessions.  Kim began assisting in 1998, moving into the role of lead instructor in 2000 and passing the exam to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer in 2012.  She is a retired veterinary technician with over 25 years in veterinary medicine.  She also works at Prairie Dog Pet Mercantile and is an avid gardner.

Amy is a dedicated and focused trainer, assisting and instructing at Diamonds in the Ruff for many years.  Amy is an avid clicker trainer and in addition to teaching beginning through advanced classes, she leads the Tails & Trails hiking and snow shoeing class.  In 2012, Amy passed the exam to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.   She and husband Dan are owners of Prairie Dog Pet Mercantile on Regal just N of 57th and in Kendall Yards.  Amy also provides in-home behavior consultations and day training.

Vicki Barker
Agility Instructor - Assistant
CGC evaluator
Dakota Eckenroth
In-home behavior counseling


After 35 years of customer service, Vicki finally retired. Now she can concentrate on more fun stuff--like dog training and dog sports. She adopted "Silly Sally" the border collie from Othello Rescue in 2010. "She has been the dog challenge of my life. I believe dogs teach us as much as we teach them." Vicki and her border collies, Sally, Oliver & Henry enjoy competing in agility. Vicki created "Me & My Dog" with her daughter Amy Barker.  In 2014, she added "Agility for Fun" to our summer class offerings.  Vicki is an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator and offers classes and testing year round.

Dakota grew up with dogs, but it wasn't until she started volunteering with rescues in Los Angeles that she discovered her passion for working with them. While trying to break into the film industry she filled her free time volunteering, starting with simple walks and working up to basic training classes with under-socialized dogs. She started a job at a doggy daycare, which also sold high quality pet food and products. This is where her passion for helping dogs be the best they can be, from behavior to nutrition, began.  She started at Prairie Dog Pet Mercantile in the Spring of 2016, and became an assistant at DITR in the Spring of 2017 and a full charge instructor in 2019.

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Taryn Winegardner, CPDT-KA
CGC & Tricks evaluator
Private lessons

Arielle Dykes


Taryn believes that each dog is a gift who comes into our lives for a reason, and teaches us exactly what we need to learn so we can grow into our full potential as kind humans and leaders.

In her first dog, a yellow lab named Milo, Taryn learned just how much love a dog and human can share, bringing joy with every breath, and flattering her into thinking she was a pretty good dog trainer! He loved to show off his fabulous tricks and go everywhere with her, enabling Taryn to do things she may not have been able to without such an amazing partner (from backpacking, to beaches, to the alpaca barn, he was always at the ready!). Milo gave Taryn his strength so that she could eventually find her own.

Arielle and her husband are owned by two dogs who are the same breed, but very different personalities.  Fernie is a petite little Rat Terrier who is shy and worried and Louis is a larger, athletic Decker Rat Terrier who is bold and scrappy.  Arielle brings a flexibility and deep toolbox to her ability to help our students.  Her dogs have taught her much about the need for adjusting approaches based on temperament and individual needs.  Arielle's teaching skills go beyond dog classes.  She is also a ski instructor during the winter months on Mt. Spokane.  Arielle joined our Ruffian team as an assistant in the Fall of 2018 and became a full charge instructor in 2020.

Eva brought hope when Taryn needed it most, helping her shape her life and purpose when life’s many challenges seemed too great to face.. “Hah! You had better up your training game there, mama!” said Eva (a blue standard poodle), and sent her deep down the dog-training rabbit hole, while making sure there is laughter every single day (and at a little over 2 years old, Eva already has more fancy letters behind her name than her entire family, with more to come! Evenstar Hope of Zeus SPOT CGC TKI).  In Spring of 2020, Taryn's household grew when Bella the standard poodle puppy joined the family.  She's keeping things hopping!

Taryn passed the exam to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer in April of 2021 and is a Canine Good Citzien evaluator.  She is a member and instructor with the Coeur d’Alene Dog Fanciers, and she and her husband enjoy caring for Ru (12 year old pit/ridgeback rescue), and Snoopy & Max (retired racing greyhounds), and volunteering with Greyhound Pets of America.  She joined our team in the Spring of 2019.

Thanks to the lessons of her many amazing dog and human teachers, Taryn is now able to support other teams in their growth and development, helping both ends of the leash learn to become true partners and enjoy their lives together. She is passionate about using current, scientifically proven training methodology in building strong foundations and solid relationships, so that each team can move towards their individual goals while enjoying their work and partnership.

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Julia Engstrom

Julia first became interested in dog training after adopting her border collie mix, Loki, in 2018. She has also studied animal behavior and psychology at Gonzaga University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Psychology in 2019. She quickly discovered that training helps to build a strong, powerful bond between a dog and their owner. She went on to complete Canine Good Citizen certification at Spokane Dog Training Club with Loki when he was 6 months old. Loki and Julia continued to explore the world of dog training by taking several competitive obedience and rally classes with SDTC. They eventually came to Diamonds in the Ruff in the summer of 2019 to try their hand (and paw!) at agility.

Julia was instantly drawn to the friendly, positive-only training style at Diamonds in the Ruff, and she loved doing agility with Loki. Later that summer, she brought home Luna, an 8 week old border collie. She completed several Diamonds in the Ruff training classes with Luna, quickly advancing from Puppy K to Prep school; and on to advanced Canine Good Citizen, off-leash Trails and Tails, Tricks, Agility, and Rally Free-style classes.


Julia became an assistant trainer with Diamonds in the Ruff in the winter of 2020, where she has assisted with Canine Good Citizen, Puppy K, and Finishing School classes. She continues to develop her skills as a dog trainer by taking advanced classes, and is currently working on earning Luna’s AKC Trick Dog title. She enjoys helping others to build a strong relationship with their dogs though positive training methods, and hopes to help students discover their own passion for dog training. 

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Allison Miller

Allison has had a lifelong love of dogs and became interested in dog training nine years ago when she got her Lab/St. Bernard mix, Olive, certified to be the Pet Therapy Dog.  Since then, Allison has trained two more dogs (St. Bernards Bertha and Margaux) to become certified Pet Therapy Animals.   Allison and her dogs volunteer at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Gonzaga University, and Ronald McDonald House. 


When Allison got Margaux, she began her training with Diamonds in the Ruff, Puppy K all the way through Canine Good Citizen.  Allison loved the positive, no force principals that Diamonds uses to train their clients (dog and human) and jumped at the chance to become an assistant to learn more herself and to help others to have a wonderful, enriching relationship with their canine companions.  Allison has been an Assistant with Diamonds since Fall of 2020. 

Michelle Brady

Michelle has a passion for all animals. Her family has included a dog for most of her life and she’s always trained them with compassion and love. In 2018 she took home Kai: a sweet 80lb 2.5 year old mutt with separation anxiety that his previous owner couldn’t solve. This led Michelle to do modern research on force-free training. She believes all companion animals can and should be trained without fear. Diamonds in the Ruff has the same training values, so when an opportunity to assist with classes came up she saw a way to follow her passion. She has been a class assistant since Spring 2021.

Anita Joens
Instructor - Assistant
CGC Evaluator

Anita became involved as a class assistant through her work as part of the training team for the Pawsitive Dog Prison Training Program at the Airway Heights Corrections Center.  She joined our Ruffian crew in the summer of 2014 as a class assistant and became a full-charge instructor in the summer of 2019.  Anita loves animals of all kinds and has a soft spot for homeless pets.  Anita enjoys helping owners build great relationships with their dogs.  

Nancy Zietlow
Assistant - Ruff Revue member

Nancy is always fun, positive and professional and sets our students at ease.  She has been assisting for DITR since the early years!   Nancy and her Aussie Schuyler enjoy dancing with the Ruff Revue freestyle dance troupe and have created some pretty clever dance routines. Nancy is also a member of HEART - Humane Evacuation Animal Rescue Team where she has been dispatched to help rescue animals from floods, hurricanes and other disasters.

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John Chatburn

John has had a life long love of dogs and became interested in dog training when a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy made its way into his life in 2017.  He loves dogs of all sizes but has a soft spot for the big guys.  John and his wife Andi have attended many of the DITR classes with both their Berner and their Chocolate Lab and are big proponents of positive methods of dog and human training.  A firm believer in that there are always new things to learn, if John is not assisting with a class you may see him in your next class with one of his dogs.

Not in the Spokane area, but looking
for a positive trainer near you?

Additional Resources

Joyce Biethan MPT, CPDT, CNWI  CATT
Certified Nosework Instructor

Joyce has been a dog [People really] trainer for 23+ years. She has taught manners and skills classes to pet dog owners, as well as teaching a variety of dog activities and sports including Treibball, Agility, & Therapy Dog teams. She also worked for Paws With a Cause as a field trainer for service dog recipients and has always had a handful of private behavior clients. For the last 10 years her focus has been on K9 Nose Work ®  as a Certified Nose Work Instructor [CNWI]. She is delighted to be in Spokane now and looks forward to working with clients interested in introducing their dogs to scent detection as well as in helping dog and handler teams problem solve and progress, if they are already playing the game.   She can be reached at, 206-819-7297 and her website is 

Dr Megan Bauer, DVM
Assistant  - Advisor

Dr. Megan Bauer is a graduate of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  She is a small animal general practitioner with a special interest in behavioral medicine, especially canine anxiety, canine cognitive decline, and feline behavior.  In addition, she is Fear Free Certified.  Megan loves agility training with her dogs Remi and Oliver.  Megan joined our team as an assistant in March of 2018 and is always available to advise us on veterinary related questions and concerns.

Dr. Megan Cathey is a  small animal veterinarian with a special interest in the behavior and welfare of dogs and cats.  She has taken additional training in this area, and provides behavior consults.  As a veterinarian, she is able to evaluate, diagnose, develop, and implement a treatment plan for behavior problems for your pet, including Rx care.  Dr. Cathey started offering behavior consults for dogs and cats at our training studio in November of 2014.  Her moblie veterinary service is Gentle Veterinary Housecall Services.

Also check out the Force Free Trainers list.