Training working dogs was a skill passed down from my father at an early age. This knowledge proved invaluable during my K9 handler recruitment as a Law Enforcement Officer and once again during my certification as a Police K9 trainer.
My first K9 partner, Roscoe, was a yellow Labrador we rescued from a local shelter. He put all my training to the test, but we became an unstoppable team. Roscoe showed me the potential of misunderstood dogs and sparked what would later become my driving philosophy as a pet dog trainer.
It wasn’t until my second Police K9 partner, a Belgian Malinois named Neko, that I rooted my training principles and began helping local dog owners in my area with their unruly pets. Neko and I decided to retire in 2018 after an outstanding career in law enforcement and quickly embarked on the adventure of managing a pet training business.
We strive to provide families all over Tennessee and the Southeast US with a clear communication system and ultimately keep misunderstood dogs in good homes and out of shelters.
Animals have always fascinated me, and I knew that I would like to work with animals as
my future job. I volunteered for Young Williams animal shelter when I was ten with my family
and loved being with the dogs. Then around thirteen, I was able to volunteer with Smokey
Mountain Service Dogs and raise a puppy for a disabled veteran. We raised many puppies over the years for them, but Gunner was the first puppy that I was assigned to raise and train. Gunner was a red lab and an incredibly smart dog to train, and he made me realize I wanted to train dogs for a living. I believe that every dog should have a chance and listening and working with your dog is important. Mike and the MLK9 trainers have helped so many dogs at risk of euthanasia or rehoming and I’d like to make an impact for dogs here in Tennessee and help out the dogs that are at risk. I think that Mike and the people here at MLK9 are some of the best help you can get and I am really glad they gave me a chance to work here.
My name is Lisa Lilley. I was born in Okeechobee Florida. I spent the first 15 years of my life living on a ranch. What a life that was! In 1983, I married my first and only love, Mike Lilley, Sr. Together, we raised 2 Country boys: Mike Lilley (Owner of MLK9 and Ridgeside K9) and Austin Lilley (Union Lineman). Mike and Austin, each, met and married the loves of their lives. Mike married Suzi and Austin married Jennifer. I have 2 amazing grandsons, Mason Lilley and Jensen Lilley. Most of my career has been in Sales and Accounting. That career wasn’t near as exciting and fulfilling as being a dog trainer. I am the Building Manager and Dog Trainer for Mike and Suzi. The thrill of being able to help this power couple continue to build their Franchise to the highest level of success is more than I ever imagined.
Growing up in a small town in South Florida, I knew that someday I wanted to have a career that would have an impact on the community. I was able to take my love of the outdoors and my interest in law enforcement and join The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a Wildlife Officer, right out of high school. During my career with FWC, I worked alongside MLK9 owner, Mike Lilley. While watching Mike and his K-9 Roscoe, I found a new appreciation for the effectiveness of a good K-9 team.
After 7 years with FWC, I went to work with my local Sheriff’s Office, where once again Mike and I were working together. Being good friends with Mike, Hunter Kearns, and the rest of the Sheriff’s Office K-9 team, I spent a lot of time laying tracks and watching them train. It was always interesting watching them hone their skills as a team and apply those skills during live K-9 deployments.
Eventually, my path at the Sheriff’s Office led me to investigations, where Narcotics Investigations became my passion. I would go on to supervise the Narcotics Unit where I would finish out my career before retiring. In total, I have 14 years of experience in law enforcement, holding multiple positions as a supervisor, field training officer, instructor, and a SWAT team member.
My good friend Mike had become established in the K-9 industry and found himself needing some more help and trainers to add to his team. After a long career in law enforcement, I decided I was ready to try something new. I began an apprenticeship with Hunter Kearns during my spare time where I learned the basics of dog training. I have always found it fascinating to watch a dog work through a problem and understand what it is that I am asking them to do.
I practice my training skills daily with my Beagles, Bama and Lucy. If I can get two stubborn, mischievous dogs to obey and learn something new, I am convinced that any dog can learn! I look forward to helping everyone learn how to communicate with their pets in an effective and efficient manner.
When I am not training dogs, my time is spent with my wife, Carrie, and our two sons, Tyson and Luke. We enjoy spending time outdoors, trying new recipes on the smoker, and watching college football.
My journey began on a small farm in Pennsylvania, where I, David, first opened my eyes to a world filled with animals and nature. Growing up surrounded by the wonders of the outdoors, I developed an innate connection with animals from an early age. Little did I know that this connection would shape the course of my life.
As the years passed, my fascination with dogs grew into a deep-seated desire to make a difference in their lives. I embarked on a path to become a professional dog trainer, driven by the aspiration to help dogs not only coexist with humans but thrive in their presence. This mission became the guiding star of my career, and I was determined to turn my passion into a purpose.
One particular experience stands out as a testament to the power of dog training. Faced with a dog that was human and dog aggressive, the owners were on the brink of a heart-wrenching decision. Through unwavering dedication and the application of effective training techniques, I was able to transform this troubled dog’s life. Witnessing his transformation from a misunderstood and isolated animal to a thriving, social being was a profound moment that reinforced my commitment to my calling.
The reward of witnessing dogs overcome their challenges and thrive alongside their human counterparts is what fuels my passion. I firmly believe that dogs are capable of far more than we often give them credit for. My goal is to continue contributing to this remarkable community for years to come, extending my helping hand to all types of dogs and their owners. Through dedicated training, I aim to bridge the gap between humans and dogs, creating harmonious and fulfilling relationships.
My journey has led me to training at Ridgeside K9 Knoxville and MLK9, a place where dogs and humans come together to learn, grow, and forge unbreakable bonds. I invite you to visit, take a tour, and bring along your beloved canine companions. Let us embark on a shared journey of discovery and empowerment, where we unlock the incredible potential that lies within each and every dog.
In this autobiography, I hope to inspire others to believe in the transformative power of dog training and to recognize the profound impact that dogs can have on our lives.