About Us

Trainer Profiles

Ridgeside K9 Tennessee Dog Training was established as a result of a lifelong passion and dedication to train dogs and to bridge the gap of miscommunication between them and their owners. After immersing myself in apprenticeship, mentorships and a lot of time in the trenches, our own business was established.

Trainer Justin Rigney Justin has over 25 years of professional dog training experience and was a Law Enforcement Officer for 17 years. He spent 10 years as a K-9 handler and trainer. His unique background and experience in civilian dog training and as Police service dog training sets him a part from other trainers in his field. Justin’s passion for dog training is evident. He has assisted thousands of pet dog owners in enhancing their relationship with their dogs, bridging the gap of communication with their beloved four legged family members. Justin utilizes a proven, reliable, humane and clear, real world training system, which produces results and a dog who knows its job and loves its job. During his Law Enforcement career, Justin was fortunate enough to have been able to work three patrol dogs. Justin is a former member of the Davie Police Department and their K‐9 unit where he was a handler for K‐9 “Vader”, a Belgian Malinois who was produced from his own breeding program. Going from watching Vader take his very first breath in life, to becoming a productive K-9 partner was extremely rewarding. K-9 “Bosko”, an all black GSD (German Shepherd Dog) was responsible for hundreds of arrests and apprehensions of violent felony offenders and has been instrumental in the recovery of numerous articles of valuable evidence. Post retirement, Bosko obtained his Brevet in French Ring sport. His last patrol dog K‐9 “Zeke” is a sable GSD who has been raised from a puppy by Justin and his wife Alison. Zeke was a proven, vigilant and tenacious police service dog during his career. Most notably defending his handler during a deadly force encounter and officer involved shooting. Zeke will continue to work and compete in civilian dog sport.

Alison’s earliest childhood memories are of her love and adoration of the family pets, which ignited a life long passion for working with animals. This devotion to animals runs in her genetics, as her father Dr. Keith Powell was one of the leading small animal veterinarians in south FL for over 30 years. Dr. Powell also served his country as a captain in the US Air Force. Alison also followed her father’s path of public service by having a decorated career with the Hollywood (FL) Police Department for 24 years. While working interdiction at bus terminals, airports and train stations, she worked next to the incredible detection dogs as they made countless seizures of illicit narcotics and currency. She was also assigned to the detective bureau, where she worked animal abuse cases for 5 years, to be the voice of the beloved animals who were victimized. Her leadership, knowledge and dedication to her community were exemplified as being assigned to the training division to train new hires and recruits. Alison’s passion for working with animals is shown through her 25 years of competitive barrel racing. This allowed her to travel to amazing places and work with some of the top horse trainers in the country. Alison’s devotion to dogs has been a constant in her life, which compelled her to develop K-9 Services unlimited. She has a desire to fill the void of miscommunication between pet dogs and their owners, developing service dogs, assisting with rescue dogs as well as supporting Law Enforcement and the Military working dogs. Her adoration of the French Bulldog began when “Bruiser” came into her life, igniting a desire to have a top French Bulldog breeding program, which produces sound nerves, temperament, confirmation and exotic colors. ​

Lauren has over 14 years of experience working with animals. She is well rounded in all areas of dogs, when she was just 14 years old, she got started on dog behavior in both training and daycare environments, from there she went on to 7 years in the veterinary technician field, 3 of which were working in an ER. In 2015, Lauren started training PTSD service dogs for Mutts Mending Mankind and her passion for training only grew from there. Lauren loved it so much, she then moved on to starting her own pet sitting, dog walking, and training business, called Pawsitive Paradise, in March of 2019 she knew she found her dream job. Lauren is native to Connecticut, where she worked and learned alongside numerous professional trainers. She recently moved to Tennessee in the fall of 2020, with the intent to further expand her horizons working with dogs. She founded a rescue when she arrived in Knoxville, placing over 65 dogs in just a year, and started building her name in the industry, which is how she met Justin Rigney and started working with K9 Services Unlimited. Lauren is amazing with puppies and has a major role in our puppy head start program, as well as one on one lessons. In what little free time Lauren has, she loves to hike and swim with her Doberman, Maverik and her two rescues Zena and Lucky. Everything she does in life always ends up involving her passion, dogs. Lauren is ecstatic to be here with us and cannot wait to make a positive impact on yours and your dog’s life.

Jonathan started working with dogs at a young age. From working with the family Labrador in group training classes to training a German Shorthaired Pointer to hunt quail and grouse with in high school and college, there really hasn’t been a time when dog training wasn’t a part of his life. He worked summers during high school and the first two years of college at veterinary clinics. During this time, he became enamored with working dogs. He realized he would rather work with dogs than on them. He changed his college major from veterinary medicine to criminal justice in the hopes of one day becoming a K9 handler. While in college, he joined the local Schutzund club and started working an American Bulldog. While the bulldogs still hold a special place in his heart, he moved to a German Shepherd that he titled from a BH to a Schutzund Three. He was an active member in the Schutzund club from 1999 to 2010. Jonathan started his law enforcement career in 2003. Jonathan has been a dual purpose K9 handler for 12 years and also currently serves a trainer and the unit supervisor. Jonathan is also a member of the SWAT team and a shift sergeant. During his time in the K9 unit, he has grown the team from a two dog unit to a five dog unit with 24/7 shift coverage. Jonathan has been able to work three incredible dogs during his tenure with the K9 unit. The first dog, a German Shepherd, was given up by his first handler and was considered a failure by the administration. Jonathan was able to retrain the dog from an aggressive alert dog to a passive alert dog. He took the same dog that had never found a suspect on a track to having multiple finds to include two physical apprehensions on tracks. Jonathan’s second dog, a Malinios, and his current dog, a German Shepherd, were both trained by him from green to successful working police dogs. His current dog has deployed multiple times with the SWAT team and has apprehended suspects that, had the K9 not been utilized, could have turned in to an officer involved shooting. Jonathan considers working a patrol K9 his dream job and feels incredibly fortunate to be in his current position. Jonathan’s home has an American Bulldog and a German Shepherd. He has trained both of them from puppies to housebroken obedience trained dogs. Jonathan has completed a K9 Handler Course from Cobra Canine and a K9 Trainer Course from Justin Rigney at K9 Services Unlimited. We are very proud and honored to have Jonathan as part of our training staff.

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Customer Reviews

Justin is always a pleasure to train with. Instead of just showing you, he takes the time to explain when, where, and why. It’s quite obvious Justin has a unique and special gift in training dogs and teaching the handlers. He understands dogs and most importantly respects them. Im very grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to train with Justin!
Leslie Gilbert