Student Praise

Testimonials from students of Dog Sports Northwest…

Hennessy was returned to me twice as a young puppy and as her breeder, failing her was not an option. I began Diana’s classes in summer of 2003 just to see what all this clicker training was about and became hooked, a true convert to operant training. With Diana’s guidance and amazing positive training methods Hennessy has obtained her AKC championship, two Canine Good Citizen Awards, her Rally novice title and is currently working on her advanced obedience titles. All this from a little Bull Terrier once dubbed a real problem.

Diana has supported me personally and professionally through all of Henny’s career. She has encouraged me to train Henny from my heart with love and only positive reinforcement. Diana’s classes are fabulous and Henny and I will continue our weekly schedule even after working with Diana for 4 1/2 years.

We love our classes with Diana.

Thank you,

Kyle and Henny!

My name is Annie.  I am a five year old West Highland Terrier. I began agility training with Diana Hoyem in the Fall of 2004. Agility is fun when you (and your human handler) have had proper training.  Boy, have I had fun at those agility matches. I have a basket full of qualifying ribbons to prove that my training was “right on!”  I am now competing at the Excellent Level and still train with Diana.  She is the best!

Here I am going down the A frame…



Pat Fox, trained her two Corgis, now retired, in agility and Rally and is now in Rally class with her new Sheltie August:

Diana Hoyem has been my instructor for agility and rally for over 9 years.  I’ve had some challenges with my dogs over the years and Diana has never steered me wrong.  She recognizes that not all dogs are the same, neither are their handlers.  So, she uses an individual approach in her classes. No student gets overlooked in Diana’s class.  At the end of each class I know exactly what I need to work on and it may be a quite different list of tasks than other students in her class.

She always uses positive training methods, making sure the dog is having fun.  She is talented at breaking down a behavior to its basic components and teaching the handler to train the dog.   If one approach isn’t working, she will find another way to get the wanted behavior.

I also really appreciate that Diana is active in her own continuing education. Her students get to benefit from her experience and skills as well as get the latest in positive dog training techniques.

Diana is an awesome instructor and I would not have been able to compete at the Masters level in agility without her help, encouragement and instruction.

Pat Fox



August (future superstar)

Frodo and Samwise, NAJ
Frodo and Samwise, NAJ


I learned my nose touches in Diane’s “tricks class” when I was just a youngster and now I have really wonderful contacts in agility!
Bran (who lets Lynn run w/ him….sometimes)




I’m a student of Diana’s, with my Doberman pinschers. I’m on my way out of town, so will send a better testimonial later, but hey, a picture is worth a thousand words! Here’s me and Betty (Ravensown Destined to Rain, CD, RA, OA, OAJ) following a recent show…

Andrea and Betty

Hali Eden, student for 10 years, has trained two dogs with Diana, currently training in agility and Rally with her dog Wiig, NA:

I feel so lucky to have met Diana Hoyem when I became interested in positive training back in 2005. She is very knowledgeable about every aspect of training. And not only does she have the knowledge, she can also teach it to her students in easy to understand language. Whether it’s shaping behavior, building motivation or improving relationship, she can do it all. I took her clicker class, intro to agility class and then agility handling class with my first dog. I came back for more with my current dog Wiig and I’m currently in her advanced agility class and a beginning Rally obedience class. The skills I’ve learned have helped me become a great trainer and also a great dog owner. I would recommend her to anyone looking to have a great time while learning with their dog.


Hali Eden and Wiig, the Xoloitzcuintli


Monica has trained both her Bullmastiffs with Diana in Rally obedience for 3 years:

I have a tough breed. For many bullmastiff handlers, performance heeling means your dog is somewhere within six feet behind you. As Susanne Clothier might put it, the bullmastiff is a breed that asks “why” a lot. Being able to answer that question compellingly for the number of precision behaviors required by competition obedience requires a level of skill, thoughtfulness, respect, and humor that is beyond most trainers. And that is why Diana Hoyem is such a gift. I began training for Rally obedience with Diana in 2010 when my third bullmastiff, Ramona, was three. Ramona was well-trained, but unmotivated. Over the course of the next year, as I learned to put the energy I wanted back from my dog into my handling, Ramona blossomed into a fast, precise, and happy worker. I got Silas in the fall of 2011, and we started training when he was ten weeks old. At three years old, he is a 150 lb., intact male who works with pleasure, precision, focus, and speed. I have never trained him with force or harsh equipment. With Diana’s guidance, I not only gave him the communication, leadership, and respect this breed craves, but I made developing that relationship the most fun aspect of his life. The result is a truly happy and motivated dog whatever we do, whether it’s an off-leash romp or performance heeling. I have been to many trainers over the 20 years I have owned bullmastiffs. Enough to know how special Diana is. There are no stock solutions or approaches in Diana’s training. Each dog and handler is an individual with individual needs for problem solving and learning. At the center of Diana’s approach is the relationship between human and canine. Training should grow from the relationship and the relationship should grow because of the training. Diana brings humor, joy, discipline, and respect to all aspects of training as she continually develops her own knowledge and skills. She is equally skilled with people and dogs. I am grateful to Diana for helping me achieve my dogs’ full potential. While I have not chosen to compete with them, they have a solid foundation I can build on any time I choose. That foundation makes them a joy to live with and means they can easily learn new skills as my own goals for them change. And it means I can approach new learning challenges with an ample toolkit. Currently both Ramona and Silas are off-leash certified therapy and crisis response dogs.


Joan Yankis, took classes for four years with her Cavalier Picasso and her Sheltie, Billy. Both dogs now retired due to health concerns:

Diana is an amazing instructor.  I have never met anyone that is better at teaching communication and relationship skills with your dog. She teaches the best foundation agility skills of anyone in the area.


Jane Jakobe, student for 3 years, is training her dog Nano with Diana in both agility and Rally:

My name is Jane Jakobe and I have been a student of Diana Hoyem’s for the past 3 and what a ride it’s been!!!

I came to Diana wanting to “DO AGILITY”, never having ever trained a dog and with a Jack Russell on top of it…she should have run the other direction right then and there. But she agreed to help me, and we were off. We did a lot of basics. Diana taught me so much about HOW to teach a dog, and to have patience (Nano wasn’t always easy!!!) and to be sure to always put my dog first, and make sure he was happy in his work. Sometimes we did so much basic work I wondered if it would ever end, but she never lost sight of having a dog who loved his work and was confident in what he was doing. Having come from a dressage background I knew it was important to do the basics and not get impatient to just do tricks, so we continued.

I now have to say I have a companion who likes to do agility and also shines in the Rally ring. It’s been truly an amazing journey….and we are both PROUD of our accomplishments.

For me the hardest and MOST IMPORTANT part in training is to find the right trainer and I can’t believe how lucky I was that my path crossed with Diana, she is truly the best. It’s funny because she would agree we’ve had our differences, but we always agreed on the training and what we were trying to achieve….a happy dog! It’s difficult to find someone with the years of experience Diana has and who wants to share that information with you. Likewise she is the first one to realize when something doesn’t work and we needed to find a better way. She is always trying to improve herself and her techniques, and is quick to pass this information on to her students because she has their best interests at heart.

It’s such a good feeling to go to an agility or Rally obedience trial and see what a well-trained dog you have! Anybody would be lucky to have her as a trainer and helper and certainly their dogs would be happy for the opportunity as well.

Besides her classes are just GOOD FUN! Thank you Diana:)

Dave Byrne, Nano’s other parent:

To Whom it may concern:

It is an honor and with great pleasure that I write to recommend Diana Hoyem as a dog trainer. About three years ago a friend suggested that we take our dog to Diana for basic obedience training. Her approach is simply that any training is about building a good relationship with your dog. Starting with small easy steps and by paying close attention to your dog’s reactions, you build this relationship into a stronger connection and progressively complicated behaviors. Prior to attending her classes, I had no idea that dogs were so supremely tuned into their surroundings and even the most subtle and minuscule changes in the body language of their handlers. Within a year’s time we started doing rally training and then moved on to basic agility. Diana is patient with new handlers like myself, taking the time to explain the goals we are trying to achieve and thoroughly detailing the steps needed to reach them. She provides illustrative demonstrations with her own dogs which not only inspires, but motivates the handlers to do their homework and show up prepared for each new lesson. There were other trainers in our classes, taking lessons from Diana, yet even the new and less experienced like myself felt welcome and at ease during the sessions. In addition to being a good teacher, Diana too, plays attention to her surroundings. The health, weight, and condition of the dog is part of her focus. She lays out courses with the dogs safety in mind, making sure the angles and surfaces on the course will not strain joints and tendons and that anchors will not catch toes.

Diana loves dogs and enjoys sharing her love of training them with others. She is more than a dog trainer, she trains people to train their dogs. In that process you learn to focus, pay attention to, and care for your dog in more detail than I ever thought possible. For her, spreading the gospel of the human dog relationship is a passion carried throughout her life. You would do well to have Diana on your team if the opportunity arises.

Please feel free to contact me in person anytime.


David Byrne