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About The Cloud Nine Dog Training Team

Learn to train your dog from some of the best instructors in the business. 

About The Cloud Nine Dog Training Team

Dawn Falk

Owner, Lead Dog Training Instructor


Hello! I’m Dawn Falk, a self-proclaimed dog-loving dog-a-holic and owner of Cloud Nine Training School for Dogs. I have been living with, raising, training, showing, breeding and rehabbing dogs for nearly 35 years, and I’ve spent much of that time helping other people learn how to do the same. Currently I share my home and my life with a German Shepherd, three Border Collies, a Sheltie, several English Toy Spaniels and a handful of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Did I mention that I really LOVE dogs?

About The Cloud Nine Dog Training Team

Ali Kuschel

S.T.A.R. Puppy, Rally-O, Obedience, Agility Instructor


Hi!  I’m Ali Kuschel and I teach S.T.A.R. Puppy, foundation agility, Rally, tricks and obedience classes at Cloud Nine Training School for Dogs. I grew up with dogs and cats and various pocket pets, and I always knew I wanted to do something with animals as a career. It wasn’t until I got my first two dogs as an adult that I realized my work would involve dog training, teaching, performance competition, working with problem behavior in dogs.

About The Cloud Nine Dog Training Team

Phil Rustad

Obedience Instructor


I started training my first obedience dog in 1984. He was a Brittany named Pepper who, late in life, earned a CD. I had gotten him for hunting and home and he was great at both. Then, I moved into Shelties and never looked back. 

About The Cloud Nine Dog Training Team

Candace Noelle

Puppy Social Hour, Obedience and CGC Instructor


Info to come.

About The Cloud Nine Dog Training Team

Leah Glynn

Agility and Tricks Instructor


Hello! My name is Leah Glynn, and though I am new to the Cloud Nine instructing team, I am not new to training dogs and teaching others how to train their dogs. My favorite topics to instruct are agility and tricks.

About The Cloud Nine Dog Training Team

Jessica Larson

Agility Instructor


Info to come.

About The Cloud Nine Dog Training Team

Mark Falk

Scent Work and Tracking Instructor


Info to come.

About The Cloud Nine Dog Training Team
About The Cloud Nine Dog Training Team

Cloud Nine Dog Training
History & Philosophy

After more than 20 years of working with my own dogs, teaching obedience classes for another school, training assistance dog, attending seminars all over the country, and learning everything I could about canine training and behavior to that point, I decided it was time to start my own school.

My goal was to have a place where positive, motivating techniques and methods were the norm; where pinch/prong, and chain link/choke collars were unheard of; where force, pain, and punishment were not options; where people would enjoy bringing their dogs and where dogs would enjoy going.

The Result?

Cloud Nine Training School for Dogs!

Cloud Nine opened in the spring of 2000 in a small, single room, studio-like warehouse in downtown Hopkins.

Owner and head trainer: Dawn Falk; silent partner and marketing expert: Gerry Schmitt. We started with a few evening obedience classes and doggy daycare – the only one in the western suburbs at that time, in fact. Gerry’s efforts at getting the word out to surrounding veterinary clinics along with her marketing strategies allowed us to grow steadily until we had a full selection of evening obedience classes, some weekend offerings, and enough students to fill them!

As our excellent reputation spread (check out our awesome testimonials!), and our client base grew, doggy day care gave way to daytime classes, and our schedule gradually expanded to include puppy socialization classes, agility classes, Rally-O classes, therapy dog classes, private lessons/problem behavior consultations, reactive dog classes, and small dog play groups. We even added a tricks class and took a stab at having a canine drill team! More classes meant adding training staff, so Mary Oberson, Sarah Palm and Ali Kuschel, all having started out as Cloud Nine students, became Cloud Nine instructors.

Though we were happy in our cozy little air-conditioned, one door, one-bathroom training studio for many years, our growing agility program, with students who now compete at the national level, dictated that we find a bigger place. Three commercial realtors and as many years later, we finally found a suitable building – still in Hopkins – with three doors, four bathrooms, and a dedicated training ring that was as big as the entire old studio.

We expanded our training facility and added more class and activities!

A couple of years after moving into our new Hopkins space, we expanded north to a spacious 7,100 sf temperature controlled facility in New Hope that’s ideal for all the things we like to do with our dogs.

In addition to our signature Doggy Gym activity, beginner Tracking classes, Obedience classes, and Agility classes, and Scent Work classes, we added ”open” obedience and agility training times to our schedule.

We also began hosting Canine Seminars by internationally known experts such Daisy Peel, Hannah Branigan, Loretta Mueller, and Suzanne Clothier so we could learn more about agility, obedience, the human-animal bond; we created Micro Classes, which are hour-long lessons that focus on specific topics to help people with problem behaviors such as with jumping or barking or pulling on the leash; and we added a Reactive Dog workshop, where people can get help learning to deal with their “edgy” dogs.

We added Conformation Handling Classes for those who want to show their dogs in the breed ring and advanced Obedience Classes for people who want to work on open and utility-level exercises with their dogs.

We expanded our Therapy Dog Program to include Team Training and Review for people who are preparing for certification, and we periodically offer a Canine Emergency First Aid seminar presented by Dr. Jeanne Sutich.

In 2013, we started hosting Teacup agility (TDAA) serial (once a month) and full weekend Agility Trials, we added Teacup Open training times to our schedule hosted by Dennis and Kim Vogel, and K9 Scent Work classes took off full speed ahead. And, most recently, we added Intro to Canine Tracking classes, taught by tracking enthusiast and nationally certified Search and Rescue handler for HRD (human remains detection) work, Mark Falk, and monthly National Dog Agility League (NDAL) competitions, hosted by Dennis and Kim Vogel. 

Our next adventure was the BIG MOVE in June 2018. Having out grown our spaces in Minnetonka and New Hope, we are heading north just a bit to Maple Grove (near Hwy 610 and Zachary Lane), where we will have enough room to host events (obedience and agility trials in addition to seminars and workshops) as well as teach our usual awesome schedule of classes. Come join us and discover all the things you can do with your dog and how much fun learning and training together can be.

Cloud Nine has much to offer owners and their dogs from a proven, science-based (rewards and consequences) basic good-manners obedience curriculum to any number of fun, stimulating activities and dog sports that anyone can do with their dog. Really, the sky’s the limit!

People often ask how/why Gerry and I chose the name Cloud Nine Training School for Dogs, and there are three reasons. First, at the time we conceived Cloud Nine, I had nine dogs. Second, Gerry’s art director back then created a charming logo that lent itself to the name. Third, I wanted to create a dog training school where owners would enjoy the experience and where dogs would be happy when they came to learn – a place where they would be on cloud nine.

Mission accomplished.  


A dog’s vaccinations must be current for its age according to the vaccination protocol outlined by Dr. Jean Dodds

Please Note: Full payment is due on or before the first lesson of the class.

Refunds are issued ONLY if cancellation of a class takes place 48 hours prior to the start of the first lesson of a session or if the spot that was reserved for you can be filled by another student.

Prong collars, choke collars, e-collars (including bark collars) are not allowed on the premises of either Cloud Nine location.

Retractable leashes are not allowed in class. 

Cleaning up after your dog is a must. Not doing so can result in expulsion without compensation.

Bitches in season may attend class if they are properly attired, but not during the days 10- 16 of their heat cycle.

Dogs with communicable diseases must stay home, but owners may attend class.

Schedule is subject to change. Current information for each day’s classes is available on our Interactive Calendar

We make every effort to notify students of weather-related cancellations. This information is also available on the Cloud Nine Facebook page.