Level Up Dog Sports, LLC is the premier dog training center in Richmond, VA. Our 17,600 square foot facility is fully enclosed and climate controlled.
Our front office space is home to our canine fitness gym, which boasts state of the art fitness equipment to keep your pooch in tip top shape, as well as extra room for crating!
Our training center is 16,000 square feet of fun! We have one 45’ x 60’ matted area for all Manners, Obedience, and Rally students. Our agility ring is 78’ x 130’ on turf. After months of research, we chose GrassTex True Turf as the footing. This highly successful turf provides the best traction and stability for dog sports. This turf provides adequate cushion and traction, suitable for the physically demanding behaviors we ask of our dogs. It is also easy to clean, which helps reduce possible distractions during competitions. In addition, we have added a special "sports shock pad" to reduce impact and provide the ultimate in dog sports surfaces.
We have all equipment necessary to host AKC, USDAA, UKI, and CPE trials. Safety is paramount, so all equipment has been chosen with the dog in mind. We provide visible jump bar and contact equipment colors, lightweight jumps, Clip and Go contacts, and an excess of tunnel bags in order to keep tunnels secured.
Merritt Speagle - Manager & Agility Instructor
Merritt has been training dogs since she was 9 years old. she has multiple national placements, most recently earning a bronze medal at the agility us open and 4th place at cynosport world games grand prix of dog agility. her current dogs are:
MACH ADCH PDCH Sagehill force of Nature “Phenomenon” mxs mjb xf t2b tm-gold ptm-gold SACH-Silver JCH-Silver GCH SCH-Bronze PSCH PJCH PKCH
ADch Sagehill Tough to Touch! “Damuraz” mxB mxj of tm-platinum SACH-Silver JCH-bronze sch-bronze rch
Sagehill a touch too cheeky “chica” ad OA NAJ
Ashley Castro - Manager & Agility Instructor
Ashley has been working with dogs professionally since 2004 . An agility enthusiast, Ashley competes in various venues including AKC, UKI and USDAA. Her dogs also hold titles in rally, CGC, dock diving, tricks and are members of the Level Up tricks and stunts team. her current dogs are:
Hob Nob Never Tell Me the Odds "Solo" MX MXJ MAD NF TKP DJ CGC
Sagehill Triforce Hero "Link" NA NAJ CGC
Dr. Alyssa Fenton, DVM - Agility Instructor
Alyssa is a veterinarian by day, and breeds and shows her Shetland Sheepdogs. she competes in conformation, nosework, obedience and herding. She has competed at multiple national events with her current and past agility dogs and was excited to place in two rounds at the AKC FCI world team tryout in 2018. her current dogs are:
MACH5 Chivalyn’s Song of Ice and Fire “Arya” MXC MJC MXF TQX T2B3 CGCA
Chivalyn Clearsky Mischief Managed “kristoff” AX AXJ XF
Chivalyn Clearsky Defying Gravity “elphaba” NA NAJ MXP2 MJP2
Ch Chivalyn Songweaver “stefan” AX MXJ CGC
Morgan Krug - Manners & Agility Instructor
Morgan has been working with dogs for over a decade.Her favorite thing about teaching dogs is watching them “get it” and have a lightbulb moment of understanding. When not teaching, Morgan enjoys tea and tiny houses. her current dogs are:
“Delilah” AX MXJ AD SJ CGC
“Oliver” AX AXJ AD
Dr. Elizabeth Kost, DVM - Tricks & Agility Instructor
Elizabeth Kost DVM is an emergency veterinarian by night. She has been actively training dogs for the last 9 years. She has taught agility, tricks, obediance and manners classes during that time. She is actively competed in agility, rally, obedience, earth dog, and barn hunt. During her time in veterinary school she was president of the behavior club giving lectures on body language, play and many behavioral problems in dogs and cats. She also worked closely with Ross Universities Kennel Dog Program as their first behavior coordinator, running their training program and doing behavior assessments of the university's dogs. her current dogs are:
Gaius Baltar “Gaius” AXP MJP NA OAJ CD JE CGC TKP RL3
“Kaylee” NA NAJ CGCA TKA
Fenrir Taura - Photographer & Trainee
Fenrir is LU's resident photographer and trainee instructor. He's a self proclaimed Labradad and has been involved in dogs for most of his life. Fenrir's photography is Taura Paw-tography and he excels at capturing the dog's personalities in his shots.
Brittany Blankenship - Manners Instructor
Brittany has always loved dogs and cats so working in the animal word came naturally. Brittany believes that all dogs can benefit from trick training and loves watching pups have fun while learning cute tricks. She also has an adventure cat named Larry who loves learning tricks and going on hikes with Elaine. Her current dogs are:
TBC Elaine Benes “elaine” CGC TKP
Courtney Iannello - Rally & Obedience Instructor
Courtney was introduced to the world of dog training in 2008 when she adopted her first dog, Troy. After a few basic manners classes, they both were hooked and quickly advanced into competition level training. Troy went on to earn a rally master championship, herding instinct test, and novice agility titles. He was ranked nationally and WCRL Rally for several years, and is on the WCRL lifetime achievement list. Courtney is currently competing in obedience, rally, and agility with her dogs Jenga and Win. She has achieved an AKC Utility Dog Title with Jenga, and most recently earned a CDX with up-and-comer Win. Courtney has trained with top competitors in multiple sports and is able to bring a wide range of methods to her classes. She places an emphasis on foundation training to promote a happy working dog and enjoys helping her students to find fun in training.
Amy Shankle, CPDT-KA - Manners Instructor
Amy has 10+ years of experience training her own dogs, and has been teaching classes for nearly 5 years. Working through her own dogs’ struggles with reactivity piqued an interest in behavior, while competing with her dogs in Rally Obedience and Agility brought out a love for dog sports and teaching. Her favorite part of teaching is seeing the progress that her students make, and helping them to achieve their training goals.
Sarah Crane - Agility Instructor
Sarah started dog training after getting her first dog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi Hector MX MXJ APD RL2 in 2011. Since then, she has fallen in love with dog training and now teaches various classes at Level Up. Hector has earned his master agility titles and has dabbled in rally obedience as well. He is a member of the Level Up trick dog team, and is also a certified therapy dog. Sarah’s current agility dogs, border collies Ajax and up and comer Tera, hold various titles and compete in AKC, UKI and USDAA. She is a founding member of Eastern Herding Dog Rescue and serves as Vice President on the board. Sarah teaches Biology and Chemistry at a local high school, and enjoys learning about science.