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Liz Ford, Best Friends Dog Academy LLC

Owner, Professional Trainer, & Behavior Consultant


Liz is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA).

Liz is a graduate of the University of Iowa (BA, 1999). She worked in business, marketing, and human resources before she made a career change to the animal care and welfare industry in 2001.  Since then, Liz has held a variety of titles including: animal shelter volunteer, volunteer coordinator, dog training & behavior specialist,  humane educator, non-profit executive director, animal emergency response coordinator, animal care technician, adoption placement counselor, and animal services officer.

Most recently and before opening Best Friends Dog Academy, Liz was the Supervisor for the City of Iowa City's Animal Services division and the Director for the Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center, where she oversaw all aspects of animal welfare and law enforcement. During her animal sheltering career she created and managed numerous programs to enhance agency and community services including enrichment for shelter animals, advanced training programs for shelter staff/volunteers and shelter animals, community outreach and education, and collaborations with other agencies such as the prison dog program, rescue/transport program, and the Emergency Animal Response Team.

Liz teaches and trains with scientifically proven reward based methods, specializing in behavior modification for reactive and fearful dogs and aggression cases.  Her training philosophies emphasize building an understanding of the "why" behind behaviors, establishing clear and kind communication between handler and dog, and cultivating an environment for both to succeed.

Liz donates her expertise regularly to local animal shelters and rescues by teaching staff and volunteers current and best practices in animal care, training, and behavior modification and also working one-on-one with special needs animals.    

To reach Liz directly, email


  • Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior, Certified Training Partner

  • Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Certified Professional Dog Trainer

  • American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Certified Evaluator


Professional Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Trainers, Certified Training Partner

  • Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Certified Trainer

  • Animal Behavior College, Mentor Trainer

  • Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Professional Member

  • International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Member

  • Iowa City Dog Obedience Club, Member

  • National Animal Care & Control Association, Member

  • Johnson County Community Emergency Response Team, Member

  • Iowa City Animal Services Animal Response Team, Founder and Director

  • ASPCA Field Investigations & Responses Team, Responder

  • Iowa Federation of Humane Societies, Board Member

  • Iowa Equine Rescue & Awareness League, Volunteer Trainer

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