The Most Elite Dog Trainers in Knoxville, TN

Ridgeside K9 Knoxville (RSKTN) was established as a result of a lifelong passion and dedication to training dogs and bridging the gap of miscommunication between them and their owners. We have over 20+ years of experience training farm and working dogs, police canines, and thousands of pet dogs.  Our head trainer, Mike Lilley, is committed to providing a comprehensive level of training that will last you the lifetime of your dog. Every training package is customized based on your needs and goals to build a stable, confident bond between you and your dog.

Meet Our Team of Dedicated Dog Lovers

Are you a pet parent looking for the best puppy training classes or pup programs for potty training? Are you hoping to enjoy loose leash walking with your pooch but have an extremely busy schedule? You may be looking for a pup training program that includes a training collar. Whatever the case, at Ridgeside K9, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, we offer a wide range of pet training solutions. We can train your dog to obey basic cues, such as sit, roll-over, bark, and more.

Mike Lilley, owner

At a very early age, Mike developed a deeply ingrained love for dogs and the training that went into making them operational.  His father would have 15 to 20 hunting dogs in their kennels at any given time along with multiple litters of puppies.  Mike and his younger brother were tasked with taking care of the dogs everyday which taught him early on how to properly tend to the needs of the animals.  As Mike grew older, his love for raising and training dogs flooded over into his own line of dogs.  Throughout the years, Mike has worked with many talented trainers where he gained a wealth of knowledge which he put into training countless working dogs. 

Mike became a State Law Enforcement Officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at the age of 24.  During his career with FWC, he was voted Officer of the Year for his region and also the NWTF Officer of the Year.  He was a member of the FWC Special Operations Group (SOG) as well as a founding member of FWC’s Resource Protection Unit (RPU).  After a few years, Mike went through FWC’s interview and rigorous physical assessment in order to become a member of the FWC K9 program.  He was ultimately selected where he was partnered with his first K9 partner, K9 Roscoe.  After completing a seven-month K9 school, Mike and K9 Roscoe went back to their respective region certified in tracking, article recovery and fish and game detection through NAPWDA.  Mike and K9 Roscoe were responsible for countless arrests along with assisting other agencies in the recovery of crucial pieces of evidence that would have otherwise gone undetected allowing dangerous criminals to walk the streets. 

After a couple of years, Mike decided to capitalize on an opportunity to work a dual-purpose patrol dog with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO).  Mike travelled to Royal Police Dogs in Tallahassee where he tested several candidates but ultimately selected a 10-month-old Belgian Malinois named “Neko”.  Mike and K9 Neko attended their patrol school with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit (PBSO.)  After completing over 800 hours of training, Mike and K9 Neko certified in Patrol, Tracking and Narcotics detection through FLECA.  Mike was invited back to PBSO where he assisted with instructing a large K9 school with teams from multiple agencies.  After completing almost two years training, he was given his Police K9 Trainer’s certification.

Mike officially became a professional dog trainer in 2016 and was promoted to Sargent over the K9 Unit.  Soon after, he had successfully trained multiple police K9’s for his agency along with assisting other agencies with problem solving issues in order to take their K9 Unit to the next level.  Mike and his wife, Suzi, opened their pet training business, New Age K-9 Services, where they helped many pet dog owners restore their relationship with their furry family members.  Mike and Suzi moved to Knoxville, Tennessee and opened a dog training business, MLK9, to better serve clients with the best training possible.  Mike works with pet dogs in basic and advanced obedience along with civilian scent detection and law enforcement K9s.  He also is an instructor for K9s United providing modern training techniques to LE agencies in need across the United States.  Mike has been involved in working with Military Special Forces K9 teams in Australia and in Colorado.  He has traveled the world working hand and hand with Police and Military K9 teams, providing modern, balanced training to make them more effective and ultimately safer.  Additionally, Mike is a Silver and Gold school graduate under the teaching of Bart and Michael Bellon in the world renowned trademarked training method known as NePoPo.  This training gives Mike the ability to utilize remote training collars in a modern and professional manner to better communicate with the dogs in his care.  The training techniques that Mike uses are ever evolving which gives the client and their dogs a plethora of tools and techniques to make their relationship rock solid for a lifetime.  

Lisa Lilley, Building Manager/dog trainer

My name is Lisa Lilley. I was born in Okeechobee Florida. I spent the first 15 years of my life living on a ranch. What a life that was! In 1983, I married my first and only love, Mike Lilley, Sr. Together, we raised 2 Country boys: Mike Lilley (Owner of MLK9 and Ridgeside K9) and Austin Lilley (Union Lineman). Mike and Austin, each, met and married the loves of their lives. Mike married Suzi and Austin married Jennifer. I have 2 amazing grandsons, Mason Lilley and Jensen Lilley. Most of my career has been in Sales and Accounting. That career wasn’t near as exciting and fulfilling as being a dog trainer. I am the Building Manager and Dog Trainer for Mike and Suzi. The thrill of being able to help this power couple continue to build their Franchise to the highest level of success is more than I ever imagined.

Andy, dog trainer

Growing up in a small town in South Florida, I knew that someday I wanted to have a career that
would have an impact on the community. I was able to take my love of the outdoors and my
interest in law enforcement and join The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as
a Wildlife Officer, right out of high school. During my career with FWC, I worked alongside
MLK9 owner, Mike Lilley. While watching Mike and his K-9 Roscoe, I found a new
appreciation for the effectiveness of a good K-9 team.

After 7 years with FWC, I went to work with my local Sheriff’s Office, where once again Mike
and I were working together. Being good friends with Mike, Hunter Kearns, and the rest of the
Sheriff’s Office K-9 team, I spent a lot of time laying tracks and watching them train. It was
always interesting watching them hone their skills as a team and apply those skills during live K-
9 deployments.

Eventually, my path at the Sheriff’s Office led me to investigations, where Narcotics
Investigations became my passion. I would go on to supervise the Narcotics Unit where I would
finish out my career before retiring. In total, I have 14 years of experience in law enforcement,
holding multiple positions as a supervisor, field training officer, instructor, and a SWAT team

My good friend Mike had become established in the K-9 industry and found himself needing
some more help and trainers to add to his team. After a long career in law enforcement, I decided
I was ready to try something new. I began an apprenticeship with Hunter Kearns during my spare time where I learned the basics of dog training. I have always found it fascinating to watch a dog work through a problem and understand what it is that I am asking them to do.
I practice my training skills daily with my Beagles, Bama and Lucy. If I can get two stubborn,
mischievous dogs to obey and learn something new, I am convinced that any dog can learn! I
look forward to helping everyone learn how to communicate with their pets in an effective and
efficient manner.

When I am not training dogs, my time is spent with my wife, Carrie, and our two sons, Tyson
and Luke. We enjoy spending time outdoors, trying new recipes on the smoker, and watching
college football.

David, dog trainer

My journey began on a small farm in Pennsylvania, where I, David, first opened my eyes to a world filled with animals and nature. Growing up surrounded by the wonders of the outdoors, I developed an innate connection with animals from an early age. Little did I know that this connection would shape the course of my life.

As the years passed, my fascination with dogs grew into a deep-seated desire to make a difference in their lives. I embarked on a path to become a professional dog trainer, driven by the aspiration to help dogs not only coexist with humans but thrive in their presence. This mission became the guiding star of my career, and I was determined to turn my passion into a purpose.

One particular experience stands out as a testament to the power of dog training. Faced with a dog that was human and dog aggressive, the owners were on the brink of a heart-wrenching decision. Through unwavering dedication and the application of effective training techniques, I was able to transform this troubled dog’s life. Witnessing his transformation from a misunderstood and isolated animal to a thriving, social being was a profound moment that reinforced my commitment to my calling.

The reward of witnessing dogs overcome their challenges and thrive alongside their human counterparts is what fuels my passion. I firmly believe that dogs are capable of far more than we often give them credit for. My goal is to continue contributing to this remarkable community for years to come, extending my helping hand to all types of dogs and their owners. Through dedicated training, I aim to bridge the gap between humans and dogs, creating harmonious and fulfilling relationships.

My journey has led me to training at Ridgeside K9 Knoxville and MLK9, a place where dogs and humans come together to learn, grow, and forge unbreakable bonds. I invite you to visit, take a tour, and bring along your beloved canine companions. Let us embark on a shared journey of discovery and empowerment, where we unlock the incredible potential that lies within each and every dog.

In this autobiography, I hope to inspire others to believe in the transformative power of dog training and to recognize the profound impact that dogs can have on our lives.