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Reaching the Summit

A Local Dog Trainer and her Team Help Dogs Reach Their Full Potential

Open for only eight months, K9 Summit is booked through the year--a testament to Sierra Fruth’s close ties with her community and her passion for dogs.

Though she has been working with dogs professionally for three years, Fruth's passion for dogs began around the age of nine. Unable to have her own pets, Fruth began pet sitting to be around animals, dogs in particular. Over the years, her pet sitting service grew, expanding to the point where she needed assistance from her friends. One such friend is fellow trainer Kaitlyn Braly who joined K9Summit when she was looking to
find a job she was passionate about. While making a career out one’s passion is no easy feat, K9Summit is a brainchild of such a union. That and dedication.

After taking a year off after graduating high school, Fruth enrolled at Highland Canine Training LLC in Harmony, North Carolina. There, she registered in their Master Trainer Course, one of Highland’s more intensive courses covering everything from puppy training to police and military canine training. Graduating valedictorian, an internship was waiting for her. Highland Training hoped this would lead her to becoming a full-time trainer with them in North Carolina, however Fruth wanted to stay close to her roots.

Already gaining a large clientele from her trips between home and school, Highland offered Fruth a subcontract out in her hometown of Chattanooga. “It was a really great stepping stone,” Fruth says. The subcontract not only allowed her to stay in Chattanooga, but it also helped her learn the ropes of running a business.

Fruth began to thrive, taking on more responsibility of the business and even guiding other potential trainers wanting to subcontract with Highland. However, it wasn’t long before Fruth wanted to branch out on her own. As she began the process of transitioning away from her contract with Highland, she met Kayla Hill, one of the trainers sent to shadow her. The two hit it off at a perfect time. Fruth always envisioned incorporating service dog training in her academy and Hill, an Indiana native, had just finished her training in that field. Signing on as coordinator and director for service dog training, Hill would later be joined by Fruth’s childhood friend Kaitlyn Braly after she graduated from Highland’s Alabama campus.

Now, equipped with trainers and a loyal following, Fruth just needed to christen her business. After brainstorming and with some help from her fiancé, she settled on the name "K9 Summit" which embodied the spirit of Fruth’s academy: a dog’s potential.

“You know a summit. That’s the top of the mountain. We can get your dog to the top of the mountain to fulfill their full potential,” Fruth explains. K9Summit Training Inc. officially opened its doors on the first day of this year, fulfilling a need in a very outdoor city. According to Fruth, 60-70% of clients’ goal is to have an "adventure buddy" to take on hikes, to parks and on other such excursions, making off-leash training a cornerstone of her practice. Not an unusual request as life returns to normal, Fruth explains, socialization is as critical for dogs as it is
for humans. During the pandemic, pet adoptions reached a record high, but this unfortunately meant a lot of dogs became unsocialized. Being unable to go anywhere or interact with people or other animals, created serious anxiety issues for pets causing a rise in bite rates.

“I cannot tell you how many have said, ‘Quarantine ruined my dog!’” Fruth recalls. It was fortunate, as Fruth
discovered when she began working professionally at the start of the lockdown, canine training was pandemic proof.

While training is best done at the puppy stage, older dogs are not untrainable. Fruth does not fully give in to the adage that old dogs can’t learn new tricks, but she is upfront about what is possible. As Fruth points out, “I never come in and say your dog will be magically fixed. I never promise a robot dog. Who wants that anyway?” What K9Summit offers its clients is the best possible knowledge and tools to better their dog’s lives and see the potential within their canine companions. It all depends on what the owner wants and on the needs of the dog. “There is no one size fits all in dog training and people want different things,” Fruth explains.

Along with basic pet training, K9Summit offers an advanced obedience training for off leash recall, which includes distraction proofing in more stimulating environments. There is also behavior modification training for dogs who are experiencing issues that get in the way of obedience training. But it is all about structure. With structure comes freedom for dogs.

K9Summit is not stopping at helping dogs reach their full potential, however. The academy also wants to reach its own potential, both within the community and the business world. Looking to take on more trainers, Fruth hopes to expand K9Summit's services, perhaps to the field of police dog training.

As for now, with its current success, K9Summit has its hands and paws full. “It’s really taken off and we are really grateful and blessed, but it’s also chaotic,” Fruth laughs. "Chaos is not a bad thing, but we are taking it one step at a time.”


Sierra takes the time to learn about your dog and their specific challenges. After evaluating your dog and listening to your concerns and goals, she then creates a customized training plan. In just six short weeks, she took Winter from a puppy to being certified as a Canine Good Citizen. I will definitely use her again in the future. Don’t postpone calling K9 Summit to get the dog training that you need. The investment is worth it. -Adelaide C.