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Carrie Kessler, CPDT-KA

Carrie Kessler, CPDT-KACarrie Kessler attended her first dog training class at age 10 and has engaged in continuing education in the field ever since.

Carrie began volunteering at the Little Rock Animal Services shelter in 2004, working with the dogs to make them more adoptable. In 2006, she began training her own dogs in agility, studying under Lisa Mantle, and in 2009, she began training dogs professionally, specializing in basic obedience and “family manners.”

Carrie has attended several dog training workshops, seminars and courses,  studying under Dr. Patricia McConnell, Dana Crevling, Pia Silvanti, Sue Sternberg, Jane Kopelman, Brenda Aloff and Steve Wilson to name a few.

In 2010, she completed the Instructor Training Course in New York offered by Dogs of Course.

In 2011, she attended a week-long course in Georgia for K-9 Nose Work and also attended the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Conference in San Diego, California.

She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and has attained her Professional Dog Trainer certification.

“My training methods focus on positive reinforcement and honor each dog as an individual,” Carrie said.

In addition to her dog training interests, Carrie trained horses professionally from 1979 to 1986.

Carrie can be reached at

Vynn Stuart

Vynn StuartVynn Stuart has been involved in working with and training dogs for approximately 45 years. She started out as a Veterinarian Technician in the late 1960s. This is when she first began teaching obedience and showing dogs in some of the local Kennel Club Dog Shows. Vynn always had a dog or dogs as pets while growing up. In the mid-seventies, she and her husband farmed and ranched and had the opportunity to train cattle dogs to help in the round ups. During this time, Vynn also broke and trained horses to be used on the ranch and also for team roping, barrel racing, cutting and other rodeo events.
Vynn began teaching obedience and working dog classes for 4-H clubs in the mid-1980s. She then had the opportunity to train to the public these obedience classes which led to working with Sheriff’s offices training dogs for Search and Rescue.

Vynn has been training these type dogs for over 20 years now and is still doing this. Her dogs are called out from many law enforcement agencies in surrounding states to assist in trying to locate missing persons, drowned victims, murdered victims and lost persons.  Her dogs work many drowning and cold cases in the surrounding area.

She and her dogs are Nationally Certified in Cadaver, Land and Water, and Live Area Search.

Vynn currently teaches obedience classes to the public and has private classes to teach handlers and their dogs to train for search and rescue. She is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator for the American Kennel Club  and an evaluator for the National Search Dog Alliance in the disciplines of Land and Water Cadaver.

Vynn believes in working in a positive manner and always making training and working as much fun as possible for the dogs.

“It is a lot of hard work and takes a big commitment," Vynn said, and added, "but this is my life, and I love every minute of it.”

Vynn is proud to be part of the Paws in Prison program.  She can be reached by phone at (903) 826-5094 or by emailing

Clay Smith

Clay Smith has been training and handling dogs professionally for over 18 years. He specializes in police narcotics detection and patrol dogs in addition to training in many dog sports. Clay is a professional law enforcement instructor, a national police K9 certifying official, a NACSW certified Nosework Judge, an AKC Scent work Judge. 

Clay is the owner and lead instructor at Clay’s Top Dog, where he concentrates on obedience and behavior modifications, in addition to heading up the law enforcement training at the Little Rock K-9 Academy.  

For more information about Clay's Top Dog, please visit Clay can be reached by phone at (501) 450-0810 or by emailing

Paws in Prison is a non-profit program of the Arkansas Department of Correction. Make your tax-deductible donations today and save the lives of dogs. Thanks!

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Arkansas Department of Correction
P.O. Box 8707
Pine Bluff, AR 71611-8707
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