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About Us

The experienced, friendly staff at The Canine Connection has worked hard to create a safe, supportive, and fun environment for you and your dog. 

Valerie Murphy, owner of The Canine Connection, has been involved with dogs all her life, training her first dog when she was ten years old. From that point on, she knew she wanted a life that revolved around dogs. Valerie feels incredibly blessed to be able to spend her days (and nights) surrounded by and caring for Northwest Arkansas’ top dogs! Valerie currently shares her home with Bernese Mountain Dogs Griffen, Wager, and Desi; and Standard Poodle Ombré.

Ed Minar earned his Bachelor’s, Masters, and Doctorate degrees from Harvard University. He is currently a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arkansas, where he teaches a variety of courses including an interdisciplinary course on Animal Minds. Ed began teaching people how to train their dogs after training his own dog, Poco, an Australian Shepherd who was very challenging. His Australian Shepherd Bess has achieved titles in the highest levels of obedience, agility, and rally. He is currently training Jack, Copper, and Josie to follow in Bess’ footsteps. He has been the Training Director at the Canine Connection since the business opened.

Ed’s wife Diana Nagel is also a college professor and dog trainer. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Stanford University, a Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from University of Maryland. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Northwest Arkansas Community College, where she teaches the research foundations of the methods used in dog training. She teaches puppy preschool and beginning obedience at the Canine Connection. As co-Training Director, she consults with Ed on all the training curriculum and teaching methods.




"If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around."   -- cowboy wisdom