Clickstart Dog Training Academy opens Lake Forest Campus

By Aleesia Benkey

Clickstart Dog Training Academy has been serving furry friends and families since 2019. Longtime friends Liv Healy and Cassie Pestana have been passionate about animal behavior, training techniques, and education since 2015. The duo turned these passions into a career and founded their dream company.

Training pets can be a daunting task, but Liv and Cassie wanted to make training accessible and easy to understand. Their training is built on the philosophy of positive reinforcement — empowering their clients with tools that are both effective and ethical. Although they found success in working with dogs at parks, daycares, and other public spaces, Liv and Cassie wanted a place to call home. Due to the pandemic, their efforts shifted to outdoor training as non-essential businesses shut down.

As the pandemic wound down, Liv and Cassie set their sights once again on opening a brick-and-mortar location. They found the Orange County Inland Empire Small Business Development Center Network (OCIE SBDC) and met with OCIE SBDC Business Consultant Karie Armstrong. 

Karie worked with Liv and Cassie through funding, location, lease negotiations, zoning, and more. There were many challenges presented in opening their business, but the pair persevered. 

“We want to thank Karie for all of her work, this wouldn’t have been possible without her. We’ve been working with dogs in this area since 2015, and we’re so happy to finally have a space of our own,” said Cassie. “We feel so welcome here in Lake Forest and are excited to be a part of the community.” 

Through the support of Karie, and the dedication of Liv and Cassie, Clickstart was able to open its brick-and-mortar location to support their training and newly-added retail operations. 

The mural along the walls of the training room not only captures the spirit of Clickstart, it served as a unique way to generate revenue. Karie was a driving force in helping Liv and Cassie increase their funding, and utilized multiple unique avenues to bring this to life. Clients had the opportunity to contribute to the campaign, and in return, their pet was featured within the art. Painted by muralist and friend of Liv and Cassie, Carly Lake.

“Liv and Cassie have been so hardworking, and this project was really fun to work on. It means so much to me to help them move forward and see their vision come to life,” said Karie. “I know they’re going to do great things and I can’t wait to see them grow.”

Clickstart Dog Training Academy is open seven days a week in Lake Forest, CA. Find them on Instagram as @ClickstartDogAcademy

Looking to start or grow your own service-based small business?

Connect with the OCIE SBDC today. We offer business consulting, training, and access to resources to entrepreneurs and business owners throughout the Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties at no cost. As the go-to resource for small businesses, the OCIE SBDC provides solutions and opportunities for small businesses throughout the region to become successful. Call 1-800-616-7232 or schedule a 15-minute intake appointment.

Looking to start or grow your business?

We at the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC, are here to help you with every aspect of your business to help it grow and become successful.
Give us a call at 1-800-616-7232 or schedule a quick, 15-minute intake appointment at to see how we can help you start, grow, and succeed.

Clickstart Dog Training Academy opens Lake Forest Campus

Mike Daniel is the network director of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network, which assists aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners throughout Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Mike was formerly the director of the SBDC office at Long Beach City College. As business owner and entrepreneur himself, he started his career as the owner of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory location in Manhattan Beach and went on to open a second location in Long Beach in 2001. In 2007, Mike sold the Manhattan Beach store for an above-market offer then invested in several additional locations as a minority shareholder. Mike further expanded his candy empire with venture located in Shoreline Village in Long Beach called Sugar Daddies Sweet Shoppe, based on fill-it yourself candy options.

Mike has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.