Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. People call me to correct undesirable behaviors that have cropped up as a dog gets older. The dogs get my training right away...I then work on the humans :o)
I also specialize in rehabilitating those dogs that "seem" untrainable. All dogs can learn and transform!
Q. Describe three recent jobs you've completed.
A. Bella...A 175lb Great Dane who would "nose-butt" any small children who entered the home! I showed the family why she was doing that and we took the steps to successfully break her of this behavior.
JP...a small poodle, still a puppy at 5-1/5 months old. He would relentlessly deliver painful nips to his humans' hands and chase them through the house, nipping at their legs. I showed the family how to stop this behavior instantly.
Ellie...a Shiba Inu who spent the whole of her 9 years on a chain - never being untethered during that entire time. Ellie would bite anyone who approached her and had developed some obesessive behaviors. Can you blame her? Think about how mind-numbing it would be to be tethered for 9 years! I worked with Ellie and in a matter of hours, her obsessive behavior stopped and she was content to be around people. Over a matter of weeks, she learned to seek human interaction and play with other dogs and toys.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Take a look at a trainer's own pets...if they haven't trained their own pets, they probably can't train yours!
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. What methods are used during our training and how successful the methods are.
There really are no "secrets" to the success of my methods. Once you truly understand your dog, everything falls into place.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. They should ask for the contact information of previous customers so they can get honest feedback of the services provided.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. How important it is to have a well-trained pet - afterall, they are a member of the family!
People also must understand that dogs (or pets of any kind) are a long-term committment. Some dogs can live nearly 20 years - that's a pretty long relationship!
Too often, I see families get a puppy, but don't invest in training. Issues then arise and the puppy (now bigger and out-of-control,) is taken to a shelter. The family will then start again with a "new" puppy. It breaks my heart.
One of the biggest things people should consider (if not the biggest thing) is how a dog will fit into their lives and whether or not the dog is compatible with their lifestyle. For example, if a family with very small children get a puppy with very high energy, they should consider whether or not they have time to devote to exercising and training the dog, while juggling the rigors of parenting.
Another example of mismatching dog and owner might be an older person bringing a very high energy, young dog into their home.
If an owner can't fulfill their dog's needs, I guarantee behavioral issues will arise.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. In order to change a dog's behavior, one must get to the route of why they are doing what they do. This is where my training methods differ from "typical" training being offer by others.
I teach my clients to understand their dog's body language and energy. I also teach how dog's interpret our body language and energy. Once everybody's on the same page (canine and humans,) the behavioral issues literally disappear.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I get to hang out with dogs all day...what's not to like??
I am also passionate about prevention - that is, preventing a dog from ending up at a shelter in the first place. Watching a dog's behavior change before my eyes is so very rewarding. I know that when the training is done, the dog and their humans will have a new understanding and respect for each other.
No dog I have worked with has ever ended up in a shelter!
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. One of the first questions I am often asked is, "Do you think my dog can be helped?" My answer is always, "YES!"
It doesn't matter how old your dog is or what they have endured in their past. Every dog understands my training because I "speak" to them on an instinctual level, often without saying a word.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. One of my favorite stories involves a client who runs a dog rescue. He told me right off the bat that the very fearful, obesessive dog his rescue took in "could not be helped." He had already worked with the dog for 5 weeks and still couldn't get near her.
After just one afternoon working with the dog, I got her to eat from my hand and stop her obesessive behavior. The dog now seeks out human interaction, goes for walks, plays with other dogs, and loves her toys. She is truly one of my success stories!
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. From the bottom of my heart, I wish that every person who brings a dog into their home would invest in training. I have found that even life-long dog owners don't really know how to completely train their dogs - that's why there are professionals like me!
I think training should be part of every dog's life...We take our pets to the vet for deworming, vaccinations, flea and tick preventative, heartworm preventative, spay and neutering, micro-chipping, etc. Training should be part of everything we do for our dogs to ensure a healthy, happy life!
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I have always trained dogs (mine, those of family and friends, etc.) I guess it was a bit of a hobby for me! I eagerly absorbed any and all training methods. I took what I found worked best and left the rest. Some methods I have developed myself work better than most!
Anyway, I worked in accounting for 30 years and liked it well enough; it paid the bills. But in our current economic climate, I found myself laid-off for the 3rd time in about 6 years. It was exhausting!
I have always loved the motto that if you do what you love for a living, you will never work a day in your life. So, that's what I did! I took my love and talent for dog training and am now doing it full-time!
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. I am proud to have been a part of Bella's rehabilitation. Bella was adopted by her family from a Great Dane rescue. She was not without her issues!
The family has 4 young children so there were always neighborhood kids in the house. Whenever a child would go into the kitchen, Bella would "nose-butt" them in the face! It sounds a bit comical, but when a 175lb dog nose-butts you, it can be a serious matter, as one neighbor kid found out. Bella butted her so hard, her eyebrow was split and required stitches!
The family hired a "trainer," who ended up being very afraid of the dog (if you can imagine that!) According to the family, the "trainer" did nothing more than throw Bella treats.
To the family's credit, they were not yet willing to give up on Bella, but to be honest, she was one nose-butt away from being returned to the Great Dane rescue!
That's where Gray Wolf Dog Training came in. We were able to quickly ascertain that Bella was a very nervous dog with some dominance issues. Nervousness and a 175lb dog is not a good mix! Because we understood where Bella was coming from, we were able to teach the family how to recognize her anxiety signals so they could address them before she acted.
The family reports that Bella has never again nose-butted anyone and she is a calm, loving member of the family!
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. I continually read everything about training that I can get my hands on. I work with other trainers and mentors. I have taken the best from every source and have developed my own methods that work every single time!
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. I think the focus on dog psychology has done quite a bit for saving "hopeless" cases. I have based all of my training in learning and teaching dog psychology and have found I get quicker results than from using any other training method.
Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. My most recent client was just yesterday (6/14/2012.) My client has a 5-1/2 month old poodle who wouldn't stop biting everyone in the house! His biting was playful nipping, but he is getting bigger and the bites are painful! He also had some issues with growling at some family members, and also chasing family members and biting their legs as they moved through the house. He also would not walk on a leash.
This family has taken a lot of time to train their dog in basic obedience, which the dog learned very well (poodles are wicked-smart!) BUT, obedience training is never enough! They needed to know why he was doing what he does in order to then modify his behavior.
Gray Wolf Dog Training was able to show the family exactly what they needed to do. Using our methods, they couldn't believe that the behaviors stopped IMMEDIATELY. They even "tested" the dog by running quickly through the house - he didn't chase!
Because most behaviors can be modified in a very short amount of time with our methods, costs are actually very minimal. I recommend to clients to start with our lowest priced package ($85) and then add to it should the dog (or humans) need further instruction.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. We have simplified our pricing, so nothing complicated here! In fact, we find that people are able to better afford our services because we allow "up grades," depending upon the needs of our human and canine clients.
Start with the first package (under $100.) Need more training? Up grade to our next package by simply paying the difference!
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Read every book you can find. Watch every video you can find. Find a mentor who is successful in the business. Most importantly, get hands-on experience!
Q. What is your greatest strength?
A. My greatest strength is my ability to stay calm and maintain positive energy. A trainer must never become angry or frustrated with a dog.
I have decades of experience controlling often horrific situations as an EMT/paramedic...remaining calm is crucial. I am good at that. I also have 20 years experience with meditation and other "energy work," so I am also skilled at maintaining a positive attitude.
Q. What are you currently working on improving?
A. I will never stop adding to my knowledge of dogs and training methods. I also want to improve public education so people realize that the adorable puppy they just adopted needs more than just learning "sit" and "stay." You can have a dog that knows every "trick" in the book and still have behavioral issues.
Q. Write your own question and answer it.
A. I am pretty good with teaching my dog basic obedience. Why would I need to hire a trainer?
There is more to having a well-behaved dog than just teaching them to sit and stay. To truly have the best friend you have ever had, there must be a deep understanding of each other. You will be astonished at the bond you can have with your dog once the two of you are "speaking" the same language!