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Life & Work with Arizona K9 of North Phoenix

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arizona K9.

Hi Arizona K9, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was in 4-H and FFA all while I was growing up.. I showed dogs and cattle, but we had horses at home that my parents trained. I moved To Phoenix and started working food service and I got myself in with the wrong crowd and started looking for a way out by getting a puppy, one I always wanted. In looking for training for her, I went back to an trainer from 4-H. After I got my dog back we kept going for more lessons and I eventually took an internship to work along side another trainer and learn how to work more in depth with the dogs. I got out of food service, went to service dog training and then eventually moved to Texas to train dogs full time. I worked with retired cops and other types of trainers to get experience with all kinds of sport and performance dogs, as well as breeds. When I had tried all different methods and handled many dogs,
I came home to build my own business. Today I work full time as a restaurant manager to support my dog performances and train with clients to help them with their dogs around that schedule!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s never smooth, learning a new trade is like changing schools. Life is rough and so is any new venture, but it’s always worth it. There were struggles with finding the right dog to show, training a dog that would be the face of the business, moving states, constantly changing learning styles and trying new methods. And behavior is a whole mountain itself, dogs are like us, changing and mixed signals. Dogs are only 20% of the job, Sometimes you make mistakes and you have to be humble enough to try again or try other perspectives. Dog training is a lot more about communicating with the owners, and correctly conveying dog behavior.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I have worked with many breeds of dogs and seen many styles of training but after all these years, I’d say I have the most experience and specialize in working with high drive dogs, more specifically the Belgian Malinois as my long term goal has always been to work with cadaver dogs. My Malinois is my proudest accomplishment. Malinois have a stigma for being in over drive, too much for the average person. And they can be, but they are also incredibly smart and attached to their handler and by teaching them simple things, they succeed every day.
I have gone through training for many sports, including service dog work with my Malinois and she learns after only 1 or 2 times and she’s ready for the next tasks!
My second favorite breed to work is the border collie. They have the same potential to work but are more able to relax and not be in constant drive mode. I have done the most work with training pet dogs and competing in Rally, a type of obedience.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
A lot of people ask what style I train with. I don’t have a style, I listen to the dog. ’m watching behavior, and that’s what sets me apart, I let the dog tell me how he learns. Some people are visual learns, some are book learners, some by doing, and dogs are the same way! I want them to succeed and the owner to learn; that means understanding how the dog learns best and working with that.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photos by myself, Nonni Lee Photography and Lucid Lens photography

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