As a new pet owner, Chris Pelle wanted to train his young German Shepherd for personal protection. At first, he did it as a hobby, working with friends and acquaintances.
"I've always been very business minded and saw a potential need for it," Pelle said. "I developed my skill set and started taking clients, working for free with family and friends."
No longer a hobby, Pelle celebrated the opening of his Complete Canine Training at 695 N. 7th Ave. in Brighton Jan 26.
Pelle initially took to dog training as a side job, perfecting his skill set and expanding a client base which turned into a full-time job working on his property.
His training facility is 11,200 square feet and fully equipped with a training room for K-9 police dogs not only for obedience but also nose work – sniffing out drugs and tracking to locate missing humans. The facility has a large kennel, several training rooms and outdoor training spaces to take the dogs on runs. He is also building a 7,000 square foot's agility training center, he said.
But Pelle said they also do general pet obedience and other issues dog owners have with their furry friends at home, including urinating on the carpet or not listening.
"We do behavior modification so bad behaviors such dog reactivity, or some light dog aggression," Pelle said. "We can rehabilitate the dog to change their behavior set, so they understand that those behaviors are no longer acceptable. Then we move into teaching them acceptable behaviors and how to win at life."
Tips from a trainer
Pelle said high-energy dogs are hard to control in the home, so putting an obedience foundation brings it down to a manageable level.
"A timid dog rebuilds confidence through obedience, so once the dog understands the structure and how to win, they sit down they get paid," Pelle said. "Once they understand how to get paid, and you start winning their confidence level and it increases, by creating structure around it."
Pelle said owners can correct destructive behaviors, such as a dog jumping, by not giving affection, love, or attention.
"To correct the behavior, tell them no, as they are coming towards you, command them to sit then they get paid," Pelle said. "We start paying them with food and then we pull food away throughout the process, then give the pets and praise and affection."
Pelle was never able to rehabilitate the dog fully; training only goes so far, coupled with owner management.
"Those two combined can limit or minimize the chances of something negative happening. But at the end of the day, there's always the possibility because they are animals, and going to make their own decisions with what suits them best in their brain at that moment," Pelle said.
Training only goes so far
Pelle said the genetics of breed plays a factor in behavior and some dogs' breeding is for something other than a pet. Some breeding is for working dogs, herding, or hunting because it is their original purpose.
"So those genetic factors come out differently in every single dog. Some Labrador retrievers are great hunting dogs and other labs are terrible hunting dogs, depending on how their genetics have been modified over the years," Pelle said.
Pelle said, always get a dog that suits your lifestyle. For example, getting a working dog, such as a cattle dog, for an apartment is not a good fit genetically.
"If you work at home all day, and never get out of the house, don't get a Belgian Malinois, they are going to run you crazy inside the house. Get an English bulldog, who's happy to lay down on the couch next to you while you work at your desk job," Pelle said.
On the other hand, Pelle suggests that super active owners should get a super active pet like a Malinois that can keep up with you, and not an English bulldog. They'll never keep up with you trying to hike a Fourteener, he said.
"So find the dog that fits your lifestyle, not the doggies you think are cool, because it's ultimately its a disservice to the dog if you get the wrong dog," Pelle said.
Pelle said it is also s all about communication; we have to learn how to communicate with our dogs, and they have to understand how we communicate.
"The dog will not change their language. They speak dog. So we have to teach our owners how to speak dog, and each dog has some differences," Pelle said.
"The best training is through clear communication. It's not necessarily any one specific training methodology is going to work with that dog or the next dog. We have to understand how to communicate to dogs, so they get it and then we can then teach the clients how to work with the dog."
Pelle and his team's focus is to educate owners and train dogs. Once the dogs complete the training program, the owners gain knowledge and education because each dog has different issues, problems, or personalities. To effectively train the customers, they ensure that the clients understand the dogs relaying information to the customers and the best management techniques.
"There are several ways to interact with this dog. Some dogs are food motivated, some dogs are praised and affection motivate. If a dog is not motivated, give him a hot dog, pet him," Pelle said.