I have always been fascinated by dogs. I grew up with dogs following me home all the time. I also had several pet dogs growing up, and those dogs were my best friends. I learned something from each of them.
At around 10 years old, I began training my dog Mandy. Mandy was a run away dog. Whenever she got out of the yard, or off the leash, she'd take off and vanish. One day, she ran out on to a busy street and was clipped on the nose by a car. As I carried her home with tears in my eyes, I vowed to never let it happen again. So each day after school, I took her out and worked with her. I was finally able to get her to stay next to me while dragging the leash, when my parents decided it was time to find her a new home. As I cried with her, knowing she was going to leave forever, I still swear to this very day that she shed a tear for me too.
When I first started training, I only used my instincts. No books, no videos. And I did very well. So much so that my friends and neighbors would ask if I could help them out with their dogs from time to time. That is when "The Canine Guru" was really born. I became hooked and wanted to learn as much as I could about dogs. So I began to study them. I watched them interact with other dogs and people. I learned how they "talk" to each other and how they tried to "talk" to us. I carried out several experiments to test my theories until I came up with the answers.
Up until 2005, I just thought of dog training as a fun hobby. But in 2005 I was sick of working at crumby jobs that I hated and decided to start my own training business in Muskogee, OK. Doggy Times was born. Doggy Times actually started as a blog in April of '05, but I liked the name so much that I also used it for my business name. Doggy Times the business did well for two years. But I shut it down when I was hired on at Pooches in '07. The blog is still up though. doggytimes.wordpress.com
In '06, I was hired on at Petco as a CEI or Canine Education Instructor. I was in charge of setting up classes, advertising for the classes, and teaching the classes. I was also responsible for educating the rest of the staff about the classes so they could help promote them.
I also got my certification in '06 from Penn Foster as a Dog Obedience Trainer/Instructor. I aced the course with a grade average of 94 of 100. I barely even read the books, and flew right through the course. I only took the course so people would know that I was serious about making this my profession for life. I already had the knowledge, but some people don't believe unless you can show them a diploma.
In '07 I joined the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers). I also started working for Pooches, which was an indoor doggy day care in Tulsa, OK. I managed the "Street School" or issue dogs for them. I had up to 35 or 40 dogs at a time in my room. These were the dogs that did not do well in regular day care. Deaf, fearful, dominant, obsessive, and extra hyper dogs were all part of the group. I broke up many fights at Pooches and disagreed with their business practices of excepting any dog with out first doing an evaluation. I was with Pooches for 3 years when I finally made the decision to start offering my own services again as The Canine Guru. I vowed to dedicate myself to customer service and teaching people about their dogs in an honest way that makes sense to them.
The nickname "The Canine Guru" was actually started by my wife, Laura, as an inside joke. It caught on, and I liked it. It fits me because I use my knowledge of dogs to help and teach others. So I just went with it. Some of my customers have also called me a "hometown Cesar Millan," and "The Tulsa Dog Whisperer." However, I don't believe in or practice a lot of Cesar's methods. I do agree with his belief in energy and the way it effects our dogs. But I do NOT use pinch, choke, or electric collars.
I've been studying and training dogs for more than 20 years of my life now, and I can't think of anything else I'd rather do. I love my work. I'm familiar with more than 250 breeds, and even wolves, coyotes, and foxes. I love all canines. If I meet a client that has a rare breed I don't know much about, I will study about that breed as much as I can before my first meeting with the client. But the fact of the matter is that all dogs have the same rules and, for the most part, the same language and behavior.
I use positive methods to teach new behaviors, and canine language to redirect bad behaviors. Canine language is very simple and basic, but is the best way to communicate with a dog. Although dogs can learn up to 165 of our words, we really can't expect to talk to them like a person and expect them to understand. We as people need to learn their language, and I teach it to my clients and students. Learning how to talk to your dog in his/her own language also helps to build trust and a tighter bond between you and your pooch. Best of all, your dog will clearly understand your intentions and rules.
I am a master of canine psychology and communication, and I use my skills to predict a dog's next move. Thus helping to prevent unwanted behaviors and fights. But my joy comes from using these skills to help people to better understand their canine companions, and their canine companions to better understand their humans.
Dogs are my life and my dream. I will be working with canines for as long as I'm alive and physically able.
My motto is: "Patience Brings Peace."
I took this pic while sitting on the floor with this pack at Pooches LLC. Total number of dogs in the pack that day was 15. (They are laying to the sides of me).
Laura Ross has been working with dogs for many years. She, like her husband, worked at Pooches Dog Daycare in Tulsa, Ok for 2 years. She helped them start their Saturday dog daycare. She has lots of experience with dogs of all kinds, and dogs seem to just take to her naturally. She also volunteers with her husband, Brandon, at Born To Run Dog Activity Center some Saturdays.
Besides working with dogs, she also spent many years working in child care and in senior citizen care. She is also a dedicated wife and mother, taking care of the home on a daily basis. Pet sitting is something she's always loved and she takes care of her client's dogs as if they're her own.