Rick Walkley, Master K9 Trainer and Instructor
How do you know if a trainer is qualified to train your dog? The most important qualifications are formal schooling and years on the training field.
For over 2 years, I was formally schooled in dog behaviors and training techniques, and I was blessed with opportunities to do additional apprenticeships with some of the most learned trainers in the world. I have been in business a long time, from initially owning a boarding kennel to owning my own business breeding and training police and protection German shepherds, to now owning my business for almost a decade training strictly family dogs. Obviously, I have an extensive history with German shepherds, having owned, bred, and trained them for over twenty years. But, I am familiar with all breeds, and although my clients continue to challenge me, in most cases, I can train any dog you’ve got–from Yorkies to Dobermans. The table below details my formal experience.
I do not have a training building deliberately. I train your dog where you live and go. Training buildings limit the experiences dogs get, by limiting distractions and failing to simulate the environment where you and your dogs naturally go (and make mistakes). In Colorado where I lived for years, I trained in the mountains on trails; in fields and in woods with deer and elk; and in the parks with lots of other dogs, kids, and people playing sports, because this is how people lived with their dogs. In Texas, I train in homes, parks, woods, neighborhoods, parking lots, stores, and even on farms for people struggling with their dogs chasing their farm animals. I go with you where you and your dogs go, and we train for all the situations you encounter. In my experience, this is the most successful way to train to get a dog that is neutral everywhere.
All my training is off-leash. Ultimately, this allows you and your dog the opportunity to develop a deep bond and to be able to experience life together without a tether. There are many benefits to this, such as having the peace of mind that your dog will come when you call; knowing you can place your dog out of harm’s way, and he will stay there; and feeling confident in your dog’s behavior when you do not have access to a leash. This training gives you and your dogs flexibility and increased opportunities.
|2008 – Present
|Owner & Master Canine Trainer at Focus Dog Training, LLC
|1997 – Present
|Founder & Instructor: 1 year Training Academy (6 h/day x 4 d/wk)
|1992 – 2002
Owner of Walkenstrutt German Shepherds; 2 kennel facilities (Colorado & Netherlands)
Imported & bred German shepherd dogs; trained personal protection and police canines
|1994 – 1998
Owner of Blue Hills Boarding Kennels (Colorado)
100-run facility; puppy kindergarten classes and family/service dog training
|1998 – 2011
|Teller County Regional Animal Shelter
Evaluated dogs and developed specialized training for those with low adoption potential
|1992 – 2002
Walkenstrutt German Shepherds:
Trained, then donated, 2 police canines to underfunded US law enforcement departments per year; non-profit demonstrations for DARE programs
|1994 – 1998
Blue Hills Boarding Kennels and Walkenstrutt German Shepherds:
Legal expert witness in dog bite injuries; non-profit board & trains for clients of Boulder County Battered Women’s Shelter; consultant for Longmont Humane Society via grant-funded community-based program (intake evaluations, community teaching, employee skills development)
|National Association of Trade & Technical School: Colorado Career Academy
|Master Canine Trainer* (600 hours; 4 months full-time training)
Master Canine Instructor (1200 hours; 7.5 months full-time training)
|Camelot Training Facility
|Narcotic Canine Trainer & Detection handler (8 weeks work-study)
|Donovan Training Academy
|Tracking & Cadaver trainer/handler (1300 hours)
*I am not a member of training societies, because I do not always agree with their philosophies and lobbying efforts (e.g., the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants). So, I do not have a series of letters behind my name to indicated membership, such as “CDBC” (certified dog behavior consultant). Realize, these letters only indicate paid membership in a society, not official schooling.
I choose to participate in charitable philanthropy in lieu of obtaining membership in societies. However, I remain committed to continuing education. I consistently order and review training materials during the year, and my active training business constantly challenges my knowledge base.