My exposure to animals began at a very young age as a member of a family of animal lovers. Our first family dog was a stray that my father brought home and she soon became a family member over the next fifteen years. During my childhood we had also adopted and rescued three other German Shepards. My parents bred two litters of German Shepards and that’s when my interest in dogs kicked into high gear but in retrospect I now realize that they were wonderful loving pets but not the best trained dogs. Fast forward to 1992, when I stumbled upon the Japanese Mastiff breed and fell in love with them. I met a young couple that was giving up a four-month-old male Japanese Mastiff named Brutus who was full of energy. They could not control him so I adopted him. By the time he was eleven months old he was 110 lbs and starting to be aggressive with strangers and my guests. The little control I had on him was slowly slipping away. I realized he had potential due to his good-natured personality with family members and myself but I soon realized that I needed help. A friend directed me to a trainer he was working with named Andy Hanlin of “Dogs by Andy” who taught me how to motivate and guide my dog to better behavior by helping me be more confident and methodical while working with Brutus.
I was really interested in Andy’s program which started with simple behavior and obedience, we then progressed to off-leash obedience. Brutus was shaping up quickly as I worked the exercises everyday with a consistent dedication. The next step was to introduce some basic agility work and move forward onto a personal protection program. Brutus excelled as my own skills and understanding of dog behavior and guidance evolved. I was truly moved to see my dog and other dogs on the training fields, whose owners were committed to putting the time and effort into a program, realize true results.
As time went on I continued to work under and along side other talented trainers and enhance my newly found capability by reading and studying dog training and behavior. These skills were put into practice by helping friends that owned dogs with issues involving poor manners and/or obedience problems. These friends began to share their personal positive experiences with others who may be in need of assistance with their dogs.
Several years ago I decided to start a program that would enable me to help owners, rescue groups, foster organizations and veterinarians with dogs that needed guidance. My program, “For Pawz” consists of foundation, structure and guardianship in behavior and obedience for owners and their dogs. By us having a better understanding of a dog’s behavior, it would assist us in guiding our dogs to become a well-mannered citizen and family member. I have had the fortunate pleasure of working, watching and being actively involved with some talented behaviorists and trainers. I also was involved in some seminars and workshops with Julio Rivera whom I respect for his outstanding skills with helping dogs. It’s a real pleasure for me to watch the transformation of an owner and their dog develop harmony and peace in their relationship as a result of being involved in a hands-on “For Pawz” guidance program.