Thank you for your time and for providing this interview.
It is my pleasure.
Q. Tell us about how you made the decision to become a dog trainer?
A. Upon discharge from the Army, I was unsure what career path I wanted to take, so I returned to being a Chef. I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to, and I knew I didn’t want to continue down that road. As a sufferer of PTSD, I came across a program for Veterans that they could access to apply to have a service dog. I was struggling to leave the house by myself and felt that this could help me. I found it increasingly difficult to find a dog trainer who could help me get the certification needed to have my new puppy reach level 1 and start taking him out with me.
I decided to enrol in a dog trainers’ course and do this not only for myself but for other veterans. I had a new Rottweiler puppy Devil that was ready to start his journey at becoming my assistant dog and best mate.
It was through this course that I met my mentor and close friend Kris Kotsopoulos.
I asked Kris if I could learn from him, and since then, I have been lucky enough to spend almost every day with him.
Q. How long have you been a Dog Trainer?
A. I have been a dog trainer now for 5 years.
Q. What is your dog training business called and how can people reach you?
A. It’s called 4DK9 and people can reach me on 4D K9 – Dimensional Canine Training or on my mobile phone number – 0449 001 030.
q. Given your PTSD, who supports you?
A. I have great coaching and mentor support from Kris not only in training dogs and all of the members of Melbourne Sport Dog Club.
I also have love and support from my wife and kids at home.
Q. Who and what inspires you?
A. It is no secret to anyone who knows me, that everything I know comes from the time I have spent with Kris. I am inspired daily, and I learn something new every day from him, we talk everything from breeding, training, life and perhaps the most difficult part, converting something you love doing into a viable commercial venture. I strongly recommend people visit his training book site.
Q. How important is the bond between you and your dog?
A. This is extremely important, anyone who works with dogs knows that you cannot make a dog do anything it doesn’t want to do. A quality relationship provides and allows for the mistakes made in your training.
Q. Do you have a favourite breed of dog, and why?
A. The Rottweiler.
The first time I met a Rottweiler was through my friend, I was impressed by his temperament and overall expression. A good Rottweiler is the Mike Tyson of the Dog Sport World. You cannot match their raw power.
Q. Do you own any other dogs?
A. Yes I have another Rottweiler female and a Belgium Malinois. The rottweiler is my kids dog and the Mal is my working detector dog owned by the company. I supply services to Detector Dogs Australia as a detector dog handler for many of Australia premier venues.
Q. Congratulations on achieving high scores in a recent competition and having the first Rottweiler to achieve this in Australia (since the new rule change), what is next for you?
A. Thank you, those scores reflected many hours of training. It is important to us (Team Rottweiler) to show that our breed can still achieve high scores against the Belgium Malinois and the German Shepherds. I would like to achieve the highest level possible with Devil this year.
Q. What are your aspirations for the future?
A. I would like to represent my country and my breed on an International level and introduce veterans to this sport. I believe that the unity, precision and dedication required is what veterans are lacking after leaving the armed services. I honestly believe it can help them like it has helped me overcome a lot of my struggles.
Q. You have mentioned Melbourne Sport Dog Club, can you tell us more?
A. MSDC is a passionate, inspiring group of individuals all sharing the same drive and ambition to be the best versions of ourselves. We are lucky that within our group we have access to some great resources. Breeders, veterinarians, nutritionist, and a dog behaviourist/trainer all of which help us reach our goals not only as individuals but also as a team.
Q. Why do you like training dogs?
A. I genuinely feel a connection to dogs, I love their energy, I love working alongside Kris learning and understanding why dogs act and think the way they do. The fascinating thing is that it is not like most people think it is. Dogs are unique in their thinking pattern and if you are to provide a quality environment for them you need to think at their level. This is not as easy as it sounds.
Q. Why are you working with dogs?
A. I get great satisfaction knowing that every interaction I have with a new client.. helps them understand their dog. And helps them provide their dog with an uncomplicated quality of life.
Q. What would you like to be known for?
A. I want to be able to help people achieve their goals with their dogs. I want to help reverse the stereotype that the Rottweiler has. I would love to do this through training, breeding and leading by example with my Rottweilers.
Q. Is seems natural that many passionate dog trainers eventually direct their energy into breeding, do you ever see you heading down this path?
A. I would love to get into breeding; I have many discussions with Kris (Breeder – Von Forell) and Laurie (Breeder – Seeuferhaus Rottweilers). When I am ready to start breeding, I will be seeking guidance and advice from Laurie and Kris in choosing the most suitable Seeuferhaus Female Rottweiler to begin my breeding program.
Q. You also feed your dog’s Performadog Ultra-Premium Foods, how is that working out?
A. My character is to achieve my optimum potential in all that I do. It includes feeding my dogs the absolute best food I can. Performadog and the Purple Boost a world’s first by the way, works like nothing else have I tried. I have met Performadog’s nutritionist ‘Bill’ and he is an incredible individual who shares identical values. The science behind the food is state of the art and I would advise that everyone who owns a dog or cat visit www.performadog.com.au and dig deeper into this food, you will never look back.
Thank you very much for this interview JP and we hope you that all your dreams come true. We will revisit your progress in 2020.
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