Serious K9 NC

by Tonya Dixon | July 11th, 2014

DSC_3238 - CopyFrom poodles to pit bulls to German shepherds, every dog can be trained. Every dog can be obedient and every dog can be disciplined. According to Serious K9 NC, all it takes is a good trainer and proper procedure.

Serious K9 NC is an obedience and training service. Comprised of five self-proclaimed dog lovers, the professional team has extensive experience breeding and training various dog types, but specifically German shepherds, the American pit bull, Belgian Malinois, Dutch shepherds, Presa Canarios and Cane Corso.

Darren Swanson and Mark A. Lindsay met over ten years ago and with their vast knowledge of breeding and training dogs they instantly built a bond. Darren later met John Miller, the current president of Eastern States Working Dogs Association and built Serious K9. When Darren relocated to North Carolina he wanted to continue Serious K9 and after meeting Laketta Lee the group formed Serious K9 NC. With the increasing demand for obedience and protection training, Steven Smith joined the group to aid as a decoy and second obedience trainer. The newest member Emory Moody breeds Presa Canarios and brings a wealth of business knowledge to the group.

Darren, Emory, Mark, LaKetta and Steven each maintain their individual specializations within the group, but they all agree and reinforce that obedience and control should be the outcome of a well-trained dog.

DSC_2765 - CopyCollectively, the group has well over 25 years’ of experience in the dog training business. Each trainer has an aptitude and love for something different. Darren enjoys teaching and training law enforcement and protection dogs. He has worked with several police departments and other agencies. Mark is adept at teaching obedience, although he initially began as a personal protection dog trainer.

Steven admits he’s simply a dog lover and loves all aspects of working with the dogs, even as the training decoy (the controlled threat to the dog during training sessions). The only female of the group, Laketta, owns and breeds many of company’s working line German shepherds. In addition, she handles the technical and administrative support for the business. Many of the group’s dogs have gone on to work throughout various aspects of law enforcement such as the Military, and search and rescue, as well as in public service arenas.

The trainers have spent countless hours attending seminars, classes, and in consultations enhancing their skill set, but it’s the actual interaction and rapport they have with the dogs that makes their service and abilities so amazing. “For example, the Presa Canarios looks big and frightening but is really like a big teddy bear. We know through experience that the breed is not very animated, is highly intelligent, will do what it is told and is an excellent protector,”Moody explains.

During training sessions, the trainers maintain complete control at all times. From the youngest to the oldest, any age dog has the ability to be trained. Old dogs really can be taught new tricks. Serious K9 NC teaches beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. They also help develop socializing skills in dogs. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. The trainers work closely with clients and tailor obedience training to fit their specifications. They also teach clients why and when a corrective action is performed. Moreover, it’s important to note that the dogs are taught through repetition and confidence building, rather than presumed trainer domination over the animal by provoking it to anger or enraged to attack. As a matter of fact Serious K9 NC is adamantly opposed to the notion of training or developing “attack dogs.”
“We don’t train everybody’s dog in personal protection. We have found that everybody doesn’t need that. Sometimes I discourage it,” says Swanson. “When you say attack you are creating an offensive dog. Our dogs are taught to react based upon what you do. They are not attack dogs. They are personal protection dogs and there is a difference. Some people don’t understand the difference. Just because you make a dog bite doesn’t mean anything — any dog will bite. The key is teaching a dog NOT to bite and bite only when necessary or on a given command. An attack dog is a dog that has been encaged and when it is let loose, it operates uncontrollably. A personal protection dog is one you can have around you and acts cool, but if I grab you, the dog is going to react based upon what I do. You should be able to have the dog around your family and the dog remains disciplined.” The group recently had a client that requested the dog be trained to only bark when someone approached the home door, but not to bite. It’s a tactic that Serious K9 NC has discovered often works much better. Ultimately, the final responsibility lies with the dog owner to continue to reinforce what the dog has learned through the trainer.

DSC_2533 - Copy Serious K9 NC dogs are trained to respond to certain types of threats in various situations. Focus is also particularly important to dogs being trained for hunt and retrieval. In nearly every situation, the goal of the trainer is to build the confidence of the dog to point where it will not be satisfied until the mission or objective is complete; whether that means retrieving a ball thrown into the forest, tracking down a criminal, or guarding the property of its owner or protecting its owner from would be attackers. The group has trained protection, search and narcotic dogs to work in various situations and for various clients; specifically, clients such as Don Barber, a sheriff’s lieutenant, K9 handler, trainer and owner of Caroline-A Police K9, LLC, as well as Randy Howell, a retired Reidsville, NC K9 officer.

Clients would be happy to know when they hire Serious K9 NC they are receiving top-notch, professional, service. The group regularly hosts seminars and demonstrations. When attendees sign-up they will not only have access to the wealth of knowledge that the group offers, but many world renowned dog trainers as well, such as Mike Suttle of Logan Haus Kennels. Often times, the trainers will make time to give specific pointers and tips to those in attendance.

A great deal of time and dedication is required to adequately and professionally train and breed dogs; much more than what meets the eye. “It can get very messy and be very time consuming,” says Lee. Nevertheless, the desire to see and develop a disciplined dog is simply a joy and for many of the trainers it’s a character trait they have maintained from childhood.

Serious K9 NC has provided clients across the country with exceptional service and working line dogs that perform at an exceptional level and train to do exceptional tasks. The group can provide specialized, obedience and protection training for any dog on any level. Above all else the goal is to strengthen the bond between the dog and his owner and make their experiences as enjoyable as possible.

(Photos by Perfect Lenz Photography)

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