Jason Dunn is a professional dog trainer for Off Leash K9 Training. In this Quick 5 interview he talks about the joys and challenges of training.

Jason Dunn is a professional dog trainer for Off Leash K9 Training. In this Quick 5 interview he talks about the joys and challenges of training.

1. Jason, how did your fascination with animals and their training begin? Has your career in the military in some ways helped you become a successful dog trainer? Was your German Shepherd, Gunner, instrumental in increasing your interest in training canines?
I had a fascination with animals and their behavior at a very young age. When I was about 7-years-old I would read books and then train my friends’ dogs with what I’d learned.
Dogs have always been my number-one focus.
However, I tried training my horse a while back. While I was successful and it was rewarding, I plan on sticking to dogs from here out.
I believe the military helps us become successful in so many ways. Yes, the experience of seeing the working K9s do their jobs, and all the training that goes into making them so amazing, is a part of it for me.
However, I believe that the discipline, mission accomplishment, confidence, and the vast number of other virtues instilled into the military way of life are what make so many of us successful.
I would say Gunner wasn’t just instrumental in my interest, he is the reason I started training professionally.
I got him off Craigslist for free, and he turned out to be what saved me from myself.
I was going through a rough time, struggling with PTSD.
He was essentially a self-taught therapy dog, amongst so many other things. He got me out of the house and sparked conversations, when I was withdrawing from society.

The day I had the realization that he was doing so much for me was the day I decided to start training professionally. I had to share this new found peace and happiness I was experiencing along with my passion for training. What better way than helping people with their own dogs. That’s when I joined the Off Leash K9 Team.

2. What are some of the organizations that trainers with your company have worked for and what expertise do all the trainers offer? Is your work with dogs completely off-leash? 
We actually polled ourselves in December, out of curiosity for this exact question, and came up with these statistics: Our trainers combined have more than 1,343 years of dog ownership, more than 365 years of dog training experience, and more than 193 years of dog rescue experience.

We even have more than 153 years of Military/Police K9/SAR handling on the team.
Now that was as of December, we’ve added a few more locations and trainers since then.
Our work with dogs can be completely off-leash.

That is entirely up to the owners. Our end goal, either way, is a dog that will respond to their owner’s instruction on the first command with or without a leash.
Some specialty work would still require a leash though. Tracking dogs for instance, would still be on a leash for a track. Dogs, being much faster than us, can’t lead us to the end of a track if we’re still at the starting line.

3. Besides offering basic obedience programs, what other packages are offered? What is nose work and is this more difficult to teach a dog? What career opportunities are possible for canines that master this course? Is tracking also one of your specialties? 
As an organization we offer a wide variety of training options. Basic and advanced obedience; Aggression rehabilitation;

Nosework/detection; Tracking; Therapy/service training; Diabetic alert and more are being added all the time. Each location is a little different, so you would need to contact your local Off Leash K9 Training to find out what they offer. We have over 100 locations now, but to find your local Off Leash K9 Trainer you can enter your zip code here http://www.offleashk9training.com/contact/

Nosework is the term we use for teaching a dog to use its nose to detect a specific odor. A dog’s nose is far more sensitive than ours is. As an example, you come home from work and smell stew cooking in the kitchen. A dog smells the meat, carrots, potatoes, onions, each of the spices, and the broth. We just smell stew. So in using that ability we can train dogs to detect drugs, money, bombs, bed bugs, cell phones, etc. It’s relatively easy to teach.

Almost any dog is capable of learning to detect. We are just harnessing their natural instinct and ability into a useful task for us. It’s a huge confidence boost for the dogs because it is entirely reward based, as well as a great bonding experience for owners. It’s amazing to see in person. A dog’s problem-solving ability is uncanny.

Detection dogs are used in a vast number of careers.
Border crossings and airports could have money dogs, drug dogs, bomb dogs. Prisons could have cellphone dogs. Pest control can employ dogs to find the source of a bed bug infestation. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Tracking is another form of nosework. In this case we are looking for something that could be in a wide area, a person, a downed game animal, shed antler hunting, truffle or morel mushroom hunting. This is another task that dogs love and has nearly endless possibilities.

Reprinted from: http://www.leavenworthtimes.com/news/20170619/q5-whos-good-boy