MERIDIAN — This week for our “Keepin’ It Local” segment, I spent time with a local dog trainer, Jacob Fowler.
His business, Blue Line K9, does all types of dog training, but they specialize in personal protection dogs.
Jacob is a military and law enforcement veteran and former K9 police officer.
I met up with him and three of his students to see how dogs go from puppies to protectors.
“People come to me because they want home protection," said Jacob.
People like Lavera Hutchinson.
"I had somebody that tried to come into my house and after that I knew I had to protect myself in others ways besides keeping a weapon and this is the safest way," said Lavera.
But it's not necessarily the easiest way.
"These people are dedicated. This is a long process but a good process,” said Jacob. "It's a bonding experience. They have a lot of time invested with my program, it's 100 hours of training to be able to say I have a personal protection dog."
And despite what it looks like, Jacob says that doesn't mean you have a vicious dog.
"So a lot of people think there is aggression in these dogs and what it is, we're rewarding them for playing tug of war," said Jacob.
"There's no animosity, they're not angry. They just want to play and have fun. First and foremost as a family protection dog, they need to be obedient. That's the foundation of all training.”
"If I don't have an obedient dog I just have an attack dog and no one wants that with a 5-year-old crawling over their dog."
That's exactly what Lavera and these other women want, a dog they can trust to protect and obey. And they say, that's what they're getting from Jacob and Blue Line K9.
"In my experience working with dogs they have too many natural abilities for us to just turn them into couch potatoes. We all love dogs and want a companion but they are instinctual about certain things, so we bring those things out and get to work with really good people," said Jacob.
And Jacob says all kinds of breeds can be protection dogs, not just German shepherds.
As a matter of fact, a bulldog is in training right now too.
The main thing is your dog has to be social, have courage and a prey drive.
He says they can test for that and help you find the dog that will work for you.
It is very interesting how they train the dogs to pay attention on command because their owner is concerned about something in the environment. It's amazing to watch how they get the dogs to be aware than something is concerning but yet be submissive until it’s time to act.