Hey everyone, my name is Alex Harris, the owner and trainer of Reliable K9 Training. I wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself. Although I have always loved animals, especially dogs, becoming a professional dog trainer happened by accident. I always wanted to become a veterinarian and even though I had the grades to go to vet school, I never really actually liked school. Although I’ve had many different types of jobs to pay the bills, I’ve always had the desire to work with animals. I found out about a local trainer who had an apprenticeship program and started my dog training journey studying personal protection. As I progressed with my apprenticeship, I quickly found out how much of a need there was for qualified individuals to help struggling pet dog owners and dogs in the rescue system. Seeing these issues made want to research balanced dog training methods, and that’s how Reliable K9 Training was created.
A lot of trainers already have problem dogs and become trainers as a result. My Cattle Dog Saba was my only personal dog at the time and was extremely easy. I didn’t get my first true experience in living with a problem dog full time until I got my second dog from a shelter who was followed up by two more dogs who started off as fosters and eventually became permanent members of my family. Even though I have had some trying times with my “problem” dogs, I am also very grateful for the experiences they have given me as a trainer. I can truly relate to the heartache and stress an out of control dog can bring to a household.
I attended the Train The Trainers with Jeff Gellman & Sean O’ Shea. I do have several other continuing education seminars planned to further enhance my skills and serve my clients.
Working With Rescue Dogs
Before I thought about training dogs, I was a volunteer dog walker at my local animal shelter. At the time I didn’t know what I didn’t know as far as how to more efficiently help the dogs get adopted and show better in the kennels. As I gradually started working with more shelters and rescue organizations, I noticed a trend. A lot of dogs weren’t getting adopted or staying in their adoptive homes due to unmanageable behavior. While some had more severe issues, a lot of the dogs displayed the typical misbehavior such as jumping on people, pulling on the leash, and constant hyperactivity. After I created Reliable K9 Training, I started working with rescue dogs as my time allowed. I currently work with two local rescues, Fostering Foster Animal Rescue in Camden, South Carolina and Erica’s Waggy Tails located in Columbia, South Carolina.
In 2016 I moved to Elkhart, Indiana to work for another training facility temporarily. During that time, I had the opportunity to pull dogs from the Elkhart Humane Society to train and help find qualified homes for them. Rocko was one of the first dogs I trained, and let me tell you he was a handful. He constantly escaped his previous home and was picked up by the sheriff. By the time he was pulled from the shelter, his issues were worsened due to being cooped up in a loud kennel for several months. Rocko was a people pleasing dog but was also very strong with incredible drive. It was clear finding a suitable home for him would be a challenge to find the right home for him. Fast forward a few months later and he was given an amazing opportunity to go to Universal K9 in San Antonio Texas to train as a narcotics dog. Rocko is still serving his community well and loves his handler.