Business helps dogs mind their manners

In the past, Port Orchard dog owners have had to take their dogs up north to receive obedience or behavior training.

Port Orchard dog owners no longer need to worry about the commute.

Bethel K-9 Training Center, located adjacent to Bethel Animal Hospital, opened its doors four months ago and offers a variety of dog services.

Though it looks like a house on the outside, the inside has been converted into a state-of-the-art training facility offering training in obedience, behavior modification, service (i.e. guide dogs).

It also offers boarding.

Jacqueline Kahler, training director, said she couldn’t be more excited about the new center.

A licensed veternarian technician, Kahler admits her passion is training dogs.

“I’ve been doing this for 18 years and I love it,” Kahler said. “I love the challenge of taking a dog and watching it leave (training) a better dog than when it came in.”

Though she is the only trainer, Kahler has a staff of seven, including two assistants.

Business was slow at the start, but word of mouth as quickly spread.

Kahler offers two different obedience classes — puppy preschool (six months old or younger) and basic obedience (seven months and older).

She also offers classes for behavior training.

Obedience training is command-based while behavior training addresses aggression, Kahler said.

“Basic obedience are commands such as sit down, come, heel, wait, leave it, and off,” Kahler said. “Behavior training includes potty training, jumping up, biting and digging.”

While the attention may be put on the dog, Kahler said the classes are of more benefit to the owners.

To better educate owners, Kahler said a different behavior topic is discussed at each obedience training session.

Kahler stresses the training comes down to the owner.

While she offers the information, it is up to the owner to take what is learned from the classes to mold their dog into a trained dog.

For those who don’t have time to train dogs Kahler offers board training. She takes the dog for two weeks and trains it.

“Owners still must be willing to do followups with their dog, or else it would be a waste,” Kahler said. “I can train a dog to obey but what good is that if the owner can’t.”

Kahler’s various classes run once a week for six weeks for $75.

In order for owners to get the most out of the classes, Kahler takes a maximum of six dogs/owners per class.

“Some schedule more but my philosophy is that the owner receives one on one attention,” Kahler said.

Kahler also schedules a lot of classes so every dog owner doesn’t have to wait seven weeks for the next class to open up.

Her classes are staggered so there will be a new class every three weeks.

As for the training, Kahler said she is a strong believer in positive reinforcement.

“We do not use choker chains or clickers,” she said. “My philosophy does not include force.”

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