By Oralia Ortega, KTSM
It's not often you hear of business partners with four legs. But that's the case for an El Paso dog trainer. He has worked with hundreds of dogs with behavioral problems with the help of his canine companions.
Michael Larson has his entourage in tow ready to ruff it out through any canine conduct case. "I've worked with over 500 dogs over the past 11 years," said Larson.
Through his company, Canine Behavior Services, Larson has trained three of his own dogs to work alongside of him: London, a Doberman Pincher, Nut-Nut a pitbull mix and Jayne, an American Bulldog.
Each dog has specific skills to treat specific dog issues. "What I use London for is to teach other dogs how to be appropriate with each other," said Larson. "Nut-Nut loves to play so I use her with dogs that either don't know how to play or play too rough. Jayne works with either dogs that have big fear or big aggression problems. He's very calm. He's very accepting."
You may know one of Canine Behavior's clients: Ann Marie Giron. Her dog, Jo-Jo, a Pitbull Terrier, won Purina's "Rescue Dog of the Year" contest. "It's amazing how much I've learned from him, having had dogs my whole life," said Giron.
She says she took Jo-Jo to other trainers but didn't like their dominant approach. She likes Larson's calm but assertive method. "Never have I heard him raise his voice. Never has there been any type of physical correction or anything else," said Giron.
She says Larson can help any dog owner through any situation so I put his skills to the test with my dog, Seven. She's a hyper little Cairn Terrier, who's been through 12 obedience courses. One of several things that Seven will not do is come when I call her.
In a couple of minutes, Larson was able to do something that had not seemed possible over three years and a dozen behavioral lessons.
"Come here, come here. Good girl! Can you sit? What a good girl," said Larson after showing his technique for getting Seven to come.
"It's not the basic sit, stay, 15 minutes-a-day type of obedience training. It's understanding the nuances of the dog's body language and being aware of what's going on," said Giron.
Larson charges $70 per session. He comes to the location where your dog is having the behavior issue: whether it be at your home, at the dog park or any other location. Larson says some dogs may require as little as one lesson, while others may require several of them.
For more information, visit Canine Behavior Services website at www.elpasodogtrainer.com