Plano Star Courier
January 07, 2005
Written By: A. Lee Graham
Biting and barking no longer interest Holmes and Watson. In just two months, the pugnacious pups have mended their ways and made life easier for Ellen Sells.
- “It’s been like night and day,” said the Plano woman, happy with her “new and improved” Jack Russell terriers.
Their newfound civility comes courtesy of Bark Busters, a dog training concept sweeping the world. What started in Australia now serves Collin County.
- “We never thought we’d be training dogs, but it’s the perfect job,” said Randy Martin, introducing area pet owners to techniques aimed at improving a dog’s demeanor. “It’s an entire philosophy, a different approach than most pet owners use.”
Martin and his wife Linda discovered that approach last November. A television news program profiled the company, perking up human – and canine – ears in the Martin household.
- “Randy wasn’t happy with his job, and our dog had some problems of her own,” said Linda, watching her husband’s vigor drop with each trip to the office. So Randy resigned as line supervisor with a high-tech firm and pinned his hopes on puppies. “It sounds crazy, but I knew I was doing the right thing.”
That’s because a Houston franchisee demonstrated the Bark Busters method, winning over the Martins and inspiring a Collin County business. What the couple calls “intense” training at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Colorado prepared the Martins for their four-footed clientele.
- “We learned that dogs have the wrong roles in most people’s households,” said Randy, echoing beliefs of company founders Sylvia and Danny Wilson.
According to Sylvia – former chief of her country’s counterpart to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – dogs follow a pack mentality. The instinctive mindset stumbles in most households where owner and animal roles are undefined. By using voice control and body language, owners can show dogs who’s boss and become comfortable with their families.
It worked for Sells.
- “My Lord, it worked,” said Sells, elated by what she considers nothing less than pets reborn. “Holmes and Watson used to be at each other’s throats; now, they get along. So does my English pointer, Beazer.”
In just three sessions, Sells said the dogs turned docile. No longer do they fight or scurry for the door when guests arrive.
- “That was a problem with my dog, too,” said Randy, whose dog Sarah now behaves when the door bell rings. “I never thought I’d see that.” Neither did the former tech worker expect to embrace dog training. “It sounded too good to be true. I mean, you can’t change dogs’ behavior in a few hours, can you?”
Not only is it possible, said Martin, but it happens every day thanks to intensive training. For three weeks, Martin and his wife learned the ropes. Ten hours a day for six days a week, they discovered what makes dogs tick and, more importantly, how they interact with owners.
- “That’s key,” said Randy, who teaches pet owners to take control of their household and affirm their position as master. “But it’s humane; all animals are treated gently.”
Linda credits the program for preventing rampant euthanasia.
- “So many pet owners just give up and either abandon their pets or turn to a shelter when they could just learn more about their situation.”
Determined to spread that gospel, the Martins sunk 37.5k into training and franchise fees and launched their business. Low overhead – Randy’s Ford Excursion serves as home office – and growing clientele have the couple anticipating profitability by year’s end.
- “We’re doing something we truly believe in,” said Linda. “How many people can say that?”
Reposted with permission from Plano Star Courier, 5/26/05.