Dog lovers have you had a chance to watch “Canine Intervention” yet?
The Netflix series follows renowned Oakland dog trainer, Jas Leverette and his business, Cali K9, one of the top dog training facilities in California. Using his unique training methods and techniques, each episode features Jas as he works with multiple dogs and their owners to remedy their behavior issues. Jas works with all breeds, he’s never turned a dog away, and he can correct even the most extreme behavior issues. “Canine Intervention” is produced by A. Smith & Co. with Arthur Smith, Frank Sinton, Elise Durán and Jasalah Leverette serving as executive producers. Check out the trailer below:
BOSSIP’s Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden chatted with Jas Leverette about “Canine Intervention” and got some tips for all the dog owners out there who may be having difficulties with their dogs. Check out their Q&A below:
BOSSIP: The lessons you gave within the episodes were helpful to people at home. How important was it to you that you were not only showing your training experiences but also helping people develop better habits for themselves and their pets?
Jas Leverette: A big part of it was to be an education piece and actually to understand the mindstate a dog should be in with training, getting the dog in that motivated state, giving the dog some structure and showing them some step-by-step fundamentals. With TV you’re kind of on the go and we’re trying to give the full picture of what everything looked like step by step. We had to give a little time to let the dog develop but yeah that’s what I’m about. I’m a teacher. My gift to the world is to use what I have to help people.
BOSSIP: Did you have a favorite episode?
JL: I really enjoyed all of them. If I had to choose one I liked Episode 6 because it had so many dogs we dealt with. Helping the dogs in the rescue and my son being born. It was all there. They all have something special about them to me.
BOSSIP: How many dogs do you have?
JL: At my home I have three and then we have a few other dogs who are like family who are retired these days and we’re not using much and we have my dogs at my facility as demo dogs and trainer dogs that work with the trainer so I have a fair share. We’ll put a safe number at 6.
Did you have to do anything special with the dogs while your wife was pregnant to get ready for the baby?
No, not really. In my house, my dogs have their place so they’re not running around all crazy. The dogs have the yard for that. When they are in the house they are kinda kicking back with us so the baby is never really walking around too far. They know the boundaries with the baby in the house. My son has his own dog. They hang out. My son is real comfortable with the dogs. It’s been smooth.
Did you have to introduce the baby to the dogs?
Well on the show I have Musa come to the house. Musa was a puppy when Jasir was a baby. So pretty much from the time Jasir came home he had some kind of dog around in some shape or form. They sniff him. Everyone is giving each other some space but still socializing.
What are some common mistakes people make when they adopt dogs?
Mostly just humanizing the dog. When I say humanizing, I mean letting them get away with stuff they shouldn’t be getting away with. Beds and couches, it’s not that the dog can’t sleep in the bed or the couch, it’s just giving you the opportunity to kinda keep that one step above the dog so they don’t start treating you like you guys are peers. Because what will happen is when you want the dog to do things they won’t perceive you as an authority. If it’s a purely positive experience to where you are just a treat dispenser that’s what they’ll see you as. It’s almost as if being a parent and all you give is allowance and never have restrictions. It’s not a balance. You’ll just be looked at as a cash register and that’s it.
When I was watching the show I felt like you would probably not be happy with how much I let my dog walk all over me.
Dogs are pack animals. You can take the dog out of the pack but you can’t take the pack out of the dog. How you live with them is going to determine how they perceive you and when you need them to do things and ask for them to have better behavior they’re going to be like “yeah whatever I don’t have to listen to you.”
So just to have that structure, 15 minutes a day is what we drive at home. It’s about doing a little bit each day. With our box concept where we do our sit, down, come, stand commands all within the box, and from there you start adding some distractions in, and basically, it’s consistency in structure.
If your dog is on your bed or whatever, as long as you are giving that 15 minutes a day that can supplement some of that humanizing them. But if you’re not doing that and there is no structure and you’re humanizing them, the dog is gonna run the show and not trust in you either cuz if you’re just kind of a pushover then why would they trust you. A lot of aggression comes from insecurity. A fourth of the problem is what the handler lets the dog get away with. Then the dog just runs all over them. Dogs thrive off leadership and structure.
Do you feel you can fix it after the fact? If I’ve had my dog a year and he is used to sleeping in the bed, can I get him out now or is it a lost cause?
I think all dogs can be trained.
You have a theory that there is no such thing as bad dogs, just bad owners.
The uninformed owner. It’s about understanding what your dog needs. If your dog is hyperactive and very confident, they need a certain structure. Dogs who are super nervous and insecure, they need a certain kind of structure. So it’s all about understanding what to do to bring the best out of that dog. It’s just like a child. Everybody is different, but everyone will need a certain learning style to bring out the best.
How do you recommend pet owners figure that out? Is it about finding the right trainer? Researching the dog breeds before adopting?
Breed is hard because you can have 10 Rottweilers or 10 German Shepherds or 10 Maltipoos and they’re not going to be the same. So it’s about understanding temperament first. We talk about the 16 dimensions of dog temperament and that’s how you’re going to figure out the approach with your dog. Especially since there are so many mixed breeds we want to make sure we are evaluating the temperament vs. the breed so get with a trainer who has an understanding of this temperament so you have some understanding of this dog so you can live with this dog and train this dog so it can be harmonic with your lifestyle.
For example, if you have a dog that is super active you have to figure out how to get that energy out. It’s just like when kids play sports so when they’re in the house they don’t go crazy inside. They gotta do something. They have to get out and get socialized because if they’re just in the house they won’t be social. You have to make sure all of these things create balance. Each kid is different. Some kids might not need to be socialized. All dogs are different.
What about people who only have one dog but they want them to be able to play with other dogs. How do you recommend they go about introducing their dog to other dogs?
It just depends. It’s really on a case-by-case basis. You have to read the body language of the other dog. Some dogs are quick to socialize. Others may need a little more time. Certain dogs are overly dominant and can make other dogs uncomfortable because they play too rough. It just depends. The ideal way is to try to read their body language. If they are wagging tails or doing play bows and showing ‘hey we can be friends’ and hang out, but always try to test the water first.
What about barking, lunging or crying?
Sometimes dogs can be lunging because they are so excited. Or they are whining and barking because they are excited or because they are aggressive and they are trying to be dominant. It just depends on what kind of bark. Like I can be loud just talking to my friends or I can be loud in an argument. It just depends on the context of what is going on.
On the show, some dogs you took to your facility and others you left in the home. How do you decide what’s best?
Usually, it’s at the discretion of the owner. For a couple of the LA dogs, I didn’t have a trainer in LA so we basically had to go down to tape the show. But some people want to do it themselves and some people want to send the dogs out to get a foundation. It really comes down to what the owner wants to do. If a dog is super antisocial with people we usually don’t take them because it’s a liability. The dog might try to bite someone unfamiliar, like one of my trainers. But sometimes you can see the aggression is superficial and once you build a rapport with them it’ll be ok. So then we can take the dog.
A lot of times the owners don’t want to separate from the dog. The dog is going to be on a five-acre ranch running around having a great time. They’ll be given more stimulation than they ever get at home. But some of the owners, they’ll get separation anxiety because they have such a deep bond with their dog. It really just depends on each situation.
How has your business grown since the show aired?
The business was already doing well. I’m part dog trainer, part businessman, so I pretty much have been successful in having a pretty busy program. I’m going to be giving a seminar tour that will go national and international now that there are so many worldwide eyes on it. I’m actually doing online training. I have online training videos that people can watch from home. It’s a little more in-depth than the show. And we have free training that we do from our social media account. We are just trying to get the message out there. With all the exposure it’s just a matter of going to the people. Some people need hands-on stuff so we are going to take our 30 city tour.
When are you doing the tour?
We are doing our promo and planning now so we are going to start in May. Then we are going to try and get to the international. I have another baby being born in July, so I will probably take a break and get the tour back going in September and then start shooting for the international. We got a lot of love in the UK and Italy and Brazil so we will probably try to get to the more Eastern countries later. We are trying to take it to the world.
“Canine Intervention” is now streaming on Netflix