North Texas Daily

Dog trainer has a paw-sitive impact on humans and their four-legged friends

Dog trainer has a paw-sitive impact on humans and their four-legged friends

September 20
18:53 2017

Imagine a regular work day involving going into unfamiliar homes and training strangers’ dogs to perform anything from basic commands to positive behavioral interactions.

This has been the norm for dog trainer extraordinaire Summer Milroy for around 11 years.

“It’s not like a normal 9-to-5 job,” Milroy, 41, said. “There’s no normal day. It just varies depending on how busy it is [and] what time of year it is.”

Milroy’s passion for training dogs derived from learning how to train a German shepherd she had in the past. After taking many dog training courses, she felt confident in her ability to make a lifestyle of it.

Milroy originally opened her dog training business, On the Ball K9 Training LLC, in Alaska in 2006 before moving the business to Denton three years later.

Since then, she has immersed herself in Denton and has become a trainer the community has grown to recognize. She now has three Belgian Malinois dogs who she brings to some events and social classes.

Milroy deals with various types of training, ranging from basic manners to aggression issues to dogs with anxiety. Milroy goes to clients’ homes and teaches them how to properly train their dogs to ensure a better, less stressful relationship between the dogs and their owners.

“I’ll go out and evaluate the dog [to] figure out what the owners want,” Milroy said. “I have a base program for my private sessions that covers all the basic manners, like how to come when [the owners] call them and not jump on people, which is usually a big one.”

After the free-of-charge initial evaluation, Milroy determines what type of training the particular dog requires and personalizes each session to the dog’s and owner’s needs.

Milroy also encourages most clients to enroll their pets in the socialization classes, which is a time for dogs to learn how to properly mingle with other dogs and humans they are unfamiliar with in a controlled, safe environment.

“It’s good for everybody because it teaches them how to read body language and communicate with each other without a whole lot of interference from the owner,” Milroy said.

Modi, a Belgian Malinois, sits on top of a natural gas meter. Owner and dog trainer Summer Milroy has won several awards in her years of dog training. Rachel Walters

Past client Melody Neely, 61, was in the program for around a year with her two large rescue dogs and said the program made her life with the dogs much easier.

“As Summer will tell you, it is as much about training the owners how to interact with their dogs as it is about training the dogs,” Neely said. “Both dogs were rescues that had little to no training and were both quite smart. Without the training with Summer, we might not have been able to continue to keep them. However, it only took a very short while of consistent effort to where we could all live happily together.”

Another previous client, 32-year-old Lindsay Rothman, had her dog Linus enrolled in the program over the span of around seven weeks.

Rothman immediately noticed a positive difference in Linus’ behavior after training with Milroy.

“Linus came to our home from a rescue group and was very timid [and] skittish,” Rothman said. “My husband and I employed Summer right away, and the tools she gave us helped Linus settle into his role within our family. He now has a lot of structure and gets to participate in more activities because we know we can trust him to behave appropriately in most situations.”

While Milroy said she attracts clients from all over the age and job spectrums, the most important factor is to enroll the dog in a program as young as possible.

“I find there are very few people who try to get their dog trained right off the bat,” Milroy said. “It’s easier to train a younger dog because it’s like a clean slate. They haven’t learned any bad habits yet.”

Milroy also said it is important to find the right trainer for the specific dog and owner’s taste, even if her training company does not fit what the dog needs.

“A lot of times people contact me because they don’t know what to do,” she said. “Some people have tried training or have gone to other trainers, [but] not every trainer is good with every person. They’re not always a good match.”

If the owner or dog isn’t a good fit for the program, Milroy often refers them to other local trainers in the community who might have different training styles or facilities.

She finds solace in the dog training community in the area who support each other’s businesses rather than competing with them.

“In North Texas, we have a pretty good network of trainers that we can bounce ideas off of,” Milroy said. “We actually have a group on Facebook so that we can all get together for networking meetings and we refer out to each other.”

While the sessions Milroy offers may be an investment, she believes the personalized training is most beneficial to owner’s who wish to have a more positive and stress-free relationship to their canine companion.

“My prices are going to be a lot more than PetSmart, but you also get the more personal [experience] because I come to people’s houses,” Milroy said. “It’s more one-on-one, and it’s geared towards being able to take your dog out.”

Featured Image: Dog trainer Summer Milroy sits her dog Modi beside her. Modi has her own Facebook page with more than 500 likes. Rachel Walters

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Kayla Henson

Kayla Henson

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1 Comment

  1. Michael Burkey
    Michael Burkey September 22, 18:46

    I have known Summer for 8 years and she is a fabulous trainer of dogs and people. She is very patient, understanding, kind, knowledgable, and professional. You can trust her experience and top notch integrity!

    Reply to this comment

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