San Antonio dog trainer 'talks' to animals

Andres Valdez: owners need to re-think approach


Andres Valdez hasn't always been able to talk with the animals. 

He started working with dogs four years ago at a San Antonio pet store and immediately felt a calling with helping owners that had issues with their pets.

"A lot of the issues I saw with the dogs coming in were anxiety, excitement, frustration, charging, and a lot of the owners weren't having a good time actually trying to hold and control the dogs," said Valdez. "I started looking through certain training programs and found that a lot of it was based on human psychology, a lot of excitement, and what I bring to the field is more understanding the reasoning behind that behavior."

It sounds like common sense, but he has shown countless dog owners across the area that training dogs is a lot like raising a child.

"Just like we love our children, we also have to discipline them, direct them, give them guidance (and) information, that kind of thing," he said. "I also tell my clients (that) in order to have a basic relationship, you have to build a foundation and that's built on trust and respect."

When he's not walking or roller-blading with his large pack of mostly rescued animals, he's working with customers. 

On this day he visited roommates that were having problems with one of their new dogs.

"I work overnights and come home and she goes crazy," said Claudia Ramos, referring to Zena, her roommate's new German shepherd. "I'm scared of that dog because she's already attacked my little Chihuahua. I told her she needs to work on this dog or it's got to go."

"I want to be able to take her out for walks, take her out for runs, but when I go out there she pulls me and I say, 'No, you know what, let's go back,' said Maria Alviar, Zena's owner. 

Within moments of working with Zena, Andres has her submissive by invading her space and staking his territory.

"The more I start owning stuff or claiming stuff or taking stuff away from her in a psychological way, she becomes less powerful," he said. "This is the part most people don't understand."

He added that most training brings a lot of excited praise. His approach brings calming energy partly as a means to respect. Lessons that aren't lost on her impressed owner.

"Everything he tells me I'm going to keep doing it and keep doing it until she learns," said Alviar. 

"I'm pretty sure with everything we're doing, I'm hoping and praying that she does get better and she gets more trained so we can keep her," added Ramos.

For more information on Valdez's services, you can visit his website, http://4k9kamp.vpweb.com/.

For a list of recent stories Charles Gonzalez has done, click here.