He's another 'dog whisperer'
He's another 'dog whisperer'
By JONATHAN GALLARDO
Sep. 05, 2018
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Callan Brothers isn't your typical 17-year-old. He already is in the third of year of running his own business and drives a minivan around town proudly.
What he's best known for, however, is his skill as a dog trainer, which has turned him into quite the entrepreneur.
Brothers said it kind of started by accident. Two years ago, he was working at Animal Medical Center of Wyoming helping clean out the vet clinic at night.
When customers would pick up their dogs in the morning, they noticed the animals were behaving better, said Callan's father, Greg Brothers.
Turns out, when Callan was supposed to be taking breaks, he was using that down time to work with the dogs. From there, he started his own dog-training business, B-3 K-9.
He does everything from basic training to agility to helping dogs be comfortable in social situations.
In the last two years, Callan has impressed friends, family and pet owners with his ability to train canines, no matter the breed or behavioral problems.
"If he's driving around, there's usually a dog with him," said Greg, a sergeant with the Gillette Police Department who also oversees the department's K-9 division. "I think that helps with the other dogs he works with. They just connect with him."
It might have something to do with how he's been surrounded by dogs his entire life, his dad said.
"I had my first dog when Callan was born, and that dog adopted him," said Greg, who was a K-9 officer for 12 years. He would bring his son along to K-9 training sessions. "He couldn't even talk yet when he started throwing toys to my drug dog."
"He used to climb into dog kennels," added Callan's mom, Christy.
"He wore a dog leash around his waist," Greg said. "That was part of his clothing every day."
Callan owns two dogs of his own: 9-year-old Rocky and 18-month-old Revo. He said it took a while to get his name out there, and he would have go to different events around town to promote his business. But now he's starting to get business from dog owners outside of Campbell County, some from as far away as Sheridan and Rapid City, South Dakota.
Callan estimates he's trained 50 dogs so far and that most of them have had trouble with aggression, confidence and lack of social skills.
What separates Callan from other dog trainers is he doesn't have a template for his trainees, Greg said. Instead, he creates an individualized learning plan for each dog based on its behaviors.
Callan said it's like solving a puzzle, and he loves the feeling that comes when it's completed.
He's working with a dog now that "when someone touches her, she piddles. So right when that dog accomplished not piddling, it's like golden," he said.
But that's only half the battle. Once a dog is trained, "then you have to train the owner," he said, and that can be even more difficult because he has to explain the entire process to the owner and show them what he did.
His young age also makes some people wary, he said.
"Some people don't really take it seriously at the beginning because (of my age)," he said, but he's been able to win them over.
Two of his first customers were Mike and Linda Krupicka, owner of K's Koffee and Deli. They had two dogs at the Animal Medical Center and Callan left them a note asking them to give him a call.
At the time, Callan was only 15 and Linda admitted she was skeptical about his abilities.
"But after I went with him, watched how he worked, I was in shock," she said. "He was so talented for his age, he definitely knows what he's doing."
He taught their dogs the basics: sit, stay, don't bolt out the front door. And Linda's been pleased with the results.
"I couldn't ask for better companions. Those dogs are wonderful and I owe it all to Callan," Linda said.
The Krupickas were so appreciative they decided to help Callan out by buying him a customized canopy tent that he takes around to events.
"We figured, as talented as he is, we needed to make sure he looked professional and people take him seriously," he said.
Greg said he tries to help his son when he can, "but he's created a lot of stuff on his own that I'd never done."
"I think the most amazing thing is he's never been intimidated by any dog," Christy said. "Whether they're aggressive or not, they take to him easily."
Callan said he watches the dogs' behavior and body language to know when it's about to "set off." Most of a dog's aggression comes out of fear, so he tries to keep them as calm as possible.
Callan has seen a number of behaviors from dogs, including some that even his dad hasn't seen. He's now training a dog that freaks out when a human looks at it and talks to it, but it's fine standing next to two people who are having a conversation.
After two years in business, he made his first big purchase. He spent $10,000 on a 2014 Chrysler Town and Country, solely for B3 K-9.
"They call him 'soccer mom,'" Christy said about how his friends tease him for driving a minivan. "He'll even cruise around town with it."
Callan admitted that it's a little unorthodox, but he was drawn to the minivan because it has the space he needs and it's lower to the ground than an SUV, so dogs can get in and out more easily.
"It does good on gas mileage too," he said.
He's busy after school and on the weekends, when he starts in the morning and goes late into the afternoon. That might not sound like the best way to spend a Saturday, but for Callan there's nothing he'd rather do.
"It's fun getting out and working with dogs instead of sitting at an office or something," he said.
Greg said when his son has free time, he helps the Police Department on its K-9 training days.
Callan has one year of high school left — he'll be attending Westwood High School for his senior year — but he's already thinking about how he can continue his dog training business. He hopes to get additional training and certification, and he eventually wants to move into a building, which would give him more flexibility — especially during the Wyoming winters — and allow him to board dogs.
Linda Krupicka said Callan can go places with his skills.
"With Callan, it's a God-given talent," she said. "In our eyes, he's the 'Dog Whisperer'."
Information from: The Gillette (Wyo.) News Record, http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com