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coolest things ever and harassed my parents forever before I finally got my first dog, named Lady. I attempted to try to train her to do everything a dog can do. Then I started training other family and friends’ dogs in the neighborhood and started making a little money from it and didn’t have to mow lawns and rake leaves. Eventually I went off to be a Marine and after that I needed a job, and started training dogs again. To be really good at dog training, I felt I had to be able to handle a police dog. Before I was basically training them for a pet dog or sports dog, or explosives and narcotics. I got to be a SWAT cop in Louisville, Kentucky, and harassed my Lieutenant long enough to let me have a dog on our SWAT team, because typically police departments have SWAT or canine, but they typically don’t work together. Moving forward a few years, unfortunately the 911 event changed all of our lives, and the Military Special Ops groups were looking for a dog to help on missions, and a friend in the Secret Service recommended me as one of few people that could do SWAT as an operator and work a dog. I ended up moving as temporary and have been doing ever since 2003 as the government liked what I was doing. The funny part is – I didn’t formally learn to train for this, I did tanks not dogs in the Military, but after 28 or so years, most of it is going out there and doing it. AM: How did you become responsible for leading the way to train elite dogs for the US Special Forces? JF: I was the first special forces dog trainer for the US Military. When they found me, I was teaching a course, and they showed up. I was a Marine and didn’t know much about it. It was intriguing to me and was invited for a six month contract to help start a program – and found out I was starting from scratch, including showing how to pick a dog, housing, vet care, PT conditioning, getting on helicopters,

explosives and finding bad guys. And doing overseas was a whole new step. It took us a couple years to figure the best way to develop the commando dog program. One story, not a success, there was a particular dog and he was one of the best dogs I’d think you can find on the planet with his training and he had a great handler. They deployed and did some good work, then on a mission the dog failed at a pretty simple task, no one died, but some people were injured and took rounds because the dog failed at his job. For me, I can’t stand failure, I’m extremely competitive, it was like losing the World Series, but with peoples' lives on the line. I flew there, the dog was going to get fired anyway. We did some re-training,

Profile for Athleisure Mag

Athleisure Mag Oct 2018