Here’s how The Upbeat K9 can help your pooch play nice

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Because dogs are lifelong learners, Aurelia Ford-Martin’s The Upbeat K9 is having success with dogs of every kind of breed and any age. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Patricia Nugent

Have you ever seen a person being dragged along by a big, untrained dog, chuckled to yourself and wondered…who’s walking whom?

Dog owners nowadays have neither the time nor the temerity to train their furry friends, and function in a state of denial when their pup jumps on people, chews on socks, or ignores verbal commands.

Thanks to a new mobile training service—The Upbeat K9—owners are rightfully retaking their place as alpha leader of their pack.

“Our philosophy is not just to train a dog, but to also show it how to control itself and know what’s expected of it in different situations,” says Aurelia Ford-Martin, who, along with her husband, Steve, introduced the service to the area recently.

In their decorated vans, Aurelia or one of her fellow trainers will pick up your dog in the morning and take it to their training facility, work with it throughout the day and then return it to your home in the evening. It’s that easy. Sessions run for either five or 10 days.

Board and train packages are also available in seven-day, 14-day and 21-day sessions.

Training a Troublesome Twosome: Meet Nala & Bonzai
“We’re working with a Swiss mountain dog named Nala,” says Aurelia. “She was jumping on people playfully but did not know how to control herself. We worked to teach her all of her basic commands. Now her owner reports that when she returns home, Nala is calm and like a different dog.”

And then there’s Bonzai, a frisky Belgium malinois in desperate need of social skills. His owners live in the country where they have few visitors and distractions. Aurelia reports they’ve been socializing him with people and other dogs. “He has also learned place and duration and is learning to walk beside his owners, which has been a challenge,” she says.

Ever Wonder Why Dogs Do What They Do?
“Every behavior a dog exhibits, for better and worse, comes from them being hard-wired with a pack mentality, just like wolves and foxes,” says Aurelia. “And the best trainers understand this.”

For instance, she says, back when dogs were wild and lived in caves, the higher ground was the position reserved only for the alpha dog—so you may wish to think about the message allowing dogs up on your bed or furniture sends.

“Because as leader of your own are the alpha,” she explains.

What You Thought You Knew about Dogs
There are so many misconceptions about which breed is smarter, more independent, etc.

“But what we are finding is that dogs are emotional beings and, just like humans, learn better through different modalities,” she says.

“Each dog we work with has his or her own creativity, empathy and vast intelligence. Some are better at problem-solving, others are more cunning. Our job is to find the best way to get to the root of that to motivate them.”

The bottom line? Old dogs can learn new tricks. Aurelia and her fellow trainers are having success with dogs of every kind of breed and any age.

“Dogs are lifelong learners,” she says.

Upbeat K9 Dog Training is centrally located in Strongsville. They go to homes all over Northeast Ohio. Dog walking is also available. For more information, call 330-461-9287 or visit For a schedule of group lessons, which take place at PetPeople in Strongsville, check out their Facebook page.