Innovative Dog Training Solutions!
Jason Lake ....................... ...
What excites your working dog? Professional dog trainer and handler, Jason Lake visits with Marcie and Whistle about the innovative methods he uses to train dogs. Jason talks about how you can excite your dog to establish an effective and long-term working relationship. He also talks about how he uses his wheelchair to train and compete with his own service dog. Jason’s passion for training dogs is infectious and he inspires the hidden dog trainer in all of us!
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My name is Jason Lake and I am truly honored you have taken the time to visit my site, so now let me tell you a little about the person behind the site. In 1976 I was born in Billings, MT with a rare birth defect called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC). Arthrogryposis is a congenital condition characterized by the reduced mobility of many joints. The joints are fixed in various postures and lack muscle development and growth. Often I will get asked the question "was it difficult growing up like that".
That's not always an easy question to answer, sure; not relying on a wheelchair to get around would be easier, being able to pick up dropped items would be handy and not running over your dates toes does have an advantage to landing a second date. But in actuality I don't know any different, because I was born with this disability, living with those inconveniences is just a way of life for me.
But what if I told you having this disability had some advantages. With anything in life sometimes you must step back and look at the entire picture instead of only part of it. In the late 80's my family moved from Alaska to Oregon to assist my grandparents with their pig farm in the small town of Shady Cove, Oregon. Although at the time I did not realize it I truly believe that laid the foundation for becoming a professional dog trainer. Throughout the years of being on the farm, I had the opportunity to learn much about animal psychology, specially dogs. Although our dogs were not specially trained for herding and ranch work I learned much about drive, temperament and structure just by observation and how they interacted with the livestock and the animals around them.
In my early teens we moved off the farm and into the city, it wasn't till a few years later that I found my calling and my passion in life. Around my sophomore year of high school I meet a man who worked for Dogs For The Deaf as a canine instructor. We came up with an idea to train me a service dog. At the time my parents had purchased a yellow lab for me, she was weak in her temperament but through that weakness I had the opportunity to a great deal about patience and motivational training. By the time I graduated high school I was good at training basic obedience, I remember going to parks and finding strangers walking their dogs and asking if I can help them train their dog just to get more practice.
While all this was going on the internet was gaining popularity and like most Americans I soon found myself "on-line". As you may imagine most of my search queries were for dog information. My research soon lead to me to a dog sport from Germany called Schutzhund. After attending my first Schutzhund trial in a few years later I knew I found the sport for me. At that time there was no Schutzhund club within a few hundred mile radius, so a few years after attending my first trial a friend and I started a small German Shepherd Club. It was nothing big and fancy just a place to come and learn more about the breed and to get receive basic training help. For the a few months we would meet every Saturday but soon things fizzled out and lives changed, but over the passing months I kept bring drawn back to the sport and felt I could being Schutzhund to the Rogue Valley (where I currently live). Now 17 years later I am the president and training director for not only a local 4-H club but the areas first Schutzhund club and although it has been a struggle to keep moving forward and growing I could not have done it alone.