During the political turmoil in South Africa in the 90’s, I lived in the most violent city in the world – Johannesburg. The crime and corruption I witnessed and close scrapes with a number of bad situations led me to obtain a security dog for protection. Specifically in the home and my motor vehicle to combat potential hijacking which was a common occurrence. I proceeded to work with a number of dogs and joined my first working dog club in 1992, the Meridian Rottweiler League. I have been in the dog training business since then.
During the early years at the club I got deeply involved with security dogs. Working with law enforcement led me to a dog sport called Schutzhund. At that time I had a young Rottweiler named Caesar who was smart, agile and only wanted to work and please. I competed with him to multiple Schutzhund Level III titles and eventually took second place in the nationals in South Africa in 1994.
I was the training director for the club from 1993 through 1996 working with the dogs and coaching their owners. I trained everything from new pups to correcting older dogs for obedience to advanced Schutzhund sport and security dog training. I became a qualified decoy/dog helper teaching dogs to bite and attack on command while maintaining control which is a huge requirement in the security and sport dog world. This training became my passion and I did very well on the competition circuit with a number of dogs.
In 1996 I immigrated to the USA moving to Dallas, Texas where I became involved with a professional dog training service the Dallas Dog Trainer. This company has been around since 1987 and is still in business today. I became the training director working with the owner on a number of problem dogs and the Dallas Police Department. I was still competing with my personal dogs and joined the Frisco Working Dog Club helping with decoy work and dog training as the training director. In 1998 I joined the Dallas Working Dog Club where I served as training director until 2001. At this time I continued to compete with Eiko a 2 year old German Shepard I imported from Germany and placed second in the Dallas Schutzhund regionals.
I moved to America’s Finest City, San Diego in 2001 and joined the North County Schutzhund Club. I became the training director staying with the club and working my own dogs and club dogs to compete in the circuit throughout California. In 2005, I became certified as Club Trial Helper for the German Shepherd Dog Clubs of America and for the United Schutzhund Clubs of America. I continued to work with problem dogs and helped owners by coaching them in the dog sport and private in-home lesson for obedience.
In 2007 I was involved with the local Der Honder Plats which specialized in show quality German Shephards. I competed with Eiko until 2008 when he died suddenly of stomach cancer bringing the end of my competition in the dog world. Although heartbroken over the loss of both Caesar and Eiko in the span of two months, I still had the same love to work and train dogs as I did as a child.
While owning and operating my new business Duke Dog Coaching, I imported a magnificent black German Shepard in 2008 named Duke and he is still with me today. He is my right hand dog and the best business partner/companion I ever had! hope this gives you an understanding of how passionate I am about working with dogs and can help you become a better owner to your beloved pets.
Owner Gary Grassi