Nitro K-9 Founder Steve Walter
Hello again, my name is Steve Walter and I am the founder of a training system called “The Nitro Dog”. I have been training dogs since I was a teenager and during those many, many years I have realized one thing; using food rewards for correct behavior is a lie. Many trainers will hide a very watered down way of training in a concept of “Non-Cruelty” to scare you into using their methods; using negative images and trying to convince you that anything else would be cruel or mean. I want you to know there is hope, and there is a better way.
I started out using edible rewards in the early 90’s but soon noticed that if the food disappeared, the dog would not obey and would simply ignore me. I even noticed at times I could have food and I would still get the same indifferent response. As if the dog was thinking “I will behave for you, if the price is right”. I tried clicker training as well, and many times I would either forget to bring my clicker or the dog would be so distracted by background noise he/she couldn’t even hear it.
I started getting involved with many of the European dog clubs, such as French Ring, SchutzHund, Mondio Ring, KNPV and a few others. I noticed that even though food was used, it was totally different in application and in response. I noticed right away that none of these dogs had aggression issues, jumped on people, pulled on leash, and that many were trained to bite men, for real. At that moment I began my quest for a better training system for the average person, one that would incorporate bonding, mutual respect, and stellar behavior. As I trained my oldest dog Isaiah in the French dog sports I noticed a difference; there was a new desire to please me. I was able to take him wherever I wanted… He didn’t suffer from separation anxiety or a lack of focus, and I felt like we were really together… the bond we created was beyond anything I thought possible.
My system uses non-cruel, humane methods based on respect and the expectation of good behavior. When I was young if I had a fit in the store for a candy bar or a box of cereal, I would never get it. I was expected to do my homework without a reward, to work around the house, and to show common courtesy. I expect the same from my dogs. A saying that has stuck with me for a long time is “you can’t buy love,” and the same goes for dogs… You can’t buy respect and good behavior with food.
I often spend most of my time retraining dogs because of the food and clicker methods that have left many owners and dogs lives in total ruins. If you apply yourself to my system, you will learn, and you will feel a bond with your dog like you never imagined.
Nitro K-9’s “Nitro Dog” training system is designed to educate the owner as well as the dog, in a comprehensive and caring manner.
I invite you, if you want to experience the best, to give me a call, and let’s get started right away.
Lead Trainer and Co-owner
Christina has been training for Nitro K-9 for more than six years. As a youth, she was involved in the 4-H dog program, where she participated in obedience, agility, and conformation with her personal family dog. She then trained and worked as a veterinary technician for a few years. But although she loved working with the animals, she discovered that she was less interested in the veterinary field and more interested in helping the many aggressive and anxious dogs she encountered on a daily basis.
Her formal dog training started when she consulted with Steve Walter about her personal dog—the same one she had titled in obedience–who was a dream in the ring, but could not walk down the block without lunging at other dogs or pulling. Upon seeing her dog happily heeling and engaged within minutes, she was hooked on the idea of “no food training” and started an apprenticeship right then and there. Within a year, she was seeing her own clients. Today—and hundreds of dogs later of all breeds, temperament, and size–—Christina runs runs our hands-off training and dog walking programs and both handles and decoys in our protection training. Well-versed and experienced in all behavioral issues, she is particularly gifted at resolving anxiety and fear issues.
Ever since she was a child, Ajase has had a deep compassion for animals and a fascination with working dogs that have a trained job they do alongside their people. But it wasn’t until she adopted her current dog Ramona that she started to research different trainers and their training methods. She quickly saw the pitfalls of current popular food-based systems, and was actively seeking knowledge elsewhere. When she found Nitro K-9, she watched all the videos and was blown away by how reliable all the dogs were, what great obedience they had—but also how happily they performed. After a year of intensive studying and supervised practice, Ajase now sees her own clients, both in the Hands Off program and in private training sessions. And don’t let her appearance fool you—Ajase is a precise taskmaster who will get you and your dog working flawlessly! Ajase also walks dogs, which is always a great way to fine-tune your dog’s obedience and keep it sharp!
For Greg—the newest addition to the Nitro K-9 team—returning to dogs and to teaching feels like a full circle. He grew up with dogs and wolf hybrids, and by his early 20s was informally training all the dogs of friends and acquaintances. But with a family and move west from his native New Hampshire, he pursued other paths, including working as builder. The call of working with animals was strong, however; in 2002, he started a side career as a farrier, which, in turn, led to working on a ranch training 30 wild horses (and a poodle because he couldn’t help himself). Working as an apprentice in the Nitro K-9 system has given him the technical knowledge to add to his considerable animal experience, a process helped by his background in martial arts. He is also learning protection work, including being a decoy, and search and rescue. Greg lives on Whidbey Island where he owns and operates a mooring company, and commutes to Seattle where he works with Steve and runs his own private training sessions.
When you call us, you’re likely to speak to Crystal—our office manager extraordinaire. In addition to a long work history as both receptionist and office administrator, Crystal is also extremely familiar with the Nitro K-9 system of dog training. With three German Shepherds—one of whom is a service dog—she started as a client and since 2012, has also worked for us as a dog walker, trainer under apprenticeship, and decoy in protection. Today, she is in charge of keeping us all running smoothly, including scheduling, invoicing, and restocking equipment. Plus, she makes sure that everyone is exactly where they need to be!
Decoy and Dog Walker
Danny is our main decoy in protection classes, with more than three years of solid decoy training and work under his belt. An invaluable member of the team, he also works tirelessly as one of our dog walkers. In his own words, he feels that dogs are his calling—and he loves working with them because it brings him a real feeling of accomplishment to see them learn, work, progress and succeed.