It has been said that frustration can be a valuable motivator. For Kayla Papesh, that was certainly the case when she found herself propelled into a new career direction, all thanks to a new pet. Papesh is the owner and instructor of Superior K9, a new dog training business founded in Superior.
“My hunting dog, Whiskey, was the one who got me into dog training. He was an absolute terror. I had tried to train him with what little I knew at the time, but what I was doing clearly wasn’t working and we both ended up confused, frustrated and on edge with each other,” she explained.
After researching coaches to send him to, she said, “I realized I could coach and train him at the same time!” Papesh continued, “I called a friend of mine back home who was a professional dog trainer and she encouraged me to pursue a career in dog training.”
Going through various schools, she finally settled on Top Tier K9 Dog Training Academy. Papesh also sought out a mentor, Gary K. of Stevensville, to help guide her journey as a trainer. She has also studied and read countless dog training books. Papesh said, “After a nearly two-year journey, I have decided to officially open my own companion dog training business out of my home, enter Superior K9.”
Originally, Papesh moved to Superior for other animal-related work, serving as the Mineral County Meat and Poultry Inspector for the Montana Department of Livestock. But she claimed: ‘I’ve been an animal person all my life. In fact, I started in the horse world at a young age and have always loved riding and having horses. Over the past few years I have focused more on dogs and have become fascinated with canine behavior, training and psychology.
The Northern California transplant moved to Dillon where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a minor in Small Business Management from Montana Western University in 2018. Once she landed her job at the Department ranching, the 25-year-old bought her first home on just under an acre of land in Superior.
Papesh explained, “I have officially launched Superior K9 LLC. in October 2021, after graduating as a Certified Companion Dog Trainer (CPDT) from the Academy of Top Tier K9 Dog Trainers.
She herself has three pooches. Greeia, a 4-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi, was her first dog. Papesh noted: “She is a huge asset to my business as she has the most amazing temperament of any dog I have ever met. I used her in class, as my demonstration dog.
Whiskey, his crossbred dog, was the troublemaker who led to this trip.
She recalls, “I picked him up off Facebook for $150 in December 2019. He’s the main reason I really got into dog training. He’s kind of a barnyard genetic disaster, but with almost two years of training under him he’s now a fantastic trail partner and has very fast, reliable and flashy obedience.
Her new puppy Lira, now 14 weeks old, is her Foundation Dog® for Top Tier K9 classes. Papesh detailed, “The goal is to take her to the Foundation Dog® class and then come down to Florida to complete the training and pass our exam to get our Foundation Dog certification.”
Training with Lira consists of several phases including scent detection, biting and protection work, basic obedience, socialization, tracking and basic service dog tasks.
Papesh said: “She will eventually be my demo dog for Superior K9 and I also plan to complete her as both a personal protection dog and injured game recovery dog, blood tracking dog, as well as in other other areas related to conservation.”
Papesh diligently pursues his training in dog training. She said: “At Top Tier K9 Dog Trainer Academy I am currently pursuing my Foundation Dog ® Trainer Certificate which is basically learning how to train a puppy into a K9 Police and Military working dog. , assistance dogs and scent detection dogs. . I have gained hands-on experience training dogs of different breeds, temperaments and training levels.
After countless hours of hands-on experience, training programs and mentoring, Papesh can now help others with their dogs. She detailed: “At this time I am offering a three week stay and train program, where dogs will learn the five basic obedience commands; sit, lay, rise, come and heel.
Each week she meets with the owners of the dog and teaches them how to apply the training she has already taught their dogs, so that both dog and owner have a solid understanding of the training.
Superior K9 also offers private lessons and puppy consultations to help owners better understand the principles of training and behaviors of their dogs. Lessons include teaching materials and resources on dog training. Papesh reflected, “I am considering offering a small group class for basic obedience this spring if there is interest here in Mineral County.” Another service available is boarding on a limited basis for clients and dogs that have already completed its stay and training program.
She conducts her residency and training program away from home. Papesh shared: “My goal is to prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to staying and training. The training as well as the round-the-clock care that dogs need takes a lot of time, and I want to prioritize the welfare of the animals in my care, rather than trying to cram in as much as I can. possible in my house.
“I have no intention or desire to become a millionaire by training dogs, I just want to provide people with a service that is desperately needed in Montana, especially with more and more people working from home during the pandemic. Keeping the dogs in my home is also ideal because that’s usually where most people have their dogs, not in big, noisy, awkward kennels,” she said.
But later, Papesh has dreams for his new property and dog training business. She added: “I plan to build two outdoor kennels with heating and air conditioning as well as runs. I also plan to convert my workshop into a heated/cooled training center with rubber flooring, an obstacle course and a treadmill. This way I can do all kinds of workouts throughout the year.
And while expansion will be a slow process, she mentioned, “I plan to invest as much as possible in a good infrastructure system that provides the safest possible environment for humans and their dogs to enjoy. learn and practice”.
Papesh agrees that there are a lot of misconceptions about dog training. “I can tell you with all confidence that every dog on this planet, and their owners, can benefit from dog training in one form or another.” She added, “Understanding basic canine psychology is always a good place to start. The book “Inside of a Dog” by Alexandra Horowitz is the one I always recommend to all my clients. You can’t properly train a dog without first understanding how it learns, thinks, and interacts with its world.
Her best advice for dog owners is to find a professional trainer and work with them on one aspect or another. She said: “Yes, you will probably have to pay for information, but ask questions and make the most of it. And stick to it! It can take a long time to see changes, but training your dog is a way of life and good management will take time, creativity and sacrifice, but I promise it will be worth it in the end.
And Papesh added that there are two things all dogs should know for their safety and well-being. She said: “Almost all dogs should be crate trained and reliable recall.
Crates are extremely important in training and provide a safe environment for the dog to rest in. A reliable recall is imperative and can save your dog’s life.
For most animal lovers, this can be a balancing act between working with people and their pets.
Papesh said: “Even though I’m not really a ‘people person’, I really enjoy helping clients with their dogs and giving them the tools they need to help themselves and their dogs become a team. efficient. It’s hugely rewarding, and watching people’s faces light up when they can see their dog finally understands a command and does it right for the first time – makes every fight 110% worth it. »
That being said, Papesh teased, “If I could spend all day training puppies to follow and bite, I absolutely would.”
The formation has been steady so far for Papesh. She said: “Once I really establish a good routine, I plan to be able to take two Stay & Train dogs at a time while I’m still working for the state. Once I train dogs full time, I plan to be able to take three to four Stay & Trains at a time.
Over the next couple of years, she might even hire a kennel technician or apprentice to live on-site at her guesthouse on the property, allowing her to take on more dogs in the future. “As summer approaches and I become more established and have a consistent clientele, dog training will be my full-time occupation,” Papesh celebrated.
When Papesh isn’t working or training with her furious friends, you’ll likely find her outside enjoying nature. Although she admitted: “Unfortunately I don’t have much free time anymore, but when I can I like to ski, hike and ride horses. Going to the mountains with the dogs is my favorite way to spend a free day.
To contact Kayla Papesh about dog training, you can find her at Superior K9 on Instagram or Facebook, and she also has a website, www.superior-k9.com.