Originally from Little Falls, Tommy Martin of Clear Lake, enjoys helping people with their dog training needs. While dog training is something he’s been doing since he was a teenager, Martin said he recently decided to turn his passion into a full-time business, Revive Canine.
Martin said one thing that sets his company apart from many other dog training businesses is that he travels to customers for private lessons no matter where they live in Minnesota. He thinks it is important that the dog being trained is trained alongside the owner. After all, he said, it is the owner that the dog should ultimately listen to.
Working with clients and their dogs, Martin said owners generally feel much more empowered afterwards in handling their dog.
“It’s my favorite part. Go to someone’s house and help them make their life less stressful,” he said.
Martin said sometimes people don’t realize the toll an unruly dog can take on individuals and families.
“You’d be surprised at the tension a dog can create in a home. I have seen it hurt relationships and break families,” he said.
An example, Martin said, is when a person got the dog and really loves it despite their bad habits and behaviors. However, her spouse may not feel the same way about the dog and may even want to get rid of it.
“It can create a lot of tension in a family,” he said.
Martin said that once a client requests home training, he first visits the client’s home and sits with them for about an hour to really find out what issues they are having with their dog. He then works with the owner and the dog.
Martin said this hands-on method has worked very effectively with owners and dogs to combat negative habits and behaviors. Because of how the method led to a positive outcome, Martin said he had several clients who started crying at the relief the change brought. It also gave them hope for the future with the animal, he said.
A love for dogs has been with Martin for many years. His own adventure as a dog owner began when he was 15 years old. At that time, he says, he was very fond of sports, especially hockey. His father, Gary, also coached him for a time.
“We did everything together,” he said.
All that changed, Martin said, when his father was deployed to Iraq – a reality that hit him very hard. The interest in being involved in any sport is gone, along with the desire to really want to do anything, Martin said.
Eventually, while hanging out with a few friends after school, their passion for duck hunting rubbed off on Martin.
“They were really passionate about duck hunting and I remember going hunting with them. They also brought their dog which they had professionally trained to hunt. For me, the coolest part of hunting was watching the dogs,” he said.
Wanting her own dog to practice hunting, all hope was lost after the death of the family dog, Buck. With his father still deployed, Martin said he struggled for some time. However, her brother-in-law, George Fortier, who hunted ducks and had a professionally trained dog, changed his mind when he offered her one of his dog’s puppies. The puppy, a purebred black Labrador, was named Molly, Martin said.
“While I was waiting for the pup to get old enough to leave its mother, I went to Scheels and bought all the dog training books, DVDs and anything I could find that had anything to do with it. dog training. I just became obsessed with it,” he said.
Martin said that while her family wasn’t poor, they didn’t have the money to spend thousands of dollars sending Molly to training.
“I just knew I would need to train her myself,” he said.
By training Molly himself, Martin said it strengthened their relationship. Looking back, it was a very gratifying feeling when he went hunting with the same friends a few years later and Molly turned out to be a better hunting dog than her friends’ dogs, who had been trained by professionals.
“I kind of attributed that to the fact that I trained her myself. I really believe the most important part is the relationship you build with your dog,” he said.
Martin said when it comes to having a good relationship with a dog, it’s less about all the commands, such as sit, stay, lie down and more. Rather, he said, it is about living with the animal and creating a connection with the place where the dog trusts its master to protect it, to be there for it, to feed it, to care for it. and play with him.
“Thinking about her compared to the other dogs, they were just very obedient, they knew the commands and the behaviors and they did it and it worked. But there was a lot more with me and my dog, Molly. She wanted to please me and everything we did, we did together,” he said.
Since then, Martin has helped many friends and clients train their dogs. At first it was just something he did during the winter months while he was laid off from his regular construction job.
He also ended up training his then-girlfriend, now wife, Chelsea dog Nova. It was a dog that Chelsea had saved and although she was nice, she had a spirit that made her life more difficult. Much harder, says Martin, that is, until she gets trained.
Martin said working with Nova kind of inspired him to consider working with dogs full time. Instead of returning to work in construction, Martin started working at a kennel, bathing dogs.
“I knew I just wanted to get a job where I was with dogs,” he said.
By working with the dogs, Martin said he learned more about their behaviors and the different signals dogs use to communicate. Working in a kennel was also a humbling experience for him, Martin said. Especially since he was in his late twenties and his friends had already figured out their lives and made way over $12 an hour.
As the kennel owner was aware of Martin’s interest in becoming a trainer, Martin was able to shadow one of the trainers and receive additional training on how to train dogs professionally. Everything was fine until the pandemic closed those doors, he said.
After a while, Martin came across a local mondioring (dog training) club, where he was able to observe and learn more about dog training.
“Watching athletic competition lit a whole new fire for me. I was so blown away. I had never seen anything like it. It was like the equivalent of watching police dogs in action. I was addicted,” he said.
A self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, Martin said the first night at the club he also had the opportunity to don a bite suit and get bitten by a dog.
“I really liked that adrenaline rush,” he said.
Recalling, Martin said he had met many dog trainers over the years and had been mentored by many as well. Every coach is different. One of Martin’s strengths and goal, he said, is to be very friendly and to communicate well without making the client feel bad or “stupid” for engaging in a specific pattern. or not to know. He is simply there to help and it brings him great joy to see the relationship between dog and owner grow stronger.