Ex-Adman Learns A New Trick – Training Dogs

The Gazette (Montreal):

Got a bad dog? I don’t mean an occasional carpet-piddler or a growler who unsettles the postman.

We’re talking a dog so bad you don’t even get email. We’re talking a four-legged fascist who makes you roll over. We’re talking Cerberus at the gates of Hades.

But before trading that cantankerous canine to Michael Vick for a housebroken goldfish, you might want to give Graham Smith a call. A former advertising executive turned dog trainer, Smith is a franchisee for Bark Busters, a service that will turn your badly behaved dog into – dare we say it? – a pussycat.

Launched 20 years ago in Australia by behaviour therapists Danny and Sylvia Wilson, who wanted to develop an alternative to euthanasia for problem pets, Bark Busters has trained 500,000 dogs around the world.

The company has launched a contest to find Quebec’s naughtiest dog, and frazzled owners have until Aug. 1 to submit a video or a photo and text of no more than 200 words (full details online at www.quebecsnaughtiestdog.ca).

Smith and I go back a ways. I wrote about him in 2003, when Smith celebrated the 10th anniversary of his wedding to Kathy Holland by hiring Luc Bouffard, an Elvis impersonator from Mascouche, to sing at the party.

The 47-year-old Smith exudes a former adman’s easy bonhomie, a talent that seems to translate well to dog training. He’s trained 700 dogs in two years and set Bark Busters records: fastest to 50 dogs trained, fastest to 100, 250, 500.

Photo: Dario Ayala / The Gazette.

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