We are used to hearing the old adage that “a dog is man’s best friend”, yet in Bahamian society we tend to pay little attention to actually training our animals and miss out on the best part of the relationship with our dogs. Nu Woman recently had an opportunity to meet up with and talk to Dwight Higgins owner of Elite K9 Work Dogs about what he enjoys doing most.
Dwight, who has been a dog trainer for the past 25 years, says he first became interested in dogs at the age of 8 years old.
“My Uncle Sidney used to have pot cakes* around the yard and this is where my interest first developed.
Later on I began working with Don Butler caring for guard dogs.
An opportunity arose to pick up two dogs from Miami, Florida. That was when I met Abel Montejo of Kendal Canine, who I later took on an apprenticeship with for 3 years, 1989 – 1991. He was my mentor. I then came back to Nassau and started my own dog training business, riding my bicycle to appointments.”
We met with Dwight and Jakal on Goodman’s Bay. I was at once curious about Jakal (pronounced ‘yuk ool’) and began asking questions.
Jakal is a Belgian Malinois who Dwight had trained and who was also in Dwight’s care when the owners were away.
Dwight explains, “The Belgian Malinois is a great dog for personal protection and they have a longer life span. Training a dog like Jakal can take anywhere from 10 months to a year but he is trained to adapt to any situation”.
On average the price to customized personal protection trained dogs can go from anywhere between $6500 and $80,000.
Along with the cost of training Dwight offers 20 free follow-up sessions over the course of 1 year. He has also started offering a couple of free sessions “Saving the Underdogs” which is open to owners of adopted dogs to give them the opportunity to come to class and ask questions, get tips on help with their dogs behavior or just time to socialize their pets.
“During my work I have found that many people who have adopted dogs have after a matter of months had to surrender them back into the system for reasons of the dogs not behaving, being hard to handle or simply destructive. So this was the main reason for offering these free sessions.
In the last session I held the numbers had doubled and I hope that the audience will build some more. The owners were extremely happy as well as the dogs too!”
Dwight talks about future plans.
My focus and mission is one day to have cadaver dogs, search and rescue dogs, detection dogs for bomb, firearms, termite, mold, cell phone detection and human detection available here in the Bahamas for purchase. I would like to have trained assistance dogs for the medical field including cancer detection dogs, diabetes detection dogs and assistance dogs not only seeing eye dogs but for autism, seizures and Post traumatic stress disorder. I would love to see in the future a team of volunteers prepared where we could start going around to senior citizens facilities and hospitals where the dogs could meet and greet the patients and help aid their recovery. I would like to start going to different schools to educate the children about the responsibilities of pet ownership and the importance of having a well behaved canine companion, so that they can be fully integrated in the family life and not kept at home because they cannot function in society. I wish it were compulsory that all pet owners undertook obedience classes with their pets.
With crime on the rise in Nassau, adopting a dog would be a good asset, as they are loyal, affectionate and great guards, especially whilst you sleep. BUT a well-trained dog is an asset not a liability.
For customized services offered to clients –see ABOUT page on ELITE K9 WORK DOGS face book page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elite-K9-Work-Dogs/197944466957612
Telephone: (242) 535-7303 OR (242) 429-5110
Some of the best breeds to have around children: German Shepherd, Labrador and Golden Retriever.
*pot cake- mixed dog breed.