Specialized K9 Services Testimonials

K9 Training Testimonials

Steve The Dogfather

Dogs are smarter than their owners. Participating in seven dog training classes with our various dogs over the past 10 years, I learned that it is the owner who must learn, not the dog. My husband and I have taken other classes on the Outer Banks of NC, where we live, and have even traveled to Virginia in search of a good class. By far and away, Steve Canady of Specialized Canine Services is truly the best of the best. Steve is patient and kind, communicating with the dogs and teaching the owners how to do the same. He is available by phone, email and even text messaging if you have a question/problem that can’t wait until class. Steve is truly a dedicated professional and wants each dog and owner to succeed. He goes the extra mile. All of our current dog family has had the benefit of Steve’s instruction, including two Bichons, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and a Jack Russell. Each dog posed different challenges, but Steve’s gentle but firm lead won all of them over. We’ve referred family and many friends to Steve’s classes and all have been happily impressed. Even our friends from D.C. schedule private classes with Steve for members of their dog family every time they visit. Steve has both unique and tried and true methods for teaching obedience without ever breaking the dog’s spirit. Rather, he works with each dog’s “personality” and finds what works with each individual dog. Classes with Steve are FUN and our dogs are eager to attend. Having a job to do has helped our pup’s brains develop and they are a joy to be around.

Blue Heeler

We went to see Steven with our Blue Heeler puppy to make sure he was where he needed to be in his training and socialization for an 11 mo old. Steven was great and we learned alot in the first session. He taught us “fun” ways to train our puppy and also ourselves (we need more training than the dog did). The cost of the visit was great and we really did get our money’s worth. At the end of the visit he let me get our other dog (Boxer) out and play in the training lot and then spent time working with both of us also. I loved that fact that Steven looked at everything as a “training” opportunity even the supply truck driver as a socialization tool. It was great! The staff was so welcoming and friendly when we went in and it was very organized and easy to find anything you are looking for. I highly recommend the “indestructible egg” toy-my dogs love it. We plan on practicing at home and then coming back for more training as our puppy grows. It is also a great convenient location and very safe training/containment place for the dogs.
Thank you so much!!
Katrina Debruhl-Covan
Asheville, NC

Australian Shepard

Thanks, Steve, for coming over to the house this week to work with our Australian Shepherd (and with us). She’s been a handful, and we haven’t been successful in training her. After seven years we are confident that our Tillie is finally on her way to being a happier dog. Your NERDS program – nutrition, exercise, rewards, discipline, and structure – is already showing results. The outline is simple (although it may take some time to retrain the humans of the house). We appreciate your detailed notes on the commands so we can do our homework!
And thanks for taking time with Tillie and me at your store yesterday. I was so pleased to see Tillie finally enjoying playtime with other dogs in your yard. You really helped her to settle when a stranger walked into the store, too.
We look forward to more helpful training with you!
– Mary and Roger Kopac

Severely Abused and Neglected

Our Chessie, was a rescue who had been severely abused and was stubborn and people aggressive. Steve trained him out of his bad habits and taught him to be a “good dog citizen”. Now we even trust him around little children.


High Energy Jack Russell

Our high energy Jack Russell had a barking problem and generally was skittish——no more! Our bichons had problems running off and we feared they’d run into the street. Now they respond to us quickly and happily. Our two year old bichon is totally off-lead and responds to hand commands (sign language) as an intermediate level trained dog and is helping to teach her one year old “brother”. If you have any doubts about whether you should take your dog to obedience class—the answer is yes. But most importantly it is the trainer who works with you and your dog that makes all the difference. Steve Canady will not disappoint you or your dog.

Barb & Terry Getchell

Anxiety Attacks

When I was referred to my dog’s first trainer, I didn’t realize that she was totally of the ‘break the spirit’ training mentality. I was a quick study on that one as I watched her work with my German shepherd dog, Timber. It was horrible. After only two sessions w/ her, Timber, got terrible anxiety attacks as soon as we pulled into her parking lot, so for almost two years, needless to say, he didn’t have a trainer and lost extremely valuable training time. Then, we heard about Steve from Deborah at Cyber Dog USA in Kitty Hawk. Actually, he sounded too good to be true. Then, we met Steve. Timber fell in love. We registered for an obedience course, and the change in Timber’s attitude and performance was remarkable. Now, when we pull into the parking lot of the Kitty Hawk location where Timber trains w/ Steve, Timber gets so excited that I have to calm him to put him on his lead. He absolutely loves going to class and working with Steve.

Sign Language

I love the way Steve incorporates sign language into the training commands. That’s just one example of the useful training tidbits, extra perks, and bonus knowledge for the dogs and handlers alike that he constantly drops throughout his courses. What’s even more amazing is Steve’s uncanny ability to communicate with and train dogs. Almost immediately, he is able to get them to follow his commands instruction.

Howling & Barking>

I can’t help but think about Riley, a female Golden Retriever, in the obedience course Timber just finished. This young pup was having none of it, howling, barking, rolling on the floor, jerking on her lead, basically throwing rebellious little fits and refusing to follow the owner / handler’s commands at all during class. You just wouldn’t believe it! By the end of just a few sessions, she was performing as well as many of the other students in the class. It was awesome and at the same time precious to watch Steve work his magic and to observe her transformation from an unruly pup to an admirably well-mannered one. We have a couple of skills that Timber just doesn’t want to follow command for me. I’m still working on those at home with him. I practice and practice and practice. Then, I get totally frustrated, wondering what I’m doing wrong or have forgotten from class. I take him over to see Steve. He barely even looks at the dog and he performs the skill perfectly. Perfectly! Of course, Steve just smiles that special smile of his and reinforces to me that he trains humans to be calm, assertive, and consistent, that it’s not the dog. The dog knows. Timber thrives on learning and thinking and working, and we both are looking forward to Steve’s next challenge for him.

Humans must be trained

It really is a human thing, you know. The dogs are the brilliant ones; we humans have to be trained. Steve’s not finished with me yet. I’m still learning, but Timber, even with his 2-year old, adolescent mentality, learned his lessons and knows his skills well, thanks to Steve’s awesome style and knowledge base. It’s not just one thing; it’s the whole package.

Extremely Skilled Trainer

Steve is a kind, compassionate, humble, down-to-earth, patient, and extremely skilled dog trainer. I could go on and on about him, but I think you get the idea. I’ve never worked with anyone who remotely compares to him ~ the Dogfather has arrived! This is just a besotted owner / handler’s humble opinion, but I think Cesar Milan, as much as I admire him, has some really tough competition heading his way. I hope Timber and I are there to see it!
Deb D. Sauls
Proud to be dog blessed!

Steve’s Class is great

I was nervous the first day because I knew my dog would be bad, and she was. But, Steve noticed right away, and he was able to make her act right with him right away. Then he showed me during the weeks of the class how I could make her behave.”
Anita Johnson

Hi Jackie, Your name was given to me by Steve Canady as a reference for his dog training. Did you like Steve’s methods and would you recommend him? Thank you, Marcha Thompson

Absolutely. I have taken many dogs through many obedience classes and he is the best that I have ever trained with. He is very low key, gentle and extremely thorough. It is truly amazing to watch him work with dogs with problems. He seems very experienced and has a suggestion for every problem. His suggestions work. You will be truly impressed and pleased with your dogs behavior. You have to practice what he preaches. Jackie Orsulak ( my dog is a 4 month old newfoundland pup)

Learned a great deal

I recently took one of Steve’s basic dog training course for myself and my male Yorkshire Terrier puppy and Steve was great! He understands both dog and human behavior and is able to clearly explain and demonstrate the skills needed to be a successful pet owner with a well behaved pet. I feel I learned a great deal and think everyone with a dog young or old would benefit from Steve’s classes.—Beverly Moors, Edenton

Immediate Difference

At only 4 weeks and about 8 pounds, some of our rescued lab puppy’s naughty behaviors were cute when she first arrived. That quickly changed as she seemed to get bigger and stronger every day. Pulling on clothes turned into tearing our shirt tales. We realized basic obedience was a must! I found Steve through an internet search; read articles about him and testimonials. Katie and I started basic class when she was 4 months old. We immediately saw a difference and began to understand all the things we were doing wrong. Books are a great resource, but there’s no substitute for a great trainer. You’ll be surprised how much is about your behavior! Now at 7 months and 70 pounds, Katie is happy to follow the pack leader, me! – The Goodwin Family

Amazing Experience

It has been an amazing experience to watch my 4 lb Chihuahua puppy go from not knowing any commands to being able to Heel, Place, Wait, Stay, Front, Release, Walk, Leave it, in what seems like a very short time . We are so proud of him and thrilled at his eagerness to learn. Steve is a Great teacher, he is wonderful with the dogs which you can tell he loves. But he is training us humans to train our dogs with compassion, understanding and patience. He says there is no such thing as a bad dog and we never use that word in our house. Only Good and No. Earl is so friendly and confident in any situation. I think his training has helped him around other dogs and people and he is a total joy and Love at home. Thank You, Steve we look forward to the Intermediate Class!
Wes and Rhonda Bates

Out of Control Golden Retriever

My 8 month old golden retriever took 3 BIG steps backward in training due to several factors ( my fault as well as circumstances). We had to evacuate and move around due to hurricane Irene. My K9 was crated, around other dogs, allowed to run free through the woods over several weeks. Needless to say, I discontinued training my K9 due to the upheaval in our lives. Unfortunately or fortunately, my K9 got my attention by accidentally biting my thumb. I realized she was OUT-OF-CONTROL and I was not knowledgeable in how to help her stop jumping, leash pulling and going berserk. I’d worked with rescue dogs but never raised a puppy before. I had a little bit of knowledge but not enough to get on top of the situation. I reached out to other dog owners who sent me off the island. I tried one place but did not feel it was a good match. In fact, I was told my dog was highly aggressive and it would take a year to get her trained and under controlled. I was astonished! My beautiful puppy was a mess to the point I was told it might be best if I surrendered her. Sad, almost in tears, I decided to change her diet first. I stopped by the Holistic Pet Shop in Kitty Hawk. The intuitive employee helped me with the food and I bent her ear about my experience off the island. She was attentive and suggested I call Steve Canady, Dog Trainer and Evaluator. Feeling totally at a loss, I called Steve as soon as I left the establishment. He returned my call within the hour and agreed to meet with me and guaranteed results in the first hour of a private lesson. I was more than a little hesitant but decided to see what Steve had to say about my K9…a second opinion and maybe, just maybe an answer to my situation. Steve met me with a smile and reassurance that he would help me acquire the tools I needed to work with my K9. Through demonstration and hands-on work he had my “problem aggressive dog” walking calmly on her leash, obeying commands immediately, and reassured me my K9 was not aggressive. I listened intently but he had so much to offer I struggled to retain all the information. He armed me with a “cheat sheet” so I could refresh myself while working with my K9. At the close of the hour, playtime was offered as a reward for the work accomplished. My K9 played with Charlie and socialized as a normal dog…no “bad” behavior. I returned home, organized my equipment, and spent 3 sessions repeating what I learned from Steve. Not difficult and so rewarding. My beautiful pup remembered what she learned and performed correctly with each command. I sometimes forget the correct command but I am improving. The training was more about me learning, getting my tools together and applying the techniques Steve taught me. My K9 is smart. She has so much to offer and with consistent training from me ( thanks to Steve) I know we’ll continue to make progress. I will probably need to have another lesson or two but that’s on me. Steve Canady is an amazing trainer who can equip an owner with the skills needed to train a dog. I cannot say enough good things about my experience with Steve. I am thankful for his time and expertise!
Sharon Flower
Emma’s Proud Owner

Steve saved my dog!

One of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make was to put my very sick 13 year old Lab down. Now, the owner of a two year old Australian Cattle Dog mix, I was making the same decision. I loved my dog…but she was aggressive, she had bitten 3 people, and most recently went after a child. So here I was…making the decision to put her down….

Tess was adopted from the shelter. She wasn’t the dog I had picked out…but when she crawled in my son’s lap at the shelter and fell asleep, I knew she was the one. Tess was perfect, easy to potty train and teach to sit and stay. She was good with the kids, and quickly became my son’s best friend. A year later we moved to a new house and everything changed. Tess became extremely protective of me and the kids. She wouldn’t let people in the house; she wouldn’t let me talk to people in the park. She wouldn’t even let my son’s principle come up to my car in the pick-up line to talk to me. She growled, barked, nipped and attacked anyone or anything that was near us. I made excuses for her…and secretly was proud of her for being protective. My son’s friends were in danger of being bitten if they entered the house. We would walk to the park and Tess would try to attack any dog in our path or person that got less than 6 feet away. She bit a good friend of mine, ripped his pants and drew blood on his leg. After this event I tried to take action. I called several dog training schools but was told over and over again Tess was not a candidate for dog school because she was aggressive. She needed private training in my home. I hired a very expensive lady to come to my house but nothing worked.

Finally, one afternoon Tess went after my neighbor’s 7 year old and at this I finally had to draw the line. Tess was a liability….one I couldn’t afford as a single parent. It would just take one little mistake…for her to slip out the door and bite a child. She was altering our lives…we couldn’t have friends over anymore…no sleepovers for my son. She continued to be amazing with my kids and I ….but I couldn’t take the risk anymore. I was constantly trying to watch her and make sure she was put up if someone came over unexpectedly. I w I talked to the kids and told them it was time. Tess was going to have to be put down. I felt we had tried everything. It was a hard morning. I struggled with the decision. I decided to make two more calls to dog trainers; I owed her that…one last try. If I didn’t feel they could help I’d continue with my plan to put her down in the morning. The first call I made was a joke. The man I spoke with didn’t really want to help. He offered to meet me for 600 dollars plus an extra 200 dollar fee for his own safety. I hung up the phone. I called Specialized K9 Services …just because they were the next one I had found on the internet that dealt with aggression. All of a sudden I was given hope in a short 10 minute talk. AND….Steve told me I didn’t have to pay if I wasn’t satisfied. So I figured it couldn’t hurt. We met the following evening and Steve immediately summed Tess up…and training began. He wasn’t afraid of her…and immediately saw how smart and amazing she could be. Tess joined group class the following week (something no one else would let her do) and she did great! Tess is a different dog today after 6 short classes. We walk to the park now, I talk to friends, people come over…right now I have a house full of boys running through the house playing with Nerf guns…and Tess is calm. I’m still careful with her…but in a few short weeks I was given my dog back. She doesn’t pull on the leash anymore or attack neighborhood dogs that run loose. We even have started going to the dog park!!! And to think…If I hadn’t made that call we would be without Tess today.