Pete Genovese, a local police K-9 officer, started Optimum K9 Training as a civilian dog training business a few months ago. Genovese recently spoke with The News-Post about why he started the business and what he loves about training dogs.
What made you want to start the dog training business?
I’ve always had a passion for dogs, since I was little. I’ve always loved dogs and always wanted dogs. I was about 12 or 13 when my parents got our first dog and I just really enjoyed training it.
You started with training K-9 units in law enforcement, correct?
Yes, I work in law enforcement, but my business is completely separate from that. I am an active K-9 handler and trainer for my police agency. I’m also a master trainer through the United Police Work Dog Association.
What are some of the popular trainings you offer?
The board-and-trains are definitely popular. I take their dog for two weeks and then bring it back and explain to them everything that I’ve done and how I got to where I am with their dog.
One-on-one trainings is where I go and train with people who want to be involved with their dog’s training. I teach them as I go and get them where they want to be with them present.
Group trainings is the next biggest one.
Your training is for companion and civilian dogs, correct?
That is correct. That majority of my business is for companion dogs. I do train for a police agency as well because of my master trainer certification, but 95 percent of my business is companion dogs.
What do you like about owning and operating the canine training business?
The part that I enjoy about it is meeting new people and helping them reach their goals. The difference between companion dog owners and police agencies is the companion dog owners are there because they want to be. They want to learn, they’re not being paid to be there and they’re not being told they have to be there. They choose it, so they are like sponges. They love it and are extremely appreciative of it, and I really enjoy that.
I’ve had the best clients that you could have. They do a phenomenal job of following up beyond our training. I get them to a certain level but that needs to be maintained if it’s going to stay at that level.
I’ll get videos sent to me from a board-and-train owner to show me what the dog’s doing and it’s been a couple of months later and they’re doing great. It’s really rewarding for me to see that.