Legendary K9s Are Made, Not Born
Move over, Cesar Millan. There’s a new dog whisperer in town.
Anyone who has spent enough time in Savannah’s bar scene has probably seen it all. It’s just that kind of town. But even the most jaded barfly would probably take a second glance at a 60-pound Dutch Shepherd sitting at the bar doing shots of water and performing tricks.
For Phillip Hughes of Legendary K9 Georgia, those trips to the bar with his dog Leda were not only fun, they proved excellent opportunities for marketing.
“We used to go all over downtown Savannah. I’d have her climb on my back, sit on different statues in the squares. She’d sit in the bar beside us… in the fountain area of City Market she’d be doing obedience and I’d get at least five customers that way,” he said.
That interest fueled a dream that Hughes had been germinating for nearly a decade: training dogs by utilizing a brilliant methodology that emphasizes play while teaching commands. “I woke up one day and decided I really wanted to do this with my life, so I quit my job and started with $67 in my bank account,” he said. “And then I met (my wife) Becca, thank God. She knew how to promote my business. From there it took off.”
With the help of his wife to promote his now flourishing business, Phillip could focus on his unique approach to training. “Dogs are dogs. We tend to put our own feelings into a dog and that’s not what they understand,” he said. “You have to let a dog be a dog and direct it. When it’s in that happy state it will want to please you and want to continue to learn.”
“Around here you see a lot of trainers going straight to shock collars,” added Becca. “We don’t do that. We’re balanced trainers but mostly positive with a little bit of negative. Using an E-Collar on a dog before the dog understands basic commands is 100 percent against what Phillip is about. He’s old school in that he puts in the time with leash work before conditioning a dog to an E-Collar.”
Phillip believes a trainer’s job is to work with an animal’s own instincts and genetics to guide them toward better behaviors. Our basic obedience course runs up to four weeks. “I don’t like to rush dogs. I like to be thorough,” said Phillip. But more advanced courses include a four to six week off-leash obedience course as well as a behavior modification course that takes “however long it takes to fix the issue.”
He trains all ages, breeds, and sizes. “From chihuahuas to dogo Argentinos…. we train them all. You’ll occasionally see Fred the turkey, Sam the duck or Wilbur the pot bellied pig in my training videos. We live on a farm so every animal around here plays a role in training, if for nothing more than to teach a dog to ignore a distraction.”
Legendary K9 has amassed a slew of success stories, highlighted on their Facebook page as each class graduates. And while the business has proven to be a solid investment of Phillip’s last $67, its success is more rewarding to him due to what it allows him to do.
“I started this to figure out a way to work with dogs while working for myself because I loved being around them. I had a natural knack for training, so I incorporated a great work ethic handed down from my papa, with a passion for animals to get where I am today. I could never have done this without the help of my wife and kids. Everyone here helps. Most families enjoy vacations, my family wakes up every day, 365 days a year, holidays and all and we take care of these animals.”
“My success story is waking up everyday and doing what I love. It’s a family affair. It’s a lifestyle. As a bonus, I’m able to give back to the community by taking in shelter and foster dogs to give them a second chance.”
“You have to let a dog be a dog and direct it. When it’s in that happy state it will want to please you and want to continue to learn.”
– Phillip Hughes
To find out how your dog can become a legend, visit legendaryk9georgia.com.
“From chihuahuas to dogo Argentinos…. we train them all. You’ll occasionally see Fred the turkey, Sam the duck or Wilbur the pot bellied pig in my training videos. We live on a farm, so every animal around here plays a role in training, if for nothing more than to teach a dog to ignore a distraction.”
– Phillip Hughes