Rich Boucher is a dog trainer(Photo: Michael Lehmkuhle/The Advocate)
NEWARK – Everyone has their talents. For some people it’s drawing, for others it’s shooting hoops or perhaps singing.
For Rich Boucher, it’s training dogs.
Boucher grew up with German Shepherds at his home and learned to train them using books and other resources. He enjoyed training them and quickly realized he had a knack for it, so when it came time to pick a career, he decided to enroll in a training course at the National K-9 Learning Center in Columbus.
After finishing his master class, Boucher taught at the school for three years before deciding to go out on his own. He now works as the co-owner of Refugee Canyon West Kennels and the trainer/founder of K-9 One dog training services.
“You get your dog to be a member of the family, and training helps them become a better member of that family,” Boucher said. “When dogs don’t have training and they’re acting up, people get frustrated and maybe those dogs end up in the shelter. It takes some commitment on the part of the owner.”
Before any training starts, Boucher does an in-home evaluation to see where the dog is at and how it interacts with its environment. Then he works with the dog on the five basic commands: Heel, sit, down, come and stay.
Boucher also teaches the dogs “off” to keep them from jumping up on people or counters and how to wait at the door rather than charge at anyone walking into the house.
Every dog is different, Boucher said, but there’s always the potential to learn something new. And that old saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? It’s simply not true, he said. Boucher has worked with dogs of all ages and all of them came away with some new tricks.
Boucher uses positive reinforcement in his training, focusing on his tone of voice to indicate to the dog what he wants it do to. Sometimes he uses treats as an incentive, but most of the time he trains the dog to simply do the task for the praise rather than a snack.
“It’s all learned behavior, so you have to start early and teach them what’s appropriate and what’s not,” Boucher said. “Once they learn it though, it becomes part of their everyday routine and they don’t even think about it, they just do it.”
One of Boucher’s current students is a young Labrador named Bella. Bella has been staying with him while her owners are out of town and she’s already made great strides. She sits on command, lays down and has learned not to jump up on people.
She’s well on her way to becoming a good dog, Boucher said, and he is excited to continue working with her.
Since becoming a dog trainer. Boucher has enjoyed going to work every day.
“I really enjoy helping the dog and their owners. Just seeing everything click in the dog’s head, it’s like, they can do it. It’s exciting,” he said.
About This Series
“Aces of Trades” is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs — whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at email@example.com.
Get help with your dog
K-9 One provides in-home obedience training, behavior modification and personalized training for dogs. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call Rich Boucher at 740-927-4335.
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