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Kingston Daily Freeman article


By KATHRYN HEIDECKER, Correspondent

Kyle Warren with three of his dogs at his Stone Ridge home. (Photo by Kathryn Heidecker)
“Dog Finds Man,” is the title of Kyle Warren’s popular blog about adventures with his search-and-rescue German shepherds, Quax and Maya. It’s also an apt description of his life thus far. A training officer for Eagle Valley Search Dogs (at evdogs.org), Warren is a search-and-rescue handler, a member of the New York State Federation of Search and Rescue dogs and owner of Canine Instinct, a Stone Ridge-based dog-training company through which he has successfully trained more than 2,300 dogs. “There is no aspect of my life that is not 110 percent dog-centric,” Warren said proudly. Warren, a lifelong Hudson Valley resident, described an idyllic childhood experience growing up on a small farm in Glenford. He admits he hasn’t strayed too far from his roots. The 1999 Onteora High School graduate has moved “a total of nine miles in my life,” he said in a recent interview at the Atwood home he shares with his girlfriend and their eight dogs. But it is vocation, not location, that inspires him. “My dogs are my family, they are my life,” said Warren. Dogs are also his livelihood, in an animal training career that he began pursuing when he was still a teen. In between making the high school honor roll and participating on Onteora’s wrestling team, Warren earned money with an unusual part-time job: training dogs. At age 10, the family dog, a German short-haired pointer, captivated Warren’s interest and energies as he experimented with training techniques. By the time his peers were getting their driver’s licenses, he had established a flourishing business called “The Pack of Northern Pride” (now Canine Instinct), specializing in training difficult-to-manage canines. “I even trained my teacher’s dogs,” Warren recalled with a smile. “I converted my farm barn into a dog kennel, and I would work with the dogs every day.” At the same time, Warren worked at The Barnyard Feed and Pet Supply Store on Route 28 in Kingston, where he focused on soaking in as much knowledge as possible about animal nutrition. Later, he worked as a vet technician at the Animal Emergency Clinic of the Hudson Valley, where he gained experience with the medical aspects of dog care. After dabbling in higher education at Ulster County Community College, Warren was sidelined from dog training with a severe back injury. He put the time he spent in bed to good use, writing about the subject he knows best: training dogs. At age 21, he penned the training tome, “Come. Sit. Heel. Stay. Every Time: The Warren Method of Dog Training Using Love, Trust, and Respect.” The book is dedicated to Jake, a Hungarian visla Warren owned before it died at age 6 because of a blood disorder. “I was bed-bound for two weeks,” Warren said. “I’m a busybody. I’m always on go, so I sat there with a pen and a paper and I started to write.” He later self-published the book, and today uses it as reference material for the (human) students in his dog-training classes. In his book, he outlines “The Warren Method.” He describes it as a common- sense, simple, straightforward and natural way to communicate with the dogs, without the use of treats or bribes. In 2006, Warren decided to plunge into certifying Quax as a search- and-rescue dog. “It is a huge time commitment, and you don’t get paid or reimbursed for anything,” Warren said. “But it takes my ultimate passion of spending time with a working dog for a cause.” In the three years since he began working with search-and-rescue dogs, Warren has chased down dozens of leads. In addition to Quax, who is a certified live-find and cadaver dog and trained to find both living and dead subjects, Maya is certified as a trailing dog and used to follow the trail of specific person based on the scent of a clue like a sock. Missions with Quax and Maya take Warren all over New York state. They are also are expensive, time-consuming and exhausting. To Warren, however, it is a worthwhile endeavor. “It has reshaped my life, but the finished product can save people’s lives.” Recently, Warren and Maya searched the acreage surrounding The Family Foundation School, a boarding school for teenagers that is owned and operated by Rita Argiros (also the president of Eagle Valley Search Dogs) and were successful in locating a runaway teenager. Warren’s success with training aggressive dogs — his self- described claim to fame — can be equally rewarding. A 7-year-old black lab was brought to Warren for lessons to curb a dangerous habit. “The dog had been confined because it was unpredictable, unreliable and randomly bit certain people,” he said. Lessons with Warren were a last-ditch effort to save the animal from being possibly euthanized. Warren successfully rehabilitated the dog, which is now happily living with its original family. The key to approaching these aggressive dogs, according to Warren, is “an organized approach.” Is he ever scared? “Not really,” he responded, “It is a useless emotion in the heat of the moment.” Warren’s “family” plays an instrumental role in training his clients’ dogs. “I will put Hazel in a sit-stay, and have dogs run around her,” he said, “I use them for demonstrations and distractions.” The brood also helps provide a little extra income. A litter of puppies between Quax and Lee produced Drago, the newest member of the K-9 narcotics team for the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office. Purebred puppies like these can fetch between $1,800 and $3,500 Warren said. The members of Warren’s dog team are treated with top-notch care by their owner. Each dog consumes a raw-food diet of organic Bells and Evans chicken, organic raw sweet potatoes and 1,000 milligrams of salmon oil each day. Currently at work on a second book based on canine psychology, Warren received national attention for his dog-training skills when he graced the February cover of Field and Stream magazine. The avid outdoorsman said he was excited about the exposure, but more enthralled that his pride and joy — Quax and Maya — were on the cover next to him. Over the past several years, filmmaker Nicholas Goodman has been documenting Warren’s adventures with his dogs. He is set to release a documentary movie in the near future. With all this media attention, can Warren live up to his reputation? More than 2,000 dogs later, has he ever met a canine he couldn’t train? For this animal lover, dogs are perhaps the fairer species. “I’ve worked with people that could not be trained to handle their dogs,” Warren says with a laugh. “I can always train a dog.”

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