Dog Training for the Real World
Head Trainer & Owner
Qualifications & Experience:
2016- Present: Owner and Head Trainer of Allegiant K9s
2011- 2016: Full-time Certified Guide Dog Trainer for Leader Dogs for the Blind
2014: Helper/decoy for personal protection dog training with Elite-K9
10+ years experience with behavior modification
10+ yrs experience with advanced off leash training
2001 Sled dog "musher" for Spirit of the North
"Proof in the pudding:" hundreds of videos showing REAL RESULTS on Allegiant K9s Facebook page & Instagram page
Dave graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. He pursued a career in teaching in which he taught 7 years of middle school in NC and one year of high school abroad in Ecuador. Throughout his teaching years, Dave worked with various dog daycares, rescue groups, and shelters. Dave's passion for dogs began to grow. He traveled to Montana to begin to learn and work with sled dogs as a "dog musher." At that point he knew he was ready for a career change. Dave wanted a career that would allow him to fullfill his three passions in life: working with dogs, being in the outdoors, and helping people. His passion led to years of researching employment as a service dog trainer, visiting dog organizations around the country, and speaking with various personnel in the dog training community. His research, along with his passion and dedication led him to Michigan where he was a full-time guide dog trainer for 5 years with Leader Dogs for the Blind; one of the largest and most respected guide dog organizations in the world. Dave completed a 3 yr long apprenticeship that provided him with a solid education on dog training, dog behavior, practical applications, and working with individuals that have physical impairments.
Throuhout the years in Michigan, Dave also volunteered his time with a local rescue group and as a decoy/agitator for personal protection dogs. Allegiant K9s grew at a rapid rate and Dave made the decision to operate Allegiant K9s full time and move the business to his hometown of Charlotte, NC in June of 2016. Ever since its opening, Dave has seen the business continue to grow month by month as satisfied clients are spreading the word about his training. Dave is absolutely passionate about training dogs and helping dog owners build a more positive and meaningful relationship with their dog(s). Dave's training focuses on 3 main areas: Behavior Modification (fear, anxiety, aggression, etc), Obedience, and Advanced Off Leash Training. He is quickly becoming one of Charlotte's most well known and sought after dogs trainers.
When Dave is not training, he enjoys mountain biking, hiking and camping with his own dogs and spending time with family and friends.
Anna Claire or "AC"
After being a full time trainer with Allegiant K9s for 3 years, Anna Claire has recently made the decision to transition into a part time role with Allegiant K9s. While she no longer does Board and Train Training, she continues to assist with follow-up sessions with her clients , offers general boarding for all Allegiant K9s graduate dogs and assists with pack walks and events as well. While we would much rather have Anna in a full time role, we are still very happy that she is assisting Allegiant K9s part-time :)
Anna Claire (AC for short) graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. After college she worked in Corporate America for 5 years until realizing she needed a career change. Since changing career paths, AC has worked in the exercise and nutrition field and really focused on working with her two dogs Roxy and Vader. Vader went through the Allegiant K9s program in July 2019 and Roxy in March 2020. AC has been very active as an Allegiant K9s client as she and her husband have attended numerous pack walks, hikes and socials and even joined along for one of the Allegiant K9s overnight backcountry camping trips.
Since childhood, AC has had a passion and love for animals as well as helping others. AC has a background in coaching people on exercise techniques and routines as well as coaching others on lifestyle and nutrition habits. In her free time you can find AC working out, hiking with her dogs, spending time with family, friends, and her husband.
Part-time Assistant, Client and School Teacher
Many Greetings, Nifty Dog Friends! My name is Ana and I am thrilled to be a part of the group that forever changed my life & the lives of my two rescue Beagle-mixes, Cody and Hank. I met with Dave in 2018 in desperate need of training my two lovable knuckleheads. Their journey began with Hank climbing all over me and Cody reacting to all things that moved & ended up with pups that can go virtually everywhere with me. The experience with Dave at Allegiant K9s transforms the human & dog relationship so that everyone can live, thrive and enjoy their lives together in all environments. I teach high school English full-time and have spent time fostering dogs as well. I can often be found hiking and traveling with my pups or spending some time at a favorite dog-friendly brewery or coffee shop with them. -Ana C.
Ana became a part-time Allegiant K9s team member in 2020. She assists with daycare, basic obedience, leash walks and feeding and cleaning. Ana is very active and engaged with her dogs and takes them everywhere with her! She has become somewhat of a "regular" at Allegiant K9s pack walks, socials and hikes so she is already a familiar face to many clients.
Our Philosophy & Tools
Here at Allegiant K9s we believe in "Balanced Training." Balanced training is a combination of positive reinforcement (reward-based training) and accountability (rules, structure and consequences/corrections).
We start off all training with positive reinforcement (reward-based training). Positive reinforcement is excellent for teaching dogs what we want them to do: sit, down, stay, go to your place, come, heel on leash, etc. However, positive reinforcement alone does nothing to ensure dogs will actually do all those behaviors reliably, especially when we need them to do it most. It also does nothing to stop unwanted behaviors (counter-surfing, jumping, digging, barking, reacting, nipping/biting, aggressive behavior, etc). There has to be some level of accountability or your dog will only obey commands when the reward (food, touch, praise, toy, engagement, etc) is worth it. If something in the environment (squirrels, other dogs, children running, guests coming in the home, food on the counter, etc) is more enticing and exciting then what you have to offer, then your commands go "out the window" when the dog knows it won't be held accountable. Basically, it is more fun to "be a bad dog" than it is to "be a good dog." What happens when an aggressive dog would much rather tear into another dog instead of focus on a treat or toy from you while on a leash walk? What happens when a dog finds jumping on people WAY MORE fun and rewarding then getting a treat for sitting? What happens when a fear-aggressive dog still wants to bite strangers even if the strangers are non-threatening and offering treats? And what happens when your canine buddy refuses to come when called despite all the praise and treats you offer? This is why BALANCE is so important and when we provide a good balance for our dogs, we have a much HEALTHIER relationship with them.
We use advanced remote E Collar (Electronic Collar) training. Remote collar training is a very calm, clear, humane, reliable and safe communication technique that truly gets stellar results for dogs and their owners. The stimulation the dogs feel is very similar to the stimulation in a TENS unit for physical therapy for humans. 95% of remote collar training is simple, light communication and we teach in several stages over time. Think of it as an invisible leash or an invisible extension of your arm that allows you to communicate, very effectively, with your dog... even from a distance and even with distractions around. The dogs HIGHLY associate the E Collar with FUN! When the collars come out- our dogs get EXCITED! It is no different than when the average dog owner grabs their walking shoes and dog leash- their dog gets excited. Same with the E Collars as 95% of the collar is used for simple and light communication. The other 5% of the remote E collar is used for accountability/punishment- to stop unwanted behaviors and accountability/punishment is necessary at times. When dogs go home from training, ALL commands are VERBAL first. We only use the remote E collar if and when our dog doesn't comply with a verbal command. The remote E collar gives us that extra assurance that our dog will comply with commands... even in heavily distracting environments... ensuring our dog will be well-behaved and more importantly... will be SAFE.
Why E Collar/remote collar?
1.Results- Simply put: proper E Collar pressure training succeeds where other training tools and techniques have failed owners and have failed dogs, especially in areas of recall (coming when called), leash pulling/leash reactivity and nuisance behaviors such as barking, jumping on guests, fence fighting, etc. Remote collar training gets great results, period.
2. Reliability: E Collar training provides reliable communication (our dog training remote collars have a 1/2 mile range and are completely waterproof) & control of your dog, even in the most distracting environments.
3. SAFETY - when it comes to things like training a dog off leash or managing a dog that has reactivity issues, there is no other safer option than proper E collar training.
4. Calm, quiet, precise communication- communication is clear, timely, calm and quiet. No need for abrasive leash corrections, raising a voice, or constant luring/bribery to get our dogs to comply with commands.
5. Owner does not need to rely on physical strength to handle and communicate with their dog. We should not need to rely on physical strength to communicate with our dogs.
More detail on our philosophy...
More times than not, when a dog is having "issues" it is because one of the key ingredients is missing. Many owners feel like "loving their dog to the moon and back" is all it takes to raise a well-balanced and happy dog. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Love is a key ingredient, but by itself, it falls well short of what our dogs need to truly be well-balanced and happy.
1. Exercise: Dogs need and deserve an "outlet." They need appropriate exercise, stimulation and engagement in their world.
2. Clear & Consistent Communication: Dogs need and deserve to be communicated with clearly. Dogs deserve good QUALITY training. Everyone in the home needs to be on the same page.
3. Positive Exposure to the World: Dogs need and deserve to experience the world (more than just the house and the backyard) in a positive light. It builds confidence, "soundness" and a well socialized dog. Plus, dogs WANT to get out and explore the world! The house and backyard get very boring very quickly.
4. Discipline: Dogs need boundaries and rules. In fact, they THRIVE with them. Dogs are much calmer, more well-balanced and overall happier when they know exactly what is expected of them and then held accountable for their actions. Dogs, just like people, cannot do whatever they want whenever they want. Fair discipline is a key factor for a well-balanced dog.
5. Love: Dogs need and deserve our love, compassion and patience.
"Celebrate the successes. Absorb & learn from the mishaps & mistakes. Laugh at the ridiculous moments.
Most importantly... ENJOY the journey with your dog!"
- Dave Meyer