Paradise Pet Resort is pleased to announce our partnership with Mathew VanKlaveren. Mathew VanKlaveren is the sole proprietor and operator of SpoK-9 Behavioral Training. He believes that through exercise, energy, and affection any dog can become balanced. Mathew has been training dogs for the past fourteen years. He started out by adopting a black and tan coonhound named, Dixon from the local shelter having no personal experience owning dogs. Mathew then started noticing behavior problems with Dixon and didn’t know how to address them. His mother suggested that he watch the show “The Dog Whisperer” to help him with his problem. After watching the first two seasons back to back, Mathew felt a calling. He saw the problems with his own dog were gone and that is when his passion for dog psychology started. Shortly after helping Dixon, Mathew started volunteering at the local shelter that he picked up Dixon from to help the dogs walk on the leash properly. He believed that this would help them get adopted faster. The shelter manager noticed that Mathew had a good understanding of the dog’s behavior and asked him to write the description cards for all of the sheltered dogs.
Shortly after working with the shelter Mathew was accepted to work the summer internship program at Guide Dogs For the Blind in Boring, OR (2012). There he learned more techniques from other professional trainers. On the last few days of the internship he was able to join the head trainers in some downtown Portland real life scenario workshops. Mathew worked hands on and learned how to assist the dogs to go through everyday obstacles. After finishing up with Guide Dogs For the Blind Mathew wanted to apply the new information he learned and started working with his friends and family for free. This gave him the confidence to apply for a dog training position at Petco (2013) and got accepted. Starting the training program through Petco Mathew quickly realized that was not the kind of training that he wanted to do. The training at Petco was reward based training which consisted of sit, stay, come. What Mathew wants to help people work with is the psychology of a dog, or understand why the dog experiencing this problem.
Mathew then left his job at Petco and started working the boarding/ daycare facility Uptown Hounds (2014-2016). His job there was to supervise daycare and make sure the dogs were behaving correctly. Working with packs of dogs was rewarding because Mathew was able to understand the dog’s energy around him, and help dogs that were fearful, anxious, and aggressive. He was able to prevent many fights and inform the staff of certain behavioral ques to look out for. The pack of dogs was noticeably calmer when Mathew was watching the pack.
Through all of his time working Mathew continued to follow “The Dog Whisperer” and knew that he wanted to work with Cesar Millan. Mathew found out that Cesar Millan teaches classes at his Dog psychology center in Santa Clarita, CA. After submitting his application and waiting for approval he received an email from Cesar’s Way informing me that I was accepted for Cesar Millan’s fundamentals training. For Mathew, this was a dream come true. While working with Cesar, Mathew would go to Cesar’s on site rehab adoption center of the facility and pick out a random selection of dogs. And without hesitation he would be walking six to eight dogs on the walking path around the ranch as a morning ritual. Cesar would make it out for one of the laps and walk side by side and evaluate the energy of all of the dogs and him. Cesar then took Mathew to workshops where they worked on scenarios together like; at the vet, at home, a kennel, a restaurant, a coffee shop, and at the dog park. Cesar had planned distractions out for each one, like an excited bike rider that really likes to pet dogs. Being a student, Mathew had to submit a five minute video of him correcting a dog’s behavior. His footage was analyzed by Cesar and six of his personal trainers. The footage was discussed frame by frame to him in a class setting. This helped Mather figure out his weakness and help him build on those weaknesses. Mathew graduated from Cesar Millan’s fundamentals on May 20th, 2018. Mathew now wants to educate dog owners on how to communicate better with their dogs, and help them build a strong connection. He believes that it is best to work with the rules that Mother Nature provided when working with dogs.