Who we are
Born in Savannah Georgia, Phillips passion for animals was apparent in early childhood years. He was always nurturing an animal or trying to "train" it. It wasn't until he was in his teens that he started teaching himself about dog behaviors. He took in as much knowledge as he possibly could, even taking his trained pets to other local trainers for more guidance. He started training for friends and family and once he realized he was very good at his craft, he turned it into a way of Life and a business. Legendary K9 Georgia was born.
Phillip has 4 personal dogs: Leda (Dutch Shepherd), Thais (Belgian Malinois) Lykos (Belgian Malinois) and Jelly Roll (French Bulldog). Three are trained in Personal Protection and Leda is trained in Search and Rescue. You will often see them with Phillip at community events performing for children and spectators.
Becca also shared a passion for animals and started training horses in her free time while her main career was in bookkeeping and marketing. A Hilton Head Island Native, Becca moved to Georgia and eventually she was able to turn her passion for training horses into a full time job. She has 4 dogs, Zoe (Australian Shepherd Rescue), Kodiak (Rottweiler) Booger (Heinz 57 Rescue) and Dupe (Heinz 57 Rescue). Phillip and Becca have 6 children between the two of them and Legendary K9 Georgia is a family affair.
Phillip handles the majority of the training and Becca handles all of the correspondence with customers, payments, marketing and scheduling.
How We Train
Training is the intentional use of rewards and punishments to manipulate a dog’s behavior. Your dog is learning all the time, good behaviors or bad. Dogs do what works for them; they don’t do things unless they get something out of it. I am a rewards based balance trainer.
What does this mean?
Rewards: I use rewards such as food, touch or play to train your dog. Certain dogs may be picky about food but love to fetch a ball. Others may get too excitable when touched but take food calmly. I do what works for each individual dog.
Punishments: A punishment is anything that a dog doesn’t like. Dog behaviorists define the word “punishment” as anything that causes an animal to decrease a certain behavior.
Miltenberger (2008) lists three parts to the definition of punishment: 1. A particular behavior occurs. 2. A consequence immediately follows the behavior. 3. As a result, the behavior is less likely to occur again in the future.
To some dogs, being touched could be a punishment, leash pressure, turning away from your dog when its jumping on you, a quick leash tap or a stern "No" can all be considered punishment. Even something as simple as changing the direction your dog is walking in, can be used as a punishment. Hitting, or kicking the dog, jerking on the leash excessively and screaming are all punishments I will not use on a dog.
What happens during training?: Obedience from a dog is not naturally given. Your dog must first be taught and understand "the rules". Dogs need a confident and consistent leader. While they are with me at training, I am that leader for them until graduation, when I hand the torch back to you. The first day, or sometimes the first few days for certain dogs, your dog and I get to know one another. I focus more so on teaching good behaviors than jumping straight into obedience. I use a food lure to teach dogs to sit, lie down, or come rather than force. Good behaviors are marked with an immediate reward - Negative behaviors corrected with a punishment (see above). I have 1.3 seconds to time these rewards and corrections so that your dog understands what's expected of them. I teach your dog a focused heel because I believe that you are the most valuable thing to your dog. They should look to you, the handler, for guidance at all times unless they are given the freedom to make their own decisions. I don't encourage dogs in my program to greet every other dog they see on their walk while still in the training phase. I also don't encourage handlers to allow just anyone to greet and pet your dog unless your dog specifically will be working a field where that's required. Once your dog has been taught a desired behavior, we create a pattern of these behaviors during the following weeks they are in the program, thereby forming a habit. It takes the average dog 3 weeks to learn a new behavior and even longer for a dog that has any anxiety or aggression. As a trainer, I will be able to teach your dog obedience commands within a couple of weeks but if you aren’t consistently reinforcing those skills, they will not be reliable. Just like humans, dogs are never really done learning. The commands and behaviors must be reinforced throughout the length of the dogs life.
In the 1950s, behavioral scientist B.F. Skinner developed a number of principles that are applicable to all living things with a central nervous system. He found that animals are likely to repeat behaviors that are enjoyable/rewarding to them, and not likely to repeat behaviors that result in something unpleasant (punishment). Neutral stimuli – things that don’t matter to the animal – don’t have an impact on behavior one way or the other. Skinner demonstrated that humans can use these simple principles to modify an animal’s behavior. Rewards are the most reliable way to deliberately increase an animal’s offered behaviors; conversely, punishment decreases those behaviors." Pat Miller- Dog Trainer
In the Community
Sylvania Ga became home to Legendary K9 Georgia in the spring of 2020. Sylvania is a small and quiet farming town with only around 15,000 people. We noticed immediately there was a huge stray dog problem in this county and very little resources. After reaching out to both the local Animal Shelter and Rescue (FOSCA) to offer support we went to work. We work with several other local Animal Rescues and Animal Shelters in surrounding counties to put no cost obedience on their intakes in an effort to help them get placed in homes quicker. We've been very fortunate to have helped place several dogs/ puppies from Fixing The Boro into wonderful homes. We also have the pleasure of boarding the Effingham County Sheriffs department K9 officers dogs while the handlers are away at training. In our own county, we work with the Screven County K9 Handlers and dogs on obedience and assist in Search and Rescue efforts with our SAR trained Dutch Shepherd. We've put on demonstrations for local schools and groups alongside Law Enforcement and are happy to educate children and adults on Dog Training and Dog behaviors.