Gregory M. Smith has passionately worked at expanding his skills and knowledge base in animal behavior, care and training for over 30 years!
These skills have allowed him to impact not only dogs, their owners, and other pets across the United States, but around the globe as well, touching into Germany, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Australia.
Greg’s talents cover all aspects of animal behavior, training and behavior modification for professional working dogs and outstanding family pets, care, breeding, and competition on the international level.
When talking to Gregory about his childhood, it doesn’t take long to see that the main focus of his interests and enjoyment came from his interaction, observation, training, and pursuit of thorough understanding of all the animals he was exposed to and could find from placid fish in the lakes & streams to birds of prey in the air and everything in between. Gregory has shown his tenacious and resilient spirit in situations where most people would typically develop a significant fear and apprehension around dogs. At the youngest of ages, he sustained 4 serious dog bites in routine situations requiring emergent medical treatment. These attacks inspired his inquisitive nature to learn more about these animals and why they behaved the way that they do while respecting who naturally are.
As a young adult, Gregory expanded his responsibilities with animals as he worked with his grandfather on his farm, and he further increased the quantity and type of pets he owned personally. As a retired Deputy Sheriff, Gregory’s neighbor instantly saw the natural born talent in Gregory with animals and was pivotal in laying his initial framework of understanding basic canine training. They worked together to train more than 5 high energy dogs to consistently and humanely respect the boundaries of their own yards with nothing more than their training skills and natural barriers such as mature pine trees. His skills only grew from here. During this same years, Gregory spent significant time with local area veterinarians to do hands-on education of animal anatomy, physiology, variations of normal development, disease processes, and intervention standards. With every opportunity that presented itself, Gregory instinctively embraced the moment to polish his skills and expand his knowledge base. Gregory guided his social interactions with his family and friends to involve the great outdoors and all the residents in it while he encouraged other to see the joys in tracking, observing, hunting, fishing, and exploring the marvelous world right in front of them.
Upon finishing high school, it was only natural that Gregory continued pursuit of canine understanding with higher education in the form of formal training at West Virginia Canine College. His focus at this time involved professional dog training and training for K9 narcotics detection. He sailed through this training process and graduated at the top of his class. He was immediately recruited by the school upon graduation and became a head instructor. Soon, word was circulating about Greg’s expertise, raw talent, and vast skills set. He spent countless hours training students to be dog trainers, training dogs for clients and organizations, and working with law enforcement from the local level all the way up through and including national agencies such as the FBI and U.S. Customs to empower handlers to appropriately use the skills their dogs were trained with and teaching them how to maintain the K9’s current professional level of training effectively and efficiently.
Gregory’s irrepressible desire for learning soon lead him to new adventures in Florida at Thunder Bay Canine College where he again worked as a head trainer and instructor to other dog training students, and pet owners. He was sought out and applauded for his K9 security training of patrol dogs and their handlers and guard dogs for area business in the Tampa/St. Petersburg areas. While owning his own private kennel, Gregory completed paramedic and firefighter training through the prestigious Florida State Paramedic and Firefighter Training/Certification Programs. He also successfully completed several college level courses on in various areas of psychology and human growth and development.
Realizing the contribution he could make to the field with his skills, Greg attended the Western Reserve Police Academy. This enabled him to work directly with the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department for both training of K9 unit dogs and their handlers and with the West Virginia Police K9 association for the formal certification training of Police K9s. During this time, he and the K9s he trained were responsible for multiple large drug busts and arrests. Following completion of this assignment, again Greg was recruited to work as the head trainer and instructor at Augusta Canine School where he was able to train trainers and pet owners on the beautiful dance of obedience with happy dogs and happy owners. Greg to this day believes this ebb and flow can only ever be accomplished when training teaches the dog in ways they can understand instead of using harshness that borders on abuse.
Over the years, Greg has encountered various opportunities for growth and advancement in his knowledge and his skills. He has trained with and for five international competitors, assisted DCNR with wildlife management, trained with German behaviorists, attended various schutzhund clubs, and has worked with competitors at numerous AKC show competitions. An accomplishment he is extremely fond of was conditioning, Harko Von Der Wilhelmswarte, the 1991 U.S.A. Sieger V1 rated German Shepard dog. He was the head trainer and instructor with Invisible Fence and has been known for his expertise in troubleshooting all brands of underground pet containment fences. He also has spent thousands hours assisting local animal control staff, pet rescues, and humane officers. Few people have dedicated themselves and their purpose to pets in the way Greg has with his time, energy and resources.
Greg currently owns and operates his own private business that was established over 12 years ago that services the Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia. His services include pet boarding, individual behavioral evaluations, private 1:1 training sessions, and, for his distinguished clients, obedience training completed personally by Gregory. His varied experiences have served him well to be prepared for his current projects. He is known across the area for his expertise in handling dogs previously labeled as “untrainable,” and for pets that other trainers have poor results with. He specializes in dominance, aggression, submission, anxiety, high energy, fearful, and abused pets.
Plans keep growing and expanding for Gregory and his future. His future projects include a large public pet lodging facility in the Pittsburgh area and an interactive website to help pet owners learn more about their pets, how to understand their behaviors, and how to promote obedience without crushing their cherished pet’s psyche.