experience that gets results
Best Dog Trainer in Houston as selected by Houston Press
Dog training in Houston, TX for over 30 years, training well over 10,000 dogs and their humans, and founder of Rover Oaks Pet Resort.
My name is Jim Burwell, and I’m a Houston dog trainer.
The first thing you need to know about me is that I am passionate about keeping dogs in their forever homes. If you know nothing else, this tells you who I am. Since you’re here, I’m happy to share with you how I became a dog trainer who is in love with what I do.
I never intended to build a career as a dog trainer in Houston. Heck, I didn’t even intend to get a dog. But one evening in 1986, I found myself in a tuxedo, with an 8-week-old golden retriever I’d ‘won’ by successfully bidding in a charity auction. I named my new pal Charlie. Over time, Charlie proved to be headstrong and tenacious. But I was equally determined. And through obedience training, we both learned, and our bond grew.
That’s when my life began to change.
Business Changed from Banking to Barking
I worked in Houston’s corporate America for two decades as a commercial banker and owner of a successful sign and graphics company. But I grew tired of suits, ties and board meetings so I started looking for a new and more fulfilling career opportunity.
Being Charlie’s dad gave me the idea! Through Charlie, I found new motivation, new inspiration and a new business opportunity. Charlie inspired me to change to a dog-training career in mid-life, and what a change it was! I thought a new career as a dog trainer would ideally give me greater independence and, just possibly, allow Charlie to go with me to work! I was right!
A career in dog training offered these benefits and more. As a dog trainer, I experienced the satisfaction that comes from seeing well-trained, happy animals bring joy to their owners, and also to help abandoned, lost and rescued dogs find their way into good, permanent Houston homes. I am largely self-taught, as there were few or no professional dog training schools when I started.
I started small by training the dogs of friends and family. All the while, I diligently studied dog-training books and videos and attended seminars to learn everything possible about dog behavior training and canine-human interactions. I devoured books by Bill Campbell, famous dog behaviorist, Ian Dunbar and more. I was determined to be the best Houston dog trainer I could be.
I’ll Tell You a Secret
I was looking for the proprietary ‘tricks of the trade,’ which I assumed were being passed privately from dog trainer to dog trainer. But, I gradually learned that there are no tricks to dog training. I worked hard at becoming an expert dog trainer.
Success came instead from months of intensive study, many hundreds of hours of practice, and a thorough understanding of pet dogs and their relationships with owners.
So because of Charlie, a gala, probably a glass of scotch, the rest of my life unfolded pretty much like this: My grass-roots, in-home dog-training business that began in 1988 grew from Texas Dog Training, to founding Rover Oaks Pet Resort, to becoming Jim Burwell’s Petiquette, and I was selected ‘Best Dog Trainer in Houston’ by the readers (500,000+) of the Houston Press. I have been active in many professional dog training and search and rescue organizations like these:
- Past president of Lone Star Search and Rescue Dog Association
- Dog training for TV commercials and theater – among my students: “Sandy,” the dog featured in the musical production of Annie in 1998 at Houston’s Wortham Theater
- Training of ‘Radar’ celebrity dog owned by NBC’s affiliate station, KPRC-TV, in Houston. Radar appeared on the weeknight news with anchor weatherman, Frank Billingsly.
Past president of Lone Star Search and Rescue Dog Association
Dog training for TV commercials and theater – among my students: “Sandy,” the dog featured in the musical production of Annie in 1998 at Houston’s Wortham Theater.
Training of ‘Radar’ celebrity dog owned by NBC’s affiliate station, KPRC-TV, in Houston. Radar appeared on the weeknight news with anchor weatherman, Frank Billingsly.
The Rest of the Story
In 2003, I met and married my wife Leila. She works with me in the business.
She’s awesome at speaking with clients and helping them see how we can help them with their dogs.
That same year The Houston Chronicle’s Texas Magazine published a cover story on me entitled ‘Dog Whisperer.’ That glowing, five-page cover article resulted in nearly 2,000 phone calls and approximately 750 emails that included requests for dog obedience training and behavioral counseling.
To sum it all up I just want to say that the success of your dog’s training and behavior begins with knowing about the trainer, his history and experience in dog handling and behavior training. You should be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children.