Meet Jim

Voted Best Dog Trainer in Houston


The success of your dog’s training and behavior management begins with knowing about the trainer, his history and experience in dog handling and behavior training.

  • Dog Training expert in Houston for 30 years
  • 10,000 plus clients and dogs trained
  • Founder of Rover Oaks Pet Resort in Houston
  • Dog Trainer for NBC local channel 2 of Radar their weather dog
  • Dog Trainer for Mogie,  the Ronald McDoanld House dog in Houston
  • Training Section Chair for Pet Care Services Organization(organization no longer active)

I wish for you to be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children. Accept no less than the best in training, handling and caring for your dog.  

Everything Started with Charlie

I never intended to build a career as a dog trainer. Heck, I didn’t even intend to buy 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, dominant and tenacious. But I was equally determined. And through obedience training, we both learned, and our bond grew. 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!

Business Changed from Banking to Barking

After two decades working in Houston’s corporate world, I began looking for a new and more fulfilling career opportunity. Having spent productive years as a commercial banker and then as the owner of a prominent sign and graphics business, I now sought a career opportunity that would enable me to leverage my financial and management skills. I thought, the new career as a dog trainer would ideally give me greater independence and, just possibly, allow Charlie to go with me to work!

A career in dog training offered these benefits and more. As a trainer, I had the ability to experience 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.

Largely self-taught, since there were few or no dog training schools when I started, I started small. I trained 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’ll tell you a secret, I was looking for the proprietary “tricks of the trade,” which I assumed were being passed privately from trainer to trainer. But, I gradually learned that there are no tricks to dog training. 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.

Rise to Regional and National Prominence

Since 1988, my grass-roots, in-home dog-training business has grown from Texas Dog Training to become Jim Burwell’s Petiquette, which I am proud is Houston’s most esteemed pet-dog training curriculum. Together my wife and I, along with our love for dogs and armed with my curriculum, have successfully trained thousands of dogs within the familiar environment of their own homes. In recent years I made his training available through Rover Oaks Pet Resort, which I founded in 2001.  I sold my share of that business in 2006.

I am also actively involved, and have taken on leadership roles, in the dog-training industry. Through seminars, lectures and instructional classes sponsored by the industry’s professional organizations, I stay abreast of current techniques and new information on canine behavior so that I may always offer you the best dog training solutions possible.

In 2003 the Houston Chronicle’s “Texas Magazine” published a cover story on me entitled “Dog Whisperer.” The glowing, five-page article resulted in nearly 2,000 phone calls and approximately 750 emails that included requests for dog training, behavioral counseling and people-training!


One of my clients made this comment, and it so touched my heart. I want to share this with you so you’ll truly be comfortable and understand why training your dog and helping you understand and train your dog is my goal for you.

Client Comment: “There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective positive techniques for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.” Jane Wagner

Jim’s Accomplishments

I have been blessed with success which has led to high-profile dog training assignments, local and regional acclaim. A sampling of these accomplishments and accolades as a professional dog trainer  include

  • Past president of Lone Star Search and Rescue Dog Association, responsible for early team organization, training dogs on tracking and air scenting exercises, and participating in team’s missing-person missions.
  • Training dogs for television commercials and theater productions. Among his students: “Sandy,” the dog featured in the musical production of Annie in 1998 at Houston’s Wortham Theater.
  • Training of “Radar,” a celebrity dog owned by NBC’s affiliate station, KPRC-TV, in Houston. Radar appears on the weeknight news with anchor weatherman, Frank Billingsly.
  • Trainer of the goldendoodle for Houston’s Ronald McDonald House
  • Selection as “Best Dog Trainer in Houston” by the readers (500,000+) of the Houston Press.
  • An appointment as Section Chair of the Training for the Pet Care Services of America.  PCSA  is the nonprofit trade association for the pet-boarding, dog-daycare, training and grooming industry in the United States and around the world.