WE ARE LOCATED IN SOUTHERN OREGON!!!
Founded Sept 2012
I am Claudia Marbury and I was an MWD handler in the USAF while on active duty from 1978-1992, handling patrol and drug detection dogs. During an overseas assignment, I had the opportunity to work as the Kennel trainer, training patrol, drug, and explosive detection dogs.
I know what works with dogs, and I am quite open minded as to trying new things, which I often do. I have learned that it is often the dog who dictates which training method you will use. I am also pretty blunt and to the point, and this does not seem to go over well with many people. If dogs are your passion, as they are mine, you just need to develop a strong backbone, stick to your principles, and let any judgments or criticisms roll off your back. I tell people, “I’m like a dog with a bone; I don’t let go.”
Several years after leaving active duty, I decided to get back into the military. Primarily, because I wanted that retirement, for my future, but also because I just missed the camaraderie, and the discipline and commitment that most military folks have. You just don’t find much of that in the civilian community; especially that commitment.
Upon entering the Oregon ANG, I was immediately offered a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity; to go to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, to train dogs! I could not believe my luck! I stepped in it and came out smelling pretty doggone good. So I packed up my stuff and my three dogs, hitched up my 5th wheel RV, and headed down to South Texas.
That assignment lasted for a year, training dogs, working in the Breeding program, and assisting with shipping dogs out to their new units of assignment. Then the Haiti earthquake happened, and that put the ‘kabosh’ on my assignment. Funding dried up pretty quick, with it all going to disaster relief operations. So in June 2010, I packed up my dogs and my 5th wheel, and headed home to Southern Oregon, ready to be a “weekend warrior” once again.
September 2012, I started Phoenix Working Dogs. We had a few starts and stops along the way, as I was still a Guardsman, working part-time, going to school full time, and I had gotten into the SAR community. All this made life interesting, to say the least.
Things were working well for a few years, until a family emergency, forced my move back to the Rogue Valley. I had thought about giving the SAR community a try, here in the Valley, now that I was ‘retired,’ however, working through my family ‘issues’ required more time and energy, and left little for any volunteer causes. So I decided just to concentrate my efforts on my own team, Phoenix Working Dogs. This decision gave me the ability to work as I was able, without feeling any guilt over not being able to ‘respond’ to any search missions. That ‘guilt’ will get you every time!
As a dog trainer, I am known to work with a dog longer than most handlers will. If I see an inkling of drive in a dog, I will work with him to build that drive up enough, to start some good detection or tracking/trailing work. Over the years, I have seen far too many handlers ‘wash’ a good dog, early on in training, simply for not displaying that crazy over-the-top drive, that so many handles seem to crave. I look at it this way; you work with what you’ve got. And if that means putting more WORK into one dog, then you do it! That has never failed me!
I did the same thing in my early USAF career. I had a patrol dog, who just did not seem to have the ‘drive’ for bite work. Through hard work and perseverance, of myself and my trainer, we soon had this dog biting like a demon. That experience gave me a tremendous amount of pride in my fledgling dog training career. All this and more, has led me to apply for my Govt vendor contract, to sell dogs to the Department of Defense.