Vocations: Trainer aims to keep dogs with behavior issues out of shelters

Editor's Note: Vocations is a regular video series that will feature people in their work environment. If you know of someone who would make for a great story, email Chris Flynn at cflynn@forumcomm.com.
Emilee Mahar is the owner and lead dog trainer at Smart K9 Training in Fargo, ND. She opened the business September 1, 2018. Chris Flynn / The Forum
Emilee Mahar is the owner and lead dog trainer at Smart K9 Training in Fargo, ND. She opened the business September 1, 2018. Chris Flynn / The Forum

When Emilee Mahar was 17 years old she started an online apparel store. "It kind of blew up," Mahar said. "I was traveling around the country doing photo shoots ... It was going somewhere."

Four years later, Mahar wasn't sure she wanted to do it anymore, so she decided to become a dog trainer. She attended and graduated from The Tom Rose School, a dog training academy in Missouri. "They say someone who's gone through professionals and masters at the Tom Rose School has equivalent to 10 years experience," Mahar said.

She moved back to Fargo and opened her business, Smart K9 Training, on Sept. 1, 2018. She specializes in obedience and behavior training. A large part of the reason she got into dog training was to help keep dogs with behavior issues out of shelters. "I've found so many owners not willing to give up on their dog," Mahar said. "They just don't know what to do, and I'm here to help them bridge that communication gap because that's what's missing most of the time."

She says dog training isn't just playing with puppies all day. "It takes a lot of commitment, patience. You have to have the right temperament for it to really excel, but it's really rewarding."

Emilee Mahar is the owner and lead dog trainer at Smart K9 Training in Fargo, ND. Chris Flynn / The Forum
Emilee Mahar is the owner and lead dog trainer at Smart K9 Training in Fargo, ND. Chris Flynn / The Forum