Interview with Ted Hoppe
Articles in Category: German Shepherds
Special Edition #1
With over 25 years of service under our belts, one of the most gratifying things we celebrate is the joy our GatorlandK9 Import German Shepherds and GatorlandK9 Malinois Dogs bring to our clients. We love the pictures and stories you share with us so we want to share them with all of you!
Thank you for sending in your pictures, here is our first Alumni Special Edition!
Thank You for allowing us to share your memories
Author: Jill Pavel
We not only celebrate the milestones of accomplishments of our GatorlandK9 German Shepherds we also celebrate their lives. Kodiak went over the Rainbow Bridge. He is memorialized here by his family. Rest Peacefully Kodiak and THANK YOU for your years of service to your family.
Dear Ted,Ten years ago My husband and I called you with a problem and you gave us a beautiful, furry solution.As a military family we move often and had moved to a rural area into a newly built home. Unfortunately this home being built upset a local man who decided to stalk us and our teenage daughters to tell us of his unhappiness, that the house had been built on land he liked to consider his own. Not that he owned it or even for that matter had any gainful employment. He frightened us. He was armed.The police told us that there was not a whole lot that could be done. We had a restraining order, we had extra patrols but really we were on our own.Then Kodiak moved in. He was a visible presence in the yard and while we were training outside as well. We ran together first thing in the morning and he was very clearly a serious dog. We loved him and he quickly became a part of the family.The girls taught him to eat whipped cream. He learned more tricks and traveled with us every where we went. Transfers took us from Eastern Pennsylvania to Virginia to Florida, back to Central Pennsylvania and to Maryland. He discovered the beach, the art of looking intimidating and was smarter than any dog we ever met. While traveling he either drew people to us to ask about him or kept them away, all of which we appreciated. He was wonderful with strange children who often ran up to him. But if he did not like you (as you told us Ted he had a scum bag detector) you knew it in a subtle but clear way.Two serious events come to mind where our protector made his imprint on us. We often traveled back and forth from our home to where Doug was stationed at the ship. One late night we stopped at a quiet travel rest stop. It appeared to be empty but hearing you tell me to bring the dog everywhere I went, Kodiak and I went into the ladies room. I asked him to search and he did. When he sat down to show me there was a problem in the what I thought to be an empty rest room, I was shocked. But there was a man hiding in a stall, standing on the toilet in the ladies room. I put Kodiak to guard and called 911. When the troopers came they all said that they did not believe me that I had the man trapped and that they had been looking for this man for months. The man kept saying that I should just take the dog and go.The second story is that with any home we had to have contractors come to fix things or to do work at the house. One time I had hired a handy man and Kodiak was clearly not liking the guy. Kodiak stayed between the man and me everywhere the guy went and finally the man said to me, “I don’t think your dog likes me”. I agreed. The work was completed and was fine. When my neighbor asked about the handy man I said he was fine. He came on time etc. but by the way my dog did not like him. She hired the same man to work for her and she was robbed. Enough said.Our beloved Kodiak died last week and we wanted you to know how his wonderful training and fun personality affected our lives. This was by far the best dog. He was a serious one though. Never once got onto the furniture and although happy to be petted and scratched, he was not a snuggly pet. He was trained so well that we took him on board navy ships, into the hospital and often took him to work with me too. He protected us all and took his “job” seriously. We will miss him terribly.Ted we cannot thank you enough!Douglas HarringtonConstance Morrison
We had such a wonderful year with all of you we wanted to take a minute to share some of the highlights of 2014!
We started off with this delicious Red Sable Puppy. Brad Hoppe is overseeing the puppy love!
Thanks to your generosity we placed Service Protection Dog "Hero"
with Veteran Josh S.
We had some amazing puppies come through GatorlandK9 this year
on their way to new homes!
Some of our German Shepherd Service Dogs became world travelers. We have enjoyed the travels of Jessi the Service Dog this past year! Here she is with her handler in Europe!
Country Music Star Sarah Buxton honored GatorlandK9
by awarding our "Naya" the Service Dog of The Year Award
presented by Heart Songs for Veterans in Nashville, TN
Jill Pavel, Founder of Heart Songs for Veterans
Presented our Service Dog Program with a $ 2000.00 donation from the event.
Endy Found a Forever Home with our new friend Jane Saul!
We continue to celebrate Gatorland Malinois. This is one of our alumni Mela.
We look forward to celebrating 2015 with all of you!! Meet Taimon he will be arriving at GatorlandK9 International soon!
Happy New Year!
Author: Jill Pavel
When you think of a Service or Protection Dog, what comes to mind? A beautiful German Shepherd wearing a harness with a handle, guiding a blind person or an attentive Labrador helping someone who is deaf or in a wheelchair. We DO cater to our female clients with physical disabilities however we also cater to women who live with anxiety, ptsd and other neurological challenges.
Jessica and Fibi
Dogs have been known as man’s best friend for a long time. Now more than ever, this is true, as we become more familiar with the human-animal bond, we find more ways that the relationship between a human and a dog can actually help to heal the human. Dogs are now visiting nursing homes and hospitals and helping to bring moments of peace and happiness to someone who is lonely or in pain.
Jane and Endy
Any person who has been through a traumatic experience can suffer pain in the form of depression and post traumatic stress syndrome. Women who have been assaulted or abused can suffer also from repressed feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings can literally take someone’s life away. It becomes hard to perform simple tasks and going into public can become impossible without bringing on anxiety attacks. This causes the person to be isolated which aggravates the depression. A woman will also be afraid to go out alone because she can no longer trust her fellow human and she feels vulnerable.
A German Shepherd that has been specially trained to assist and protect a person can be a vital key to giving this woman her life back. The dog, if trained and certified as a Service and Protection Dog will be able to accompany the woman into all public places and help make her feel more comfortable and safe as well as being a friend to lean on if an anxiety attack should happen. The training is custom tailored to the individual client as each person has special needs and the dog will learn cues to help a person leave an uncomfortable situation.
Suzanne with Savannah and GatorlandK9 trainer RJ Hoppe
The trainer really takes on a dual role as trainer and handler of the Service Dog during the training process and must also be familiar in helping the woman learn to handle and trust the dog and will play an important role in helping the woman to make her first trips out in public. The trainer will need to be familiar with the psychiatric needs of a patient with post traumatic stress disorder and will assist the person if they need medication or experience an anxiety attack in public. It is a lot to learn to handle the dog and deal with all of the feelings of being out in public, so the handler/trainer must assist the person if needed.
The Service Dog will become extremely bonded to its new owner, as the German Shepherd has an uncanny ability to sense the needs of a human and will adapt it’s training to very specific needs of each client.
Client with Jessi
(386) 337-0730 Ted Hoppe
Author: Jill Pavel
Why send your dog to GatorlandK9 for training?
When contemplating sending your dog away for training, there are some very important things to consider. There are many non-reputable companies offering “boot camp” and methods of training that border on animal cruelty.
GatorlandK9 helps make your dog’s transition and your transition as an owner seamless. When your dog comes to GatorlandK9 he/she is a part of our family while training. We offer references, testimonials through Facebook, our website and you can see our training techniques first hand on our exclusive you tube channel.
We establish effective training taking into consideration the goals of the owner. Too often people send their dogs to training facilities and the dogs are signed up for a crash course aka Boot Camp. At GatorlandK9, our dogs wag their tails, are happy when they work and are consistently reliable in their performance. A good trainer can balance negative & positive reinforcement, while keeping negative to the absolute minimal.
GatorlandK9 is a small family owned business that Imports top quality German Shepherds as well as offering professional training. Unlike big kennels we give individual attention to each dog during training and during their rest and play time.
Ted Hoppe has been training for over 26 years. His son RJ Hoppe is a trainer and the kennel master.
Ted and RJ will make sure your dog acclimates to its new environment prior to training which minimizes any unnecessary stress to your dog. This initial bonding period of 4-7 days is critical; it helps establish the trust between the trainer holding the leash and the dog.
At the end of the average 2 month training period, we will do what we call intermediate/advanced level work. All dogs are different. Like people. Some are very quick learners and some take longer, some like to work and some don’t. We establish positive reinforcement training techniques for the dog and owner, for example; some dogs require a pat on the head with praise. Other dogs are motivated to play with a ball and there are those dogs that are motivated with a food or a treat reward. It is a trainer’s responsibility to ascertain what motivates the individual dog.
GatorlandK9 training starts out as fun endeavor without fear instilled in the animal. During the training process some negative must rein however it is kept to a minimum level to inspire consistency. Dog training is not magic, it is an acquired skill that you as the dog owner must master in order to maintain the training with your dog at GatorlandK9. We spend time with our owners establishing post training protocol. We help you familiarize yourself with the training techniques so that you can reinforce all that your dog learned with our trainers. That is the purpose of the handler training course that you receive when you come to pick up your dog.
We keep in close contact with the owners even posting video progress at the halfway mark of the training period so that you can see how far your dog has come.
Remember that there are no short cuts to good training.
Author: Jill Pavel
GatorlandK9 Service Dogs on the Move
Since Jessi the german shepherd service dog left GatorlandK9 International over six months ago with her 18 year old handler she has been traveling the world...this time Jessi takes us with her to Summer Camp! This young german shepherd works hard and she gets around!
Author: Jill Pavel
Veteran Mark Berry traveled to Nashville from his hometown of Caanan, New Hampshire with his German Shepherd Service Dog, NAYA. During a music benefit at The Stage on Broadway presented by Heart Songs for Veterans, Marks' GatorlandK9 Service Dog Naya was awarded "Service Dog of the Year" by Country Star Sarah Buxton.
Country Singer Ashley Winters shared her song written for Mary and Naya "By Her Side".
Country Singer Ashley Winters, Serenading Veteran Mark Berry and his GatorlandK9 International Service Dog NAYA with her original song penned in their honor "By Her Side".
Country Star Sarah Buxton awarding GatorlandK9 International Alumni Naya
"Service Dog of The Year" Award
Heart Songs for Veterans of the Year SGT Eric Hunter, Artist Sam French.Todd Farmer
L to R: Heart Songs for Veterans Andy Roadarmel, Todd Farmer (Drummer) Sam French & Brian Jones (Justine Blazer Band)
The Omni Nashville provided accomodations for Mark, Naya and Service Protection Dogs for World Peace.
To Cap the evening off a surprise donation was made to Service Protection Dogs for World Peace on behalf of Jill Pavel, Founder of Heart Songs for Veterans in the amount of $2000.00. Pavel presented the check to D. Hoppe.
Author: Jill Pavel
Some Testimonials are worthy of their own place on our website!
Noro is doing so well! Working with him every day without fail and I use RJs training techniques which have resulted in some amazing progress. I have to reiterate that without RJ's week here I would not have had the same confidence or knowledge of the building blocks that I have used. Even the way RJ "petted" Noro was always given mimicking an alpha's grip on the scruff while being playful--at least that is what I saw and it is only one of many things I noticed and learned to do differently just by observing RJ. Noro will do a down stay indefinitely now. His attempts to alpha out in our household are pretty much non existent now. He is, at almost 2 (mid-March) shaping up to be a pretty magnificent dog. His house protection is stellar and he will sound a nasty alarm but go to his control pad (right where RJ placed it) usually on first command but consistently on second.
Hannibal is doing great. Grace is in India until May so I have both dogs until then. Because of his service dog status I enjoy taking him for all store based errands. I can't take him anywhere without people telling me what a beautiful, handsome and well behaved dog he is. He remains in top form and when walking with him I feel it is what I imagine driving a Rolls Royce would be like with regard to his attention to every slight turn, acceleration of pace, etc. A joy.
We miss you all and look forward to seeing you when we get down to Florida this year. Please give the family my very best-
Author: Jill Pavel
GatorlandK9 & Service Protection Dog Trainer RJ Hoppe is leaving a lasting impression on our german shepherd community.
This month RJ Was spotlighted in our February 2014 Newsletter. Here is his interview:
RJ Hoppe sat down with Marketing/PR Director Jill Pavel to talk about his career as a dog trainer at GatorlandK9.
Jill: RJ how old were you when you started working or helping at the GatorlandK9 training facilities?
RJ: I was around 8 years old. I would help clean and of course play with the dogs.
When I was 12 years old I started to help my Dad by cleaning the kennels, helping to water and of course spend time with the German shepherds. My family has a dedicated work ethic, my Dad taught me from an early age how to become responsible for the animals.
Jill: At the age of 19 years old how do you know this is your chosen career path?
RJ: I always loved playing sports, especially soccer. I LOVE the dogs. I enjoy being outdoors enjoying the fresh air and this career allows me to be with the dogs, the outdoors and of course use my physical abilities which is necessary to be an effective dog trainer. It’s a win/win for me.
Jill: How many hours a day do you work?
RJ: It varies but on most days, I’m at the kennels at 8 am, helping to water, feed and walk the dogs. I spend approximately 4-5 hours a day training, in all it is a 8-10 hour work day. I try to strike a balance between proper training etiquette with the dogs and allowing them to have downtime and playtime.
Jill: How many dogs have you certified?
RJ: I certified my first A to B dog Tebow in 2013. In total I have helped certify at least 20 dogs. I also help to train the service protection dogs we give to the Veterans through our www.serviceprotectiondogs.org programming.
Jill: That is admirable and we all thank you for your service to our Veterans RJ! Tell me something about your job that people would be surprised to learn.
RJ: Well I do get to travel. I have conducted in home training in Virginia, Vermont, NY. I went to Europe this past fall to check on our dogs as well. So I guess you could also add “Traveling Trainer” to my resume.
Jill: What do you do for fun RJ?
RJ: I enjoy spending time with my family. I love music, I play the guitar (bass, electric and acoustic). I lean toward Rock music, ACDC, Ozzy Osborne & Three Days Grace. I also enjoy surfing, the beach and fishing.
Jill: Thank you for the interview RJ and Thank you for your hard work!
Testimonial Letter - RJ Hoppe
I would like to thank you for allowing Bella to stay and train with R.J. Hoppe. She was quite the handful when we attempted to train her ourselves. She was attentive to us only if we had some type of treat for her in hand. It was extremely difficult to keep her attention while we were training. Giving her a command in public places was useless, as her attention was always elsewhere. However, after picking her up from you last week, it is unbelievable the changes she has been able to make. Bella absolutely loves to train now. It is amazing to see that desire in her to obey our commands. R.J. has truly shown us an entirely different side to Bella that we did not know existed. R.J. gave each one of my family members quality one-on-one time. He showed us the mistakes we were making in handling her from a completely different perspective. His love and dedication for handling dogs was evident throughout our entire session. We received a tremendous amount of information from him in just one session, more than we did in all of our previous training classes combined. We learned that training a dog is no good if we do not know how to correctly handle the dog. I can assure you we will be back for another session, as soon as we have the fundamentals of dog handling perfected. I can honestly say, that I now look forward to coming home and working with Bella on a daily basis. My family and I sincerely appreciate all the work R.J. has done with Bella. We are in his debt for all the invaluable handling advice he has given to us all.
A. Aslam and Family
Author: Jill Pavel
We have a lot to be thankful for during the past year 2013.
We helped a few veterans acquire their service dogs.
Veteran Lou and Topeka
Ted Hoppe introducing Veteran James and Kira for the first time
Veteran Mark and Naya shopping
Veteran Josh Schutt will start his Service Dog Training 1.13.14
We made the front page this year! >> http://www.vnews.com/home/8864230-95/a-dog-in-service-of-one-who-served-white-river-junction-va-adapts-to
RJ Hoppe had an amazing trip to Europe, they were able to check in on the dogs and meet the new German Shepherd puppies that are in their new homes.
Our young client Josh is living happily with his Service Protection Dog Warrior. Josh was diagnosed with a brain tumor and has Warrior by his side to guide him through his daily life.
Josh with his scout troop leaders and Warrior
RJ Hoppe received his certification for training in American Street Ring
RJ & Ted Hoppe working with Tebow
Looking forward to making memories and changing lives in 2014. We wish you and your family a successful, healthy and happy New Year!
Author: Jill Pavel
The German History of the German Shepherd
"The most striking features of the correctly bred German Shepherd are firmness of nerves, attentiveness, unshockability, tractability, watchfulness, reliability and incorruptibility together with courage, fighting tenacity and hardness."
- Max von Stephanitz, Father of the German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is a versatile working-dog, capable of being trained to perform a wide variety of tasks. German Shepherds are family pets, police dogs, guide dogs, search and rescue dogs, bomb and drug detection dogs, sheep and cattle herders, hunting companions, guard dogs, obedience champions, avalanche dogs, assistance dogs, show dogs, and more. Regardless of their particular role, German Shepherds are excellent companions provided they receive the attention, training, and exercise they need and feel useful.
This dog breed is only about 100 years old. The breed was originated by Captain Max von Stephanitz. Captain von Stephanitz, of the German infantry, bought sheep-herding dogs (many of them field trial winners) from all over Europe in the late 1800's and early 1900's and bred them together to create his 'ultimate service dog'. He started a registry and stud book. His favourite dog, Hektor, was 1/4th wolf. All the dogs originally imported to the UK & America were proudly traced back to him. After WWI, British and American soldiers, impressed by the abilities of the dog, brought home examples to breed. The breed instantly become popular, both as a family pet and as a working dog. Shortly thereafter, the German Shepherd Dog's (GSD) name was changed to Alsatian Wolf Dog. Their popularity soared for a while, then fell tremendously as the media sensationalised every remotely negative event that occurred associated with a canine with the word 'wolf' in it. There were arguments like this - was the Alsatian Wolfdog the best working / most capable / most intelligent dog that ever walked the face of the earth OR was Alsatian Wolfdog the unpredictable / livestock eating / human attacking beast from hell? The name was eventually changed back in 1977 to German Shepherd Dog, and the GSD soon reached its peak at the top of the most popular dog list.
Von Stephanitz created the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde, or SV, as the official governing body for the breed. The SV then created the Schutzhund trial as a breed test for the German Shepherd Dog, and prohibited the breeding of any dog which could not pass the trial. The purpose of Schutzhund training is to assess and mold the dog's natural abilities to track, protect, and teach the dog control through obedience. It has been considered by some to be a test for breeding in that during the training the degree to which the dog possesses these working abilities becomes apparent.
The German Shepherd Dog is a large, strong, substantial-looking dog. The fur is a double-coat and can be either short or long haired. It varies in color, coming in many different shades, mostly cream (tan) and brown, but also solid black or white. Dogs with coats that have tri-colored hair (ie. black, brown, red, or white) are called sable or agouti. Different kennel clubs have different standards for the breed according to size, weight, coat color and structure. The GSCs have an average life span of ten to twelve years.
The German Shepherd Dog is an intelligent breed of dog. Because they are eager to please, they are easily trained in obedience and protection. German Shepherd Dogs are often used as working dogs in many capacities, including search and rescue (SAR), military, police or guard dogs. They are also used as assistance dogs / service dogs (such as guide dogs). The original purpose for the German Shepherd, was (not surprisingly) to herd sheep, cattle or any other animal that may require the assistance of a shepherd. Even given the name "shepherd" some people are surprised to hear that these dogs were bred for herding, as the GSD is more often found working as a guard dog, police dog or companion pet than in the field working sheep.
The German Shepherd does not have the "eye" as border collies or other similar breeds. They are trained to follow their instinct, which for the GSD is to "work the furrow", meaning that they will patrol a boundary all day and restrict the animals being herded from entering or leaving the designated area. It is this instinct that has made the breed superb guarding dogs, protecting their flock (or family) from harm. Your German Shepherd will try to "herd" you and your family. Often they will "follow ahead", walking in front of you and looking back to make sure you are going where you should. Although the German Shepherd is not used as frequently for herding in present time, there are many breed lines still known for their herding. The breed is naturally loyal, intelligent and protective (which makes it good for police work). German Shepherd has an excellent nose, making it good for tracking and search and rescue work. German Shepherd Dogs are calm and have a steady temperament when well-bred which is why they have been used as "Seeing Eye" dogs. A German Shepherd thrives on regular exercise, mental stimulation and a well-balanced diet.
Author: Jill Pavel
We are going to tell you a story....a beautiful story about Warrior the Service Dog and his young charge Josh who is 15. Warrior has been trained as a seeing eye dog for Josh who is fighting a brain tumor which has compromised his eye sight.
GatorlandK9 brought Josh and Warrior together when Warrior was a puppy.
After completing his Service Dog Training He went home to live with Josh and his family.
We are so pleased to say that Warrior and Josh are both working well together. Recently Josh took Warrior to a Boy Scout event!
Here is an update from Josh's Mother Sarah yesterday.
Warrior took a tour of Joshua's High School today. He did so wonderful and his behavior was top notch. Everyone just loved him and can't wait for him to be a "Full-Time Student". He's going to have his picture in the year book right next to Joshua's! How exciting is that? I'm so proud of him and it's all due to
Ted Hoppe at GatorlandK9. Sarah Hepler
Click here if you want to visit Warrior's Facebook page >https://www.facebook.com/pages/Warrior-A-Service-Dog/475422392512417
Click here if you want to visit GatorlandK9's facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ServiceProtectionDogs
Author: Jill Pavel
Here are some GREAT reasons a Malsatian is a Good Choice of a puppy breed from GatorlandK9.
- Low Maintenance - less shedding
- Super healthy, this is a cross breed. Meaning there is no common ancestry, minimizing the chances of geneticallay inherited problems or health issues malanois/german shepherd cross
- Medium sized dogs are easier for service work, they can get into tight spaces
- Highly trainable for ALL types of Service work
The Malsatian is a cross (malanois/german shepherd cross) done frequently by trainers & police agencies in Europe & produces a superior working dog that is easier to handle & trains very quickly.
Our Malsatians come from outstanding genetic backgrounds.
Ted Hoppe has bred & trained Malinois for over 20 years & traveled to Europe to Import his original breeding stock, creating the Gatorlandk9 bloodline, a working bred Malinois. These are crossed into the finest Imported German Shepherd bloodlines in the World.
Temperament tested, super socialized & evaluated so that they will go to suitable homes.
Author: Jill Pavel
German Shepherd Service Dog Placed With A Veteran With PTSD
We are so pleased to share that GatorlandK9 International has placed a German Shepherd/Malinois service dog puppy with Veteran James Morton.
James and his family are from Fayetteville, North Carolina. James is an 18 year Veteran in the US Army. He was medically discharged in January 2012.
James suffers from PTSD and other neurological disorders as well as Joint Disabilities from being airborne. We look forward to Kira growing and training to be a working Service Dog so that James can live an easier life with his PTSD. His family came to visit us last week, to pick up Kira. Here is a letter that James Wife Jennifer Shared with us upon arriving home. Remember to Support our Veterans!
Thank you so much for helping my husband James and "Kira" find each other. The day we spent with you is definitely a milestone for James recovery and management of PTSD. The time you took for us meant so much. The whole family enjoyed the demonstration we saw with Tebow too!
We arrived home safe and Kira is getting used to her forever home quickly. The two of them are already bonding well. We will continue to keep you updated on their progress. Here are
Author: Jill Pavel