RJ Hoppe - Trainer Spotlight

on Thursday, 20 February 2014. Posted in German Shepherds

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.

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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! 


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Testimonial Letter - RJ Hoppe

Dear Ted,

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

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