Graham Bloem was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and has had an affinity with animals all his life, although his true passion is for dogs. At age five, he immigrated to Toronto, Canada with his family, but enjoyed frequent trips back to South Africa. His experiences in wildlife settings instilled a dream of one day working with animals. From Canada, he immigrated to the United States obtaining US citizenship and he now resides in sunny San Diego, CA with his amazing family (wife Kyrié, three wonderful children, and dogs Lucy, Toffee, and Juno, a Heinz 57-rescue sweetheart, a playful and loving Golden Retriever and a giant Bernese Mountain Dog).
Graham initially worked as the manager of a local pet nutrition store and used this opportunity to learn about the nutritional needs of cats and dogs. He then attended Animal Behavior College, and in 2002 graduated with honors as an Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT).
After college he joined the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s adoption facility in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. working in several roles ending as senior dog trainer. Over the years, he has worked with thousands of dogs, continuing his studies to further his understanding of dogs’ behavior and needs. Graham specialized in behavior modification and helped to save the lives of thousands of dogs from an uncertain future. After the valuable experience at Helen Woodward, Graham established his own dog-training company, West Coast K9. He also accepted a position of senior mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, sharing his dog training knowledge and passion with new trainers and certifying them in California.
Graham has participated in several TV interviews and fundraisers, has featured in Dog Fancy Magazine, run seminars on dog care and training, and appeared on many news and radio shows with NBC, CBS, FOX and CNN. Some of these interviews resulted from his involvement with dogs rescued in the war zone in Iraq. This began with Lava, a puppy rescued during the battle of Fallujah who and brought to the USA by Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman, the New York Times Best Selling Author of “From Bagdad with Love” and “From Bagdad to America,” in which Graham had honorable mentions. Lava is an amazing, loving dog that made an impression on Graham with his outstanding senses and incredible intelligence. Graham helped to socialize and train Lava for his new life in America, teaching him both basic and advanced obedience commands.
In 2006, Graham served the Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas, CA as their contracting trainer for two years, responsible for behavior assessment, evaluation, treatment plans, staff training, creating and running training programs including volunteer based programs, and other training related tasks. In 2007, Graham was the trainer for another famous dog rescued from the war-zone in Iraq by Maj. Brian Dennis of the Marine Corps. Major Dennis bonded with a stray mixed-breed dog, Nubs, while serving his country in Iraq. Brian later wrote the NY Times Best Selling Book, “Nubs – The True Story of A Mutt, A Marine and A Miracle,” in which Graham is prominently mentioned. This story is now in production to become a motion picture with the screenplay and production headed by Justin Zackham of Two Ton Films.
In 2008, Graham joined Snug Pet Resort & Absolute K9 Training team, a five star pet resort and training facility co-owned by an all-pro NFL star. Snug Pet Resort & Veterinary Hospital is also a basic and luxury boarding facility, grooming salon, and training facility where Graham has had the privilege of working with many dogs, their owners and families.
Graham stepped down from his position of General Manager and senior dog trainer at Snug Pet Resort in July 2012 to once again pursue his passion of dog training, particularly behavior cases & service dogs, and has also started the non-profit “Shelter to Soldier™”, which provides specially trained rescue dogs to military personnel.
The aim is to train service companions for post 9/11 combat veterans battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or other psychological or physical ailments from their service in Iraq, Afghanistan or other active areas. In addition, this program will change the lives of many dogs, rescuing them from their uncertain lives in shelters and instilling in them the meaningful opportunity to become lifetime companions for our struggling service men and women.
Graham is also a proud co-owner owner of the online pet supply company, Dog Training Warehouse (DTW), offering professional guidance and behavior advice assisting pet owners on the use of tools and supplies sold through the website.
Additionally, he and his wife Kyrie’ are the founders of the National Academy of Professional Dog Trainers (NAPDT). NAPDT is an elite dog training academy that teaches students fundamental dog psychology principles, obedience training, behavior counseling and specialized fields of study with working dogs. Our program blends the most elite hands-on training with excellent classroom theory.
Graham is an Advisor and Chief Dog Trainer for CleverPet LLC. CleverPet is an incredible dog interaction device that has been created to fill the much needed gap of time when owners aren’t home or don’t have time to engage with their dogs. CleverPet keeps pups mentally and physically active through an automated process and not only is this “game” a ton of fun, it truly helps relieve boredom, stress, anxiety and focuses dogs on the positive process of learning and play. CleverPet, “engaging idle paws”. www.getcleverpet.com
Most recently, Graham was featured in the amazing book, For The Sender: Love Letters From Vietnam, written by Alex Woodard. Alex shares the story of how he and Graham met, Graham’s passion and work and talks about our charity, Shelter to Soldier.
Regardless of your dog's breed, age, personality or history, we can create a customized dog training program that will fit your dog and lifestyle.