“When you begin to understand the bond and connection your dog has with you and you have with your dog…confusion will diminish and your dog will begin to follow your lead”

~Graham Bloem~

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, four wonderful children, and dogs Spirit and River).

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).

During 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 and been featured on talk shows, local and national magazines, has a feature in Dog Fancy Magazine, run seminars on dog care and training, and appears 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 was 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.

In 2008, Graham joined a five star pet resort and training facility. He quickly became the Director of Training & Operations, helping train many dogs, their owners and also mentoring and training other trainers. Graham was responsible for managing 40+ employees, sales and enrollment, vendor relationships, inventory, and overall managerial functions while continuing to focus on his passion of helping dogs.

Graham stepped down from his Director role in July 2012 to once again pursue his passion of dog training, particularly behavior cases, service dogs, and protection dogs and also co-founded the non-profit “Shelter to Soldier™”, which provides specially trained rescue dogs to military personnel at no cost.

Graham was 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”.

Graham is the Owner and CEO of Specialty Dog Training and he focuses his time on supporting the business functions of SDT, placing highly trained personal and family protection dogs, helping dogs with behavioral challenges and he volunteers his time as the President of Shelter to Soldier.

          Animal Behavior College Authorized Mentor Trainer

APDT Logo         IACP 2

10-news-leadership-award recipient-1

 San Diego Dog Trainer Graham Bloem

Graham’s Accomplishments

  • Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer
  • Mentor Trainer for Animal Behavior College
  • Co-Founder of Shelter to Soldier™ – a non-profit organization that rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to be service dogs for military men and women struggling with PTSD.
  • Advisor and Chief Dog Trainer for Clever Pet, LLC.
  • Founder & President of National Academy of Professional Dog Trainers
  • Professional Dog Trainer since 2002
  • Apprenticed with renowned Master Dog Trainer, Rick Klassen.
  • Dog Trainer to Helen Woodward Animal Center, a world renowned animal shelter, for 4 years.
  • Dog Trainer & Consultant to Rancho Coastal Humane Society, a pioneer in rescue programs, for 2 years.
  • Dog Trainer to Nubs Dennis, the world famous rescue dog from Iraq. Nubs’ children’s book is a NY Times Best Seller and is one of the most successful children’s books of all time. The story is now being produced into a motion film.
  • Dog Trainer to Lava Kopelman, another famous rescue dog from Iraq. Lava’s owner has published two NY Times Best Sellers.
  • Managed and Directed a large Pet Resort for nearly 4 years.
  • Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
  • Protection Dog Program Administrator
  • Behavioral Evaluator & Specialist
  • Service Dog Specialist
  • Therapy Dog Specialist
  • Partnered with a team of professional trainers with a combined 45 years of experience. Specializing in competition obedience, Police K9 training & evaluation, detection dogs, family protection dogs and executive protection dogs.
  • Business & Dog Behavior Consultant to boarding facilities, doggie daycares, veterinary hospitals, animals shelters & rescues
  • Featured on local and national radio
  • Featured on local and national news – CBS8, ABC 10News, KUSI, FOX5, NBC, CNN
  • ABC 10News Leadership Award Recipient
  • Mentioned and Praised on Ellen DeGeneres Show, Today Show & Tonight Show
  • Contributing writer to Dog Fancy Magazine & Dog’s Life Magazine