Blue Rivera, a fairly new resident to Chino Valley, has a distinctly interesting vocation that he has been doing for many years. The owner of Outkast K-9 is a professional dog trainer and a nationally certified "decoy" trainer (protection dog trainer) for police, military and civilians.
"We don't train 'mean' dogs or 'attack' dogs. We teach them that it is a game. I basically turn myself into a big toy. I call myself the 'Frisbee,'" Blue said, adding, "We put so much control and obedience into these dogs, so that we don't have a dog that is a danger or a liability." Blue shared that he has been into dogs his entire life, as he was showing his family's collies in American Kennel Club dog shows at the age of five.
"In my mid-teens I saw someone doing a protection seminar, and I instantly became interested in protection work and from there I started doing my apprenticeship with an experienced trainer," he recalled.
At Blue's training facility on his property, they use reward-based training and the commands they teach are in different languages.
"We teach the dogs how to properly use their mouths. We train them kind of like people teach Karate. The dogs learn discipline and respect -
they are not 'hoodlum dogs.' When I am training family protection dogs, we are training a member of the family that is gentle to family and friends but willing to lay down his life to protect his family," Blue said.
Blue feels deeply that if the dog isn't learning, it's the fault of the person.
"There is a phrase I follow in my dog training that I got from the book, The Art of War. 'If the orders are not clear, it is the general's fault.' As teachers and trainers it is up to us to relay information to that dog," he said. "We do not do just one type of training because all dogs learn differently. I don't believe there is such a thing as a dumb dog; it is our failure to relay information to them. In dog training it's all about showing the dog what to do and how to do it, not just what not to do."
Blue works and trains all over Arizona. He is extremely skilled in his understanding of how a dog's mind works, and is dedicated to his work.
"Dogs were originally bred with a purpose in mind and a job to perform, long before they were 'home accessories,'" Blue said.
"Here at Outkast we try to offer sports that will fulfill the instinctual needs for any dog, any breed, any size, giving the dog the opportunity to reach its full potential." For more information, call Blue at 602-399-3706.