#MondayMotivation Inspiration Stephanie Bennett, Dog Whisperer

Stephanie Bennett and Believe in Dog Staff Photo Hank the pittie-mix, Willow the chi-mix, and Hud the Jack Russel Terrier Photo Credit: Kem Coan Photograph

Good Monday to you, DISHIES!! This week’s # MondayMotivation Inspiration is very special to the DISH Family, Ms. Stephanie Bennett with Believe in Dog Training. We met out of absolute desperation. Let me take you back, there is a very special rescue in the DISH Dog Pack called Kaisur, Friedrich Kaisur Freese von Schweinhund to be exact. He was an owner turnover to CAP. The lady in the household wouldn’t stand for Kaisur, then named KING, to be beaten by the “gentleman” of the household anymore. That’s how the canine love of my life ended up for adoption. It was Christmas time and I was window shopping around Highland Village when I saw him. The most beautiful animal I’ve ever seen! Unable to resist a Dachshund I popped in for a cuddle and a ear scratch then went on about my shopping. I kept thinking about him so I rounded back to see him again and caught him growling at an older lady who was trying to pet him! (bad dog!) I corrected him immediately and he obeyed! He instantly stopped growling at her and started wagging his tail at me so happy I was back. The sweet lady working the adoption mentioned quietly to me that he had shown aggression to everyone since I left and they were not a no kill shelter so DISH got a puppy for Christmas!

There is a bond between all pups and owners but there is something very special with my and The Kais. Almost like we have been each other’s soulmates for multiple lifetimes. He is my most loyal baby, so deeply attached there aren’t words to describe it. He is hilarious, athletic,engaging, brilliant, protective, loving, strong, my little inspiration, the happiest part of my day and have I mentioned protective? He came with a built in “Mommy Protector” mode from being forced to protect his original owner from being regularly beaten by her male partner. His protective mode was amazing when walking but caused severe problems when having friends over or having dog sitters. Needless to say, I am deeply grateful to the few who tried to watch him and ended up with stitches. I knew why he was so protective, he wasn’t being a bad dog he was doing what he was programmed to do. But it needed to stop! I couldn’t even leave town because a sitter was out of the question. Having friends over wasn’t an option either. I was staring down the barrel of either a lawsuit or being forced to put him down. He could NOT bite one more person!! He is such a very good good boy he just had severe PTSD.

A dear friend, Dow Hickam, owner of Top Drawer Lingerie, who Kaisur bit at least once (so deeply sorry again, Dow!) thought he might have the solution and introduced me to Stephanie Bennett right after she moved back to Houston and was just starting her new business. As always, I spent at least a half hour warning her before she came over about his behavior but she was not worried. But I still was because everyone he bit swore they were dog people and said there was nothing to worry about! Well, Stephanie did the impossible! Within the first 3 minutes she had Kaisur eating out of her hand, following her around the room (a miracle since he would NEVER leave my side) and within 10 minutes taught him to “SIT”! WHAT!?!?! Who was this wonder woman and could she really make my dog NICE? The answer was a resounding YES! She trained me how to train and handle him, which as it turns out is the key to training a pup. This week DISH joyfully and proudly introduces you to the lady who fixed the unfixable within 3 training sessions thus giving me a wonderful 16+ years with my canine soulmate – STEPHANIE BENNETT!!

1. NAME AND COMPANY NAME:  Stephanie Bennett  Believe in DOG Training

Stephanie Bennett and TV Tex, KPRC Channel 2 Rescue Dog

2. DISH ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS:  I have been training dogs (and their people) for almost 15 years.  I began my dog training career in Los Angeles and relocated to Houston in 2008.  Houston has been kind to me as an entrepreneur and  I have successfully built three dog training businesses since I arrived.  My latest and greatest, Believe in DOG Training, is a Canine Training and Enrichment Center and officially opened in the Heights in 2018.  My current favorite gig is training TV Tex, who is the KPRC Channel 2 rescue dog. I began training him as a puppy and now do monthly training segments on Channel 2’s afternoon show, Houston Life. 

 3. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN YOUR INDUSTRY:  After spending many years as a teacher and actress in Los Angeles, I went through some pretty heavy life changes that caused me to really consider what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I basically just woke up one day and decided I wanted to do something completely different.  I chose to combine my experience with teaching and entertaining people with my passion for dogs. Within a year, I had graduated from a school for dog trainers, found a mentor to apprentice with, and gotten my first job as a dog trainer.    

Stephanie Bennett, Owner and Head Trainer at Believe in Dog Training and Training Manager/ Behavior Consultant, Hayley Kenner Photo Credit: Kem Coan Photograph

4. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO CREATE YOUR OWN: I knew I had something special and unique to offer.  I wanted to create a place where training and nurturing the dog/human relationship, was the top priority.   

5. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR: Construction! Ugh, definitely the hardest and most frustrating part of the process.  Learning to delegate and let go of control as the business grows. There comes a point where you can’t do everything. Nor should you!

Believe in Dog Training

6. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR:   I work with a lot of rescue dogs that lived on the mean streets and suffered horrible and traumatic experiences.  Helping extremely fearful and/ or reactive dogs to be able to live in peace and harmony within the world and with their new people is the best feeling I know. 

7. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF OVER THIS JOURNEY:   I have more stamina than I thought,  I’m a control freak, and even if my worst fears come true, I will still be okay. 

8. HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO GIVE UP:   Of course! There are so many ups and downs to running a business and it is definitely NOT for the faint of heart! 

9. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO POWER THROUGH:   Knowing that I can make  a difference in the world, one dog at a time, always gets me out of bed.  

Stephanie Bennett chatting with a client Photo Credit: Kem Coan Photograph

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WHAT YOU DO:   Teaching  people how to effectively communicate and train their dogs through patience, mutual respect, and kindness.  

11. HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME:   What free time?  Haha!  My boyfriend and I love to travel and of course, hanging out with my own dogs is the best!

 12. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT HOUSTON:  I love the diversity of the people, the food, and culture. 

13. WHAT IS SOMETHING REALLY NEAT, FUN, OF QUIRKY ABOUT YOU THAT NO ONE WOULD EVER KNOW WITHOUT YOU TELLING THEM: Before I was a dog trainer, I co-wrote, co-produced, and starred in a movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. 

14. IF YOU WERE TO GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT OR NEEDING THAT INSPIRATION TO KEEP GOING IN YOUR INDUSTRY, WHAT WOULD IT BE:   Remember that  no matter what, ultimately, it’s all about helping the dogs. The dogs can’t help themselves and need you. Learn to meditate!

Believe in Dog Training

15. WHAT IS YOUR WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA SO PEOPLE CAN FOLLOW YOU:    All of the good information is on my website Believe in Dog Training. There are also some really great tips on my Facebook page and the cutest photos of your day will always be on my Intagram so come visit regularly and often!

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