K9 Turbo’s New Logo and The Secret Story Behind It

The story of K9 Turbo Training and why we so intentionally started with that military-style logo isn’t one that most people know. Up until today, we haven’t ever shared it publicly, mostly because doing so could have compromised everything we were working so hard to build.

But things have changed. And the story itself is actually the reason we are so excited to bring you this new logo. So here it is– the whole darn, exciting and potentially controversial story.

Choosing the Hard Path: The Beginning of K9

It all started when Kate Wilson and I found each other in 2015. At the time, we had both been using positive-reinforcement in training, but felt so isolated in our own corners of the world. This was not only due to the fact that it was nearly impossible to find reinforcement-based trainers, but because of the heavy critisism against anyone who did. But the day we met, a flame was lit, and together we dreamt up this crazy idea about changing the world using education and collaboration– Through showing people it was not only possible, but effective. Little did we know 8 years later K9 Turbo would accidentally end up one of Michigan’s largest force-free, positive-reinforcement training companies, allowing us to reach thousands and thousands more dogs and people who loved them.

We knew the path to get there wouldn’t be easy, but easy wasn’t what we ever got into this for. We never wanted to stay in the corner of comfort. We wanted to be on the battlefield, pulling people off and bringing them together. –We didn’t want easy. We wanted a place in the arena. And we were ready to step both feet first to accomplish our crazy dream. We were prepared for a beautiful, messy, uphill, life-long attempt to change the world. And boy is that what we got.

Dominance Culture

One of the biggest issues we had as a community back when K9 Turbo started was it was that it was nearly impossible to find local positive-reinforcement trainers and resources. But sadly, this wasn’t the biggest problem. The dominance-and-punishment culture in dog training had become so pervasive among the general public that when potential customers heard that we used reward-based methods, they often would actually hang up and go seek out training from trainers that weren’t certified, qualified, or aware themselves that this was possible. It didn’t take us long to realize that if our business was framed in terms of “cookies vs. correction” or “treats vs. toughness,” we would continue to lose the people who needed our help the most. So off we went, into the world of discomfort, creating an entire brand that was counter to everything that we believed in and did as trainers and animal welfare professionals.

So that’s where the story really begins.

An Intentionally Forceful, Military-Style Brand
Older military-style logo

When creating that initial brand design, we knew we wanted to connect with the people who were actively seeking punishment-based training, specifically those who would come to find trainers who were both uncertified and lacked education themselves (though we wanted to connect with them, too). So it started with that silhouette of a girl and her dog as the anchor, subconsciously putting the dog-person relationship at the core of the logo. But then came in the more obvious military-type elements (e.g. the black stencil-style fonts, bold red/orange colors, and the “K9” term in the name) to suggest toughness and the ability to handle “dominant dogs,” even though we would do so completely without force.

And it worked. We almost exclusively started hearing from the potential clients who most needed us, those who were seeking tough training for the “tough dogs”. And together, we were able to begin changing the community’s perception of reward-based training one person, one treat bag, and one dog at a time.

Change Through Compassion

More than anything, our goal was to create a compassionate community by shaping the way people see and treat the animals around them. We wanted to connect with those who saw things differently. We wanted to support other trainers, rescues, vet offices, and dog guardians in making change, not villainize them. In order to reach these broader groups and not just individual training clients, we expanded Kate’s free canine body language seminars for people who had only ever used force in training. In these seminars, we didn’t argue about terminology or methodology or tell people they were wrong. We simply provided a safe space and showed people who loved their dogs what fear and communication looked like. This led people to reconsider their own training methodologies and share with others. And with that alone, our force-free community started to snowball. 

Then to Now

Fast forward to today and we’re in such a different place. We believe we have accomplished our goal of helping to create a compassionate, force-free community of pet owners, trainers, and pet professionals.

Reinforcement-based training is now something people know about and seek out. They are educated. They ask good questions. And almost more excitingly, as professionals, we have finally have a community of like-minds where we can collaborate to help dogs in more educated, compassionate ways. The kind of community Kate and I always hoped we could create and grow way back when.

We still sit back and talk with the very small group of trainers and behavior professionals that also worked hard to make this happen and wonder how in the world we’re here today– but here we are–in an industry that is getting better and raising the bar with every passing day.

Now when people call us, they don’t ask us if we use treats in a judgmental or dismissive way; they do the opposite. And they are always relieved when they hear that we follow a force-free philosophy because our brand design had thrown them off.

The Closing of a Chapter

Our old logo has served its purpose. It helped bring resources to people who were otherwise often told that evidence-informed information and training wouldn’t work for their “dominant” dogs. But we don’t need that anymore. Today, keep the core of our logo, a person connecting with their dog at the center of everything, but with a soft, gentle feel all around it. A logo that accurately represents what we believe and how we have always approached training and behavior modification. A logo we are proud of.

Sadly, my enthusiastic and oh-so-perfect dog, Turbo, isn’t around any more, nor is Kate’s heart dog and the inspiration for her journey, Finnegan, but every day we push so their legacies can live on through that simple yet powerful vision that started it all.

The Start of a New Journey:
So to us, this is more than just a rebrand. It’s a representation of how far we’ve all come and a day to thank you for giving us a chance to show you the magic in trust, training, and collaboration. Watching you and your dogs connect, communicate, and thrive is what fills our cups every day. We are your biggest cheerleaders.

To hear it live and see me cry, check out the video.

 

We love you all. 

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7 Comments
  1. Ron and Cindy Clissold

    So proud to watch your growth. We were there at the beginning. We don’t know where we would have been without Katelin. Katelin not only talks the talk she walks the walk. She is amazing in every sense of the word. We aren’t sure that our family would still include both Heidi and Darla without Katelin. Katelin is family and we love her dearly. I’ve recommended K9 Turbo Training to numerous people. I can’t say enough good about the whole program and the people involved. Thank you for everything! Continued success in all you do.

    Reply
  2. Cathy Polen

    Such a truly wonderful story. It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done for our reactive dog. We’re so happy there’s K9 Turbo‼️

    Reply
    • Miss April

      I am a better person because of Kate Wilson. Thank you so much for this never ending journey all I can hope for is to be better than I was yesterday xoxo you never judge(d) me & your energy… priceless. Thank you from me & the animals that own me 🙂

      Reply
  3. Amy

    Beautifully thoughtful. Compassion and learning always win.

    Reply
    • Kathy

      Love, love, love this! Sadly in my neck of the woods it is still something of an uphill battle as there are only a couple of force free trainers. I continue to spread the word and direct people to your website. I am especially appreciative of your free resource tips as our community is some distance from your base of operations and the people that could benefit the most from the force free philosophy are more apt to initially connect in that respect. Thank you, thank you, thank for all your hard work in this arena!!

      Reply
  4. Tammy Kujala

    This is so awesome! I love it so much. It embodies everything you guys have worked so hard to achieve. The knowledge and skills you have so readily shared has trickled down to those of us “non-trainers” who work with dogs in rescue. We share your knowledge with others by demonstrating force free handling of all dogs. Not everyone can be a trainer, but everyone can learn to be a positive, force-free handler whether it’s in your own home or at a rescue/shelter. I am in awe of all you do! Keep up the great work! 💕💕

    Reply
  5. Christine Fox

    Beautiful. Every word and the entire message. Don’t stop!

    Reply

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