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.
So that’s where the story really begins.
An Intentionally Forceful, Military-Style Brand
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.