By Nealie E. Sanchez | editor@texasdogmagazine.com

Matt Waggoner grew up in Denison, Texas on his mom’s ranch surrounded by “ranch dogs.” He says he always loved dogs, but at age 10 his love for dogs evolved when he got a furry friend of his own.

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Waggoner with dogs at I Cause Happy Paws | Courtesy Wagg the Dog Trainer

 

“I got a German Shepherd when I was 10, and that changed everything,” Waggoner said. “I know how loyal that breed is, and they’re just awesome animals.”

 

He trained his dog on his mom’s ranch. Little did he know, he would someday make a living at the trade, eventually doing business as Wagg the Dog Trainer.

His life remained dog centered throughout his young adulthood.

“As I grew up in my 20s, I was a vet tech for a couple of years, so I know how they work inside and out,” Waggoner said. “And then I had sled dogs in Colorado for a couple seasons so I’ve seen every aspect of dog life.”

Waggoner finally began training dogs as “Wagg the Dog Trainer” in April 2016.

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Waggoner training a pup at his ranch in Mabank, Texas | Courtesy Wagg the Dog Trainer

 

He began his business training out of his home in Aubrey while he was trying to get his name out. Now that he is established, his popularity has led to Waggoner taking on a ranch in Mabank, Texas where he takes five or six dogs every two weeks.

 

To date, Waggoner has trained upwards of 500 dogs, which has helped him establish an effective training program.

The first week, dogs train at Waggoner’s ranch where they learn commands and socialize with each other.

“They can’t act like an idiot around other dogs or else it doesn’t mean anything to me,” Waggoner said. “If they can’t do stuff around distractions it’s pointless to me.”

The following week the dogs head to Uptown Dallas’ I Cause Happy Paws dog daycare to practice their new skills around new dogs.

“It’s awesome being able to train [at the ranch] and in downtown Dallas so I know that they can do it anywhere,” Waggoner said. “I love being able to give them back to the clients like that.”

Waggoner has amassed quite an internet following during his time in the business. His Facebook page, Wagg the Dog Trainer has upwards of 14,700 followers. This popularity didn’t come from word of mouth about his training services, Waggoner claims that he started gaining a following after working with shelters and shelter dogs.

“Now, I’ve done projects where I just go to a shelter for a week straight all day every day and train as many dogs as I can. I did that in Dennison and in the Colony,” Waggoner said. “It was awesome for me and the shelters loved it too because the dogs all got out, got leashed trained, got commands, and they all got homes and none of them had to come back.”

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Waggoner working with a dog at I Cause Happy Paws | Courtesy Wagg the Dog Trainer

 

In addition to shelter work, Waggoner also gets to work with dogs from the Humane Society at his friend’s dog park. Homeless dogs with the Humane Society get to play with the other dogs for free, giving them socialization skills that Waggoner says makes them so much easier to adopt.

 

Waggoner’s personal pack consists of Ophelia (Haven was her shelter name), a deaf girl Dalmatian Pitbull Mix; Kroger, a rescue husky from next to a dumpster behind Kroger off of 380 in Frisco; Minka, a German Shepherd and Waggoner’s “ace”; and Sugar, a Staffordshire Terrier.

Waggoner’s love of dogs reigns true at his ranch where his philosophy is to treat all dogs equally — whether they come from well-to-do homes or shelter kennels, each dog is sure to be learning the same obedience and commands together.

“I train a lot of shelter dogs and a lot of client dogs. I train them all together because to me they’re exactly the same,” Waggoner said. “I don’t care if a dog lives in Highland Park or if a dog came from the Mesquite Shelter. I mean, it’s a dog, so I love them all.”

For information visit Wagg the Dog Trainer on Facebook or contact Matt Waggoner directly at (505) 322-1552.

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