The National K-9 Training Center was established in 1975 in Columbus, Ohio. National K-9 founder Scott Mueller began by training dogs for both families and businesses throughout central Ohio. In 1977, Mueller was credited with revolutionizing support dog training when he trained a dog to aid a client who suffered from Muscular Dystrophy. Based on this and early support dog expereinces, Mueller co-founded the non-profit organization, Support Dogs for the Handicapped, Inc. This organization trained dogs to aid individuals who were physically challenged. Dogs were taught to retrieve objects, assist with wheelchairs and doors, provide physical support and stability, and to perform other physical necessities to make life easier for their humans. Support Dogs for the Handicapped, Inc. eventually merged with Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), based in California. National K-9 also developed its Working Dog Division to train dogs for scent detection, protection, and law enforcement.
By the early 1980’s National K-9 had established itself as a leader within the field of training dogs for family and service. It was through this early success that the School for Dog Trainers would eventually evolve. Based on his early experiences, Mueller recognized the need for a more professional approach to dog training and dog trainer education. He began by accepting an apprentice in 1979 and in 1981 he established the National K-9 School of Dog Trainers. Mueller set out to establish a curriculum that would prepare interested individuals to pursue successful careers in professional dog training. During the 1980’s, the School for Dog Trainers expanded its curriculum and attracted students from all over the United States and many foreign countries.
In 1990, National K-9 moved into its newly developed training and learning center on Morrison Road in Columbus. During the 1990’s Mueller formed a partnership with Bob Jervis. This partnership with allowed National K-9 to expand and evolve its training, behavior, and business-related curriculums. The 1990’s also included expansion of National K-9’s specialty and working dog divisions. In September of 1999, the School for Dog Trainers celebrated its 100th class. In the year 2000 Chris Altier was asked to join the National K-9 staff as an instructor and would eventually become a part owner.
Throughout the early 2000’s, National K-9 continued to make improvements and modifications to their dog training services to meet the needs of today’s dogs and owners. In 2006, Jervis replaced Mueller as the school director of the school for dog trainers. In 2008 National K-9 founder Scott Mueller retired. In 2010 Mueller was inducted into the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) International Hall of Fame for his contributions to dog training and trainer education.
In 2011 the School for Dog Trainers surpassed 30 years of dog trainer education. The National K-9 Learning Center celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015. School Director Bob Jervis was inducted into the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) Member Hall of Fame in 2014 and received the IACP President’s Award in 2016 for his contributions to the organization. Jervis was inducted into the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) International Hall of Fame in 2017 for his contributions to the field of dog training and dog trainer education. In 2017, the School for Dog Trainers surpassed 2,000 graduates from all 50 states and over 45 foreign countries. In 2019 National K-9 celebrated its 200th class of dog trainers. In 2020 Bob Jervis retired and Chris Altier became the new school director and president of National K-9. In 2020, Jervis received the IACP’s first ever Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts related to dog training, dog training education, and support for the IACP. Cassie Smith become a part-owner of National K-9 in 2022 after years of experience as a professional trainer, head trainer, and instructor .
In addition to its School for Dog Trainers, National K-9 offers: Obedience Training, Behavior Counseling, Puppy Preschool, Specialty Training, and Boarding Services to dogs and their owners. National K-9’s comprehensive puppy preschool program has served as a model for many professional trainers around the world. Over the years National K-9 instructors have been continually developing a wealth of experience training a wide variety of breeds and mixed breeds. National K-9 trainers have experience training dogs for service, tracking, and scent detection. National K-9 also has experience training dogs for law enforcement and their handlers.
Throughout National K-9’s history its instructors have taken an active role in the field of dog training and behavior. Instructors have been speakers at veterinary and professional dog trainer conferences. They have also presented information on various training and behavior related topics to businesses, schools, and government agencies. They continue to be cited in numerous newspapers, trade, and consumer publications. Additionally, instructors have appeared on national and local television and radio.
In 2024 National K-9 will celebrate its 49th anniversary of helping make our best friends even better. Since National K-9’s inception, the entire staff has worked to develop better ways to train dogs and educate dog owners. Since 1975 the National K-9 staff has continued their commitment to adapting to the constant changes related to dog training and ownership. The entire staff takes great pride in developing better ways to effectively educate dog owners, trainers, and the public. National K-9 instructors continue to attend professional workshops, seminars, and conferences to keep up on the latest in relation to training and behavior. The National K-9 staff is committed to remain at the forefront of professional dog training and dog trainer education.