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Rick Williams, personal dog trainer, helps four-legged friends become happy family members

A good dog can bring joy to a household, especially if it has truly become a companion to its owner. However, a good dog doesn't magically happen; it takes a lot of practice, patience and training to have a happy, obedient, and well adjusted dog. On the other hand, some folks might not have the tools and skills necessary to help their dogs become good dogs. That’s where Rick Williams, AKC certified personal dog trainer, comes in.

Williams, who has over 20 years in dog training experience, offers both group classes and individualized dog training for both pets and owners.

“Most importantly, I help people facilitate learning,” said Williams, a Fallbrook resident since 1969. “I make sure that everyone is on the same page. Most people want a well-rounded family member, and they need to have rules and expect good behavior [from their animal]. Otherwise, they end up with a domestic terrorist. So, I help correct the dog and replace unwanted behavior with wanted behaviors.”

Williams believes that a dog can start training with its owner the very first day that it comes home.

“True freedom for our animal comes from proper training,” he said. “I believe in fair, loving and firm training methods. Our goal is to take animals and help turn them into a well-loved part of the family.”

Williams’ love for animals began long before he began training dogs; it started when he saw 4-H students training dogs for the blind in high school. Though his parents didn’t allow him to participate in the program, that affection for canines didn’t dissipate.

It wasn’t until years later that Williams found a stray puppy, took it home, and promptly realized he had no clue how to train it.

“People told me if I wanted to be responsible, I had to take it to obedience school,” said Williams, who found he had a knack for helping dogs and owners communicate effectively.

Since that first puppy, approximately 1,500 pets and their owners have been trained by Williams, whose favorite part of dog training is the ‘Aha’ moment that dogs and their owners have.

“The moment the dog and handler realize they can accomplish a task is awesome,” said Williams. “You can see that light bulb go on.”

In Williams’ classes, dogs are given basic obedience training. In the group classes, dogs are given an opportunity for ‘real world’ training, as they have to obey commands with distractions surrounding them. With in-home training and consulting, Williams can work with the owner to problem solve several concerns, such as confidence, walking on a leash, housebreaking, chewing, barking and digging.

While Williams takes great pride in watching his clients develop the skills needed for training a successful dog, one of his greatest joys is working as a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence. The family has worked to train and socialize five puppies for the nonprofit, which trains the dogs to aid individuals with special needs.

Currently, the Williams family is raising Rylan, a golden retriever/labrador mix.

“By the time we are done training him, Rylie will have had hundreds of hours of training to help someone,” said Williams. “He will know his purpose. He will cost about $50,000, and will be free of charge to the person who needs him.”

Williams believes his family has played a large role in his success.

“I couldn’t do this without them,” said Williams. “We are all involved.”

To hire Rick Williams, personal dog trainer on an at-home training basis, contact him directly at (760) 728-1292, email [email protected], or go to his website at

To inquire about upcoming group lessons, contact the Fallbrook Community Center at (760) 728-1671. For information about Canine Companions for Independence, go to


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