A clear perk of my job here at the magazine is that there are so many incredible stories that I have the privilege to share. This particular story represents a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that I was thrilled to take part in, not only because the subject matter is so close to my heart, but also due to the strong sense of pride there is in knowing that an internationally acclaimed dog training facility just happens to be right here in our area!
It all began in 1980, with Pando and his brother Chris Stepanis, and their years of experience in the canine world. Throughout all their lives, Pando and Chris had a natural love for dogs, so it came as no surprise to their family when they began a business helping dog owners with behavioural issues. It was not long before the business evolved into security, investigation, and police training specialists, and is now one of the top 3 largest canine security providers in Canada. In addition to running their business, these two brothers have also become the consultants of choice for canine service protocols to many other firms throughout North America and beyond.
There are so many amazing things that the Olympus K9 Academy offers that we thought we would take you through three of their more popular services:
POLICE DOG TRAINING
Not only does the Olympus K9 Police Dog Training Program offer the essentials in training dogs for law enforcement duty, they go far beyond that. At Olympus, they will “source” the dog, then will assess, test, vet check, and train the animal so that the end result is one of great success, with follow-up maintenance programs to ensure the dog is continually performing at the highest level. The Orangeville Police Service is just one of the surrounding law-enforcement institutions that employ Olympus for their service dog training.
“A trained dog can detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water, equivalent to two Olympic-sized swimming pools. This ability is vastly more effective for search and detection activity in minutes, than a dozen humans would be over several hours. Collaboration with Olympus can provide peace of mind for your staff, patrons, guests, and dignitaries, knowing that they are safe from a self-destructive action brought forth by drugs and weapons.”
This is where the Olympus K9 Training Academy stands above the rest. The dog handlers are trained and deployed for such things as bomb, drug, bed bug, and other sorts of detection, and are regarded as some of the best in the industry, and for a very good reason; prioritizing human safety and health. They are hired throughout North America for building detection, concerts, public events, and parades, as well as high-profile dignitary visits.
As Pando and I were talking, he was telling me about the increase in bed bug detection services, and how one of their trained dogs can sniff out even the smallest of infestations in office buildings and hotels, facilities known for their vast size. The other area of bed bug detection service that Pando and his team can address, are college and university dormitories. “You would be surprised how quickly our dogs can clear out a floor in a dormitory” says Pando, “and how quickly these canines can find the problem, allowing the client to have it addressed. We then go back once the area has been treated to do a follow-up investigation, to ensure the treatment worked, and that the area is clear.”
Olympus K9 is the only detection firm surpassing the requirements and standards issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources Explosives Regulatory Division. They are also members of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, as well as the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers.
High credentials for a firm employed to keep our world healthy and safe!
K9 OBEDIENCE AND MANNERS
When Pando and I began speaking about this service, I teased him about my 3 Basset Hounds, and how the very concept of “obedience and manners” doesn’t exist in our home – they are lovely boys, but very stubborn! Pando laughs, “There’s not a dog or breed out there that cannot be trained, as we take a different approach with our obedience classes. The training begins with our desire to understand your specific needs and personal preferences. Everything is taken in to account, from the family dynamic, lifestyle, even to the personality types – the human ones of course! Through conversation with the client and going through the many questions we’ll have, we develop an understanding which will enable us to select precisely the training needed for both you and your furry companion. We then customize the program so that the dog is a joy to own and be with from day one.”
Another piece of the story when it comes to the 4-legged member of the family is that Pando and his team will provide consultation with potential owners as to what breed of dog would best suit their lives. So, some of background work is done before the client even chooses what dog they’ll bring into their lives. This is a unique and very smart approach that many of us do not even consider but we should!
It would be very easy for me to fill this entire magazine with all the amazing and interesting things I’d learned about Olympus K9 Dog Training Academy. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that this wonderful organization also raises puppies, and they are GORGEOUS! The pictures here tell a thousand words about these beautiful dogs, but in the interest of doing deep research for this article, it was only fitting that I should get down on the floor and roll around with the puppies for a while. I can tell you that Pando’s pups are just as sweet and loveable as they are smart and beautiful. I know, I know…tough job, but somebody has to do it!
With their impressive resume, reputation, gorgeous fleet of protection and detection dogs, and list of several impressive national accreditations, Olympus K9 Dog Training Academy is a shining star in our community, and certainly one of the best training facilities for your furry babies!
Written By: Kelli M. Maddocks | Photography By: Cory Bruyea