Netflix’s ‘Canine Intervention’ Introduces Oakland Dog Trainer to Stars

I’m minutes away from a video chat with Oakland-raised dog trainer Jas Leverette when I hear my two dogs – one floor down, should I mention – start barking their heads.

It could be a delivery guy, or maybe someone walking past the house and chatting on the phone, but what triggered them already makes me feel sheepish.

Leverette explains her Netflix show, “Canine Intervention,” which showcases her training methods with dogs of all kinds of sizes and temperaments, and here I am with my own adorable boys in the next room, doing what they do the best – misbehave.

It is no accident that I was the member of SFGATE selected to do this interview. After discussing with my editor some of my difficulties working from home with Finn, my Australian Cattle Dog, and Pele, an English Bulldog, I was deemed the most suitable for an interview with Leverette, given my, uh, situation. While Pelé is the type to bask in the sun and take a nap or five, Finn is full of energy. He barks at the delivery man, he barks when my phone rings, he barks when I use my Sodastream for sparkling water.

I set up a video chat with Leverette to talk about the show, but also so he could see my dogs interacting. It’s an unfair situation because we don’t have the time it usually takes to really train a dog, but he’s ready. As Leverette described him, he has loved dogs from a young age.

“I’ve always had a real connection with dogs and I’ve always loved horses – I just loved animals,” Leverette said. “I didn’t really want to read about Tom Sawyer and the books other kids would read, I was looking at animal books and wanted to learn about breeds. … I remember wanting to learn to spell “vet” in second grade. When I graduated from sixth grade, I thought I was going to work with animals and help endangered animals. “

Jas Leverette in episode 6 “Lost and Found Dogs” of “Canine Intervention: Season 1”.


After keeping a family friend’s pet bird and discovering that there were limits to his love for animals – as well as the fact that he didn’t care about the bloodiest aspects of being veterinarian – he moved away from the idea of ​​working with animals. and instead went briefly to aviation.

Leverette admitted to quitting that career path when he was caught smoking marijuana. He returned to Oakland after this stint and began to grow marijuana and keep security dogs to protect his “merchandise”; but rather than find an affinity for the illegal marijuana trade at the time, he instead consumed himself in the work of dog training.

“I didn’t want to go to parties anymore, to clubs anymore, to socialize… I got so immersed in dog behavior,” Leverette recalls. “And I got so immersed in this training and dealing with these different races and temperaments, that it really took what was a hobby for commercial security purposes, but then it kind of took over. above like the essential. Like, I didn’t wanna be in [the marijuana] industry. I didn’t want to have to live like this. I didn’t want to have to worry about safety and all that. I just wanted to be able to be public. I’m a public guy. I am a nice person.

“Canine Intervention” explains the how and why of dog training, examining the stories of couples and families dealing with their own pet issues, but it is also a glimpse into Leverette’s life, now and raised in Oakland. In Episode 1, viewers learn of the tragic turn of Leverette’s dog being euthanized for aggressive behavior when he was young. The experiment led Leverette to want to reduce the euthanasia rate of dogs by at least 50% by educating owners on how to manage their dogs.

“He just had one incident too many, and it was just his nature and his genetic makeup,” Leverette explained. “And I had to figure out how to channel the energy of a dog that had that so that he didn’t end up being [euthanized]. Because of who they are genetically, that doesn’t mean they just have to go down this wrong path. And often because of the misinformation a lot of people can create more problems and try to solve them the wrong way, you can end up hurting someone or a dog.

Leverette began training with other top dog trainers in the industry and learning how to run a successful business. He then developed his own training techniques and put them into practice in his business, Cali K9, where he has found success not only training Bay Area dogs but also working with a large number. of celebrity dogs, including the pets of Kevin Hart, Michael B. Jordan, Stephen Curry and Marshawn Lynch – who makes an appearance in one episode – to name a few.

Leverette sees Oakland as a “melting pot of knowledge” that inspired his sense of animation and entrepreneurship. The pandemic has slowed business down somewhat and cut filming by one episode in January and February last year, but he said he was able to keep his staff and keep going over the past year.

“Canine Intervention” is the culmination of Leverette’s knowledge and know-how. Viewers have a window into his training techniques in this familiar Netflix makeover fashion, giving viewers a look at dogs being rehabilitated from aggressive, barking damage to obedient, well-behaved pets.

After the show premiered on Netflix, it sparked controversy over Leverette’s use of electronic collars and chokers in her training. Long-time Leverette customer Cindy Wiley has advocated for the use of electronic necklaces, or electronic necklaces, during training. “[The criticism is] so unfair – we’re not sitting there zapping the dogs, ”Wiley said. “It’s really, really rare [that it’s used]. I will say this for my own experience: I own an electronic collar only for liability reasons as I have a watchdog and I need to be able to keep my dog ​​under control at all times, which I do. But at the end of the day he’s still a dog, and although my dog ​​is very good and well-trained, and I’m confident to take him anywhere, for accountability reasons, I feel better to have an electronic collar.

A colleague asked me to ask the question: “Is there a bad dog?” To Leverette – a question I’ve asked myself every time Finn barks – but to my relief he says no. (Turns out the problem is me.)

“No bad dogs, just uninformed owners,” Leverette said. “Owners need to understand how to engage this dog and how to motivate him, and then they will be much cooler with their dog. “

Jas Leverette in episode 6

Jas Leverette in episode 6 “Lost and Found Dogs” of “Canine Intervention: Season 1”.


I place my laptop’s camera on a lower level so Leverette can see Finn and Pele, and I let them into my office where they rush with a whoos activity. Finn is running around with his toy, Pele rushes over to me near the computer to be petted, and while Leverette and I are talking, Finn decides to provide his. bark bark soundtrack in the background, just because.

What I do notice, however, is a change in Leverette’s behavior, is that he’s now more obsessed with the way dogs interact, as he studies Finn. He’s more in his element than the 30+ minutes he’s spent talking about himself. He tells me about the behavior of herdsmen, the way they raise dogs and notes that Finn is a more nervous dog. Between barks, Leverette reassures me I have a good dog, it’s just that Finn is… arrogant. And nervous. An “insecure bully,” Leverette volunteers, but he’s motivated.

“I don’t see these kinds of dogs as problems,” Leverette tells me. “I look at him like street children, don’t I. We don’t have a good school and they don’t have all the right programs that they need, but they have all that potential. What happens is that the potential goes in the wrong direction when it is not channeled. So you got to give him that job, and get them engaged and stuff right there. “

Leverette gives me more advice, and as he does, the dogs rush to the door they entered, another distraction leading to a chorus of barking. When I ask Leverette what he hopes people will take away from the show – once my dogs run away from my home office – he says he wants to inspire children to pursue their dreams, as he has. made with his dreams, but also that people learn more about themselves.

“I really want to [the show] just to inspire these kids, like the ones I’m from, ”Leverette said. “But I also want to inspire the people who, through your dog, allow you to learn so much and to really work on yourself. We try to train dogs, but we can all work on ourselves, work on our own developments and understanding our dopamine and understanding how to stay positive and motivated in these crazy times.

“So I really tried using dog training to connect with people, like I said, to change a lot more than dogs. That’s all my thing: it’s bigger than training. of dogs, you know?

I haven’t signed up for any formal classes with Leverette yet – I have a feeling he’ll get a lot of business out of this show – but at least now I feel like I have a little more understanding of Finn, and maybe myself. We’ll just have to work on it together.

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