He's the ’dog guy'

Josh Pitts

Josh Pitts with his dog Kane.

Josh Pitts with his dog Kane.

Photo by Ernesto Rivera

Josh Pitts is a lifelong animal lover. His passion in animal training was born as a child being around farm animals, and when he came back from serving in the Army in 2005, he knew he wanted to dedicate himself to training dogs and educating people about them. Pitts, a recent Chico State grad who studied psychology with a minor in entrepreneurship, uses his passion, knowledge and resources to advocate for humane educational products and services. In fact, he created Clicker Plus, a user-friendly, wearable ring clicker tool that helps owners maintain control of a leash while still using the clicker for training. He offers private in-home lessons as well as group classes that help dogs learn all the classic commands such as sit, down and stay, but also skills like control. For more on “Dog Guy Josh” and the Clicker Plus, visit www.dogguyjosh.com and www.clickerplus.com.

How did you get into dog training?

I had this dog, a pit bull, and I started walking him down the street when he was a puppy and people would do things like turn and walk the other way or cross the road and I was a little taken aback by this. I was fresh out of the military and I always sort of thought I was a natural dog trainer ….

When did you start dog training professionally?

I came to Chico and started training dogs right after the military. I decided to use my veterans benefits—vocational rehab—to become a dog trainer through animal behavior college and [then I] sort of just branched out on my own, helping people and learning as I go. I had to sort of become a businessperson on the fly in many cases.

What has dog training taught you?

Traditionally, information is passed down generation to generation through families and it's not always the best information. For example, many people think if your dog poops on the rug, you're supposed to rub their nose in it. We've found that punishments can have serious implications on the development of puppies.

What’s the purpose of a clicker when it comes to training?

The clicker is used to mark desirable behaviors. For example, if you're out walking with your dog on a leash and maybe your dog barks and lunges, one of the things you can do is click for a behavior such as your dog turning away or sitting, something that's preferred rather than the barking or the lunging.

You’re very active on social media. How important is that to your business?

I've learned to use search tools to look for opportunities to engage with people. Sharing content and things that are valuable to people is sort of the first step in attracting them, but really it comes down to whether the dog parent can afford my services when they get to my website. That's where my blog comes in—if they can't afford access to things, I try to write about things local dog parents want to know.