LADD K9, a dog training facility located in Southeast Minnesota, could not have a better sales team than four-legged Dingo, Luna, and Tater. Seeing first-hand how these three furry friends listen to their owner/trainer, Carla Ladd’s voice and sign commands, it is clear that Ladd knows what she is doing.
Ben Jacobsen left a five-star review on Google, stating, “Carla is full of dog knowledge.”
Sharing her beginning as a trainer, Ladd shared, “My very first taste of dog training was in 4-H. I was a 4-H kid from Cloverbud until I aged out. I started off doing the dog project. My older sister, younger brother, and I all took turns showing our farm dog. I started raising Rottweilers as an FFA project when I was 15. That launched me further into dogs. They are a breed that I knew when I started raising them; when I was researching them, I needed to do a lot of training, and I needed to do a lot of work with them. I wanted them to be good ambassadors of the breed. It was very important to me that they be social and friendly, and well-mannered so I could take them places with me. I showed horses as a kid also. So, I took my Rottweiler with me to horse shows. I wanted them to be well-rounded dogs. I showed them in 4-H as well. I wanted to be a veterinarian from a very young age. I shadowed at a vet clinic and quickly realized what parts of that career I wasn’t going to enjoy as much as I thought I would. I got to learn all about exactly what you do. What your day looks like. And it wasn’t as much of what I wanted to do as I thought. So I became a dog trainer.”
In order to become a trainer, Ladd recalled, “I attended three dog training schools and am certified from all three schools, one in 1998, 2006, and 2015.” In addition, she regularly attends continuing education seminars.
Ladd started my business in 2002, noting, “We were in Spring Valley for 16 years and moved to the farm five years ago in April. The farm is seven miles outside of Preston and 12-14 miles from Spring Valley at 24280 County Rd. 14. We completed the new climate-controlled building last October.”
Ladd has both regular and rotating clients. “When I was grooming, I had the same clients. I had some clients whose dogs I groomed from day one until we moved. They kept bringing their dogs back. Training is a little different in nature. They come to me for help changing a specific behavior or creating a new behavior, like getting the dog to go to them instead of running away. Once we accomplish that and they know how to communicate with their dog, I don’t see them as much. With a lot of the classes, I offer lifetime support. We also have group classes. The purpose of the group classes is to keep supporting them on the journey with their dog. They can attend classes for the rest of their dog’s lifetime,” Ladd shared.
Ladd offers online puppy training (12 instructional videos you watch at your convenience!) and a four-weekly puppy class. For dogs over six months old, she offers Super Dog, Day Camp, K9 Camp, inboard training, and free consultation. There are also polishing classes and traveling adventures classes, as well as private online training groups on Facebook.
The adventures allow the dogs to be handled by different people. Watch for Ladd and her clients and their dogs in local parades.
Whan asked about her in-board training, Ladd explained, “The owners send the dogs to me, and they stay with me for two weeks at a time. I teach them the obedience commands that we want to use to be able to communicate with the dogs to shape new behaviors, start phasing out behaviors we don’t want. After training time with the dogs then, my teaching time with the owners starts in person. I send them home with a lot of information beforehand so they can start learning this information how we need to communicate with our dogs. What it looks like to be consistent. What it looks like to ask them to do something and follow through… Training is effectively communicating with your dog and being very consistent in what we ask them to do.
“My biggest goal is to give my clients and their dogs as much freedom as I can and that they want. The more control they have, the more freedom they and their dog have together,” shared Ladd. “If I take the leash off my dog and he is running around, and I call him, and he comes back every single time because we are super consistence, and we practice this. If there is an open area in which you can safely exercise your dog, you have more freedom. When you have more control and they know how to walk next to you politely on a leash, you want to take them for more walks. Your dog gets more exercise. They are calmer and easier to live with because you have more control.”
Ladd’s passion and appreciation for 4-H motivated her to start the 4-H dog project in Fillmore County. Due to the pandemic, this is the second full year of the project. Last year the five kids that signed up for the dog project did well. The kids showed in both obedience and agility, and all five earned a trip to the Minnesota State Fair. The kids that went to state placed. Ladd proudly shared, “They did incredible.”
On May 2, Ladd will host a meet and greet to introduce interested kids and their parents to the 4-H dog project in order to get more kids involved. Contact Ladd or the Fillmore County Extension office if you have a child interested in attending.
Ladd can be reached at (507) 951-7398 or send an email to Laddk9@gmail.com to schedule a free consultation. Classes can be booked online at www.laddk9.com. Follow Ladd on Facebook and Instagram to see pictures and watch training videos. Subscribe to Ladd’s email for training tips, information on her favorite products, and updates on classes and program availability.
Ladd ends with the following mantra, “You have the power to calm the chaos!”