Our founder Ryan grew up with many different dogs as a child. As a child he had a Vizsla that would climb the swing set / fort with him in the backyard and go down the slide with him, all on her own just from coaxing! His father’s side of the family always had bird dogs and his Uncle was a bird dog trainer. He began training dogs in high school because he hated seeing dogs left in the backyard because their owners couldn’t control them. Ryan felt sorry for dogs tied up or left outside so would walk dogs for hours at a time trying to teach them how to walk appropriately on the leash. He would also treat train family dogs and tried to constantly teach dogs to do different tricks. While not very good he spent a lot of time with dogs!
In college every time Ryan saw dogs for sale on the side of the road he would stop and pet the puppies. One day he stopped to pet some boxer puppies and they had a little stray dog they were selling for $25. This is where he got his first dog Curley, a Schnauzer / Terrier mix. He loved Curley but Curley had many different behavioral issues. Ryan, who grew up in Tulsa, was going to college at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee and would drive an hour away, once a week, to Oklahoma City to train his new fur baby! He trained Curley all the time while taking a full load of classes. While the obedience classes helped Curley he would still often run away and would pull on the leash constantly. Inside of the house Curley would sit, down, crawl, stay, bark on command, spin circles, dance like a bear and do tons of fun tricks but outside he wouldn’t listen at all.
This led Ryan to spend hours and hours watching the dog whisperer. While everyone was out hanging out on Friday nights, Ryan would watch Cesar Milan reruns for 4-5 hours at a time while telling his friends he had to study!! He was committed to training Curley but after 2 years he still could not stop him from nuisance barking, Curley would bark at anything and everything and nothing would make him stop. Nothing would keep him from running away when that door would open. After 2 years of angry roommates a very sad day came where Curley had to move in with Ryan’s mother where he still lives to this day. (After college Ryan’s mom did not want to give him back.)
After College, Ryan moved back to Tulsa and after buying his first house he bought a new dog and this time immediately started looking for a professional dog trainer. After interviewing a few different trainers he decided to train with a group he found in Tulsa. After training his dog with them he quickly offered to work for them and then when that didn’t work he offered to intern for free. After interning off and on for free for 6 months and learning how to train dogs he eventually got hired. He worked nights and weekends for them while working another job 40 hours a week.
This period of training dogs part time is where Ryan really fell in love with dog training as a profession. He could see the quick change in the quality of people’s lives and the quality of their dog’s life when their dogs actually listened. Behavioral problems are the #1 reason people get rid of their dog and Ryan loved being able to help clients overcome those problems and enjoy their furry companions.
Two of his earliest memories of client success are: 1. Helping a 9 year old girl be able to control a 90 lb Doberman and be able to walk him around the block and have him listen her. 2. Training a 140 lb aggressive Mastiff that was terrorizing a whole family and getting him under control to where they didn’t have to get rid of him and actually loved him again!
After 2 years the dog trainers that Ryan worked with decided to move to the east coast and Ryan was left with the choice of either going back to a desk job or going out on his own. This is when his dog training went to another level. Ryan decided to quit his desk job and go full time into the dog training profession. Ryan then called a “trainer’s trainer” Tim Smith. Tim runs ECS Dogs in California and is one of the most sought after dog trainers in the United States.
While Tim’s fees are hefty, Ryan flew him out to Tulsa to train with him 10-12 hours a day for a month. Ryan had worked prior with Tim for a week long seminar and knew it would be worth it.
Tim has helped take Tip Top’s training and customer satisfaction to another level. While Ryan had trained his first dog with more traditional methods of positive and negative reinforcement, Tim teaches an “attention” style of training and helped him really get more control and better results with his personal dog as well as client’s dogs. The level of obedience of Ryan’s dog Bandit and all of the dogs on Team Tip Top’s dogs is really due to Tim’s training.
In addition to leading him to train dogs with excellence, Tim also led Ryan into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Ryan to gave his life to the Lord in 2008 and shortly thereafter attended Rhema Bible Training College in Broken Arrow. Rhema is a morning only bible school and this still allowed Ryan to train dogs 8-10 hours a day.
It was at Rhema that Ryan met his beautiful wife Rachel. As a child Rachel had been attacked by dogs and was very scared of big dogs. When she and Ryan first met this was a little awkward as sometimes she was afraid to come in his house!! But today she has conquered that fear of big dogs and now can be seen handling 100-140lb dogs without a problem!!
Even though she was scared of big dogs Rachel has always had a big heart for dogs. Her current fur baby, Amber, was a shelter rescue that had a broken front leg, was bow legged and was aggressive when Rachel got her! She went to the shelter for a Yorkie but instead took home the dog deemed unadoptable and Amber still lives with them today!
Today, Ryan and Rachel both own and operate Tip Top K9. While Ryan meets more with clients, Rachel actively manages the trainers and makes sure everything runs smoothly (i.e. she is the brains of the operation).