Reporting Chris Simon
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Where ever he goes, he prompts double takes. He’s a professional dog walker and trainer, and you’ll often see him around the metro area’s lakeside parks at this time of year.
Some folks stopped dead in their tracks, even taking photos of the well-mannered, diverse group of dogs peacefully resting on the sidewalk.
“When you have a dog in a calm state of mind, it puts other dogs around them into a calm state, so I really do not have a problem walking this group around the lake,” said Curtis Johnson.
He’s more commonly known as Citizen Kanine, walking a group of 16 at once. Johnson says the dogs enjoy the company of one another and love the walking, but he also helps them with other issues as well.
“The biggest challenges are usually anxiety-based problems. Storm anxieties or fear-based anxieties, or when dogs get worked up around neighbors and or other dogs,” said Johnson.
As Johnson spoke, his group of dogs sat quietly, not so much as a peep coming from any one of them. It was surreal, and one was left with the impression that these were circus dogs or performance animals, not ordinary pets whose owner would come fetch them at any minute, as was the case.
Johnson explained he not only walks the dogs for their owners but trains and helps them cope with a laundry list of issues.
“We have a couple of Australian shepherds, Boston Terriers, four labs, a pug, a golden retriever, two German short haired pointers, a Portuguese water dog, a newfoundland and a couple of ‘Heinz 57′ mutts in this group,” said Johnson.
To the untrained eye, the assembly could as well have been the canine version of a Benneton ad.
He says his success rate is nearly 100 percent. He tried to get his diverse set of dogs to bark or snarl, but not even one growl came from the well-behaved lot.