Five-year-old Ani Smith of Frankfort, daughter of a client of Risden's, playfully runs near the animals. None of them move. Some barely acknowledge she is there. Ani runs up to her own dog sitting in the semi-circle, a German Shorthaired Pointer. The dogs aren't phased by the distraction.
"This is part of the training," Risden said.
By calling out a few commands in German, the dogs know exactly what to do - stay put and stay down. With another command, the dogs are up and walking back to their kennels inside the facility that Risden built from scratch. Brooklyn, a 2-year-old German Shepherd, stays behind as Risden has commanded her to do.
Brooklyn is training in protection work. She, along with other German Shepherds at K-9 Motivation, are trained this way. Some will go to police departments, and some will remain Risden's personal dogs and compete with this skill. It becomes their job.
Wants dogs to lead fulfilling lives
But it's not all about competing in Schutzhund, competitions held for police dog work. Risden has a desire to help give dogs a more fulfilling life. Dogs are bred to do a job. Whatever that job may be, the dog will naturally be happier doing what it's intended to do.
And all of Risden's and his clients' dogs must work for whatever they want, whether it be attention, petting, food, praise or a ball. This is part of fulfilling a dog's need.
"I want to help their dogs," Risden said. "I want to make sure they succeed."
Dogs can cause problems in homes for several reasons, but the majority of the time it's due to lack of a job and lack of education on the owner's part.
"Dog ownership is a huge responsibility," Risden said, adding that it's not something one should do on a whim.
And if behavioral problems arise, don't get rid of the dog, work through the issues.
"The dogs deserve more," Risden said. "Dogs, they completely love you. They completely give you everything they have."
Risden has a set client base, but offers daycare for dogs and training sessions. For $550, the dog stays for one month at K-9 Motivation and learns basic dog skills such as socialization, ignoring distractions, sit, stay, heel and come. Rebecca Smith, mother of Ani, is a client. Risden currently is working with their dog regarding behavioral problems towards other dogs in the family.
"I can't say enough about what he's done for us," she said. "Essentially, he saved our pack."
Smith comes from Frankfort, as the majority of Risden's clients are from out of town and out of state.
Risden also offers eight, one-hour training sessions for $250. He said it's very important owners continue the work after the dog goes home, or they will lose what they learned. He suggests using the dog's natural interests as motivation to teach obedience. Does the dog like food, praise, playing ball? Use it to teach them by making it a reward.
"Obedience is fun," he said. "This is fun."
Risden's colleague and work partner, Joey Baker, added, "Obedience will keep your dog out of the pound," as many dog owners give up on them.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's the owner's fault," Risden said of behavioral issues. "Dogs think on different wavelengths. They're not human."
And Risden works to exercise and fulfill that K-9 instinct.
For more information on K-9 Motivation, 5348 Louisville Road, and what services are available to your dog, call (859) 583-9949.