Terry Shoenbach
Bio for Terry Shoenbach - K9 Academy
Terry's Resume

Diane Shoenbach
Bio for Diane Shoenbach - K9 Academy
Diane's Resume

History: A Journey from Then to Now. (Terry & Diana Shoenbach)

 

     One of the most frequently asked questions from people, when they find out what we do, is: How did you get into this?  Fate, a set of unique circumstances, and a lifetime of hard work is the short answer. 

            We were born and raised in Elizabeth Twp., Pa.  We met in Junior High School and married in 1965.  One of our first purchases when we got married was an 8 week old Irish Setter puppy.  This purchase is what eventually led us to becoming professional dog trainers.  We had to just to survive living with this dog.  (More about this later.)

             I (Terry) finally graduated from California State College (Pa.) in 1968 with a degree in Special Education.  I got the diploma – Diane did most of the work.  We had high school friends who moved to Michigan.  In 1968, we (Terry, Diane & Burgan Deigh the Irish Setter) moved to Wyandotte, Mi.  I took a job teaching Special Education in Wyandotte Public Schools and Diane became a Teamster – A PBX Receptionist for a trucking company.

             This meant our dog was alone in the house about 8 hours a day.  Our house was destroyed each and everyday (we did not know the benefits of using a kennel).  The situation was so bad we hired a “dog sitter” to stay with our dog during the day!  We started looking for help.  We made many mistakes and were taken for a lot of money by the fakes, and frauds in the dog obedience industry.  This is what led to us becoming professional trainers.  We researched, attended Obedience classes, went to seminars, read books, experimented, practiced, and talked to everybody we could.  We began assisting other “professional” trainers and opened our own business (K-9 Academy) in 1971.  About this time we adopted a Golden Retriever (Barney) from an older couple who could not handle him.  This led to us becoming interested in and meeting some honest and knowledgeable people in the fields of obedience competition, field trials, tracking and detection work.  People like my brother, Ed Shoenbach for field trial training, Coor Vandermuren and Glenn Johnson (Canada) for tracking, and Richard Strailey (U.S. Customs) for detection work.  Because of our association with the above-mentioned people and others, we put Obedience Titles, Tracking Titles, and detection work on Barney.  Sometime in 1972, we had a policeman in our classes (Sgt. Gary Holloway Van Buren Twp. Police Dept.- Mi.), who knew our dog ( Barney) had tracking titles to his credit.  He asked us if the police dept. needed the services of a tracking dog, would we be willing to do this service for the police.  We said “Yes” and that began our police career that continues today.  The very next day, after agreeing to assist Van Buren Twp. Police Dept., a prisoner escaped from the jail, and ran.  We (and Barney) were called and Barney tracked, and found the prisoner hiding in the woods across from the station.  Thirty years later, 9 full service police dogs, thousands of police cases, and the training of over 150 police dog teams for other departments, we retired in June 2004.

             To learn more about us: see our Resumes.