About the K-9 Man Salvatore Piazza and how the business was establisihed.
It’s hard to believe that 39 years have come and gone since I started training dogs. It seems like yesterday when I went to Carl’s Drug store to purchase a $2 leash for our Beagle, King. I was 9 years old at the time and even back then, I felt compelled to learn about animals. Growing up watching a TV show called “Run Joe Run”, I knew then what I wanted to do. I saw a German Shepherd doing Agility and protecting people; that’s when I knew I wanted to be a trainer. I remember telling some friends that if they wanted to have their dog trained, I would need $3 or $5 and then I would start. Well, after a few weeks, their parents would notice a few bucks missing from their wallet and of course when they found out I was charging them to train the dog, well let’s just say Mama Piazza wasn't’ too happy.
Of course back then I had no idea what I was doing. I never knew the proper techniques and to be honest, I didn't’ know any better. However, as the years passed, my passion for becoming a Dog trainer never diminished. When I was 18, I started attending dog shows at the Utica Auditorium and talking to different handlers. I watched as they would bring their dogs around the ring and think to myself, how amazingly beautiful some of these dogs were. That’s when I purchased my first so called show dog. Of course you live and learn and I guess Mike Brady’s words rang true when he was trying to teach Greg a lesson. BUYER BEWARE! I learned fast that owning a show dog was not for me. I learned quick the difference between American and European German Shepherds. This is when things for me became serious. I started to read many training books. I would watch other trainers work with dogs. That’s when I decided to go to school for training. Training just Obedience dogs was not rewarding enough. I felt something was missing. In fact, after my very first client, Rose Ana Chazin came to my home, I started looking for Police Dog Instructors. After contacting different dog training Colleges from all over the country, I heard of a trainer in Camden, New York. From what I was told, if I was to take a course from this gentleman, I better know I was in for a treat. By treat I don’t mean getting candy or taking it easy. Many of the dog training Colleges stated to me that they had a beautiful recreation room and beautiful campus. They all sent me brochures assuring me that I would be a Master Trainer in 6-8 weeks. After reading these brochures and talking to them, I decided to meet with the gentlemen I was speaking of in Camden, New York. His name, Sgt. Dan Bowman from the Camden Police Department.
As anyone would tell you, my personality is not one of being shy or laid back. Sort of on the cocky, confident side. I guess all good things come to an end. Once I met Mr. Bowman, I knew right away his reputation was correct. He is a no-nonsense guy who will tell you the way it is. He will, to this day, never sugar coat anything. If he has something to say, he's sure to say it. Be that as it may, I started working with Dan in 1989. I enrolled in his Police Instructors Course and graduated in 1992. Training with Dan and some of his fellow instructors was the best decision I had ever made. From day one, he threw me into the fire. At his school, there was no such thing as a recreation room. It was work from early morning until night. After I graduated from his school, we worked together for many years until he moved to Columbus, Ohio where he still works with dogs. In fact, many Police Officers from around the country called us “The Dynamic Duo” because they said there was no one better than us.
As the years passed, my expertise increased and learning became so much fun. Dan taught me that when you are on top, people will always try to knock you down. His words still ring true to this day. So many rumors have circulated in regard to my expertise and training ability. Many other trainers have tried to take me down by their jealousies however, no matter what, my mentor and friend Dan’s words would come to mind and I am still the #1 trainer in Central, New York.
I write this for these reasons. First, to tell my story of how I became a Professional Dog Instructor. I have been serving the Mohawk Valley, Upstate NY, Central NY and around the country for 39 years now. I have had the staying power because I live by the rules I give to my clients. Always treat people with dignity and respect. Be honest with your clients and always tell them what they need to hear not what they want to hear. I have never been a politically correct person and I never will be. I have been successful not because of luck but because of blood, sweat, and tears. Working hard and getting the job done. I have trained hundreds of dogs and people and am always learning something new. I have instructed many clients in becoming trainers themselves. I have been blessed by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has brought me through some dark times. I have the best clients, who when they enroll in my courses, know that it takes work and dedication to get the job done.
Credentials for Salvatore Piazza
Training dogs since 1981
1989- K-9 Patrolman at Munson, Williams, Proctor Institute as well as K-9 Trainer. view
Graduated From Gold Shield Training Kennels and received his diploma from Sgt. Dan Bowman of the Camden Police Department as a Police Service Dog Instructor. view
1993 appointed Chief of Security for the Utica Parks System
Certified by New York State as an Armed Guard/Body Guard in 1995
Hired by Douglas Astralaga as the K-9 director of the Utica Police Department view
Hired by St. Johnsville Police in 2003 as a K-9 Handler view
Member of NAPWDA North American Police Work Dog Association. view
Became a CGC examiner in 2005 Canine good citizen view (2)
- Teaches Animal Behavior at MVCC Mohawk Valley Community College view