MEET THE TRAINERS:
In 2004, John McGough started his career in dog training at a small grooming shop in Elizabethtown, NC focusing primarily on problem solving and obedience. In 2006 they moved into a new facility just down the road from a prison in White Lake, NC which allowed them to house and rehabilitate rescue dogs from local kill shelters. In 2007, John was propositioned about volunteering for a program using inmates to train rescue dogs at Bladen Correctional Center. The program saved the lives of dogs, but the impact the program had on the inmates was equally as great.
John accepted a job as a civilian contractor in Hartsville, SC training IED Detector Dogs (IDDs) and their handlers for the United States Marine Corps. John had found his calling. As the conflict in Afghanistan continued the need for these highly trained dogs grew. In 2012, John deployed to Afghanistan with 1st Battalion 1st Marines as a Field Service Representative (FSR). His job was to maintain the training of the IDDs while deployed and assist the Battalion as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on the utilization of the dogs in theater.
After returning from Afghanistan, John took a position as Quality Assurance and Quality Control QA/QC for the IDD program. He developed internal certification processes to ensure the IDDs were trained to the high standard required to perform in the austere environments of Afghanistan. Six months into the QA/QC job, John moved in the position of Project Manager for Sustainment Training and Deployments where he worked directly with Marine Corps Systems Command to schedule training and deployments of the IDDs. As the Marine Corps IDD program began to come to a close in 2014, John was presented with a new opportunity as a Canine Research and Development Project Manager.
Since May 2015, John has owned and operated his own training business doing everything from basic obedience to full service dogs. After careful consideration, John accepted the position of lead trainer for Off Leash K9 in Jacksonville, NC. John’s expertise in the K9 field will be an asset to our clients and we are excited to bring him to the Jacksonville area!
Charles Ritter – is a former U.S. Marine Corps Military Working dog handler/ trainer. Charles grew up in Miami and served more than 10 years with the Marine Corps. During his active duty service he specialized in Military Working K9 Explosive Detection, Combat Tracking, Specialized Search Operations and served 2 tours in Iraq. Charles has been working with both military and civilian dogs since 1998. Charles is certified through the prestigious military working dog program at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas as well as Von Liche Kennels in Peru, Indiana. Charles has had the pleasure of working with many different breeds and ages over the years. Charles has been married for 15 years and he and his wife have 2 children and 2 dogs. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Charles loves working with dogs because they are loyal and loving creatures. Charles believes dogs wear their hearts on their “sleeves” and he loves that. Charles combines knowledge, experience and a love for animals to train effective, efficient, companions. Charles is excited to bring his experience and passion to the Off Leash K9 Training Team.
JAN MORGAN – Jan has had a love (well, OK, probably more like an obsession) for dogs her entire life. She served as the NC Adoptions Coordinator for Southeast German Shepherd Rescue and has personally fostered more than 100 German Shepherds in her own home. As the daughter of a retired Air Force LTC and married to a retired Army Major, she fully understands structure and consistency. Jan holds a Master’s Degree in Education with National Board Certification and has been a teacher in the NC public school system for 20 years, specializing in advancing the learning experiences of children with severe disabilities and behavioral challenges. Jan incorporates her professional teaching expertise and techniques which are designed to advance the learning experience to equip her clients in achieving a confident, obedient dog! She structures the environment through confidence building and shaping which are the core to developing the success of dogs and children so they can navigate every day life. Jan is excited to bring this knowledge and experience to our clients.