Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Pinksten.
Mike, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I was twelve, I saw a majestic German Shepherd while walking to school every day in my Chelsea neighborhood. He was a magnificent West German import, guarding his estate beyond the wrought iron gate. I promised myself that one day I would have a German Shepherd of my own and in fact, learn to breed and train them. That was the beginning of what would become a forty year career.
From my first GSD experience handling a retired Boston Police K-9 in my teens, to my eighteen trips to Germany to train and compete among the masters with my own dogs, my passion has never ceased.
In 1979, I started the Boston Schutzhund Club, where I remained Founder and Training Director for twenty-five years. I competed both regionally and nationally to upper levels, and in 1986, won first place in a training competition in Germany, thereby establishing myself among the masters.
With my reputation firmly embedded in the Shepherd industry, I decided to begin training all breeds of dogs and worked around the Boston area, from Everett, Holbrook, and Burlington, through the late 70s and early 80s.
But my appreciation for the German Shepherd breed with their keen intellect, strong character, and awe inspiring looks, prompted me to buy a rural property in Chester, NH, where I could not only train all breeds of dogs, but begin a prestigious breeding program, focused on the same West German lines I admired as a child.
The name, Olympia Kennels, has become iconic, not only in New England, but throughout the US and abroad where we have sold and trained thousands of dogs. We have provided dogs for decades to law enforcement sectors from sheriff’s departments to Federal agencies. Olympia Kennels has trained dogs in obedience and protection for many prominent celebrities and professional athletes. We have also worked with various organizations looking for specialty training, The NH Fisher Cats baseball team mascot, Ollie, learned his ‘bat boy’ skills living here with us to get ready for his debut on the field. But our proudest achievement at Olympia Kennels, has been, and always will be, providing loyal and loving family companions from the finest German stock.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In regard to German Shepherd sales, the one obstacle has been de-bunking the myth that they are an aggressive breed not well suited to families. This is completely false. A well bred German Shepherd, is among the finest and most trust worthy breeds in the world! They are the most popular and widely used dog for many different jobs and for good reason. The original German Shepherd dog was scientifically bred, given the determination and precision of its early founder Max von Stephanitz. Unfortunately, many back yard breeders do not understand bloodlines and therefore produce lesser stock which produces bad temperament and an undeserved reputation.
In regard to training, the biggest struggle is getting dog owners to understand the canine mind. Dogs live in the physical world, where as humans live in the intellectual world.
Our pets lack the ability to reason like a human and can’t be expected to do so, Repetition is imperative, as are patience and time. We like to equate pup/dog training to a child moving from kindergarten through college. Some people believe if their pup has attended a class at 6 months or so, they are trained for life, when in fact, they have only just begun their learning career.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Olympia Kennels story. Tell us more about the business.
Olympia Kennels is the premier German Shepherd Dog facility in the Northeast, both breeding and importing the finest the breed as to offer. We specialize in training Shepherds to advanced levels but are also New England’s top behavior modification experts, for ALL breeds of dogs who tend to be more than what the owner bargained for.
Our board and train program allows people to drop the dog off with us for two to four weeks for intensive in-house training. Our proven success rate is evident in the ongoing waiting list for a reservation at our facility via word of mouth.
What sets us apart from others?
I am one of only a few certified Master trainers registered with the SV, the largest breed organization in the world, located in Germany, and have been training dogs for over forty years.
I am surrounded by the best staff in the business!
Gina is my breeding/importing manager, who has trained her own dogs here for almost thirty years and began managing the program in 2010. She is truly an ambassador of the breed whose enthusiasm is contagious.
Anes has been training here with me for ten years, learning all my advanced methods, and recently returned from his own trip to Germany to meet and train with the masters. His unique abilities with handling sport dogs are highly sought after.
Heather is the newest addition to the Olympia training family, whose innate instincts with dog handling have moved her up the training ladder quickly. She takes every behavior case very seriously, putting in tireless hours to be sure the job is done right EVERY time.
Danielle wears many hats here at Olympia, from working on our web site, to fostering several of our females and whelping litters. She is very gifted with our canine moms and is also a member of Olympia’s Sport Dog Club, directed by Anes.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
There is really no luck involved in this business. You do it right or you fail. There is no substitute for hard work and dedication in any field, especially in regard to breeding and training dogs who fill such a vital role in our lives.
- Address: Olympia Kennels
168 Lane Road,
Chester, NH 03036
- Website: www.olympiakennels.com
- Phone: (603) 887-2391
- Email: OlympiaGSD@msn.com
- Facebook: Olympia Kennels
Bob Bullard Photography (Logo)