Building Canine Connection with Work Your Pack

July 20, 2023 Written by: Erica Aarons

On any given day, K9 trainer and Work Your Pack Productions founder Chris Williams can be found teaching seminars to US Law Enforcement and Military teams, training students in his Western Montana Yurt, or producing entertaining courses for dog handlers around the world.

Dog mentorship

Montana, Mushing, and Mentorship

Williams grew up reading dog-and-man adventure Jack London books such as Call of The Wild and White Fang, so it was no surprise that he followed that pull to undergrad at the University of Montana. While pursuing a degree in Photography and Media Arts, Williams met a nearby musher on assignment. It wasn’t long before he took a job with that same musher, and later dropped out of school to go to Alaska to assist in the world-famous Iditarod Dog-Sled Race.

During his mushing time in Alaska, Williams saved up for and adopted Schuck Handsome - an 8-week-old Shiloh Shepherd that would be the catalyst for his obsession with the study of dog training. At the time, a career in dog training didn’t feel feasible, so upon his return from Alaska, Williams finished college and scored a job producing Mountain Men, a show for The History Channel. In whatever free time he had, he traveled to learn from industry leaders and produced canine-centric media in exchange for mentorship (WATCH: Tactical Tracking). Eventually, he found himself back in Montana living off the grid in a Yurt he built with his wife and now 2 Shiloh Shepherds : Schuck Handsome and Rumble — Jack London dreams = fulfilled.

Dog and man a symbiotic relationship

Dog and Man: A Symbiotic Relationship

It was Schuck who showed Williams all that was possible between canine and human. One summer evening, Williams & Schuck set out on an overnight mission in the mountains and set up camp above treeline. Come 1:00 am, a heavy rain and lightning storm rolled through, and the pair sought shelter in the forest, hiding together beneath a space blanket.

Once the storm subsided, they began climbing back to the tent, however, with the pounding rain in the black of the night, visibility, even with a headlamp, was next to none and the path to the tent was impossible to find. Williams nodded to Schuck to take the lead, and they were back ‘home’ shortly after. As Williams reflected back on these memories, he shared, “Schuck showed me what was possible with all this, the connection and symbiotic relationship you can have with a canine.”

It was that experience and dog-to-human connection that Williams wants to share with the world and which led him to pursue training full-time. He believes that at its core, training is a harmony between man and dog. On a Friday afternoon in 2016, Williams finished production work with a client and left that part of his career behind. Come Monday, he brought in his first Canine Board & Train student to Run Your Pack and his vision of training dogs full-time was a reality. Now, Run Your Pack has several full-time employees and has served hundreds of Canine-Handler teams in the North West.

Dog looking into camera

Work Your Pack

In 2019, Williams took his business one step further by combining his passions for production and training to bring educational and entertaining courses to dog owners worldwide. Work Your Pack Productions serves canine-centric brands, and creates one-of-a-kind online training courses.
Work Your Pack courses are meant to fit seamlessly into your schedule, with short, enjoyable, and easily-digestible lessons that you can watch on your phone, computer, or wherever you are in the world. Featuring a (FREE!) Rex Specs Goggles Conditioning Course, Crate Training and Puppy Training for those just starting out, and Foundational Obedience, Shed Hunting, and more for handlers looking to take their training to the next level.
Work Your Pack channels Rex Specs’ motto of “Life’s Better Together” by helping handler and dog pairs bridge the communication gap and adventure more together. It’s the perfect outlet for Williams, who’s not sure which part he gets more excited about— working with the dogs or producing the courses.

A Dog’s Wildness

Schuck’s legacy lives on in Work Your Pack’s branding, the orange bandana reminding Williams of where he started and how far he’s come. Since Schuck, his next dog Rumble taught him to keep learning, and now, his pack Liesel Weapon and Oaken have taught him the Hunt and aggression in drive, respectively.

The pack can be found utilizing Rex Specs in their work. Together, Williams and Liesel Weapon do a lot of tracking, and during an evasion clinic for the U.S. Army, she wore both Rex Specs and Ear Pro while in a helicopter. “Basically, whenever I’m wearing sunglasses, they’re wearing Rex Specs whether it’s running behind mountain bikes and ATVs, shooting, or in tall grass tracking and hunting,” Williams told us. He also shares them with clients whose dogs have medical needs such as Pannus.

Williams's journey to dog training is a testament to his passion for working with dogs and his commitment to spreading that passion to others. “Life’s adventures are better when shared with dogs,” he tells us, “done correctly, training can be an enriching avenue for your dog to express themselves naturally. They can hunt, chase, play, bite and consume existential rewards while problem-solving with their handlers. That ignition harnessed into doing stuff together outside as a team…that’s the good stuff.”

You can enroll in Work Your Pack’s Rex Specs conditioning and other courses at Run Your Pack trains both pets and working K9s in Western Montana. Follow along at @workyourpack on Instagram.

Dog riding ATV with Goggles
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