I grew up in Iowa, in a pet-loving family, and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t surrounded by dogs. Early on I learned that I had a passion, and a knack, for training and working with dogs of every kind, and eventually I realized I wanted to turn my passion into my career.
Relocating to Portland, OR gave me the opportunity to take things to the next level, and Oregon Tails was born. Fast forward eight years and with a thousand acre ranch at our disposal, my team and I handle about 50 dogs each day. We collect them from the city and bring them to our ranch just outside of Portland for day adventures and overnight stays.
My core vision for Oregon Tails has been to provide a service that mimics a dog’s natural environment, including off-leash exercise in the outdoors, with regular hiking, swimming, socializing, and working with the canine pack mentality, all while their owners are at work or traveling.
At Oregon Tails, we’ve developed a system that incorporates behavior and etiquette training from the dog world within the structure of equine training. With this specific style of training we’ve had great success getting dogs, regardless of their issues, to a more balanced state — from excited or reactive, to peaceful. We can even get dogs that have spent 90% of their lives indoors, and who are afraid of the outdoors and social contact, to a good, functioning place.
Practicing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique has been a huge influence in my work with dogs. It helps me be in the moment, and the more present I am, the greater my awareness to observe and feel out the dogs I’m working with. People often struggle with and are crippled by all kinds of thoughts that overshadow communication with their dogs. For me, the TM technique helps dissolve those busy thoughts and ideas and allows me to remain calm, detached and patient… and the dogs respond to that. They see a blank canvas that’s easy to understand and trust, instead of all of my potentially chaotic and confusing human emotions. With this level of presence, I am able to give each dog all of my energy and attention, allowing our communication to be much more clear, pure, and powerful.
Oregon Tails has grown organically, by word of mouth. We’ve never advertised, and we currently have well over 100 customers on our waitlist. The next step is to start offering training workshops, where human companions can learn the same training methods we use each day and begin applying them at home.
Dedicating myself to serving the needs of both the dog and owner has been a life-changing experience, and proves that you can achieve fulfillment when you follow the things that make you happy in life. I’m grateful to my TM practice for allowing me to clearly see what I want in life, and for instilling in me the confidence and energy to create it.
Jonathan Czinder hails from the Midwest where he grew up practicing the TM technique. After college he moved to Portland, OR where he pursued his love of working with dogs and founded the Oregon Tails Dog Ranch.