Why Netflix’s ‘Canine Intervention’ Trains Humans, Not Dogs

In Netflix’s new docuseries “Canine Intervention,” Jas Leverette — a Bay Area dog trainer whose clients include basketball player Steph Curry, comedian Kevin Hart, boxer Andre Berto and footballer Marshawn Lynch — shares the fundamentals of his business. Success is the result of knowledge and discipline. Aggression is rooted in fear, not resentment. And no being, no matter how big a “problem” it may seem, is beyond saving.

Directed by Elise Duran, “Canine Intervention” is unlike any other dog training series to date. Throughout the six episodes of the season, the 37-year-old Oakland native also helps each dog owner with their own behavioral changes. Like “Queer Eye” and “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” the series, which premieres Wednesday, is easy on the eyes and emotionally satisfying, as the best lessons of Greyhound can apply to both pets and humans. .

Leverette told The Times why thoughtful dog training is more important than ever — and how thinking like a dog could help you weather the rest of the pandemic.

You have a successful dog training business with many famous clients. Why do a TV show?

You’re right – for me it’s not about the money. I have all these celebrity clients, I have everything I need, I have a beautiful family. I do this for the underdogs of the canine world, those who are left behind and forgotten and, at the end of the day, euthanized at an alarming rate. They are often the ones with the greatest potential.

I believe there are no bad dogs, just misinformed owners. This show is not just entertainment. It’s a way to empower and educate the average person – especially those who can’t afford to go to dog training classes – with systems on how to bring a dog into this confident dopamine state and being the best you can be. And it’s also sharing a philosophy of life, because the principles I talk about with dogs can very well be applied to humans.

Jas Leverette, left, with client Andre Berto in “Canine Intervention.”

(Netflix)

Misbehaving dogs aren’t mean on screen, with flashy montages or intimidating sound effects. Was it a conscious decision?

Yeah, because it’s not like these dogs had ulterior motives or were born bad or anything! People look behind them because they’re so intimidating, but it’s really not their fault. Most of the time, they are simply aggressive out of insecurity and fear.

They’re like people: when someone attacks you before they know you, that hatred and ignorance usually comes from a place of insecurity and fear, right? Or maybe it’s because they had a tough life and they don’t have that emotional stability because of the traumatic situation they may have been through.

So you never have to go in with guns on fire; it is an old and outdated approach. Training should be a fun and positive experience for everyone involved.

In your sessions, you address the behaviors of both a dog and its owner. Why is that?

Because sometimes the owner contributes to the problem without knowing it. My goal is to teach the correct methods of motivation and to be disciplined in the practice of this motivation. All the owner needs to do is take the time to get to know their dog and understand how to keep their dog engaged and motivated to be obedient and focused.

It’s almost like being a parent and being there enough to give them the information they need to be a successful part of society. When people can’t engage their kids — because Instagram has them, TV has them, whatever has them in the world — they can’t even get them to log in, and then they lose them. You need to understand this child and what keeps them engaged so they don’t wander off.

What do you hope human viewers take away from watching your show?

Everyone has been stressed by this pandemic. Everyone is sitting there, less socialized and less exposed to all the things that usually motivate us. So it’s important to stay motivated and stay disciplined as much as you can, but also have fun or you won’t make it. You have to reward yourself. So many people work too hard and train without reward. But we’re all creatures, we all need a little scratch on the back and someone to say, “Good job, you’re fine.”

"Canine intervention" star and dog trainer Jas Leverette smiling in a blue Cali K9 hoodie and beanie.

Jas Leverette says ‘outsiders’ in the canine world are being ‘euthanized at an alarming rate’. His new Netflix series hopes to provide an alternative for frustrated dog owners.

(Netflix)

COVID-19 Closures have spurred an increase in pet adoptions, as more and more people work from home. Are you worried that shelters will fill up again when workplaces reopen?

If the only reason they’re getting rid of a dog is because there’s been trouble, I hope the show proves to them that their problems can be solved if they just put in a little effort, because nothing in the world happens without effort. Many people are looking for the easy answer to things. They just want to hop on YouTube and find a video to tell them what to do. And it’s deeper than that. I try to think positive and hope people realize that they have been spending all this time with their dogs rather than some of their friends and how important these animals have become to them.

Would you be open to a second season?

I would be totally open to another season. Teaching is my passion – the bigger my class, the more motivated I am.

“Canine Intervention”

Or: netflix

When: Anytime

Rating: TV-PG (may not be suitable for young children)

Helen D. Jessen