All Barks for Mak Pack

Local dog training favorite Spencer Mak recently opened up his new facility, the Mak Pack!

Spencer+Mak+owns+and+operates+the+Mak+Pack.

Spencer Mak

Spencer Mak owns and operates the Mak Pack.

Kalyn McLeod, Columnist

One of the most important, and hardest, parts of getting a puppy is training it. It can be a long and frustrating process that drives pet owners figuratively insane. But, it doesn’t have to be a huge challenge. Spencer Mak is known all around the Ahwatukee area for his wonderful positive reinforcement dog training methods. And he recently opened up his own facility, the Mak Pack!

The Mak Pack offers all kinds of training classes, from puppy beginner classes to advanced tricks classes. All the classes are focused on positive reinforcement, which allows the dogs to enjoy themselves and have fun. Training classes can be taught individually, or in a group. The Mak Pack also has doggie day care and socialization sessions. There are various options for dog boarding and daycare. Half days are perfect for when a pupper’s humans have a meeting for work. And you don’t have to worry about when you go on vacation, because they also offer long boarding. Spencer and the Mak Pack are always my family’s first option when we have to leave my dog Skye. Socialization sessions, training, and treat time are all a part of the experience your dog will receive when staying at Mak Pack. This makes it much better than other boarding options where your precious puppy is locked up in a kennel. For more information on his new facility, I interviewed Spencer Mak.

Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for clarity.

The Horizon Sun: What are your key philosophies for training dogs?

Spencer Mak: In my process there are ultimately four different areas of significance. Neutrality- meaning the dog is not in fight/flight mode. Behavior- these are things that dogs do that a) you didn’t ask for and b) you don’t want it. Obedience- the opposite of behavior. These are things you ask for, and that you want! One example of this would be “sit.” And finally socialization, meaning that your dog is well behaved and obedient. Now they can be all those things around other people and other dogs!

The Sun: What does a dog’s day look like while boarding at Mak Pack?

Mak: During the daycare portion of our day, dogs start their day around 6 a.m. where they are let out for a potty break. By 7 a.m. we are feeding the overnight dogs, and receiving new friends for them to play with. Around 12 a.m. to 2 p.m. we have more play time, followed by the doggy daycares getting picked up. The overnight dogs stay out until 7 p.m., then led into their private suites for dinner and a nap. During their dinner and nap, our staff is cleaning their play area. Then they are let out one more time from 8:30 p.m. roughly to 9:30 p.m. then in bed by 10 p.m.

The Sun: What is the most rewarding part of working with dogs?

Mak: The most rewarding part of working with dogs is ultimately being able to be a part of their journey that they take with their humans. A lot of people have different goals. Some want to be able to walk the dog. Some want their dogs to stop jumping. Some have aggression/ fear issues. A lot of owners even have bigger goals, like going on to becoming service or therapy dogs. And what’s rewarding for me is simply being able to help somebody achieve what they thought was impossible with their dogs!

The Sun: Why did you decide to work with dogs?

Mak: It wasn’t ever a conscious decision. It was something that I had an affinity for. I loved it. Just the simple act of working with dogs, and helping them learn, helping them recover, and transforming then into very special beings was always appealing. It really wasn’t until I started my role at PetSmart that I took to the training side of things. Meaning balancing work with the dogs along with helping people. I think that’s the spark that ultimately led me to Mak Pack as we know it today. Over the last 13 years, I have just quietly worked on improving my skills with people and dogs. And 100 days ago, took the plunge to open this brand new facility!

Mak is incredibly dedicated to all the dogs he works with, and is a dog training miracles. He always knows the right buttons to push to help your dog get to your goal. Plus, hanging out at the Mak Pack is extremely fun for your dog, completed with an outdoor area, pool, and an indoor play area filled with toys and complete with a slide. So if your dog needs some training, or is in desperate need of socialization, the Mak Pack is the place to go.