Always having hunting dogs, and growing up around them, Eddie Rodrigue has had a love for training the dogs, too! From Raceland, he grew up training dogs with his father, who trained dogs his whole life. Around age 11, Eddie started helping to train narcotics police dogs. When Eddie was 18, he went into the law enforcement for about 19 years. Around 2-3 years ago, Eddie was working in the street crimes unit for the Thibodaux Police Department. This job made it difficult for Eddie to see his family since he was working nights a lot. Eddie says, “It got to the point where my family was coming home, and I was leaving for work. They were growing up, and I wasn’t able to see them.”
He decided to take a different direction in life after he experienced some danger on a scene. The sheriff for the department hired Eddie to work the K-9 unit, working days instead of night shifts, for about a year. Eventually, Eddie decided to branch off on his own to train dogs and was excited to do so because he was truly following in his father’s footsteps. Eddie explains, “I always trained dogs on the side, but when I stepped aside to do it on my own, I was lucky enough to have some guys that I worked dogs for before that were willing to help me and allowed me to train their dogs for a while sometimes.”
From there, Rodrigue’s Cajun K-9 business began to grow. Eddie says, “We are always busy now. We’re almost done booking dogs to train until 2019. We really only need a couple more to be completely booked up!”
Something really great that Eddie got the opportunity to do was meet a lot of old school trainers through his father. Eddie even got to meet, and train with, the trainer for the United Nations K-9 Unit. He still meets with him in places like Texas and will even joke and call him his dad. Eddie explains, “I enjoy the old school training, because sometimes you’ve got to be a little stern with the dogs. I learned a long time ago that tough love is the best love.”
Another thing Eddie loved about training dogs was the idea of being able to track people. However, once he left the police force, he put the talent of tracking people into tracking animals, or hunting (deer, ducks, so forth). To teach these dogs how to do these things, it requires a lot of discipline. Eddie explains, “I saw a big need to have well disciplined dogs within family life. A lot of people want that disciplined police dog, but don’t always realize all of the steps it takes to get their dog to that point. That’s where I come in!”
Discipline is a big deal for Eddie. It’s one of the things he preaches. Two other things he preaches are structure and leadership. “Discipline, structure, and leadership are the three things that all dogs need,” he says. “It’s almost like a kid. If you don’t have those three things, they’re probably going to walk all over you.”
The biggest categories of training for Rodrigue’s Cajun K-9 includes hunting and discipline (sit, stay). Sometimes they even train service dogs. Eddie mentioned that they’ll be training one in November for a nursing home. In regards to training law enforcement dogs, Rodrigue’s Cajun K-9 doesn’t typically train those as much as the other categories. When training the dogs, the length of time usually depends on how long an owner waits to begin training, and even then, every dog learns at a different pace, especially if they’re older. To get a general idea, basic obedience takes about 30 days, whereas on leash/ off leash training takes about 60 days.
Family still plays a huge role in what Eddie does. Eddie has three young sons, Jay, 12, Carson, 8, and Cade, 5. He hopes that at least one will be open to following in his footsteps, just as Eddie had followed in his father’s footsteps. In between their successful rodeo training, the boys assist in working the dogs right alongside their father. They can often be found riding their bikes or horses near the dogs to help with getting the dog to focus no matter the distraction. What is sometimes just playing to the boys, are life lessons for the dogs.
“They work with me every day, and I hope they take it over once they get older. They all work the dogs, but all of my sons have their little niche with them. One may like to cattle dogs, and the other may like the hunting aspects of it more,” he says.
He loves being able to train animals the way that he does, and his favorite part about doing it is having the ability to help people with their animals. Eddie says, “We try to help people and make them understand that there are a couple of steps that need to be taken to make their dog listen, that way they aren’t taken out of their homes for being disobedient.” His biggest hope is to keep animals out of the pound, and Eddie hopes that his business can provide professional, quality dog training and professional, quality Labrador retrievers.