Former Marine Turns Passion into Profession
As the adage sometimes attributed to Confucius goes: “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” And this sentiment has never been more pertinent; since the pandemic hit, more of us have reconsidered our working lives. New research shows we increasingly want to care about – even love – our professions. Turning a hobby or interest into a career may seem evident in this context.
This has been especially true for Nick White, celebrity dog trainer, author, a veteran of the United States Marines Corps, and former bodyguard in the Secret Service, who left a six-figure income to pursue his hobby and passion of dog training.
Raised in Urbana, Ohio, White, as a teen, trained the family’s German Shepherd to do basic tricks. “I remember being home after school, just my dog and me practicing tricks for hours, using up all the dog treats in about a day that my mom assumed would last a week.” From a young age, White was just doing what he enjoyed, but would eventually realize that training dogs wasn’t just something he enjoyed doing in his spare time; it was something he had a real knack for.
White’s Marine unit was the first to enter Fallujah, where some of the most intense fighting of the Iraq campaign happened. During his tour, White became fascinated with the keenly trained dogs the military used to sniff out bombs, contraband, and enemy combatants. During his time in the Secret Service, where he served during the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, White worked overtime to learn everything he could about dog training, still honing in on something he was naturally drawn towards.
White studied books and DVDs about dog training for the next few years and followed along with his fellow Marines and Secret Service canine handlers. Dedicated to learning and practicing the techniques, White dreamed of opening his own obedience school. He was asked by friends and family to train their dogs. Then slowly, by word of mouth, he had more business than he could handle while working full-time in the Secret Service. He felt like he was burning the candle at both ends, but when White considered that he was making $60k a year doing something he loved, he decided it was time to make a change.
According to White, most of his friends and family tried to discourage him from leaving the Secret Service for the unknown, insecure life of an entrepreneur. He admits he even had sleepless nights pondering such a life-changing decision. Nonetheless, White would successfully teach himself how to build, market, and operate a successful business, and he did it independently.
Today, Nick is the owner and operator of Off-Leash K9 Training. He currently has over 130 dog training locations throughout the United States. He is globally recognized as one of the top dog trainers in the world. White is the co-host of A&E’s hit show, “America’s Top Dog.” He has 2 official world records in off-leash obedience, was named on Wikipedia as one of the top 20 dog trainers in the world, was recently named top 10 trainers in the world by bestdogtrainers.org, has been featured in many magazines and shows, and is regularly requested by the top celebrities and athletes. He has been called upon by people such as actor Ryan Reynolds, Vice President Cheney, YouTube Star Logan Paul, MLB All-Star Max Scherzer, UFC World Champion Jon “Bones” Jones, and many more.
Even with such high-profile clients and enormous success, White hopes to expand the business further, aiming to develop a franchise of Off-Leash K9 outlets across the country. He is driven by his goal of helping dog owners get the most out of their pets and helping dogs enjoy a leash-free lifestyle while staying obedient. White attributes much of his success to his military training.