Trainer goes to the dogs to make sure troubling tails come with happy endings

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Jeison Vasquez operates A Misfits Tail, a Grand Junction business offering dog behavior modification and obedience training. Vasquez works with all breeds and ages of dogs in his clients’ homes. (Photo courtesy A Misfits Tail)

Jeison Vasquez has encountered — and changed — a range of behaviors in dogs. That includes everything from jumping on the couch to yanking on leashes and biting the hands that feed them.

It’s not that those dogs are bad. They’re just confused about their identities and their roles in groups that include people, Vasquez said. “Dogs don’t make good humans.”

But humans can make good dogs in changing unwanted behaviors and creating obedient and loving companions. Vasquez makes it his business to help.

Vasquez operates A Misfits Tail, a dog training and consulting firm in Grand Junction. Vasquez goes to clients’ homes to work with their dogs to correct problem behaviors, teach basic obedience and train puppies. Vasquez also works with clients to help them replicate his techniques and sustain behavioral changes.

Vasquez relocated from Miami to the Grand Valley last year. He brings to his venture more than four years of training and experience in dog training. He’s completed coursework and testing on dog psychology and behavior as well as skills assessments. He’s logged more than 2,000 hours of testing and lab work and more than 5,000 hours of handling.

The Grand Valley constitutes a good location for his business, he said, because residents love their dogs and love spending time with them outdoors. “This is a huge dog culture.”

Jeison Vasquez

Vasquez said he grew up with English bulldogs and has always loved dogs. He later discovered how much he enjoyed training dogs. “I was officially hooked.”

Vasquez said he’s worked with clients with dogs that jump up on people and pull on leashes. Some clients have been afraid of their dogs.

Vasquez said he welcomes even the most difficult challenges. “Call me. I come and fix it.”

A Misfits Tail offers various services related to behavior modification, basic obedience and puppy training. Vasquez says he usually works with dogs in one-hour sessions three times a week over the course of a month.

Dog owners must be committed to the process, he said, because he also works with them to teach and replicate his techniques. It’s important not only to correct bad behaviors in dogs, but also reward good behaviors.

Behavioral problems sometimes occur in dogs because people treat them like they’re humans, Vasquez said.

Dogs are by their nature social animals that live in groups and learn their roles under an alpha — or dominant — leader, he said. Alpha leaders are like parents that provide food and safety and set boundaries. Alpha leaders are assertive, but also remain calm. Dogs must learn how to behave in their groups and trust their leaders enough to be vulnerable.

While dogs don’t make good humans, Vasquez said he understands how dogs become valued companions, even beloved members of families. It’s just a matter of addressing behaviors that can affect those relationships.

Vasquez said he wants to help. “I’m all about making change in peoples’ lives.
I want to be the difference maker.”

For more information about A Misfits Tail, contact Jeison Vasquez at 306-7712 or or visit