Dog trainer Jas Leverette headlines Netflix show ‘Canine Intervention’
The California-born Muslim dog lover and trainer challenges stereotypes on his reality show
Netflix star and celebrity dog trainer, Jas Leverette, has big things in store for his dogs, his business, his family, and his community. The soon-to-be father of two took time out of his busy schedule to chat with theGrio about big plans for Cali K9 and his A. Smith production Netflix show, Canine Intervention, all while navigating the dog training landscape as a Black, Muslim man.
According to Dogster.com less than 5% of dog owners take their dogs to a training class. Maybe you’re one of the 95% who rely on dog training videos or shows and you’ve no doubt run into a variety of opinions. As a dog owner myself, I’m with you in that 95%. I mean, with the combo of work and life in general, my pup’s training has largely been what I’ve seen online.
But, whoa, talk about a game changer after watching Leverette’s Netflix show, and talking to the man himself. His approach is that he believes there are no bad dogs, only uninformed owners, and he often helps dogs who are on their third strike and in danger of euthanasia.
Leverette grew up in the streets of Oakland with a single mother, and he’s now seeing the fruits of his labor as Cali K9 has helped so many individuals and had made a big impact in his community.
“I like to say, you know, when preparation meets opportunity. I’ve been doing this a while, it’s always been a part of my plan to get a show and bring it to the world,” Leverette says.
And not only is he adjusting how we approach our dogs, he’s also adjusting how we see the Muslim faith represented on TV.
“That’s what we do as Muslims, you’re supposed to give a certain percentage of money away, you’re supposed to help a certain amount. So, these are things that I’m trying to put out there so people know this is not about ‘terrorists’ and all this stuff. You know, it’s about loving your family, being a family man, and taking care of your community, things like that. I think that it was really important to put that message out there,” he says.
In its first season, Canine Intervention has achieved global success but has also drawn some controversy. Though he doesn’t use them on the show, in his business when working with dogs that are marked for euthanasia given their behavioral issues, Leverette has used choke, electric shock and prong collars. It’s led to a backlash and a Change.org petition to cancel the show.
Leverette responded to his critics in an Instagram post, saying it was a “false narrative” and that he doesn’t use abusive tactics.
“We modern techniques, we use all kinds of motivations and the narrative is completely false,” he says.
Not only is Leverette managing Cali K9 and doing the show, but he’s also creating a non-profit organization called Underdog to help youth learn financial literacy, health, and entrepreneurial skills.
But Leverette says his success all hinges around his canine business.
“You know, dogs are [sic] where we opened the door with building a lot of relationships with so many great people. And it starts with dogs. That’s like our common denominator.”
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