Call him the Dog Whisperer of Queens.
Anthony Jerone knows dogs better than most people know their families. For the last 40 years, Jerone has worked as a certified dog trainer, whipping the many mutts of Queens into shape and imparting his knowledge to other would-be trainers through his Whitestone school.
"I've been at it for a while," Jerone said in an interview after dismissing his morning class. "I'm sort of addicted to it."
Jerone received his first formal training when he was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War, helping train and work with scout dogs for the U.S. Army. Jerone later received a bronze star for his service.
Jerone will tell you that his interest in dogs started long before that, however.
"When I was 7 years old, my mother gave me a cocker spaniel. I made him into a circus dog with treats, doing tricks," he said.
Now 59, Jerone runs Anthony Jerone's School of Dog Training & Career Inc., a state Board of Education-certified academy for dog trainers. Jerone said he has had students from as far as Hong Kong, Japan, Greece and all over the United States come to the school, at 12-51 Clintonville Road, to receive his six-week professional dog training course.
"When you're 40 years in the business, word of mouth gets pretty strong," he said. "We set people up so they can go out on their own and set up their own business. You can work for Petco and you make $10 an hour, but if you go out on your own, with the right training you can make $100 an hour."
He also said he takes special requests, for everything from helping train bomb-sniffing dogs or therapy dogs for the elderly to simply making house calls for an out-of-control canine.
"We have a saying: We can make bad dogs good and good dogs better," he said.
For the last 21 years, Jerone has also run a free dog obedience and training camp every Sunday, weather permitting, in Crocheron Park in Bayside from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Though he already has 40 years of service under his belt — his students now call him "grandmaster," alluding to his age — Jerone said he has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
"They say the mind of a dog at the age of 1 has the same capacity for learning, the same capacity of memory cells, as a child who's 3," he said. "You're always learning something. That's what makes this business so exciting, you never know what's going to happen."
For more information on the Anthony Jerone School of Dog Training & Career Inc., call 718-454-5800 or visit www.dogschoolny.com.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@
©2008 Community News Group
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