When South Glens Falls native Tom Davis was 19, he started his first dog-walking business. “Everyone else is going off to college and living their best life,” Davis says. “I was picking up dog poop and getting paid $15 for a walk.” That grunt work paid off, though: Davis is now an internationally known dog trainer who sells out seminars around the world, boasts half a million YouTube subscribers, and just opened a second Saratoga County location for his Upstate Canine Academy. And, oh yeah, he’s trained dogs for YouTuber Logan Paul, musician Drew Taggart from The Chainsmokers and NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
While Davis says there’s not really a big break that proves a dog trainer has “made it,” like getting signed to a label for a singer, this may be the closest thing to it: On Wednesday, March 23, Davis appeared in Today show segment celebrating National Puppy Day. “I have an opportunity to go on and work with three different puppies and go over some very important tips for new dog owners,” Davis said beforehand. “I’m going to be live on one of the biggest outlets in the country with dogs I’ve never met before. The goal is, theoretically speaking, to go in and work with these three puppies and show the dogs’ owners and the 4-5 million people that are going to be watching how to be a better dog owner at any stage of life.”
If you’ve never heard of Davis before, you may be wondering how he went from small-town dog-walker to working in the governor’s mansion (he trained dogs for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo before he resigned). “It’s not all luck,” he says. “It’s really just working really hard, developing my craft and educating. I specialize in teaching dog owners what the problem is, and nine times out of 10, it’s them.” That means Davis is one of very few people who can go into Patrick Mahomes’ home and tell him what to do. “Working with different types of celebrities in Hollywood or in other places—these people have everybody and anybody at their disposal.” Davis says. “The fact that they hire me, trust me, want to work with me is some sort of a validity that maybe I am doing the right thing. Maybe I am better than the average Joe Shmoe in their neighborhood.”
And while Davis does travel the country training pooches for the rich and famous, he’s kept Upstate New York as his home base. He currently lives in Saratoga, works out of Clifton Park, and recently opened a second location—a 15,000-square-foot training facility in Halfmoon, where he not only trains dogs, but also produces his popular podcasts and videos. “The majority of our clients are from out of state,'” he says of the new facility, “so it’s become a popular destination for many dog owners from all around the country, which is very cool.”
To watch Davis’ National Puppy day segment, click here.