Ask the Trainer: The Russian Dog Wizard – Vladae Roytapel

Vladae Roytapel, Detroit's Dog Whisperer
Vladae Roytapel, The Russian Dog Wizard


Sporting a turquoise sweatshirt with the word “OBEDIENCE” across the front, Vladae Roytapel enters the Birmingham Dog Park and commands respect from every canine. As each defiant dog approaches Roytapel at full speed, barking and ready to pounce, he pronounces an assertive “AAAHHHHHHHCHT!” The dogs become quiet and calm instantaneously.

“This sound imitates the real canine mom’s growling,” Roytapel claims.  “It startles most disobedient dogs on the spot because it mimics the canine way of disapproval.”Once Roytapel surprises the dog with his growl spin-off, he follows with a high falsetto, “Good girl,” imitating the canine way of approval and offers the dog a treat from his fanny pack. “This relaxes almost every dog,” Roytapel says, “and also captures the dog’s full attention by showing the dog who has the authority.” After revealing that he can speak “the canine language,” “The Dog Whisperer” can now begin his teaching.

Roytapel believes that skipping this vital first step is where most people go wrong in attempting to train a dog. Most owners will treat their dogs as equals and then try to enforce rules by using the English word “No”.  Without establishing human authority or accompanying the verbal command with a consequence, the word “No” lacks any meaning to the dog. Roytapel says that, “Most dogs in this country think ‘No’ is their nickname.”

This hopeless technique leads Roytapel to his greatest obstacle in training dogs: training the owners. One of Roytapel’s unique strategies entails putting the dog’s leash around the owner as he illustrates how to interact with the dog. Roytapel then has the owner put the leash around him as he imitates the unruly dog’s behavior. This procedure allows the owner to demonstrate how to make the dog obey while Roytapel plays the role of the disobedient dog.

For those who do not see the benefit of walking a six-foot Russian man around their backyard or have little faith in the existence of “the canine language”, Roytapel has several quality testimonials to validate his system of training. Joe Dumars-President of the world-champion Detroit Pistons, Steve Yzerman-future hall-of-fame hockey great, and Jack Nasser-former CEO of Ford, represent just a few of Roytapel’s elite clients that are delighted with his work.

The distinctiveness of Roytapel’s unparalleled approach to dog training is surpassed only by its effectiveness. Some may call his techniques unique, while others may think he belongs in an episode of Seinfeld. But, if some people do find his training style odd, it would most likely come as no surprise to him. As his obedience teaching reflects, Roytapel stands by the principle that “dogs are okay, people are crazy.”

Advice From Vladae Roytapel


1)  Walk your dog on a loose leash.

2)  Meet your dog’s physical, mental, and social needs.

3)  Play games to encourage your dog to work for/with you.


1)  Let your dog walk you on the leash.

2)  Let the dog lead the way entering or exiting.

3)  Give your dog equal status.

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