K9 Safety Consultants celebrated their grand opening in Westland in late July.
Photo provided by K-9 Safety Consultants
A Black-owned dog training center recently opened in Westland after facing business challenges, including losing two beloved employees in 2020, facility closures, relocations and the death of their company backbone, the founder, Flem Peacher V — all in a period of a couple years.
K-9 Safety Consultants, located at 920 S. Wayne Road, is still pushing through, however.
The close-knit company recently celebrated its grand opening in July — but they’re not new to the dog training game having over 25 years of professional dog training experience, and making a name for itself as a leading training school in Michigan.
K-9 Safety Consultants has provided training for private firms, law enforcement agencies, celebrities, athletes and locals.
K-9 Safety Consultants LLC was founded in 1985, by Flem Peacher V of Detroit. He was motivated when as a child he was nearly mauled to death by a neighborhood dog. The experience initially left him shaken and not wanting to go near another dog again, but his father encouraged him and told him, “If you want to overcome your fears, you’re going to have to face them.”
He stood by those words and discovered eventually that he had a special gift of reading dogs’ behaviors. Also, he could train them to perform basically whatever he wanted on command. Those transformative moments helped him to develop what is called the “K-9 Safety Method,” a method used to transform dogs into model pets.
Peacher V, who died at 63 of medical complications in 2018, passed on his skills and training methods to his son, Flem Peacher VI, who had been learning from his father since the age of 5, to take over as the owner of K-9 Safety Consultants.
“My dad was my best friend,” Peacher said, adding that he is the only boy with three sisters. “He was beyond just a father — my hero, leader, my pastor. So much within that one person; so many roles.”
Peacher, 39, told the Michigan Chronicle that as the company’s owner (and master dog trainer) he has seen his fair share of challenges that he’s navigating K-9 through.
“We’ve had some setbacks and hurdles — we still persevere through,” Peacher, also a pastor in Southfield, said. “People knew what we’ve been through and overcome and the history.”
During its July 28 grand opening, K-9 dedicated its event to the two employees they lost during the past year and officially named its two meeting room spaces after Hailey Louise Marie Davis and Forest Harvey II.
“We dedicated the school to my dad and one of the training rooms to Hailey and another trainer [Forest] who passed during COVID,” Peacher said. “[It was a] huge loss — both of them were amazing and a key part of training… they may not be physically present with us, but they are with us in spirit.”
Peacher said that he is the second generation, along with his wife, sister, and other family members who are continuing the legacy of the company.
Peacher said that it took work to build up the company and re-establish it when they had to start over again a few times, facing challenges including finding a facility that would accept them because some aren’t welcoming of a dog training company in certain locations. One time they had to leave a Southfield facility due to a change in administration.
“We heard ‘no’ multiple times that we [almost] threw in the towel,” he said, adding that they were not ones to back down from a challenge.
During the difficult times (including pandemic-related shutdowns) they battled rumors that they would be closing while navigating starting back to humble beginnings by training dogs at parks instead of a brick-and-mortar location. K-9, however, rose back up through and many loyal customers stood by their side.
“A lot of clients walked away — a lot of clients stayed,” Peacher said, adding that their work speaks for itself and the clients who keep coming back know the real deal. “We have some of the greatest clients around who persevere… know what [we] provide and the quality of service, K-9 experience, the atmosphere [that] cannot be captured anywhere else.”
It’s a testament to the over 10,000 K-9 alumni members who have gone through the program, along with the roughly 5,000 clients that signed up during the pandemic.
From boarding and grooming to providing breed locator services, K-9 is moving forward and expanding, while honoring the past and present.
“The matriarch, my mom, is still living — she is the one who greets everybody when they first come in the door,” he said, adding that she shares stories with customers about how K-9 got its start. “My mom definitely has a thousand stories that she and my dad went through to make sure they persevered and weathered every storm to get us here to be able to take it over the way we did.”
Peacher said that as a Black company in the dog training industry the bar has been set low for his company by industry peers — but they not only exceed expectations but they’re setting the standard of dog training.
“The training will speak for itself,” he said. “We have created our own lane.”
Peacher’s sister, Flemesha Armstrong, 38, president of the company and a master trainer, said that the hardships were not in vain, and they’ve been faithfully working while growing as a family and professionally.
“We’ve [my brother and I have] both been doing this since we were eight and nine,” she said, adding that they both have children who will be leading K-9 down the road as the next generation.
“I have three children, he has five — we have them working up here now as paraprofessionals getting their feet wet and hopefully out of 11 grandkids at least two of them will want to continue the legacy in some form or fashion,” she said, adding that promotion comes in time – and it’s K-9’s time now. “I would tell anybody to follow your dreams and listen and be still sometimes and listen to where God wants to lead you when He wasn’t to take you to the next level. As long as you are patient and waiting, He’ll take you there.”
For more information visit http://k9safetytraining.com/.