Family Owned & Operated
DISCOVER K9 (662-419-8718) is a family-owned and operated business run by Rickey & Kelly Hooker from their hometown near Pontotoc, Mississippi. Discover K9 was relocated to Northern Mississippi, from the Florida Panhandle. Since Kelly & Rickey still have many dog training clients in the Florida area, they are making monthly pickups for new doggy students. They will be glad to work you at your earliest convenience. When you call or email, you will reach Kelly- she handles all of the contacts, reservations and questions. Kelly is also responsible for picking up and returning your dog. If your dog is enrolled in our 30 day in-house training, he/she will be trained by both Rickey and Kelly. They will work together to plan the training program for your dog.
Rickey & Kelly will be glad to conduct free demonstrations of their own dogs or dogs they are currently training whenever possible. PLEASE CALL 662-419-8718. Please feel free to contact Discover K9 with questions regarding demos.
Experience Is Important
Owner and Training Director of Discover K9
Over the past years Rickey Hooker -has sought out training and experience from some of the top dog training professionals in the country. By keeping an open mind and learning new techniques he has incorporated the best of what he has learned to allow him to work with dogs that other trainers refuse. Rickey is more experienced than most when dealing with dogs with behavioral problems. During his is time as an Air Force K9 Handler and Trainer, many other handlers and agencies sought out his expertise in dealing with problem dogs. He discovered that the knowledge he learned in dealing with police dogs could be carried over into pet dog training as well. He purposefully started looking for low stress training methods which were easy for the dog and the handler or owner. This is what led him to incorporate focus-based training techniques which allow an owner to work and train with his or her dog without having to be strong and have a loud voice. This focus-based training allows for dogs, even as young as 4 months, to be trained in a fun and confidence-building manner. This type of dog training is new and is successful for dogs of all temperaments and ages. (Please refer to FAQs to learn more about our dog training techniques.)
In 2008 Rickey separated from the United States Air Force and left his position as Military Working Dog Trainer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida (near Fort Walton Beach). He has been married to his wife, Kelly, for 17 years; and they have 2 children . They were stationed at Eglin for 6 years; but after 10 years in the military, they decided to move back to their hometown in MS.
Although Rickey received his first formal dog training/handling at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; he has really been learning about dogs his entire life. He continues to work hard to perfect his skills as a dog trainer/handler/teacher. Rickey has sought out training from some of the best dog trainers in the country and enjoys studying what others do right and wrong with dogs. He has a unique ability to incorporate many different ideas to form his own dog training approach. Rickey is a great teacher and enjoys helping others perfect their techniques too.
While at Eglin Air Force Base, Rickey was chosen by the military to attend a NORTH STATE K-9 ACADEMY of TARHEEL CANINE INC in North Carolina, a civilian K-9 Trainer's School which earned him the title of "Master K9 Trainer". During this six week school, he gained experience training civilian obedience dogs, their owners and new dog handlers.
He attended a Drug and Explosive Detection Dog Instructor's Course taught by Randy Hare with Alpha K9 from Jackson, MS where he received an additional Master Dog Trainer Certification.
He has also attended dog training seminars taught by Fred Hassen of SIT MEANS SIT from Las Vegas, NV where he learned the proper use of Remote Collar Training.
He has worked in conjunction with Jason Purgason - of Highland Canine Training in North Carolina to conduct a week long Basic Police Canine & SWAT and Advanced Detection seminar for Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
As an Air Force K-9 Trainer, Rickey was in charge of the training of all Eglin Air Force Base’s Military Working Dogs and K9 Handlers. Although his official job was in the Working Dog Field, he has experience with hundreds of behavioral and obedience problems; and the civilian schools that he has attended have given him extra skills to tackle even the most difficult dogs and he enjoys the challenge.
Rickey enjoys teaching and helping other K9 handlers with their dogs. He has trained K9 teams for numerous military and civilian police agencies including Niceville Police Department in Niceville, Florida, Los Angeles Police Dept. Metro K-9 Division, California, Louisville Police Dept - Louisville, KY, Okaloosa Sheriff’s Dept, Fort Walton Beach PD, Panama City PD- Panama City, Florida. He has worked with other agencies in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois and Louisiana.
Rickey also considers himself fortunate to have been the Head K9 Trainer for Dr. Robert Gillette at Auburn University Veterinary Sports Medicine, Auburn, Alabama.
Rickey and Kelly adopted Rickey's Military Working Dog Jacco in 2007. Jacco served the US Air Force for 10 years before retirement. He spent almost 7 months in Kirkuk, Iraq with Rickey in 2004. When SSgt Hooker took Jacco to USPCA Trials in October 2006 earning a score of 195.5 out of 200 possible points; this was the first time Jacco had competed.
Rickey and Jacco's war story was featured in the following book:
Veterans Day 2008 was spent in New York City, where Rickey and MWD Jacco were featured on Fox News!
Owner – Manager – Trainer
Kelly has enjoyed working with dogs since she was a young girl. She has always been an animal lover – trying to rescue all the strays! While in college, she worked at Rolling Hills Animal Clinic in her hometown of Pontotoc, Mississippi with Dr. Neal Anderson. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from The University of Mississippi.
Kelly is the manager of Discover K9; she is also a trainer with the pet dog obedience training program. Because the obedience dogs stay in Kelly and Rickey’s home for training, they spend lots of time with them – exercising, training and playing. Socialization around other pets and children is very important, so they work with the dogs in a home environment. They want to dogs to be accustomed to life in a family and neighborhood setting. Their ultimate goal is to help you and your dog learn to communicate with each other. They want your dog to be able to focus on you through all distractions.
When you call or email for training information, you will almost always speak to Kelly. She will discuss the problems you are having with your dog, explain how Discover K9’s focused based training can help you and your dog and make arrangements for training to begin. Your dog’s training program will be customized to the needs of your dog.
From 2007 to 2008, Kelly was the Coordinator for The Military Working Dog Monument Committee. She is proud and honored to have been involved in the construction and dedication of The Working Dog Memorial located at The Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin Air Force Base, Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
During the duration of this project, Kelly reached out to hundreds of K9 Handlers world wide to bring recognition to this project. She became close friends with many of them and she cherished the friendships she has made with the families of the Fallen K9 Handlers. Kelly wanted to bring attention to the service of the K9 Teams so she and TSgt Michele Stringert planned and held “The Working Dog & Fallen K9 Handler Tribute” on February 16, 2008. This event was held to honor the fallen heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan. Retired MWD Lex along with the family of Fallen Marine K9 Handler Dustin Lee was in attendance and MWD Lex received an “Honorary” Purple Heart from the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 566.
For Kelly’s leadership and dedication to these projects, she was nominated for “The President’s Volunteer Service Award” and attended “Military Spouse Day” at the White House in May of 2008 – an event honoring the nominees and winners.