We had the good fortune of connecting with Colin West and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Colin, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I chose this question because I think it’s relevant to the work that I do with the dogs now. I grew up in the Pacific Palisades, and I was always a bit of a free spirited, rebellious kid. In short, if I were a dog, I would have been considered a “bad dog.” I would have been one of the dogs that needed training, and by understanding myself, and having experienced what I have, I’m able to better understand dogs that don’t want to listen, because I was that “dog.” After being kicked out of a Christian school for not wanting to follow the rules, (training), I went to Paul Revere middle school, where, if you didn’t want to follow the rules, you basically didn’t have to, but you would, however, follow the rules of the schoolyard kids. That’s when I was introduced to a different set of rules, and those are, in a way, the rules of the jungle. You will show respect to the kids who have clicked up in packs of 20+, and who have older brothers. Haha. I’m sure many people can relate. This is the environment I was drawn to; I was drawn to the power, and mainly, I knew if I was with the tougher kids, I would not be a target of them. So, that’s where my attention was drawn. I would be friends with kids from large groups from then on out, and into my adulthood, and I was able to observe the politics, the power struggles, the threats, the fights, etc. from the inside out. I’ve been in just about every position in the hierarchy of a pack, so, when I bring dogs into my pack, I can really empathize with each dog and how they are feeling. I really get to walk them through their schoolyard experience, making sure they’re safe, making sure they’re in-line, letting them make mistakes and bear the consequences. I really get to be the person for them that I and so many people never had, so it’s very fulfilling. I believe my personal experiences help me better understand the dogs, connect with them, get respect from them, and help them. So, my experiences as a person translate directly to what I’m doing now with the dogs, and it’s deeply fulfilling to be able to understand the dogs and have that connection, and to help them grow as individuals; getting the experiences they each need. An example is that I may let things get out of hand at times between dogs who enjoy things being out-of-hand, to the point that they understand WHY they need a mediator, why things are better when not out-of-hand, and WHY to listen, as opposed to being told, “because I said so.” I show them why.
A lot of these things I felt internally, but didn’t have a clear understanding of until I met Brandon Fouche, who helped me with my female Pit Bull, Layla, and who I feel obligated to mention when my knowledge of dogs comes up. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this brief summary. For more information, or to get your dog started, please feel free to reach out to me at colinspack.com. Thanks! Colin
What should our readers know about your business?
Well, that’s a loaded question. To get to where I am, though it’s not a resting place, has definitely not been easy. I don’t know if there is an easy way to overcome challenges, except to not give up, and to overcome them. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to not try to do everything myself. No one who has built something great has done it alone, (except for maybe some artists, etc. who don’t need a team), so it’s actually important to understand that if you try to do things completely alone, it will likely use your valuable time and energy, and end up getting you less close to where you want to be had you allowed key people to support you. There’s no pride lost in understanding that early. Something else I’ve learned on a personal note is the importance of love, and I’m not sure how to say this, but the importance of who you are day-to-day, the reality that other people may never truly know, but that is your spiritual fingerprint. My brand is tied into that in the sense that it’s really about authenticity, about really being there with the dogs, because that’s something only they know.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Probably some long hikes, the third street promenade, and some Jiu jitsu. In-n-out, El Cholo, and Cholada somewhere in there too.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mom, of course! For being willing to sell me her car at the drop of a hat when I needed it to take more dogs out, and always supporting my dreams and my choices.
Michael Segal (for the shot with me and a bunch of dogs)