Betsy Hamkens: Training dogs for over 40 years

Good Day Dakota

As the saying goes, dogs are a man’s best friend, but it’s not always easy training man’s best friend. That’s where Betsy Hamkens comes in.

Hamkens moved to North Dakota at a very young age. Her dad loved hunting dogs which lead to her passion for man’s best friend. Since then she has trained thousands of dogs all across the country.

Hamkens says, “I’ve been training 40 years and I still don’t call myself a super professional because you can always learn.”

She might not consider herself a “SUPER” professional, but she’s known as being one of the best of the best in dog training around town and has the awards to prove it.

“Oh my golly I have scrapbooks on everything and I’ve got ribbons on the wall for the dogs I’ve gone through. Every dog I’ve owned has been titled,” says Hamkens.

She started out as an apprentice for dog shows throughout the 70s. After showing dogs on her own and winning hundreds of competitions she found out her real love was the training aspect.

“As I was training and people were like ‘oh look at how well she’s doing with her training with her dogs.’ I had people calling me and saying ‘will you help me train?’ And I thought why not?”

She has people coming from all over Washburn, Dickinson, Minnesota, and even Canada. Hamkens says she’s known for being blunt with her style of training, but that’s what makes people love her.

“That’s one question people call me and ask,” says Hamkens. “They say what method do you use and I say mine. I don’t have a method. I have networked and studied and networked and studied and done seminars and gone back and forth. Anything I ever have people do with their dogs I have tested on my own dogs. I want to know is it going to work or is it not going to work. I say it doesn’t work for my dog but we can try it out on your dog.”

KX News had to ask Hamkens if she could see herself doing anything else other than dog training.

“No it’s my passion and I’m not ashamed to say… I’m going to be 70 years old in December,” says Hamkens. “I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve had people call me and I’ve three or four generations come through. In fact, I had one call me right before you came and they asked ‘Are you still training dogs?’ And I go yep I will be training as long as I’m upright.”

After all the years of Betsy’s training she says the number one thing you can do is just engage with your dogs because without engaging, nothing will work.

Hamkens also works with shelters around town.

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