MARLON: DDK is back! We breed and train the best protection dogs in the business, plus we have a Hulk. Our dogs are obedient, fast and strong but when you work with animals this powerful, there’s always risks. And when things go wrong, it can hurt.
MARLON: I founded DDK9 in 2004 and I set out to be the best in the business at breeding and training protection dogs.
But it hasn’t always been easy. 2009 and I was homeless and I started in Atlanta and I was really struggling to keep my life together. All I had were these dogs and, you know, my own, you know, will and determination to pick myself up and get myself off the street.
In 2013, I moved to New Hampshire that’s when Hulk hit the mainstream media and that’s when DDK really exploded and became a household name and life changed in a dramatic way. I owe everything I have to Hulk and his breed. He has taken my life to new heights.
MARLON: So here at DDK we are much more than a kennel, got my crew, got Lisa and of course we have got my kids: Jackson and Jordon.
Marlon: But the heart of it all, of course, is the dogs. And for them to be at the top of their game, we got to train and we got to train hard.
MARLON: A huge part of my business is proving to the world that these dogs are capable of anything with training. Their focus, their control is second to none.
MARLON: They are amazing and sweet family dogs, you know. But when it’s time to go to work, when it’s time to rock and roll, we teach them to turn on and turn on big time.
LISA: DDK is all about training. It’s the most important thing we do. MARLON: Today I am going to be training some of my top dogs. We have got General, Ace and Hulk. MARLON: Ace is very ferocious. He is a machine.
MARLON: General is smart.
MARLON: Plus we have a Hulk. Hulk hits like a truck.
MARLON: Many people don’t realise the intelligence pit bulls really have and they learn extremely fast, you know, they are very obedient.
MARLON: So first up, I am going to be doing some training with the General. He is a really amazing dog. So today we are going to take you to some drills that really, really emphasize his focus and control.
DERICK: When we go into the training room, it’s not always protection. We do a lot of obedience training, you know, positions, sit-stay. It helps the dogs stay sharp.
MARLON: General misconception is that, you know, a protection dog is just like a rogue dog, you know, basically that just, it’s going to bark and bite at anything. I mean they are the total opposite of that, you know. They are completely controlled, they should be able to go anywhere and be completely normal until they are told otherwise. Everything that I do with dogs really, kind of, it has to do with the protection of something.
MARLON: The dog entering in between the legs is, you know, being close to your body and guarding you from right underneath, you know, and when we move forward he moves with me when I walk. Basis of tactical movement, you know, that’s really all that it is.
MARLON: He is doing amazing today. But to keep General in top form, we got to step things up a little bit. I am going to bring out two untrained dogs and I am just going to, kind of, let them freely run around and do whatever they want to do, and then we are going to dump out all the balls, all the other dogs are going to get crazy and he is basically going to remain focused, get through the exercise.
MARLON: That’s how daddy rolls. I am absolutely proud of the level of obedience that I instill into these dogs. I mean that’s how I have made my mark on the world is, you know, control. We don’t have to say a lot. We just let the dogs speak for us and that’s it. General is the, you know, the prime example of, you know, the ability we instill into these dogs. He is probably one of the most focused dogs in the world.
MARLON: So next up is Ace. You know, he is one fierce dog. Today we are going to do a police style scenario which really emphasizes his athleticism. A good security dog has to stop on command even in the most extreme situations.
DERICK: Ace is a very fired up and basically like a missile trapped in a little body ready to blow.
MARLON: When these dogs are in high drive, you know, they are very intense, they are very ferocious. When we are simulating training, it’s simulation but you got to understand that these dogs are going to go, they are going to sold, they are going to be owned by somebody and they always have to be under control. So the out command is very important.
LISA: Ace is an awesome dog. He has definitely got some fire in him. But he knows his commands and he performs really well.
LISA: Marlon will jump into the suit every chance he gets. I have worn the sleeve a bunch of times but I will leave the suit stuff to Marlon. I prefer something a little bit more mellow and calm. I like the obedient stuff. Marlon is the extreme one with like the four-wheelers and doing wheelies and now getting bit by dogs. He is more of an adrenaline junkie.
MARLON: So I am used to, I am mostly at home and this is my work suit. You know, so, I got my tie on. I am ready to go. I can go on the top of the car now real quick.
MARLON: I am always proud of Ace, you know, when he performs well and, you know, he, you know, hits all of his marks and then he returns and he does everything that he is supposed to do properly. So good training sessions always make me happy.
MARLON: Ace is a good balanced dog, doesn’t fear people, he is perfectly fine, he is perfectly friendly, he is not barking at you, he doesn’t want to bite you. That’s my point in protection dogs. Yeah, when Ace is not working, I mean he is just a regular dog, you know, and when it’s time for Ace to go to work, you know, he turns right on and, you know, he’ll put his life on the line for me and he has before.
MARLON: Last but definitely not least, my pride and joy, the big brown guy, Hulk. This dog is my life. He is extremely special to me.
MARLON: You know, with him, you know, I love taking my life to heights that I could have never imagined.
MARLON: We are going to work with Hulk. I am just going to have him little fun today. We will let him smash me out of the chair a few times and run him through couple of other, you know, just basic exercises. You know, I mean, it’s just keep the dog moving, you know keeping him active.
You know, I mean, that’s really what it is that we are doing. It’s just routine things that we do, you know, how to keep the dogs on point, you know, to let him understand that, you know, there is more to his life than, you know, just walking around and taking photographs with people.
You know, that he does have job to do at the end of the day and he has to remember, you know, who he is at different times and this is part of who he is, you know, people love his soft side but he is a big dog. So I think he enjoys to be a big dog from time to time. I always know it’s going to be a painful crazy experience, you know, when I train Hulk. Even at low levels, he is a very intense dog.
DERICK: You can’t be scared with dogs, you know. If you are scared of getting bit by dogs, you are in the wrong business. MARLON: It’s not my favourite exercise, the whole chair routine, mildly painful experience but he loves it. So, every once in a while, it’s a give or take. You know, you give him what he loves and you sacrifice yourselves.
BRANDEN: When you see Hulk transforming from this gentle giant to this huge Hulk, it’s like seeing two totally different sides of him. Seeing Marlon take bites like that just makes me know that I don’t want to get into that bite suit at all.
MARLON: Don’t do that. That one hurt. I landed wrong. I was no good. So I am on my back now.
MARLON: That’s a big dog, that’s a mean big dog, just say whatever you like. When he grabs hold of you, there is not a thing you can do about it. This suit is like cheating. Without this, it’s not even a picture you want. Taking hit from the Hulk feels like getting hit by a truck and then getting bit down, you know, by like a T-Rex or something. Hitting the ground then it felt like something broke instantly. I thought I was going to need, you know, maybe see the chiropractor maybe see the doctor after that one.
DERICK: Kind of knew he **** himself up pretty good.
LISA: I am a mother of two kids. I can’t afford to have Marlon be out hurt and have to pick up the slack from him at work. Marlon: The relationship my kids have with Hulk and the other dogs is very important. Today I think, yeah, you know, you got to see a little bit of the other side of Hulk, you know, the green Hulk.
You know, when he turns green and he likes to smash things into the ground. It took me few days to get over that one, you know, couple of good massages, some ice, just going to have stay still but that one definitely ranks up there on the pain. It’s just physical pain; you know that I felt, you know, while working with these dogs.
Of course, it’s all part of the game. If I am going to stay on top, I can’t stop because I got hurt. I enjoy to train dogs, you know, it doesn’t scare me, you know, just because I got **** today. It doesn’t mean I am not going to be in the bite suit tomorrow. I mean this my job. This is what I do.