FORTUNATE K9 is devoted to helping dogs and their owners find success through a combination of time-tested methods and individualized programs.


   Because our knowledge comes from years of hands-on experience with dogs of all breeds and temperaments, you will get the answers you and your dog need, whether they are for simple good manners or intensive, life-saving behavior modification. We guarantee that you will see a positive difference in your dog’s behavior the very first time we work together.


Why Train With Us?

    Proven, real world training experience plus genuine empathy for dogs and the people who love them make FORTUNATE K9 the first choice of informed dog owners. Clients are referred to us by veterinarians, humane societies and rescues, and even other dog trainers. We offer you the insight you need to understand your dog’s behavior, and we effectively teach the skills you need to address it.

Fortunate K9 Ruff crowd group dog training class in NH

    Julia began formally training at the age of twelve, when she trained and titled dogs in AKC obedience competitions for friends and neighbors. As an adult, she turned her attention to solving the dog behavior problems that complicated many pet owners' lives, and along the way became a nationally recognized and respected professional due to her no-nonsense, results-oriented approach and her compassion for dogs and their owners. Julia was the Training Director for Doberman Rescue Unlimited from 1998-2005, and started their "DRU University" shelter dog program, which served as a model for shelters and rescue groups across the country.



Doc de Bruce Lee BH and Jane Doe v. DRU BH with Julia McDonough dog trainer Julia and Corazon von Rubenhof demonstrate the joy of a training partnership at Fortunate K9 in Derry NH

    Julia has conducted seminars and presentations for numerous humane groups and training organizations, focusing on balanced training and working with aggressive and defensive dogs. Her monthly column “The Canine Contrarian” appeared in the Dog In Sight newspaper. Her training articles have been published in magazines such as Schutzhund USA, The Aggression Newsletter, The North American Working Bouvier Association Journal, Griffonnier and the IACP Safehands Journal, and are handed out as brochures by shelters and rescue groups around the country, as well as appearing on numerous training websites.


    Julia was honored by the International Association of Canine Professionals as a “Certified Dog Trainer” based on her extensive experience and history with the organization. Several of her current students compete very successfully in AKC Obedience and Rally Obedience, and have titled their dogs with the entry level of “BH” in Schutzhund and “WDTT” in the AKC Working Dog Sport.


    Julia and her faithful demo dog, Kinderspiel v. DRU, CGC, have even appeared on the NBC Today Show! Described by some of her students as a "life coach for dog owners”, Julia is an articulate champion of common sense and compassion, and a clever and effective “translator” between human and dog.

Bassett Hound Fortunate K9 Dog and Owner Training Derry NH

Gus, CGC proves that “difficult” breeds aren’t difficult for us!

Easy-going dogs sit shoulder to shoulder with previously “incorrigible” classmates in our Drop-In Group Class.

Julia with Doc de Brucelee BH and Jane Doe v. DRU BH

Julia and Corazon von Rubenhof demonstrate the joy of a training partnership.

29 South Ave.  Derry, NH

1 mile from exit 4 off I-93


Click for map

   Rick has been Julia’s training partner since 2000 when he was hired as a paid trainer on the staff at Doberman Rescue Unlimited where Julia was the Training Director. He had helped DRU in the late 80’s with transport and as the “muscle” at the DRU dog tattoo clinics because of his ability to calmly deal with the large unruly dogs. When he returned from California in 2000 he contacted DRU to volunteer his time and was offered a paid trainer position that day by the President of DRU based on the performance and training of his dogs.  Though Julia was extremely skeptical about taking on another trainer after spending too much of her time coaching the volunteer “trainers” that tend to flock to rescues and shelters, she was impressed with Rick’s extensive knowledge, commitment and ability. The partnership has grown beyond anyone's expectations into the finest dog training school in New England.  Below is an interview with Rick that should provide a helpful look into his background and training philosophy.

Fortunate K9 Rick and Dogue De Bordeaux Izzy

Rick demonstrating the value of a good sit/stay command with Izzy.

Olde English Bulldogges Milly and Fenway with Rick Froton

Catching up on some paperwork at our former location with  two FK9 Boarding School students Millie and Fenway.

When did you get started?

--- I have been a consumer of training since the 80’s and have had the privilege of training with some of the best trainers in the country.  I began my professional training career in 2000 when I was hired by Doberman Rescue Unlimited as a paid staff trainer. The offer was a surprise since I had visited DRU on my return from California to volunteer some time transporting dogs or helping in anyway I could as I had 12 years earlier. Apparently my dogs made a lasting impression as I was offered a paid training job when I walked through the door.  At that time I was working for myself in another field which allowed me to set my own hours so I took the job.  Julia was on vacation when I was offered the position and she was not looking forward to having to waste time coaching another trainer wannabe.  Now look at us and what Fortunate K9 has become. It makes me smile when I look back on those first few weeks.


You say you have the “Finest Dog Training School in New England”.  Why?

--- Results! Our students tell us that we offer the finest instruction and the most reliable results they have experienced. These are people who have typically been to at least 2 other trainers; they are educated consumers. With nearly 200 dog and owner teams trained this year, I have received a significant amount of feedback regarding other trainers and their strengths and weaknesses. There are good trainers in New England and we frequently will refer prospective clients to trainers that are closer to them.  Based on what our clients tell us, I am very confident that apart from these few colleagues we are nearly alone in providing a comprehensive, effective and easy to implement training experience. 


    There are numerous  “trainers” who spend hours online posting an endless stream of “training” advice leaving one to wonder when they actually have time to train dogs.  By dogs I mean the real ones not the virtual dogs of the internet variety. Watching the “Dog Whisperer” DVD box set or reading a couple of books on “positive only” training and attending an echo chamber seminar every 2 weeks or joining 5 or 6 associations and taking the multiple choice “certification” tests is not going to do the job.  There are a lot of people taking money to train dogs who really have no business doing so and it is sad that the dogs have to pay for the hubris and incompetence of these “trainers”.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that many of these “trainers" actually expect the prospective client to pay fairly large sums for the initial evaluation before the training has begun. Dog owners need to expect more. Dogs break your heart because their lives are so short in comparison to our own. It is essential to make the most of that precious time and demand results from your trainer. 


What's the most common misconception that people have about dogs?
--- That their dog will “grow out of” undesirable behavior. Dogs will tend to “grow into” bad behavior if you do not take action to correct them and provide proper training.  By far the greatest number of dogs we see are 2-4 years old and all of them should have started training earlier when the problems began to surface. Another misconception… that the dogs are little fur kids. False!  


What's the most common behavioral problem that you encounter?
--- The most common problem we encounter is the complete lack of a proper relationship between owner and the dog.  Many times the owner is viewed by the dog as nothing more than a servant whose function is to feed and pet when the dog demands attention.  Demand barking, growling and pushy body language from the dog gets rewarded and thus the dog learns to control his world versus working as the low ranking member of a balanced team.  This dysfunctional relationship then leads to all sorts of undesirable behavior.

If you train a dog on neutral territory, will it behave the same on its home turf?
--- Good training is completely transferable. We have found that bringing the owner and dog out of their “comfort zone” and working on neutral territory helps to focus the lessons. The distractions of home can tend to slow the lesson. Having performed many home visits in the past I can comfortably say that learning takes place faster and with greater clarity at a safe comfortable training facility.  We selected our training space specifically because its location also allows us the flexibility to train in downtown Derry, along the bike paths and at the nearby dog park.  Occasionally we will visit a student’s home if there is a consistent problem that they are having trouble solving.



What's the best age to train a dog?  If a dog is not trained as a puppy, is it too late to reverse established habits?
---  Any age greater than 12 weeks.  You should never give up on your dog because you think he may be too old.  If your senior dog’s behavior is becoming an issue (and you have ruled out any health concerns with your Vet) you need to start training ASAP.  Many of my favorite success stories are dogs who were 7, 9 or even 11 years old when they started training with us.































What was your proudest moment?
--- Every time I hear about the positive change the training is having on a dog and owner. This takes place essentially every day. The big moments are typically during the turn over lesson after a dog has been with us for our Boarding School program.  Owners become very emotional when they see what can be and realize that their future life with their dog looks so much brighter than the tension and frustration that had been part of their everyday life till that day.  When you also consider that almost all of our students have trained with at least one other trainer it creates a very high level of satisfaction and pride when I can solve the problem when the owner had little hope based on their past disappointment with training. 


What is your success rate? How many students get an F in your class?

--- If the owners are willing to put in the time and follow the program I am comfortable saying we have a 98.999959% success rate.  Sometimes however, a dog is a mismatch for the owners situation whether that is lifestyle or expectations of behavior.   A  Boerbel Mastiff or Caucasian Ovcharka might not be the best choice if you insist that your dog must “love” everybody and/or you have an active social life.  Same for the Jack Russell owner who wants a nice quiet lap dog.  This is why I always tell people to research a breed before buying.  Breeders and rescues can say whatever they want about their dogs and make every dog sound like Lassie. However, you should meet at least 2-3 examples of the breed before deciding.  Having a Fila growl at you for your entire visit may cause you to consider a nice English Lab instead of the Fila. Here is an article about inappropriate breed choices - Exotic Pets


Do you have a favorite breed or type of dog?

--- No. I try to see the best in all breeds and more importantly I respect that the genetics matter.  Dogs bred for generation after generation to perform a specific task are not going to immediately forget that task just because you want one for a companion. So the German Shepherd will likely be very vocal and alert often, the Border Collie will herd your kids and neighbors kids, the Pit Bull is probably not a good choice for dog parks visits etc… etc…  Yet each of those breeds has the potential to be great pets and companions with the right training and home life.


What's the best part of being a dog trainer?

--- Teaching the owners that there is hope and that with a little work they can have the life and relationship that they want with their dog.


What's the most difficult aspect of being a dog trainer?

 --- Knowing that a dog may be euthanized because the owners do not get it!  Whether it is the aforementioned mismatch of lifestyle and breed or an unwillingness to change their behavior. Another issue is the amazing increase in the number of “trainers” and the fact that most are going to fail their clients. When that happens good dogs are going to pay a very high price. It is sad when the owners give up on the dog because of ineffective training. 


If you had to sum up your philosophy of training, what would it be?

 --- Stop waiting for the dog to guess what you want. Teach the dog what you want and then proof that behavior under as many different real life situations as possible until it becomes the default behavior.  Obedience training is NOT trick training. Solid obedience training will save your dog’s life, prevent him from overreacting and create a better relationship than all that couch time feeding him biscuits and stroking his fur.  Effective training provides clarity and clarity is the greatest gift you can give your dog. Many “trainers” are happy to latch on to the latest fad if they think it may help with the business. Witness all the marketing copy about “pack training”, “positive only”, “Alpha training”, “Behavior Adjustment Training” or “leadership training” etc...etc… We do not train to the latest fad, we train as we always have and that is for real world results through motivation, setting boundaries and rewarding desirable behavior! Our students appreciate the difference as our testimonial page demonstrates. -


Your company is called "Fortunate K9 Dog & Owner Training". Who's harder to teach, the dog or the owner?

---  The owner


Rick with his Doberman “Blue” aka Geronimo von Rubenhof

All content copyright Fortunate K9 Dog and Owner Training

Julia V. McDonough

Co-Owner, Training Director




Rick Froton

Co-Owner, Trainer





Rick Froton and Blue (aka Geronimo von Rubenhof) pose after CGC testDiana and Ron with the 3 Rottweilers

Big dog or small dog, we train them all!  We offer breed appropriate training and behavior modification for dogs of all ages that is the benchmark in our profession. Our program is easy to understand and easy to implement at home or wherever you may travel with your dog.

Puppy obedience class Fortunate K9 Derry NH

Proud puppy owners and their well behaved companions at our Puppy Prep class

Ron and Dianna with their well balanced pack

Geronimo von Rubenhof Beacon Street Brookline

Blue taking a break on a wobbly three legged chair along Beacon St. in Brookline MA during a training session.

Hampton the Bull Mastiff with Rick Froton of Fortunate K9 in Derry New Hampshire

It is not always “big” moments that need an obedient dog! Boarding school student Hampton the Bull Mastiff on one of many real world in-town training sessions.

Group dog training class at Fortunate K9 in Derry NH

FK9 students demonstrate attention downs in a casual position and Rick works with a Boarding School student under distraction.

Rick Froton, Co-Owner:

Julia McDonough, Co-Owner & Training Director:

Students working the “place” on the park benches in Derry.

A nice long “Sit/Stay” and one “Down/Stay” with most of the owners out of site.

A Drop-In class that was a fundraiser for Tom’s trip to the PSA National Trial.  All weather training!

When you train for “real world distractions” you have to be prepared for anything!!! Including the Derry Halloween festival. 

Good Morning Rick,

Thanks so much for sharing the photo's!  They are great!  It is really funny to see the little fluffy headed poodle with the big dogs!!  I have been sharing my training stories about you, the classes and the excellent experience!  I can now show them I wasn't kidding when I said she was in with a Rottweiler, Doberman, 2 Labs and 2 German Shepherds! That day was instrumental for Dolceia and I.  The class was a helpful reminder to be firm, calm, and assertive with Dolceia as well as others .  Thank you for your leadership, guidance and advise.  I am not sure where Dolceia would be if we hadn't found you. 

See you soon!

Deb Matulaitis  Deerfield, NH

Just wanted to give you a quick update since we last saw you…..last Saturday marked 1 year since Nur arrived in the USA from Afghanistan  :)  I wish I could send you the video to show you how her and Callie celebrated but let me just tell you it was awesome!  Since our session with you months ago when the 2 of them played for the first time they haven't really played together since.  Once in awhile they would chase each other around the backyard but no real playing.  Well Saturday they had their first all out play session and they haven't stopped since!!  It's been quite remarkable these last few days watching them together.  It's like some switch went off inside Nur and suddenly she feels like it's ok to be Callie's friend.  To see them enjoying each other and really being friends, well let's just say it feels pretty awesome  :)  I tried to send you a video of them together but the file is just too big to send via email.  I have sent a few photos of  them instead and her with the cats to show you how well we are doing there  :)

We can't thank you enough for helping us along this journey this past year and for helping us get to where we are today.  A year ago I NEVER thought this day would come.  She's brought such joy into our lives and while I know we still have some things to work on, the skills and confidence you have given us will get us there…even if I am a "softie" sometimes :)

Thanks again!!


Sandy & Dan


I just wanted to update you on Buster! We took him to his eye vet tonight and he did a wonderful job. They were so impressed with him and couldn't believe they didn't have to muzzle him. In addition, they think he might gain some of his vision back! I can't believe it. They don't think he will ever get all of it back, but they see progress and think he may be able to see partially down the road.

Tufts has labeled him the "miracle dog."

Tom & Angelina

Northborough,  MA

Here is a short email message dated February 20, 2013 from Tom & Angelina regarding Boarding School student Buster:

Another 4 months later on June 22, 2013 with pictures!  A great example of how effective training and consistent follow through will equal freedom.


I just wanted to send you a few pics and update you on Buster. He is a wonderful dog, which we do need to work at everyday and always will. We hike and or/walk each day and he is also part of dog hiking group. I think this has helped him lots with his social issues. He has learned to ignore a dog if they don't want to play and even gets along with smaller dogs. Of course that took lots on our end and some corrections because he was a rough player for a bit.

We are able to take him to our beach house and my parents without issues. He even lets me do his nails without issues anymore. I do still keep the muzzle on him when I trim the nails just in case and  probably will for a while to come because I don't trust him with that quite yet! At his most recent vet visit they were able to do his temp, shots, and eye exam and were amazed that they didn't muzzle him and how calm he was. They were amazed and I talked all about the work you did! Best of all we trust him to hike off leash  and I will be taking him up to Lake George for 1 week this summer to hike several spots. 

Have a great Summer!


Another unsolicited testimonial via email!

I could not say more great things about my experience at Fortunate K9! A little background in my house we have a 19 month old son as well as a 8 year old pit bull and decided back in July to add to our little family. We brought our German Shepherd Lexi into our home when she was 8 weeks and you wouldn't believe the looks and comments I have gotten from family and friends even strangers ever since (most on the topic of my sanity). Raising my toddler and an already 45lb (and still growing) puppy was not going to be a easy task and I knew that. I knew I needed to get Lexi and myself into a good program to ensure proper training, that is when I did my research and read lots of great reviews when it came to Fortunate K9. From the first initial review to the last class we took home valuable lessons and training techniques. I had the pleasure of attending puppy classes with Lexi, and in the short 5 weeks Jennifer our instructor was wonderful, she is full of knowledge and helped with any questions if we hadn't already touched base during class on them. There is a major difference in Lexi's overall behavior, attention towards me and her listening skills, on many numerous occasions she listens better than my 8yr old pit bull and my 19 month old toddler combined!!! Lexi and I will be back for more and I would not choose anywhere other than Fortunate K9 Dog & Owner Training Lexi and I owe a big THANK YOU to them

The following unsolicited review came in via our Facebook page...