Latoya Morris Turns a Lifelong Fear into a Business for Good

Leader of the pack.

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  • Written & photographed by
    Kat Monk

When Latoya Morris was a child, she never dreamed she would become a dog trainer—much less the co-owner of a dog training facility. She had twice been bitten by a dog years ago; the second time, the dog bit down so hard on her ankle, she couldn’t shake it off. She avoided dogs from then on—until she met her husband, Kevin.

Now parents, Latoya and Kevin didn’t want to pass their own fears on to their two children. Slowly but surely, Kevin helped Latoya become more comfortable around dogs. When Latoya’s daughter asked for a dog, she agreed—despite her hesitations. But that dog would need to be well trained.

Rickey Sanders, a master dog trainer, provided Kevin with his early training knowledge. Soon the couple transformed their home into a dog training facility. Kevin replaced their dining room table with several kennels, and their daughter would do her homework on top of one of the kennels.

“Toya is genuinely the most giving of her time and her energy to her clients, friends and family.”

Kevin started his dog training business, Love Ur K9, 12 years ago, and Latoya became co-owner six years ago. “What is better than working with my best friend every single day?” she says. Once fearful of her four-legged clients, Latoya now enjoys a commanding knowledge of dogs. They train “the pack” in an El Segundo facility with a few additional handlers.

“Toya is genuinely the most giving of her time and her energy to her clients, friends and family,” shares Stephanie Haskell-Rees, originally a client and now Latoya’s best friend. “The love and passion she has for training and her dedication to the success of her fur babies (and her fur babies’ owners) to complete the full independent circle of training are unparalleled in this saturated market.”

Love Ur K9 also trains service dogs, which Kevin oversees thanks to his specialized training from Rickey. A service dog is trained to know when its owner has a medical condition, such as epilepsy or issues with fainting, and alert someone that its owner needs help.

They are not cheap and sometimes difficult to locate. “We like to keep the cost to about $10,000 or less for service animals, although they do need continuing education too,” says Latoya. Nationwide a service dog typically costs up to $40,000. Latoya understands that an owner may already be struggling physically, so why add a financial burden?

She stresses that while the Love Ur K9 team trains dogs with satisfaction guaranteed, it is imperative to keep up the educational process to make the happiest home possible. Like her own journey, getting it right takes time, and even the most challenging situations can become the greatest gift.