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What's Waggin'

By Steven Appelbaum, ABC President/CEO
 

This year has proven so far to be a very interesting one at ABC. The Cat Training Program (CTP), which launched in April,, is currently averaging about 12 new students a month. I think these enrollment numbers will increase as time goes on for several reasons.

First, there are more than 94.2 million pet cats in the United States, according to the 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. Next, the amount of money people are spending on their cats keeps steadily increasing. Third, there is a growing understanding that not only can cats be trained but that they should be trained. Of course, training cats is different than it is for dogs. It is less about teaching cues and more about modifying behavior. These data show that there is a tremendous and relatively untapped market for cat trainers.

To date, the majority of those enrolling in the CTP are either dog trainers seeking to expand their knowledge and skill sets or dedicated cat people who want to help owners improve their lives with their pets. We are also seeing a number of ABC-certified groomers and veterinary assistants enroll in the program. The latter is particularly heartening as we hope that more veterinary assistants will take the Cat Training Program.

Why? One of the biggest challenges owners face is easily and safely transporting their cats to the veterinarian. And, unfortunately, a surprisingly large percentage of owners forgo taking their cats for regular checkups due to the difficulty of getting them into a carrier. I am confident that having veterinary assistants with cat training knowledge can help to reverse this trend.

In addition to CTP news, the Dog Obedience Program (DOP) and Grooming Instruction Program (GIP) curricula will be undergoing some improvements in 2018, including additional videos, updated content and new layouts with more images. A word on the training videos for DOP: if you are an active, professional dog trainer and would like to take part or contribute to them, please email Heidi Voll at heidi@animalbehaviorcollege.com.

GIP and the Veterinary Assistant Program will also see an increase in the externship hour requirements along with other changes I will share at a later date. We will also be launching two new short-term programs in early 2018: Doggie Daycare and Pet Fostering.

Here at HQ, we have a new server, which combined with several computer upgrades will enable our program managers and externship coordinators to spend less time on mundane tasks and more time working with students. The hardware and software upgrades will also enable ABC to take better advantage of our phone system’s technologies. These upgrades will make us more efficient, effective and, of course, enhance the student and alumni experience.

As the New Year begins, I will share how some of the above changes are coming along and, of course, news as it occurs. This year has proven so far to be a very interesting one at ABC. The Cat Training Program (CTP), which launched in April,, is currently averaging about 12 new students a month. I think these enrollment numbers will increase as time goes on for several reasons.

   

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