Animal Behavior College Blog

Where Animal Lovers Pursue Animal Careers

Canine First Aid

Being prepared with CPR could help save your dog’s life.

By Audrey Pavia

Canine First Aid & CPR

Scenario: Your dog is sick or injured. What do you do? The first thought for most dog owners is to rush him to a veterinarian. But steps you take before you get to the animal hospital can mean the difference between life and death.

April is Pet First-Aid Awareness month; making it a good time to prepare should your dog need immediate medical help.

First-Aid Kit

It’s important to keep a first-aid kit handy in the event of an injury. If your dog is injured or ingests poison, you can intercede on his behalf just before you take him to an animal hospital.

For your dog’s first-aid kit, you can purchase a pre-made first-aid kit designed for dogs, or assemble your own. If you decide to put together a homemade pet first-aid kit, gather the following items:

  • Emergency information: Your veterinarian’s phone number and the number of an emergency referral veterinary hospital where you can take your dog after hours. (Visit the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society website to search for a local emergency hospital) Keep the number of the Animal Poison Control Center in the first-aid kit as well (888-4ANI-HELP).
  • Gauze: A roll of gauze to wrap a wound or tie around your dog’s muzzle to keep him from biting if he’s injured.
  • Towels and cloth: Small towels or strips of clean cloth to control bleeding or protect a wound.
  • Adhesive wrap: An adhesive wrap made especially for use on animals to wrap gauze or cloth bandages.
  • Milk of Magnesia or activated charcoal: To absorb toxins in case your dog ingests poison. (Contact a vet or Poison Control Center before administering.)
  • Hydrogen peroxide: To induce vomiting when giving orally in the event a dog has swallowed something poisonous. (Contact a vet or Poison Control Center before administering.)
  • Thermometer: A digital fever thermometer for determining your dog’s rectal temperature. (This information can be reported to your vet upon arrival at the hospital.)

Keep your dog’s first-aid kit in a bag or box clearly labeled and place it somewhere you will remember in case an emergency occurs. Always take your dog to a vet immediately after you apply first aid.

Pet First Aid & CPR

Knowing how to perform CPR on your dog in the event he stops breathing can be a lifesaver. Understanding how to manage a wound or electric shock can make a difference in your dog’s survival.

The Red Cross offers pet first-aid classes around the country that are designed to teach you how to manage emergencies when they come up. You will learn how to respond to health emergencies and provide basic first aid for pets. You can take either Dog First Aid, or Cat and Dog First Aid.

The courses cover the following:

  • Understanding basic pet owner responsibilities
  • Administering medicine
  • Managing breathing and cardiac emergencies
  • Managing urgent care situation
  • Treating wounds
  • Treating electrical shock
  • Caring for eye, foot and ear injuries
  • Preparing for disasters

 

To find a pet first-aid class in your area, visit www.redcross.org/take-a-class. [The Red Cross also has a Pet First Aid app, available through the App Store, Google Play and Kindle Fire.]

About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.

 

All-Natural Flea Control for Pets

How to keep pets at bay all year long.

By Stacy Mantle

Cat Scratching may be Fleas

You don’t have to share your home with pets to find yourself falling victim to a flea infestation, but the chances of you seeing fleas are a lot higher with pets. While chemical-based flea repellents are the easiest way to treat, they are also the most dangerous method and [could] pose a risk to you, your pets and your family.

Late last year, the EPA agreed that many of the flea and tick collars on the market are dangerous and have cancelled registrations of collars containing the flea-fighting agent, propoxur, which includes collars manufactured by Wellmaker International and Sergeant’s Pet Care Products Inc.

According to the EPA, “The registrants agreed to phase out the products by producing them until April 1, 2015, and stopping distribution after April 1, 2016. Although the products do not meet the current safety standard they do not pose a public health risk if label directions are followed.”

Don’t despair. There are many ways to control flea and tick infestations without waging chemical warfare on your family.

Know Your Enemy, Know Your Environment

The life cycle of a flea is three to four weeks, which is important to keep in mind when you first do battle with the pests. This is important to know because it can take you at least that long to eradicate them from your home. Fleas are notorious for learning how to adapt to situations, so be very vigilant to any symptoms of flea bites. As fleas can lay up to 60 eggs a day, and a cocoon surviving on average a year without feeding, infestations can happen quickly.

Temperature and humidity levels increase the likelihood of a flea and tick infestation. To see when conditions are at their worst in your area of the country, use the weather channel’s handy app.

Bathing Your Pet

Last year, DERMagic released the first “Flea Barthat is formulated with diatomaceous earth (DE). This all-natural shampoo is made in the USA and provides protection against the pests. [DE is a desiccant; it works by drying out fleas’ waxy outer layer. They dehydrate and die.]

If you decide to purchase DE on your own, you need to ensure it is food-grade. DE used in pools has been processed by heat, which nullifies the insecticide benefits. It is often treated with toxic chemicals and is dangerous to use around you or your pets.

After shampooing, use a fine-toothed flea comb seeking out adult larvae or flea dust. The use of a flea comb should be done daily.

Cleaning Your home

Vacuuming is one of the most effective ways to rid your home of fleas and it should be done frequently. After each vacuuming, you should remove the bag and clean filters right away. You should also plan on washing your pet’s bedding each week.

Apply DE in areas that flea infestation are most likely to occur. This includes pet bedding, carpeted areas, nooks and crevices where larvae are most likely to live.

Natural Pest Spray & Flea Traps

Other natural pest control favorites that I know work include: Buzz Guard Natural Insect Repellent, Mad About Organics Natural Insect Repellent, and NatuRepel from A Balanced K9. They are all highly effective and safe for dogs (although remember to use with caution – too much of anything is dangerous!) Remember, less is more with essential oils and they should never be used on or around cats. If you are in need of a household deterrent, one of the more effective (but natural) ones I’ve found is BioDefense. But, look around and you’ll find dozens of others that are all natural and safe if you follow directions closely.

Remember, all natural does NOT mean that they are safe to use on cats, so pay very close attention to labeling.

At night, placing a dish of soapy water beneath a small nightlight near where your pet sleeps can help trap the little creatures overnight. If you’re not comfortable having your pets around soapy water, there are many electric flea traps available that are safe and effective.

Nutritional Support

Flea infestations in pets are often linked to nutritional deficiencies and poor diets. One of the most important things you can do for your pets is keep them on a good diet. Feed your pets a superb diet that is natural and free from additives or preservatives. Other digestive aids such as omega 3s, fish oils and plant enzymes can sometimes help strengthen their immunity. While many “natural” websites tout the use of garlic or onion for your pets, these things can cause extreme toxicity in dogs and cats and should be avoided.

External Control

There has been a great deal of success in using nematodes, which are microscopic worms that eat flea larvae. Nematodes can be purchased at your local pet and garden stores (but they are virtually useless in the West where temps exceed 100 degrees). While studies are still ongoing, it’s widely accepted that nematodes do best in climates that have a sandy, moist soil. Initial results with studies in California, Texas and Louisiana have seen up to 95percent reduction in fleas. However, areas such as Florida have not seen those types of results.

Natural Control to Avoid

  • Essential oils can be either very beneficial or extremely toxic in pets. For this reason, it’s important that you avoid using them on pets unless you have consulted with an expert.
  • Brewer’s Yeast can result in skin allergies in many pets.
  • Garlic can result in damage to your cat’s red blood cells, which may result in hemolytic anemia and eventual death. Dogs have also shown severe reactions to garlic, and so this common home remedy should be avoided.

About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at  www.StacyMantle.com

 

Cat Hairballs – Cough It Up

Preventing hairballs—or their aftermath—helps keep cats healthy (and floors clean).

By Sandy Robins

This April 25 marks the ninth year cat lovers will celebrate National Hairball Awareness Day. It is interesting to note that felines aren’t the only hairball expellers; rabbits do, too. So do cud-chewing animals such as cows, oxen, sheep, goats, llamas, deer and antelopes. And—wait for it—people, too! A human hairball is called a trichobezoar. It’s common in people who compulsively play with their hair and swallow it.

Now, this is not a day you want to celebrate by being greeted by a big hairball presented by your cat. A celebration would be NOT waking up to a hairball on the rug.

Most cats are able to expel hairballs by vomiting them up. But often that is the tip of the iceberg of hair—so to speak. Ingested hair can cause a serious blockage in the intestinal tract and lead to all sorts of complications.

It’s so important to remember that while cats are self-groomers, they still need help from their pet parents, especially if the cats have long hair and, also if they are elderly and simply are not agile and mobile enough to groom themselves properly.

There are lots of excellent grooming tools on the market that help get rid of thick undercoats. I am always telling my friends with cats that grooming should be considered a fun way to spend quality time with their cat rather than a chore. My cats really enjoy being massaged with a hand mitt, which picks up the loose hair as your brush.

For owners who need to deal with their cats’ ingested hair, there are products, such as Petromalt Hairball Relief Gel from Sergeants PetCare, which can help alleviate the formation of hairballs by coating the digestive tract to prevent build up—they also act as a laxative. It’s simply a matter of putting a dollop on a front paw and letting the cat lick it off. For really fussy cats, put a blob on their lower chin and let them take over from there.

For anyone wanting to know more about hairballs, the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) in Washington, D. C., has a virtual hairball exhibition on its website. You can learn why hairballs develop in the stomach and see examples of them from various animals, including humans.

There are also craft books such as Crafting with Cat Hair, which shows readers how to transform stray clumps of fur into soft and adorable handicrafts. From kitty tote bags and finger puppets to fluffy cat toys, picture frames and more, these projects are cat-friendly, eco-friendly and require no special equipment or training.

For the past couple of years, there have been all kinds of hairball events, including a celebrity lookalike competition where people were asked to brush their cats and take the fur and style it into a celebrity. I took part last year and got my cats’ shedded fur to look like Howard Stern—well sort of….

On a final note: when you’re stressed and want to pull your hair out, remember it’s simply a phrase, not a call to action. Brush your cat regularly instead!


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

 

Pet Identity Crisis

Make sure your pets have proper ID at all times because you never know when they’ll need it most.

By Lisa King

Pet Protection Matters Most in Times of Emergency

Having a dog or cat go missing is a very traumatic event. Not knowing whether they’ve been hit by a car, been pet-napped or have simply wandered off is nerve-wracking. Providing your pet with effective identification is the best way to ensure that if the worst happens, you can be reunited with your lost pet.

Some dogs are real escape artists and will take advantage of a loose board in a fence or an open gate; some have been known to dig under fences to get free. If the escape happens while you are at work, you might not find out for hours, giving your dog plenty of time to wander quite a distance.

Even if you have indoor-only cats, a door left ajar can mean a missing cat. Two of my cats once pushed a loose screen out of a window and went on a walkabout for several minutes before someone noticed. Fortunately, we were able to round them up quickly.

If someone finds your pet and brings him to a shelter, the staff will make every effort to find you. If your pet has no ID and you don’t turn up looking for him, he is at risk of being euthanized. But this tragic outcome is easy to prevent.

A simple metal tag bearing your pet’s name and your phone number attached to his collar can make all the difference. These can be custom made at most pet supply stores or ordered online. Someone who finds your wandering pet needs only call your number to let you know where your dog or cat is.

Another option is a specially designed flash drive. These are available in shock-proof, waterproof cases that attach to your pet’s collar. You program your contact information onto the drive so whoever finds your dog can plug the drive into his computer and contact you. These devices can also include medical information if your pet has a serious condition.

Since collars can come off—especially cat collars, which should always be breakaway collars—all your pets should be micro-chipped. If your pet is ever stolen, the thieves can remove tags, but cannot remove the microchip.

Some countries require that all pets be microchipped. Most U.S. shelters routinely microchip their cats and dogs, but if not, you can pay your veterinarian a one-time fee of about $50. She will inject the tiny chip (about the size of a grain of rice) with a syringe, usually just under the skin between the shoulder blades.

This procedure is no more painful than a vaccination would be for you. The chip remains inactive until it is scanned. You must then put your contact information into a pet database. If your pet is picked up and brought to a shelter, he will be scanned to see if he is microchipped. If so, shelter staff will contact you through the database. Always keep your contact information up to date. The chip will remain usable for the life of your pet.

Since there are a few different types of chips, shelter staff might have to check several registries before they find your pet. You can simplify the job by putting a tag on your pet’s collar that names the type of microchip he is carrying. Newer scanners can read all types of chips, but older ones can miss certain chips.

Microchipping may sound pricey, but it can save you the trouble and expense of searching the neighborhood, posting fliers, and paying rewards, not to mention the anxiety and heartache of losing a family member.


About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”

 

Is A Pet Career Your True Passion?

3 Childhood Passions You Can Turn into Adult Careers

Become a Veterinary Assistant at Animal Behavior College

Many of us had passions as children that we long ago gave up on pursuing. Maybe those lofty childhood dreams just seemed too difficult to pursue in real life when we became adults, or maybe other things simply got in the way. Either way, too many people end up stuck in jobs they find unsatisfying, or even hate. According to Forbes, 44 percent of people in the U.S. are unhappy in their jobs. That’s no way to live your life. It’s time to reclaim your childhood passion and turn it into a career you’ll love. Here are three careers you can get into with minimal training for a more fulfilling and happy life. Anyone can do this—even you!

1. Teacher

Lots of kids play “school” with their friends, where one kid will be the teacher and the others will be the students. The child who plays the teacher is often interested in what teachers actually do in the classroom and model themselves after their favorite teachers. In fact, it is common for children to say they want to be teachers when they grow up, because it is one of the only careers they see every day. So many teachers helped develop your young mind, so it feels good to give the gift of learning to others.

Fortunately, today’s schools are looking for teachers. The path to becoming a teacher can be different in every state, and it is certainly different from many other traditional paths, according to teach.com. Many school districts today will hire people without education degrees to be teachers. Depending on the state, they are hired on a probationary basis and allowed to teach under temporary teaching certificates for up to two years. During these two years, they are supposed to take special training sessions with the school district and complete certain college courses to get their full certification. Many districts across the nation will even sponsor someone from the corporate world in their transition into teaching. It’s a remarkably easy field to enter and one so many people find fulfilling when they jump in to achieve their childhood dream.

2. Veterinary Assistance

What child doesn’t love animals? Most do, especially girls. Girls frequently express a love of animals of all kinds, or of certain kinds like dogs, cats and horses. It is not uncommon to hear a child say he or she wants to be a veterinarian when they grow up. A lot of these animal lovers back out of that dream when they discover the tough science curriculum necessary to become a veterinarian, or learn they will have to dissect animals as part of their training.

If the love of animals and the desire to work with them is still strong as an adult, animal lovers may seek out volunteer opportunities at shelters and animal rescue organizations. If their current job isn’t fulfilling, their love for animals can still be turned into a career as a veterinary assistant in just one years. At Animal Behavior College, we are passionate about helping animals & helping you find career training that suits your needs. Are yuou interested in a rewarding career working in an animal hospital or veterinary office? You can learn from practitioners and leaders in the field during our externship hands-on training. Veterinary assistants are in demand, with job opportunities for this career expected to see continual growth through 2020.

3. Librarian

If you were a child who loved to read and spent every afternoon at the library picking out new books, a career as a librarian could be just what you need to help you feel fulfilled in your career. The adventures in the books enticed you as a child, and took you on journeys you still reminisce about. You can get hired as an assistant at a library with little-to-no experience and get on-the-job training. For those who wish to become a head librarian and run their own library, there are online schools that offer degrees in library science (which are usually required for head librarian jobs). These degree programs can be done on your own time while you’re actually working in the stacks as a library assistant.

March Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– March 2014

Sharon Joanisse

Grooming School Student of the Month - Canada - March 2014Sharon Joanisse lives in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, where she works as a registered massage therapist, school bus driver, pet/house sitter, dog trainer and also does some grooming part time. She found Animal Behavior College while searching for an Obedience Training program. She completed ABC’s Certified Dog Training program before enrolling in its Grooming Instruction Program. One of Sharon’s favorite parts of the program is that the first portion is distance learning. She loves being able to work at her own pace.

What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

Falling into grooming was much the same as falling into training. I have three dogs at the moment and around the time I got my second Aussie, I realized there was a lot I did not know. I set off to learn as much as I could about training specifics that related to us, and also about grooming. Two years ago, I got my third Aussie and once again found out just how much I didn’t know. With him came my introduction to the conformation ring, and a whole new world of grooming and care. At my first show, I looked around and saw that most of the people around me were groomers and they were my inspiration.

Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.

Dogs are always surprising us, whether it’s their silly behavior on the table or their happy howling when they see their family and get excited. A few weeks ago, we took in our Aussie to be groomed. He wiggled and yodeled and was just an adorable “goofball.”

What one thing stands out for you in terms of knowledge and/or skills acquired from the program?

Working within a dog’s limits, and working with my client’s desires is something that stands out for me in terms of knowledge and/or skills acquired from the program. Often, clients come in and have an idea of what they want but that idea is not always workable. I have found that this program has taught me how to [have a]dialogue with these clients and find a happy medium for them.

Have you started working professionally as a groomer yet? If yes, where? And are you working full- or part-time?

A year ago, I opened a second business, Heeling NRG (Sanctuary Massage Therapy) and made allowances for grooming to be a part of it. In January of this year, I began offering grooming to my clients, and am now seeing two to four clients per week.

What grooming skill(s) or technique(s) do you want to master during the next 12 months?

I hope to master scissor cuts, and breed-specific grooming for the show ring. My mentor trainer at my externship was a poodle breeder for more than 40 years and she has had me grooming her poodles and grills me hard on them. I love it!

Designing a Play Palace for Your Pet

Designing a Pooch Palace or Feline Fortress in a Small Space

If you’ve been thinking it’s time to give your four-legged family member his own dedicated living space, most vets will agree it’s a good idea. Not only is it fun, but it can help soothe your pet when he’s stressed or overstimulated. You don’t have to transform an entire spare room into your pooch or kitty’s favorite hangout (although that’s a trend growing in popularity, too)—you can get started with just a patch of underused space.

A Special Space is Smart

If your home has become a haven for claw marks or paw prints, a space of his own can minimize damage in the living areas. A pet room also helps confine shedding and dander, which is especially beneficial if you have guests frequently. This will minimize suffering for those with allergies and give your pet a safe place to hang out while you entertain.

Crate Training Dogs - Tips and Benefits

Things to Consider

A converted laundry room with a large sink or tub is ideal, because it makes bath time easy. Natural lighting is important, so try to choose a room or area with a window. Make sure your pet’s outdoor view can easily be controlled with window treatments—this way, you can open up the blinds or shades when you want to give him some action, and close them when it’s nap time or when the barking gets to be too much.

 

Dog Laying Down - Arthritis

Also consider his size. If he weighs more than 20 pounds, he may be more inclined to stay in an entire room devoted to him rather than a segmented area of the house that isn’t enclosed. And try to use a space you know he already likes.

Outfitting the Space

Include plenty of features that will attract your pet’s attention and keep him occupied. Cats love ledges that give them opportunities for climbing and cozy nooks for napping. Some pet owners even put an aquarium or television in the room, so their pets have something interesting to watch or listen to all day long. This can decrease their anxiety and make them feel less lonely.

For furniture, try placing a used piece near a window. You can find a cheap chair or couch at your local Goodwill. Or, put a comfortable pet bed on a rug, so your pet can lounge around. Just be sure whatever you choose is washable. For flooring, the perfect choice may be interlocking rubber tiles that are comfortable under all four feet. Add colorful cubbies or baskets around the space, and fill them with plenty of safe toys.

exercise_indoor_cats

If you can go custom, consider installing counter-tops at the perfect height for brushing and grooming. Another option: food and water bowls built into the wall to reduce spills and messes.

Decorate the walls however you would like. Go with pet motifs, jungle themes or simply abstract art with lots of color, so the humans who spend time in the space can feel welcome, too.

March – Veterinary Assistant Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
March 2014

Eduardo Ochoa

Veterinary-Assistant-Program-Eduardo-Ochoa-Student-of-the-month

Eduardo Ochoa lives in Los Angeles and did his externship at the Pasadena Humane Society. When Eduardo first started in the program, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. However, after going through the externship, he is now ready to continue his education and become a Registered Veterinary Technician.

Was veterinary assisting your first career choice? If not, what was it?

Becoming a veterinary assistant was not my first choice. I actually had all of my classes already picked out and was ready to start Community College at Pasadena City College [before attending ABC]. Before that, my dream was to move to San Francisco and become an artist. I wanted to use my creativity [to be an] eco-friendly architect. However, as I thought about it more and more, I realized having a hobby as a career would probably interfere with my creativity. Then, when I really thought about the direction I wanted to take in my life, helping and being around animals is what made me feel more comfortable and complete. Therefore, this is the path I chose and followed through with.

What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

When I started my externship, I was really nervous. Reading a book is one thing, but actually doing it is another. When it comes to what was the most challenging for me, I’d say it was trying to overcome my embarrassment of asking questions. I needed to learn how to do things and had to get the courage to ask how things needed to be done. Once I overcame this, I was so relieved. This helped me grow so that I am now able to move more quickly. Also, this has brought me closer to the staff so I feel like I’m now a member of the team.

How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?

When I first decided to follow a career path in working with animals, I didn’t know about Animal Behavior College yet. I searched around and truthfully, this school seemed more inviting than others.

What has your experience been like in the ABC Veterinary Assistant Program?

Being in the ABC program has been great! It’s easy, quick and extremely informative, especially for how short of a time it takes to get certified.

If you could work with any exotic animal, what would it be and why?

If I could work with any exotic animal, it would be with penguins. I love penguins and cold weather. I find penguins to be very interesting animals. Some of the things a male does to specifically attract a female is just amazing.

March – Grooming Instruction Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
March 2014

Brian Beechum

Brian Beechum resides in Bowling Green, Ky., and is currently working as a part-time Groomer for a local grooming shop called Dogs’ Day Out. He was hired by his mentor Yvonne immediately after completing his externship. Prior to beginning his grooming career, Brian attended Western Kentucky University, where he majored in Computer Science. While in college, he landed a part-time job at a local factory that made components for Toyota. He enjoyed this position so much that he decided to leave school in order to work fulltime. He worked his way up and eventually become a Safety and Ergonomics Specialist in the Human Resources department. When the economy was hit a few years ago, he decided to find a new field to work in: the pet industry.

What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

Carrie Gump is a local dog trainer I had been taking my new puppy to and struck up a conversation about becoming a trainer myself. She asked if I had ever considered grooming since I had been grooming my own dogs for some time. She then recommended that I call Animal Behavior College and speak to an Admissions Counselor about my options.

What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

The most rewarding moment during my externship, occurred a couple of weeks into working with my mentor, Yvonne Gray. She told me I had a love and drive she had not seen in other students she had trained in the past. She did make a point to inform me that she was not referring to any ABC students.

What has your experience been like in the ABC Grooming Instruction Program?

I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge and had so many great experiences that it is difficult to answer this question. Animal Behavior College’s curriculum gave me an excellent foundation to build on and my mentor was simply the best in teaching me. I could not ask for this experience to have gone better.

What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge I faced during my externship was clipping dark-colored nails. My mentor was always kind and understanding, showing me different approaches until I was able to master this task.

What grooming skill(s) or technique(s) do you want to master during the next 12 months?

Over the next 12 months, I hope to master several breed-specific cuts. I specifically want to master the Poodle and Schnauzer cuts.

March 2014 – DOP Student of the Month – USA

DOP Student of the Month – USA – March 2014

Heather Ibbitson

A Registered Nurse in Torrance, Calif., Heather Ibbitson always wanted to train dogs for a living. Upon nearing retirement, Heather thought that going through ABC’s Dog Obedience Program would help her embark on a second career. She currently has three paying clients who have been more than pleased with their dogs’ training. Following completion of her certification in a few weeks, Heather’s goal is to work with shy and fear aggressive dogs.

What prompted you to become a dog trainer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

I have spent a lot of time working with shelters and rescue groups and saw a huge need for training knowledge. If shelter dogs can be taught basic manners it increases their adoptability and decreases their chances of being euthanized.

What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

Trying to juggle my work schedule was challenging, but ABC and my mentor trainer have been wonderful and helped make it happen.

What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my mentor trainer. She is extremely knowledgeable, experienced and I learned so much from her.

Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours.

I have worked with many shelter dogs over the years, but one day I sat back and realized how far one of the dogs had come in a much shorter time than I had seen dogs progress before. It has been very rewarding to be able to help these dogs, and now I am able to be more effective and am able to do it without anything but love.

Do you plan on continuing your volunteer work? If yes, how/where?

I have worked with various rescue groups for many years and have recently become a rescue partner at Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS). I have the skills now and I think that working directly with LBACS, maybe just maybe, it will help save some lives.

How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?

A former graduate I was volunteering with told me about her success with the program and had nothing but good things to say. I think certification adds a certain amount of credibility and I think people pay more attention when you offer to help.

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