ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – August 2014
Stephanie “Sarah” Trujillo, ABCDT
Recent ABC Graduate Sarah Trujillo, lives in Kingsburg, Calif.. She is now the Director of Second Chance Animal Shelter of Selma and also owns her own dog training company called K9 Solutions. While at the shelter, Sarah oversees the operations of the shelter, evaluates dogs and educates the public on animal behavior. Dog training was not her first career choice. Before she became a student at Animal Behavior College, Tania was studying Computer Science and Math, as well as working in the accounting office at the college she was attending. While in the Dog Obedience Program, Sarah said one of the biggest challenges she had to face was overcoming self-doubt. The way she overcame it was to think about why she chose training dogs, and to remember the joy that working with dogs gives her.
What prompted you to become a dog trainer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?
In 2012, I started feeling complacent in my daily routine and felt I needed to do something to change it up. I have always loved working with animals, so I chose to look for a local animal shelter in my area; little did I know there was a shelter in a nearby city that was 15 minutes from me. I was very excited to help at this small shelter in Selma, Calif. After only a few months, I was helping manage the volunteers, coordinate events and assisting with adoptions. I started working closely with the city police department that oversaw the operations of the shelter. Sometimes I would be asked if dogs were adoptable or not. In having to make these tough decisions, I felt I needed to expand my knowledge in this area—not only to help understand dogs better, but to be able to educate others about their pets so they can avoid having to resort to an animal shelter.
Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours. Do you plan on continuing your volunteer work?
While working on my Students Saving Lives volunteer hours, I worked with a German Shepard mix named Rocky. He was brought into the shelter due to inadequate housing. He was found in a yard tied to a tree with no shelter, food, or water. He had no manners around people and would jump to greet. My goal was to teach him how to greet people and walk in a mannerly fashion.
Rocky was successful with these new concepts and they proved helpful to his overall adoption-appeal. His adopters said his well-mannered behavior was one of the most significant reasons why they chose him as a new family member.
Because I’ve witnessed how effective basic training is, I continue to volunteer at Second Chance Animal Shelter of Selma and with other rescue groups in need. The feeling of helping others and cultivating adoptability is one of the greatest.
How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?
Knowing that working with animals is a great passion of mine, my husband informed me of the ABC program after seeing an advertisement on TV. When I called, I was given more information about the Dog Obedience Program as well as the Continuing Education Programs. The one that caught my attention was “Training Shelter Dogs.” They also told me about the Students Saving Lives Program, where we donate a minimum of 10 hours at a local shelter prior to graduating. My whole reason for becoming a trainer was to help shelter animals. I knew this was the school for me, a school that promoted saving lives.
What are your plans for dog training? Do you want specialize in particular type of training (e.g., aggression, PTSD, therapy or guide dogs) or in training a particular breed of dog? Please describe.
I plan to continue to grow my business here in Kingsburg, Calif., and show owners the joy that comes along with being a pet parent and how smart their dog really is. I want to do therapy and service dog training with a focus on former shelter dogs.
What will be the secret to your success in the pet industry as a dog trainer?
The secret to my success is working with the intention of giving back to others. Dogs can give so much to their owners, and being able to bridge the communication between dog and owner is the key to creating a successful relationship between the two.