ABC Dog Training Program
Student of the Month
Lee Anne Rogers
Lee Anne Rogers had a steady career in administration and accounting and trained agility part-time for her local dog club in Alberta, Canada, when her world suddenly changed. Her husband received a transfer from the Royal Canadian Air Force to Edwards Air Force Base in California. Thousands of miles away from her friends and family, Lee Anne was compelled to do some soul searching; and realized she wanted enroll in a dog trainer school and train dogs full-time. Some online exploration led Lee Anne to the ABC dog obedience program, and she passed with honors in July. She now offers private lessons and volunteers for a rescue in Pearblossom, Calif.
- What pet story touched you most during your volunteer hours for the Students Saving Lives program?
I started working with three huge five-month-old puppies, siblings born at the shelter. Their size caused a few problems with the staff because they were also a bit unruly. I realized when I started working with them that, unlike puppies who are raised in a home, they had no dog-human bond. It was extremely difficult to overcome this as they really had no interest in me; they only wanted to be with each other. After hours of working with them over a two-week period, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get anything accomplished. I felt they really had no interest in humans, and they didn’t understand or show any interest in treats, petting or praise.
When I showed up at the shelter on the third week, I walked up to the kennel to take one of the puppies out for his training session and he was wagging his tail. This was a change from the puppy I had been working with the week prior. Before I got the kennel door open, he started offering me a sit behavior and was not jumping on the kennel door. I realized then that even though I did not feel like I was getting through to them because they acted differently than other dogs who showed a willingness to learn, the puppies were learning in their own way. While I am not sure if they will ever be adopted, I still continue to volunteer at the shelter and work with the puppies (who are not really puppies anymore). I hope that just having someone take them out and work with them will enrich their lives and continue to make the shelter staff’s job a little easier.
- When and how did you know you would be a success in the pet industry?
Unlike a lot of people, I never had dogs growing up. I was married and had a four-year-old son before we got our first dog. My husband had grown up with dogs, so he was the one who made the decision to get a dog for our family. We researched breeders and brought our first English springer spaniel, “Amigo,” home shortly thereafter. I literally had no idea what to do with a dog or how to train one when we brought him home. My husband did all the training and he was a wonderful and obedient dog.
When Amigo was about four-years old, I told my husband that I wanted to do something with the dog as I had not been involved in any of his obedience training—although I loved him, I didn’t really have a connection with him. I found a local dog club that offered agility classes and signed up. I had no idea that signing up for that class would lead me on this journey. I loved agility and realized I adored working with dogs. Amigo and I started competing in agility and shortly thereafter our family brought home a second dog, a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever. I took our new dog to obedience classes and agility classes and loved both. Over the course of training my own dogs, competing and eventually teaching classes with the club, I realized I was passionate about training and working with dogs. I believe you will always be successful if you do what you love.
- What was your experience like in the ABC dog obedience program?
My experience was really great. All the staff at ABC I worked with were amazing and always there to help. Also, my externship was very positive and my mentor trainer was very knowledgeable. As she is also a graduate of ABC, she made sure to pose questions to her ABC students during our externship classes about the ABC curriculum and how the training we were doing tied into what we had learned during our coursework.
- Which dog breed best describes you and why?
I can’t say a specific breed but probably would be best described by most of the dogs in the sporting group—good-natured, enthusiastic, energetic, willing to learn, eager to please, sensitive and I love to be with family.