Where Animal Lovers Pursue Animal Careers

Dog Obedience Training Program

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.

March 2014 Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month

ABC
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
March 2014

Keith Andersen

ABC Student, Keith Andersen resides in Burnaby, BC, Canada, and is currently working with Vision Quest Recovery Society as its in-house dog trainer. Dog training was not Keith’s first choice of careers. He tried the accounting industry, but didn’t like being stuck behind a desk. Keith then moved on to construction work and now is making dog training a full-time job.

“My goal is to retire very soon and devote the rest of my time to dogs,” he said.

Keith found Animal Behavior College on Google. He had looked at many distant-learning programs as well as local ones. Out of all of them, ABC had the most professional look and was very reasonable.

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

I decided to become a certified dog trainer after working with my dog Mak and using that knowledge to help others. It made sense to me to be certified. Working with Mak as a guinea pig taught me a lot about myself and how humans interact with their furry friends. It showed me how much fun humans can have and how our happiness with our buddies can make them happy.

Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours. Do you plan on continuing your volunteer work?

I have spent most of my volunteer hours doing the Puppy Pet Rehabilitation Program at Vision Quest. The most rewarding story is with Zander, our first rescue. He was shy and lacked self confidence when we first got him. His obedience skills were not bad but needed polishing. By using the Urban Agility and Confidence Program I am working on, we got him to come out of his shell and gain much more confidence. Also, he became much more athletic, a bonus.

I plan on spending much more time with that program and expanding it with the hope of introducing it to others.

Have you started training professionally yet? If yes, are you training full- or part-time?

I have started training but only part time. I am busy winding down the waterproofing business and developing the Vision Quest program. I also am completing my Pet First Aid Instructors program.

What are your plans for dog training? Do you want specialize in particular type of training or in training a particular breed of dog?

I will do basic obedience training but there are many “trainers” who do that already. I want to focus on the rescue program with Vision Quest. I also want to teach the Urban Agility and Confidence program, teach first aid and to run a program I call “Doguistics,” which teaches humans how dogs communicate to themselves and to us. I also will include how dogs learn and how important “leadership” is as opposed to “alpha” and being dominant. I would also like to get involved with reactive dogs and helping them have a better life.

Which dog breed best describes you and why?

Labrador Retrievers; they are smart, hard working, very sociable and love people and other dogs. Also, they’re well-liked by most people.

February – Dog Obedience Instructor Program Student Of The Month – 2014

DOP Student of the Month – USA – February 2014

ABC Dog Training Program
Student of the Month
February 2014

Linda Domer

Linda Domer - Dog Obedience Instruction Program Student of the Month - February 2014

In 2010, ABC student Linda Domer was diagnosed with a very serious form of cancer. Throughout multiple rounds of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgeries, the one thing on her mind was, “What will happen to Holly Belle if I die?” Holly Belle was a rescue dog who had come to Linda as an 8-month-old puppy with many issues. She was very guarding and aggressive, and made life with her a challenge, to say the least. By the time Linda was diagnosed, Holly Belle was a senior dog with bad behavior and her chances of being adopted were slim. Fortunately, Linda recovered and Holly Belle remained with her until she died. As Linda continued to recover, she decided that no one facing their own mortality should have to agonize over the fate of the pets they might leave behind. She made the decision to learn as much as she could about animal behavior and how to modify it- and she has never looked back.

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

The greatest challenge was when I took Delilah to her first training session with my Mentor Trainer, Chris Bevillard, in Frederick, Md.. Delilah was young, not food motivated and exhibited every single stressor on the list. She could not function at all in the class environment.  It was time for a plan. I took her to Petsmart or Petco every day. At first it was only for a few minutes, and then we slowly built up to longer periods of time. We eventually began asking her to perform behaviors she would routinely give at home. By the time her second class rolled around she was a little improved but still not at all comfortable. So, we continued our trips and by week three, she was ready to work in class.

What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

My most rewarding moment was that week three when we walked into class and Chris said, “What’s up with Delilah? She is calm, what happened?” My only reply was, “Lots of hard work.” She continued to do well during the remainder of her formal training. We still continue training at home and she is brilliant.

Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours. Do you plan on continuing your volunteer work?

I have many great stories about the dogs I have worked with at the Washington County Humane Society, but the first always sticks with you the most. Deuce was a 2-year-old, unaltered, 51-lb male American Pit Bull Terrier who had been surrendered by his owner. He was terrified, aggressive and lashed out. The first few days I just sat by his kennel door and talked to him and offered treats. By day three I was in his kennel with him. By day five we were outside doing leash work. He would walk on the leash, sit, down and relax when asked. He no longer jumped on or lunged at people, and he was becoming a really great dog. I worked with him for about three weeks total; three days a week for about 1.5 hours each day. I left Deuce one Friday feeling really pleased for him because he was really “getting it” and for myself because I was making a difference in his life. When I returned on that Sunday to work with Deuce, he was not in his kennel. I hoped he had been adopted, but was told upon inquiry that he had been euthanized. I was devastated and left the building certain I would not go back. But, I did go back. I have worked with many other dogs and brought them successfully to adoption. I will always continue to work with shelter dogs and Deuce will always be right there with me.

What has your experience been like in the ABC Dog Obedience Program?

I have loved every minute I have spent in this program. It is well paced and help is always available.

February 2014 Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month

ABC
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
February 2014

Tanisha Shea Hasson

Dog Training Program Student of the Month - Tanisha Shea Hasson

As a registered veterinary technician, Tanisha Shea Hasson was used to working with animals while they were under anesthesia on an operating table. However, it became clear to her that she preferred working with animals while they were awake and well, which ignited her interest in dog training. Tanisha began searching online for different programs and decided that Animal Behavior College best suited her needs; as it would afford her the flexibility to continue working while completing the program. After successfully completing the Dog Obedience Program, she has since gone on to launch her own business, Pet Pro Services. While dog training is the main service she offers, she hopes to expand her business to include grooming, pet-sitting, dog walking and cat behavior modification. Even as her business continues to grow, Tanisha still makes time to volunteer at her local shelter, helping homeless dogs become more adoptable.

Where do you live and train now?

I live and train in London, Ontario. I currently train part-time, but I am looking to expand my business and start training more.

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

There were a couple of body postures that I was originally performing incorrectly. I just made sure that I listened closely to my mentor’s instructions, and practiced them until I had them down correctly.

During your volunteer hours, describe one pet story that touched you the most.

There was a dog at the shelter who was extremely stressed out. She had been there for quite a while. As I worked more with her, she really began to show her true colors. She was smart, attentive and eager to learn. I was able to help draw those qualities out of her, and she was adopted later that week.

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

I found out about the program online while researching about dog training. I am a firm believer in continuing education, and the flexibility of the ABC program gave me the ability to continue working while I studied. I wanted to earn my certificate in order to achieve the level of professionalism I feel is important when starting your own business.

Which dog breed best describes you and why?

I would say that I am like a Husky/Lab mix. I like my independence yet I am friendly and outgoing.

January 2014 Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month

ABC
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
January 2014

Stephanie McSweenie

Stephanie McSweenie - Dog Obedience Program Canada Student of the Month

As a young girl, ABC Graduate Stephanie McSweenie always wanted to become either a veterinarian or a zookeeper. However, because she could not stand to see animals in pain, even though she would be helping them, she decided to become a dog trainer. While she and her friend were looking online for colleges to attend after high school, they came across Animal Behavior College. It wasn’t until after Stephanie applied at a local doggie daycare that she made her final decision. Her soon-to-be-boss had an ABC Graduate Certificate on the wall in the lobby. She currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and, will be starting as a full-time trainer for Posh Pooch Hotel & Daycare in February. Continue reading

January – Dog Obedience Instructor Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Dog Training Program
Student of the Month
January 2014

Sandy Nelson Alexander

Dog Obedience Program Student of the Month - Sandy Nelson Alexander

ABC student, Sandy Alexander of Worchester, Mass., has always had a passion for dogs. While she loves cats, too, she is allergic to them. Sandy worked for 20 years as a restaurant manager while raising her daughter. When her daughter has moved out and on her own, Sandy thought, “Now it’s ‘my’ time,” although she didn’t really know which direction she wanted to go. One day, Sandy saw an ad for Animal Behavior College on Facebook; curious, she clicked on it. After looking through the website, she made a phone call and signed up for the Dog Obedience Program. Continue reading

December – Dog Obedience Instructor Program Student Of The Month – 2013

ABC Dog Training Program
Student of the Month
December 2013

Karen Garmon

ABC Dog Training Program Student-of the Month Karen Garmon

When Karen Garmon was just 14 years’ old, she met a woman with lupus who had several service dogs to help her with everyday life. Karen knew right then that she wanted to become a dog trainer to help others in similar situations. However, it wasn’t until recently—when her children were old enough—that she enrolled at Animal Behavior College to pursue her dream of becoming a dog trainer. Karen recently finished her externship and is currently doing her volunteer hours for ABC’s Students Saving Lives program. After her externship, the owner of a veterinary office reached out to Karen to see if she would be interested in teaching classes and working as a behavior consultant. She never imagined she would have such a great opportunity presented to her before she even graduated. She was pleasantly surprised by how things seemed to fall in place.

“The options are really limitless, and the sky is truly the limit,” Karen said. “When you love what you do, and the work is fun, you know you have found your niche.” Continue reading

December 2013 Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month

ABC
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
December 2013

Nikki Headon

Nikki Headon - Dog Training Program Student of the Month

It is not often that people become known within their industry solely by word of mouth, yet that is exactly how current ABC student Nikki Headon became involved in the dog training world. She began doing basic obedience in the Lloydminster area (which straddles the border between Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada) for extremely cheap or sometimes even for free. Around that same time, Nikki began volunteering at her local SPCA. Between her obedience training and volunteering, she quickly became known for her work with particularly aggressive dogs. She was inspired to work with dogs that most people would have given up on. This passion for helping dogs in need prompted her to start her own dog rehabilitation and rescue. Coca’s Promise specializes in helping dogs with behavior issues and has helped many cats and dogs find their forever homes. Continue reading

November 2013 Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month

ABC
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
November 2013

Amanda Leask

Dog Obedience Instruction Program Canadian Student Of The Month Amanda Leask - November 2013

Amanda Leask is an ABC student nearing the end of her externship in the dog obedience program. She presently assists her mentor trainer’s classes in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. After she graduates, Amanda would like to open a dog daycare, boarding kennel and training center. She would also like to become an ABC mentor trainer while continuing to build on her knowledge base. Amanda knows she has truly found her calling and looks forward to her future as a dog trainer for years to come. Continue reading