Home Study for Dog Training? It Works!


Colleen Dermott, ABCDT

Military Spouse Graduate

Certified Dog Training Instructor Program

Burke, Virginia

Colleen Dermott is a very busy lady.  She is a wife, mother to 8 year old Kyla and 3 year old Ashlyn, a pet parent to 4 dogs, a cat and an African Grey parrot, and she is a dog training business owner.  Colleen balances her “on the go” schedule 24/7 – and she loves it!

Married to her high school sweet heart, Ian, she “held down the fort” while he served in the United States Army at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.   During that time she learned that as a military spouse, she qualified for free tuition to take the Animal Behavior College (ABC) certified dog trainer course through the Military Spouse Career Advancement Program (MyCAA).  It was a perfect fit to help her establish a career that she is passionate about and that offers the ability for her to contribute to her family’s income.

“The home learning, hands on study course at ABC was so much easier for me to accomplish than attending a “traditional” school, “ says Colleen.  “I was able to study at my own pace, and the hands on learning gave me an opportunity to tweak my techniques and timing.  It also gave me a real life experience of what to expect when you work with clients in both a private session setting and a group setting.”  As a military wife, Colleen feels that the program provided an opportunity for her to start a career that she would not have otherwise been able to accomplish.  “I would not have been able to go away to other dog training schools because I have children and pets and my husband was training or deployed.  I also wouldn’t have been able to afford those schools.  With ABC’s program I could be a mom and wife while still getting my education that ultimately led me to start my own business, Dog Tranquility,” said Colleen.

Through her company, Colleen enjoys helping so many people.  Her favorite story is about a Pitt mix named Dana and her owner Louise.  “Dana was aggressive towards men and other dogs.  After 6 sessions of working with her (about 2 months) she is a completely different dog now.  She plays at the dog park and loves her walks (instead of searching out ‘threats’), and she enjoys the company of both women and men,” said Colleen.

Colleen feels that she will be a success in the pet industry because she has a strong passion to help dogs and their owners live a happy, peaceful life together.  She is always finding ways to gain more knowledge and she likes knowing that she will continue to learn and grow more and more as the years go on.

“I am very grateful for all that ABC provides.  They gave me something I didn’t think was possible. I thought for a long time that I would be stuck working in a job that I didn’t like, but needed for my family to survive. Now I am able to provide for my family AND do something that I love. Most importantly I am teaching my children that you really can do what you love and if you chase your dream it really can happen. One day, hopefully in the near future, I will open a rescue of my own for dogs on the euthanasia list to get a second chance in life,” said Colleen.

Stories like Colleen’s are possible because the educational paradigm of ABC, as well as the careers they teach are both portable. Plus, with over 70 million dogs in the United States the pet business is a viable career choice for animal lovers looking to make a difference and a living.

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