ABC Dog Obedience Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– January 2013
Diane Stene, a resident of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, is a now-retired pharmaceutical representative specializing in women’s health. Her love of dogs combined with her volunteer work at the animal shelter prompted Diane to pursue a second career in dog obedience training.
Now that Diane has completed her final exams, she is ready for the next step: starting her own dog consulting company. She plans to help first-time dog owners with choosing the right dog, preparing their home, housebreaking and initial training.. Diane will continue to be involved with her local animal shelter, volunteering her training knowledge on a regular basis. She’s glad to have completed the ABC Certification and feels that the program supplied so much needed support and assistance. This coupled with her mentor trainer’s guidance has given her the confidence and hands-on experience she needed to become a successful dog trainer within the industry.
- What prompted you to become a dog trainer?
My love of dogs and my volunteer work at our local animal shelter. I knew I couldn’t take all the dogs home with me (and stay married), so I decided to see what I could do to help decrease the number of dogs surrendered to our local shelters.
- Are you currently a full-time trainer?
Not yet. I want to start my own dog consulting company. I have been developing and working on this business idea for a couple of years. If I can help families start off on the right foot, recommend they enroll their dogs in socialization and obedience classes, and promote agility and other activities, then perhaps we will see fewer people giving up on their dogs.
I will also be working more with our local shelter, although I’m sure yet in what capacity.
- How long have you been training? Do you specialize in particular type of training or in training a particular breed of dog?
My work at the shelter has been primarily with high-energy and fearful dogs. I also prefer the larger dogs because those ones are less likely to be taken out for walks and socialization training by the volunteers. (Everyone likes the puppies.) My preference is working with the “underdog,” the one everyone else has given up on. And I do have a soft spot for mixed-breeds.
- What was the biggest challenge you have faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
We had some clients come to the first class and then that was it. We never saw them again. One client in particular was a first-time dog owner and had adopted a bull mastiff. She was clearly in over her head. It was very upsetting.
What helped me was the commitment and success of those clients that did continue on with the training for their dogs. The dedicated ones far outnumbered those who didn’t care.
- During your volunteer hours, describe one pet story that touched you the most?
I worked a lot with a dog called “Booker.” He was a purebred chocolate Lab. Unfortunately; he was so hyper he was overlooked by a lot of potential adopters. I worked very hard with Booker on curbing some of that energy and teaching him some basic obedience. I contacted some of the associations who train retriever dogs and asked them to please send information about Booker to all their members. I could see that Booker would make a great retriever. Fortunately, a friend of a member saw the information on Booker and adopted him. I was ecstatic.