ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – July 2014
Cheryl Boyce, ABCDT
Cheryl Boyce didn’t always plan on becoming a dog trainer. As a “numbers” person, she spent most of her adult life working in an office environment, performing various accounting tasks. Cheryl was inspired by her own dogs to learn more about dog training.
“To witness a dog think and process what you’ve asked of them is truly amazing,”
Seeing this process take place first-hand is what prompted her to look into dog training as a career. From there, she did some research online, talked to a trainer who had graduated from ABC and enrolled shortly thereafter. She has now graduated with honors from ABC, and has had some wonderful opportunities to work with her local shelter to help make life better for homeless dogs.
Where do you currently live and work?
I live in Stuart, Florida, and I work for The Humane Society of the Treasure Coast.
What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?
I learned so much from my mentor trainer and have very high respect for her. At the end of my externship she offered me a job opportunity. I was very honored.
Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours
On my first day volunteering as a dog walker, I was shown a dog who was terrified and would only stay to the back of his run curled up in a ball. He didn’t want to be walked or even looked at. I went into the run and just sat down next to him without paying any attention to him. After a little time had passed, I petted him and then eventually put the leash on him. He reluctantly went with me, but stayed at the end of the leash to be as far away from me as possible. I shortened the leash and just walked with the attitude of understanding he didn’t want to do this, but we needed to and it would be okay. I talked to him in a calm and reassuring way on our walk. By the end of the walk he wasn’t trying to get away from me. I never pushed physical contact on him, just kept going with the reassuring conversation. When I went to this dog a few days later and said hello, he came to the front of the run, jumped up on the door, and happily went for a walk with me. He has now been adopted and is adjusting to his new family.
Have you started training professionally yet? If yes, are you training full- or part-time?
Not at the moment. I have been given the opportunity through my job to help design an enrichment program for our shelter guests. The goal is to give the dogs activities that not only provide exercise, but stimulates their minds so they stay mentally healthy while waiting for their forever homes.
Which dog breed best describes you and why?
The All-American Dog. I don’t feel I can be labeled with one type of drive or behavior.