ABC Dog Training Program
Student of the Month
Dedication is something everyone in the dog training industry understands is necessary to turn their passion for canines into a successful, rewarding career. Karin Goerl, a current ABC student and avid dog lover, has been dedicated to not only training but breeding, grooming and showing dogs since adolescence. Karin, a registered nurse, worked in cardiothoracic heart and lung surgeries, specifically in transplantation, until 2007, when she herself was recipient of a double lung transplant. After that, she could no longer work as an RN due to being immuno-compromised. Having trained her own dogs for 12 years, under the guidance of a trainer, she decided to take up dog training professionally.. Being a licensed RN, Karin understood that certification would make this a much easier transition. This was a major motivation for her enrolling at ABC. Karin continues to work with and receives referrals from new owners and past clients alike in her hometown of Ellwood City, Pa. She’s been featured in several newspapers for her accomplishments. and also conducts school assemblies on dog safety and service dogs. Karin is also the coordinator for her local library’s Therapy Dog Reading Buddies Program.
- How long have you been training and do you specialize in a particular type of training?
I’ve been involved with training since I was in elementary school. At that time I showed in conformation. As an adult and while raising my daughter, I started devoting more time to training my three Labradors and got them CGC(Canine Good Citizen), TDI(Therapy Dog International) and CD(Companion Dog) titles. I had to take time off while I cared for my mother on hospice in my home and then I had my transplant, which took a year to recover from. I usually show in obedience; however, one of my labs is also a dock jumper. Additionally, I am a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence, an organization that supplies assistance/service dogs to people with disabilities. The very first dog I trained was placed with a client from Hawaii. I trained him for 14 months; it was very hard and bittersweet to give him up. It was, however, very satisfying, knowing my training helped the client become more independent in life. She was very grateful and appreciative of my being an instrument for that.
- What was the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
Right after I started ABC, my husband of 20 years left me, which caused monumental stress and changes in my life. That contributed to fluctuations in my health and the unpredictability of being hospitalized—sometimes for extended periods of time. I handled it primarily due to my faith that God has a plan for my life: to benefit others and be a testimony and witness of how faith works. Additionally, my mentor Alex and my obedience instructor Maribeth were instrumental in encouraging me NOT to give up and are very supportive of these circumstances beyond my control.
- What has been your most rewarding moment as a dog trainer?
Seeing owners pride and joy when they accomplish and/or overcome a challenge they had given up on. And, most importantly, placing my service dogs with clients with disabilities. This hits very close to home for me due to my being disabled. I am diabetic and soon may be on the receiving end as my doctors want me to consider getting a diabetic alert service dog.
- Which dog breed best describes you and why?
Labrador: playful, biddable, wanting to please, fun loving, curious, loves the water but also serious when it comes down to business, hard worker.
- How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?
I researched online and heard by word of mouth through other trainers. Being a professional registered nurse with certification and licensure, I wanted a certification in order to have the credentials I felt were necessary to be a professional. Anyone can hang a sign out and say they are a dog trainer, but that doesn’t mean they are good or credible.