ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – March 2014
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.