ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – March 2013
Debbie Gravitt lives in Galva, Ill., a small town of 2,300 people. She teaches dog training at the Marquis Pet Resort and Spa in Bishop Hill, a neighboring town about 8 miles away. Debbie worked for a veterinary clinic and after taking her puppy through a training class there, she fell in love with the training aspect. She still works part time for the veterinary clinic and also does part-time work for the resort in its daycare room.
- How and when did you know you’d be a success in the pet industry?
I think the word success means different things to different people. I don’t make enough money to support my family; however, I am making a difference in a lot of people’s lives who take my class and that, to me, is being a success. When I see an owner and her dog have that “aha” moment and everything clicks into place; that is worth more than the money.
- During your volunteer hours, which pet story touched you the most?
It was Joey, an abused Jack Russell who had many issues. Severe separation anxiety would cause him to make a mess in his crate and occasionally even break out of it. He managed to knock the air conditioner unit out of window and escape. He was a little bundle of nerves that was bouncing of the walls. With some patience and the use of a Thundershirt, DAP and lots of slow, hard work, we were able to get him over the worst anxiety and he was adopted into a great home.
- What has been your most rewarding moment as a dog trainer?
Every graduation is the most rewarding. I love to see how after 5 weeks these dogs and their owners have completely bonded and are now working as a unit and learning together instead of against each other.
- What was your experience like in the ABC Dog Obedience Program?
I had an amazing experience with ABC. My instructors were always on hand to answer any questions I had or explain something in more detail to me.
- How has your experience been since becoming an ABC Certified Dog Trainer?
I feel very knowledgeable when it comes to breed characteristics and the different training techniques. I made several new friends in the program, which has been beneficial as we first were study buddies and now we can discuss our experiences and classes together. I would highly recommend this program to anyone considering becoming a certified dog trainer.