ABC Dog Obedience Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– March 2013
Cindy VanFrankfoort, of Peterborough, Ontario Canada, has worked in the veterinary field for 23 years as an office manager, and is involved in competitive Flyball. She also assists with puppy classes and volunteers at the local humane society. Cindy enjoyed teaching beginner Flyball training so much, she looked into dog training and found Animal Behavior College. The program sounded very interesting to her since it covered topics Cindy was interested in.
- What was the biggest challenge you have faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
It was just finding the time to complete all of my hours while working full time and having to travel to attend the externship. But I loved every minute of it, and made it to every session, even taking extra classes just to learn more.
- Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours.
There was a little Springer mix that had been at the shelter for months, and had gone to three homes and returned. She was only 8 months old. I started working with her, just basic obedience and focus work—she was not shy, just bouncy and totally oblivious to the world around her. She wouldn’t even make eye contact at first, so I just took her out and played with her—with lots of reward and treats.
One Sunday, I was at the shelter and the worker asked me to talk to a young couple who were interested in “Maggie.” I had her out earlier with an Easy Walk Harness and had been telling the shelter worker how well it worked for her crazy pulling. I spoke to the couple who visited with Maggie the previous day; they had really liked her but were concerned about how crazy she was. I went and got her out of her kennel and outside, she sat in front of me, giving excellent attention and focus. They were shocked. They had no idea she could be so quiet and calm. We talked about her needing ongoing training and how I thought she would be an absolutely wonderful and fun dog to have. They took her that day and she hasn’t returned!
- When and how did you know you’d be a success in the pet industry?
I’ve had good success working with clients over the years at the veterinary hospital, consulting with clients regarding medication, behavior issues and nutritional advice. I can’t believe I didn’t look into dog training sooner.
- What has been your most rewarding moment as a dog trainer?
One night at an obedience class a re-homed dog was learning the sit, focus and let’s go. Once the owner figured out how to do it, the dog performed the cue flawlessly—the owner was just so happy that he had made such progress. That is what I love, watching the dogs “get it” and the owners’ happy glow and pride in their dogs.
- What was your experience like in the ABC Dog Obedience Program?
I loved the program and the wide range of topics it covered. I would recommend it to anyone. I remembered how much I like to learn once I started going through the course material.