ABC Dog Training Program
Student of the Month
Nicole Turesky lives in Minneapolis after moving from upstate New York in July 2013. She is volunteering at the Humane Society and hopes to develop a massage program for shelter dogs.
- What did you do before you became a trainer and what prompted you to become a dog trainer?
I worked as a research assistant in biology in Switzerland. I moved to the U.S. in 2000. In 2004, a friend suggested that I should train my two Bernese mountain dogs to become therapy dogs. I followed her advice and, so far, I have trained three dogs. Moses is my actual therapy dog; I even became a hospice volunteer. The main reason I decided to become a trainer is my fourth Bernese. She had health and behavior issues as a puppy and I asked a trainer to help me. I was not happy with her methods and after doing some research I decided why not me. Becoming a dog trainer helped me to understand my dog’s issues and enables me to help her and other dogs as well.
- During your volunteer hours, describe one pet story that touched you the most.
We had this very shy American pit bull, Gracie, and one day she was having a rough time and was very agitated. At one point, she came to me and sat between my legs. I started giving her a massage and after a few minutes her body relaxed and she was really enjoying it. Just looking at her and the smile in her eyes made my day and hers.
- What has been your most rewarding moment as a dog trainer?
Moses, one of my Berneses, hates all cars but mine. When my family decided to move from New York to Minneapolis with two large dogs, the only option was a ground transport. For weeks before leaving, I desensitized him by walking around different cars and then luring him inside. On the big day, he was able to get into an unknown van with two drivers and travel across half the country without incident.
- How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?
I did some research online and the ABC program corresponded to what I was looking for. I also met a certified ABC trainer who explained the program and the externship. She also warned me that I would have to work hard.
- What was your experience like in the ABC Dog Obedience program?
It was hard work, a lot to assimilate but it is a very rewarding program.