Animal Behavior College Blog

Where Animal Lovers Pursue Animal Careers

May Veterinary Assistant Program Student Of The Month – 2013


ABC Veterinary Assistant Program Student of the Month –  April 2013

Mary Baloga

Mary Baloga - Veterinary Assistant Program's May 2013 Student of the Month

Mary Baloga was raised and still resides in Rochester, N.Y. She is completing her veterinary assistance program externship at Veterinary Specialists & Animal Emergency Services. Mary is a dedicated student who has a strong passion for helping animals. It was not always this way: Mary first pursued an education theater, which was her first passion. After finishing school, when Mary had some down time, she found something rather exciting: Animal Planet. From shows such as “Dogs 101,” “Cats 101” and “Animal Cops Houston,” she discovered that not only was she extremely interested in the field of veterinary medicine but also in the wellbeing of animals. She also discovered it could be a possible career choice and joined Animal Behavior College’s Veterinary Assistance Program.

  • When and how did you know you’d be a successful veterinary assistant?

On my first day of my externship, there was a Doberman named “Bogey,” who was diagnosed with “bloat.” I took part in his treatment from start to finish. He was rushed into surgery and at that point I was surprised by not only how fascinated I was by the surgery itself but also that I understood—thanks to my studies—everything that was going on. The respiratory rate, blood pressure, monitoring of the anesthetic, it was crazy to me that I actually comprehended it. After the surgery, I sat with Bogey while he was recovering, petting and loving him. Sadly, in the end he did not wake up. The fact that I was able to handle this situation and seeing the care and concern that the staff showed for the patient and his owners just touched me, I knew I could do this and that I wanted to do this”.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment as a vet assistant?

The most rewarding moment for me was with a dachshund named “Niki” She was recovering from back surgery and  you could just tell that Niki was sad and depressed. When we brought her into the exam room to return her to her owners, I saw a totally different dog as she brightened up. Her owners told us that Niki was their child and just seeing them reunite after such a difficult recovery was so heartwarming and eye-opening.

  • What was the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge for me was trying to find the balance between working with small versus bigger animals and the feeling that I was going to hurt the former. One of the technicians, Lisa, guided me and helped me learn the proper way to help. She also assured me that less is more and pointed out the specific areas to focus the restraint on so has not to hurt the animal.

  • What knowledge and experiences have you gained as an ABC certified vet assistant?

I gained a lot of experience with individual treatments per animal; for example, I got to work with a large stray dog who was injured. Learning how to help an animal who doesn’t want to be helped and was terrified of people was a great learning experience. Seeing so many dachshunds come in for back surgery was also eye-opening. In addition, I gained a lot of respect for X-ray technicians. It really is a delicate art and it fascinates me how precise they are with their images, while also keeping the comfort of the animal in mind.

  • What are your plans for the future?

I am definitely going to pursue a job as a veterinary assistant, then possibly branch off into another animal-related position. For now, I would like to get settled into a private practice to become familiar with the doctor and staff. I would especially like to establish better one-on-one relationships with the regular clients and patients. This is something you do not get in an emergency facility since there are so many different people and pets in and out all the time.

May Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month – 2013


ABC Dog Obedience Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month

May 2013

Rene Dupuis Rene Dupis - May Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month – 2013

Rene Dupuis lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. It would be an understatement to say that he was into dogs. Prior to enrolling with ABC, Rene was working as a pet sitter and dog walker. He also worked at a kennel, and performed volunteer  dog walking for the Kingston Humane Society. Rene decided to become a dog trainer for two reasons: his love for animals and a dog he once owned that he never gave up on even though it had behavior issues.

  • How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?

I found ABC online while searching for schools. I decided to become a certified dog trainer because I wanted to learn the proper way to train a dog, which would give me more confidence in myself and my skills. Doing so also gives the customer more confidence in me and my abilities, knowing that I have actually studied and learned instead of just winging it.

  • What was your experience like in the ABC Dog Obedience Program?

Overall, I found the ABC Dog Training Program to be a very positive one. I learned a lot of new information and reinforced many things I already knew. The staff is friendly and very helpful.

  • How has your experience been since becoming an ABC Certified Dog Trainer?

As a certified trainer I am even more aware of dogs and their owners and how they interact with each other, and with other people and their dogs. If I see what might be considered a problem, I immediately start trying to figure out how to fix or correct it. I am also a little more critical of myself and my dog.

  • What are your future plans as a dog trainer?

Once I finish my education I would like to offer both group and private classes if possible, as well as work with shelter dogs. I would like to get into behavior work, too, specifically aggression-based problems. Since I live in Kingston, (Penn Town) I would also like to implement a Prison Puppy Program.

Spring Travel With Your Pet


Travel with your Furry Friend this summer just got a little easier.

In an effort to help pets and pet parents stay together during the upcoming travel season, recently released a list of what it considers to be the “Dog-Friendliest Destinations” in the US and Canada Continue reading

May – Dog Obedience Instructor Program Student Of The Month – 2013


ABC Dog Training Program
Student of the Month
May 2013

Kelli Parker

Kelli Parker, May 2013 Dog Obedience Instructor Program Student Of The Month

Kelli Parker lives in Fredericksburg, Va., with her two pit bulls, Krush and Sasha. She is currently putting a business together called “Bully Brigade and All.” Kelli also started “The Pretty Chic with the Pits,” which is an advocacy group for pit bull breeds. She is currently working part time as a dog trainer with her training mentor. Once Kelli has honed all of her training techniques she plans to train full time.

  • How did you hear about ABC the program?

While I was on the Internet, an advertisement appeared asking if I wanted to work with pit bulls? I called the number and spoke with SueAnn; after which I conducted researched and found Tonia Woods (who later became my mentor) to get her view of the program. After speaking with Tonia, my confidence in ABC grew. The curriculum kept me interested and taught me how to communicate with my dogs and dogs in general.

After adopting my second pit bull (Krush), I realized I wanted to work with dogs (primarily pit bulls). Due to the bad rap they have and after interacting—fostering, rescuing and, of course, adopting pit bulls—it was clear where my interests lay.

  • How long have you been training for?

I have been training for about 9 months. I retrained my pit bull and have worked with other dogs.

  • When did you know that you’d be a successful dog trainer?

I knew I’d a successful dog trainer after training a friend’s 2-year -old pit bull and a family dog named Double D, an unbalanced 2-year-old Akita who’s now a well-behaved, balanced and much-loved family pet.

Dog Training: The Ultimate Mobile Skill?



Christina O’Bryant has loved being around animals since she was a little girl, when she started volunteering at a local shelter at the age of 13.  In 2009, just having graduated from high school, she learned about Animal Behavior College (ABC) and was happy to find out that Continue reading

Your Pet in Times of Trouble: Be Prepared


A few days ago during our Pet Safety Weekend, we posted information designed to assist your pet in times of natural and other disasters. We’ve consolidated all the tips we shared here into one easy-to-access blog post for your reference. Continue reading

“Outdoor Pet Weekend” Recap





The weather is warm and the sun is shining more than ever. There’s no better time to head outdoors with your pooch to enjoy what nature has to offer. Listed here are all the tips and guides we recently posted about how to get the most out of your sunshine time with your dog. Continue reading

April Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month – 2013


ABC Dog Obedience Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month

April 2013

Shelly Korobanik

Shelly Korobanik is an achiever. After suffering a brain aneurysm in 2006, she bounced back and ran a marathon only four months later.  In September 2011, Shelly combined her love of fitness and dogs, and began her canine fitness business Pooch Partners® in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. In 2012, she decided to become an ABC certified trainer in order to offer more obedience training services to her clients. Shelly excelled in the ABC program, completing her book stages at a record pace and graduating with honors. Continue reading

April’s Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student Of The Month – 2013


ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– April 2013

Shawntel Heidebrecht

Shawntel Heidebrecht - April Grooming Canadian Student of the Month 2013

Shawntel Heidebrecht, of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, currently works along side her ABC Mentor at the Kingston Mills Veterinary Hospital, where she grooms all types of dogs and cats. Shawntel also hones her skills at home by offering grooming and bathing services to her friends, neighbors and family’s pets. After completing her ABC schooling, she plans to open an in-home grooming business.

  • What animal or person most inspired you to pursue a career in the animal industry?

My dogs, of course; one in particular is my rescue puppy, Angel. She is the true love of my life ever since I first set my eyes on hers— but don’t tell my husband. Angel came into our family a little more than four years ago and she was in the worst possible condition. Being a puppy mill dog, she was pretty on the outside but sick on the inside. My favorite days were when she came home from the groomers; she would act 10 years younger for the whole week. I wanted to make her feel that way forever and make others feel the same way.

  • How long have you been grooming?

I have been grooming my own dogs for a little more than two years. Animals have always been a passion in my life, even before I considered making it a career. I have been working with my ABC Mentor for two or three months. I love every minute of it and the hours just seem to be flying by.

  • When and how did you know that you’d be a success in the pet industry?

I will never truly know until I have learned everything there is to know and more—and since grooming never stops changing, neither will my learning. How does one define success? If I make a dog look great and the owners smile from ear to ear, then I know I’ve done an awesome job. To me that is success; beginner or experienced, we can all be successes.

  • What was the biggest challenge you have faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

Although I love working in an animal hospital because I am exposed to so much, it is sometimes hard to see dogs in horrible conditions. This is very tough for me. I do get to groom several pets, and I hope I make each one feel at least a tiny bit better.

  • What knowledge and experiences have you gained from becoming an ABC certified pet groomer?

Working alongside vet techs has given me a lot more knowledge than I would have received if I was working at one of the larger chains. Not only am I learning the skills of my trade, I am getting to see what really goes on behind closed doors.