Animal Behavior College Blog

Where Animal Lovers Pursue Animal Careers

ABC Celebrates Cats with Cat Training CEP: June is ‘Adopt a Shelter Cat Month’

Cat training and management could help more shelter cats find permanent homes.

Cat training and management could help more shelter cats find permanent homes.

Cats get a bad rap.

Undesirable behaviors like avoiding the litterbox, spraying, excessive scratching and other aggressive behaviors leave many owners frustrated and prevents prospective owners from adopting a cat altogether. Interestingly, what most people find surprising is that, like their dog counterparts, cats can be trained. June is “Adopt a Shelter Cat Month” and Animal Behavior College (ABC) is commemorating the occasion by offering a Continuing Education Program (CEP) on cat management and training.

With millions of homeless cats euthanized in animal control pounds and shelters each year, ABC’s goal is to educate students, graduates and the public about this issue and dispel the many feline myths and stereotypes.

Since cat adoption information often does not discuss, convey or encourage cat training, there is an immense misconception that they cannot be trained. This misunderstanding leaves many owners and prospective owners believing they must tolerate negative behaviors. Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge leads to a greater number of cats landing in shelters with very few being adopted.

The Cat Management online CEP teaches students proper socialization techniques. With more than 40 percent of dog owners also having cats, basic behavior training is essential to ensure a harmonious and happy environment. ABC’s professionals master techniques and demonstrate ways for developing and ensuring positive human-to-feline and feline-to-canine relationships. Learning cat management and training can also be a profitable venture for pet professionals in a variety of fields.

“Since cats are generally more independent than dogs, the belief is that this somehow renders them incapable of being trained,” said Steven Appelbaum, president and CEO of Animal Behavior College. “Feline education programs equip professionals and owners with the information they need to help cats that may otherwise be re-homed or abandoned.”

With pet cats outnumbering dogs, learning how to train, manage and treat cat behaviors can be lucrative. There are 83.3 million dogs in the U.S. compared to 95.6 million cats, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Increasing the public’s knowledge and understanding about cat behaviors encourages more adoptions that could save a shelter cat’s life.

The Cat Training and Management CEP program teaches students and graduates cat behaviors, training techniques and common commands. Additionally, they learn how to interpret feline body language and vocalizations and positive ways to address problem behaviors. The program
imparts an array of fun, stimulating behaviors like teaching a cat to roll over and jump through a hoop, too.

ABC graduates and students can learn more about the Cat Training and Management CEP and other CEPs by visiting the website at
or calling 1-800-795-3294.

Cats in Film – Superstar Cats People Love To Watch on the Big Screen

Cats in Film
By Sandy Robins

Breakfast At Tiffany’s

It seems that if you have an idea for a national holiday or special day, all you have to do is lodge your suggestion with someone (I am not sure with whom, to be exact) and bingo, you have a day on the calendar to celebrate.

Case in point: June 19 is National Pets in Film Day.

If you just take cats, there is a plethora of well-known feline actors as well as cartoon cats and, of course, feline-inspired characters such as Catwoman that actors love to portray to show off their feline prowess.

In fact, cats have been stealing scenes throughout the history of cinema. The movie “Inside Llewyn Davis owes its success to a brilliant cat performance from an unknown ginger tabby, according to British film critic Ann Billson who writes for The Telegraph. Billson also noted that the Coen brothers, who produced the film, were so successful because they applied one of the truisms of the Seventh Art: There are few films that are not improved by the presence of a cat.

I would take it one step further and say that many films are only remembered because of their feline stars.

I don’t remember much about “Breakfast at Tiffany’s except that Audrey Hepburn’s character had a cat. Nor do I remember much about the dysfunctional Focker family shenanigans in both movies, but I do remember Jinx, the cat. The movie “The Heat was one big catfight between the Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy characters, but the scene-stealer was the ginger tabby Pumpkin. “Cloud Atlas is a blur, but the sleeping grey tabby that the naked man grabbed and used as a modesty shield until its claws came out made this movie memorable to me. Go tabby!

Not surprisingly, ginger tabbies are definitely movie favorites. The opening sequence of “The Long Goodbye,” Robert Altman’s revisionist update of Raymond Chandler’s private-eye story, depicts Marlowe (Elliott Gould) being woken up by his cat, which tramples all over him and meows nonstop till it gets what it wants. Billson claimed the film as having “a fine bit of Method acting from the ginger cat.”

Billson’s critiques are very cat-centric. She also gives kudos to Jones in “Alien” another handsome ginger puss that performed multiple functions. He is a catguffin—a pretext for characters to go wandering off by themselves. He is a catpanion for Ripley to talk to, provides several moments of catshock by suddenly jumping out at people and remains a wild card to the end because the audience is never quite sure if an alien has infected him.

The James Bond movies are often an intellectual muddle between good and evil but everyone remembers Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s white Persian who made her first appearance in “From Russia with Love,” and returned to nestle in the archvillain’s lap in “You Only Live Twice.” Not to mention the Austin Powers spoof where the white glamorous Persian is replaced by a sphynx named Mr. Bigglesworth.

There is no question that dogs are easier to train for the movies; however, cats, even if they work on cue, add their own special feline mystique that make them scene stealers. And when it comes to cartoon cats, such as Garfield or Puss in Boots, or any one of the memorable Disney movies such as “The Aristocats,” the felines aren’t the sidekicks; they are where all cats belong: in the spotlight center stage as the star.

About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as, and She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

Dog Safety Harness for the Car – Sleepypod’s Clickit™ 3 Point Safety Harness

On the Road with Your Dog
By Lisa King

Harness For Your Dog - Car Ride Safety for Dogs

Sleepypod’s Clickit™ 3 Point Safety Harness

Traveling by car with your dog can be rewarding for both of you. Sharing a vacation is much more enjoyable than kenneling your dog and going without him. With a little careful planning, you can minimize problems and maximize fun. Before you hit the road, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is my dog accustomed to riding in the car? Does he enjoy car travel?
  • Does my dog get carsick?
  • Is my dog very active or generally calm?
  • Is my dog crate-trained? If so, is my car large enough to accommodate his crate?
  • Are there dog-friendly motels or campsites along my route and at my destination?

The answers to these questions should guide you in making your travel preparations. Before departing, do an online search for dog-friendly accommodations and make reservations. It’s increasingly easy to find lodging that welcomes canine guests, but some places have size or breed restrictions.

The safest way for a dog to travel by car is in a crate. If your dog is crate-trained, this should be an easy solution. The crate should be large enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down. Make sure it is well-ventilated. Put a crate mat or other absorbent material on the bottom of the crate and give your dog chew toys (preferably non-squeaky) to keep him from getting bored.

A crate also makes a great bed for your dog at your destination, whether it’s a motel, a friend’s or relative’s house or a campsite.

If you have a large dog and your car is too small for a suitable crate, put an absorbent blanket across the back seat and secure him to the seat belt with a tether. These are available in many configurations; check online dog supply sources. Never give your dog unrestricted access to the front seat or let him hang his head out a window.

To get your dog used to car travel, take him on short trips to destinations other than the vet’s. Drive him to a dog park or to pick up the kids. That way, he will associate car travel with positive things. Never leave him alone in the car on a warm day, either around town or on your trip.

Your dog should have a checkup at the veterinarian’s before you leave. Make sure all his vaccinations are up to date, and carry proof with you. Now is the time to ask about motion-sickness medication if your dog gets carsick. If the trip will be long and your dog is very active, ask the vet about a mild sedative.

Some carsick dogs respond well to natural motion-sickness preparations, many of which contain ginger and mint. Antihistamines such as Benadryl can help calm a nervous dog, but don’t give him human medications of any kind without checking with your vet first.

Here are a few supplies you should have with you no matter what your destination:

  • Plenty of water and a spill-proof water dish.
  • Your dog’s usual food and a spill-proof dish for that
  • His medications, if any
  • If he’s not traveling in a crate, bring his familiar bedding along
  • An identification tag with your cell phone number on it. If he’s micro-chipped, make sure the microchip company has your cell number.
  • A collar and sturdy leash.
  • Favorite toys—chew toys, plush toys, fetch toys.
  • Plenty of poop bags.

As you travel, stop every hour or so to allow your dog to get out, walk around, drink water, and relieve himself. He should be on a leash at all times when he’s not in the car. Always clean up after him.

Once you get to your evening’s destination, play a game of fetch with your dog if possible or take him on a long walk to let him stretch his legs. He’ll sleep better if he’s gotten some exercise.

A dog who reacts to outside noises by barking can get you tossed out of a motel. Playing low music or running a fan or white-noise machine can help calm your dog. Give him a treat-stuffed chew toy to distract him. That mild sedative can come in handy in this case, too.

About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”

Dogs At The Beach – Beach Activities for You and Your Dogs

Canine Beach Time

By Stacy Mantle

Canines Day At The Beach

Heading to the beach with your best friend can be a great experience for both of you. Whether you have a Chihuahua or a Labrador, the love of water is a crossbreed activity. Not only is it relaxing for both you and your pet to get out in the water, its great exercise as well.

There are some considerations before you head out for a day on the water. There are certain breeds of dogs that are so low to the ground and off center, they can’t swim (or can’t swim well). If you have a bulldog, basset hound, Maltese, dachshund or pug, it may be better to stick to land-based activities.

However, there are many breeds that love the water. You, as a responsible pet owner, need to make sure your pets are prepared for a day at the lake or the ocean. Here are some tips to ensure a wonderful day at the beach.

Follow the Rules
Visit the beach or lake prior to taking your pet. Become very familiar with the location, the possible escape routes, the routines of other people and their pets, and the rules associated with the locale. Never leave your dog unattended, always keep them on a leash (or under your control), and always clean up after your pet.

In addition, be courteous of other beach-goers. No one likes to be on the beach only to have someone’s dog come up and shake water all over them. Keep in mind that some people have an irrational fear of all animals, no matter the size, so be sensitive and avoid potential problems.

Be Prepared
You should plan on making sure you have the following items (depending on the activity and time spent outdoors).

PFD: A personal flotation device is a must-have any time you’re in (or on) the water.

Bowls: There are some great collapsible bowls on the market. Make sure you bring them along and keep them filled with water!

Sunblock: According to, “Exposure to the sun has been shown to cause a higher incidence of three types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and hemangioma.” Only use an approved sunscreen as human-grade sunscreen can be toxic to pets. I recommend epi-pet sunblock.

Shade: Offering your pet a shaded area will help them stay cool and out of the dangerous sun. Sturdi offers a great “pup-tent” that is easy to transport and perfect to give pets some relief.

GPS Tracker: If you’re planning to visit an off-leash beach, be sure you have a way of finding your pet in case the worst happens and he is sucked out to sea in a riptide or running after seagulls on the beach. A GPS tracker that is waterproof, lightweight and easily affixed to the collar will tell you where your pet is at all times.

Standard Pet Gear:

  • Collar, harness and leash
  • Proper identification (picture and dog tags)
  • Water and food bowls
  • Poop bags
  • Food and treats
  • Dog towel
  • Plenty of toys

Before taking your pets to the beach, you should be well versed in CPR and basic first aid for you and your pet. There are many dangers on land and at sea, so be prepared for as many as possible to help make your visit to the beach a safe and non-stressful day for everyone in your group.

About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting or get to know a little more about the author at

Keep An Eye Out For Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs

Beat the Heat – Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs

By Audrey Pavia

Protect Dogs for Heat Stroke

It’s summertime, and the living is easy. Especially for dogs. Pet owners are home a lot more, spending time barbecuing in the backyard and going on family outings. Dogs get more quality time with their people, and some lucky pups even get to go on road trips.

While summer offers plenty of opportunity for dogs to be outside having fun, it also poses some risks. Heat stroke and dehydration are dangers dogs face when the weather is hot. Unlike humans, dogs don’t cool themselves by sweating, but mostly through panting. This is not a very efficient way of cooling the body in hot weather, making dogs particularly susceptible to overheating.

Some dogs are even more prone to heat-related illness, including older dogs, dogs who are under the weather, and breeds with short muzzles, such as bulldogs and pugs.

You can do a lot to help protect your dog from suffering in the summer heat by keeping him cool, and recognizing potential signs of distress.

Making sure your dog stays hydrated will go a long way to ensuring his comfort during the summertime. Water is essential at all times of the year, but particularly during the summer when hot weather saps moisture from your dog’s body. Make sure your dog always has access to plenty of cool, fresh water so he can keep himself hydrated. If he’s outdoors, drop ice cubes in his water bowl frequently to keep the water chilled.

Dogs love to be outside during the summer, but it’s crucial your dog be able to get out of the hot sun when he’s had enough. Be sure he has a shady area where he can cool off when he needs to. On particularly hot days, keep him indoors in the air-conditioning.

Of course, never leave your dog in the car, even with the windows cracked. On a hot day, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to more than 120 degrees, which can be fatal to your dog.

If you are hiking or playing with your dog outside, keep an eye out for these signs of heat stroke:

  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty breathing, including heavy panting
  • Tongue and mucous membranes are a bright red color
  • Thick saliva
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal temperature over 104 degrees F (100-102 is normal)

If your dog shows any signs of heat stroke, get him out of the heat right away. If possible take him into an air-conditioned building. If his temperature is higher than 104, put him in a bathtub of cool (not ice cold) water. Take his temperature again in 10 minutes. Once his temperature is back to normal, make an appointment with a veterinarian to have him examined. Heat stroke can sometimes cause damage to internal organs.

Signs of severe heat stroke include staggering when trying to walk; seizures; dark red, purple of blue gums; and coma. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, wrap him in cool wet towels and rush him to a veterinarian immediately.

By taking the right precautions and keeping an eye out for heat stroke, you can make sure your dog has a safe, fun and happy summer.

About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit

June – Veterinary Assistant Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
June 2014

Victoria Boone

Veterinary Assistant Student Of The Month Victoria Boone – June 2014

Victoria Boone (“Tori”) lives in Lawrenceville, Ga., and works full time at Tiger Tails Animal Hospital in Duluth, Ga. For the past 16 years, she has worked in the newspaper industry as a copy editor and features writer. In 2009, Tori began volunteering at the Georgia SPCA to give back to the community and, as a life-long dog lover, she devoted a lot of her time there. She was at the SPCA so often that she was offered a part-time position on the kennel staff. Tori loved helping animals but after about 6 months she wanted to do more.

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

I came across Animal Behavior College on the Internet. I liked how ABC worked (and is flexible) with students like me who are older and working full-time but want to go back to school. I also liked the lower cost of the ABC program compared to other schools. I didn’t want to go into a lot of debt going back to school in my 30s.

What has your experience been like in the ABC Veterinary Assistant Program?

My experience in the ABC veterinary assistant program was a very good one. I learned a lot about myself personally and professionally. I learned what I could handle well and what sort of things I needed to work on once I got into my externship. My externship coordinator Samantha and my program manager Penny were both very kind and helpful to me when I had concerns or questions about my externship or my tests.

What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

The most rewarding moment was when a client came in the hospital to pick up her dog’s collar two days after I assisted with the euthanasia of her dog, Sierra, who had cancer. When she came in she looked at me and said, “Thank you for being so nice and thoughtful during such a difficult time for me and my family.” It made me feel like I really helped this lady with the loss of her family pet.

What skills do you want to master during the next 12 months?

The skill I want to master is feeling completely comfortable and confident drawing blood from an animal; it’s been one of the most challenging things for me to master. I also want to master restraining smaller dogs because I’ve found that smaller dogs are harder to restrain than larger dogs because the smaller ones are very squirmy.

What are your future career plans?

My future career plans are just to continue learning from Tiger Tails to become the best veterinary assistant I can be. If I feel like time and money allow it, I may consider going back to school to become a registered vet technician.

June – Grooming Instruction Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
June 2014

Rina Causey

Grooming Student Of The Month Rina Causey

Born in Okinawa, Japan, Rina Causey moved to Yakima, Wash., a little more than a year ago when her husband, who is serving in the military, was transferred back to the U.S. She is completing her externship at Debbie’s Pet Grooming in Zillah, Wash. The salon’s owner, Debbie, frequently sends ABC praise and pictures of Rina’s latest groom success. She is very impressed with Rina’s progress and potential as a professional pet groomer.

Was pet grooming your first career choice? If not, what was it?

In Japan, I worked as a hair removal technician and I am also a certified massage therapist.

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

My husband and my miniature poodle, Marty, inspired me to pursue a career in the pet grooming industry. After I moved to Yakima, I couldn’t decide which grooming salon to take Marty to—and he needed to be trimmed badly. I researched online how to trim a dog’s hair and I decided to give it a try myself. The end result was not pretty and not what I wanted my dog to look like. I wanted to improve my skills. Around that time, my husband told me about Animal Behavior College’s grooming school commercial he saw on TV. So I went to its website and received information about the program. I really liked the hands-on training portion of the program and the ability to have online study, since I had just had a baby.

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

I have learned a lot of things through both my written stages and externship. I learned about dog’s and cat’s anatomy. I liked this part because you learn how the body moves and functions, so when you move the dogs or cats during grooming, it doesn’t hurt them and is more comfortable. I enjoyed the stage about getting familiar with your grooming tools and how to maintain them. It helped me feel more prepared for my externship. I also enjoyed Stage 9 about Business Building. There was a lot of helpful and applicable information in that section.

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

I am really enjoying my externship and learning from my mentor Debbie. I am only about halfway through my hours so far. I am working very hard to learn to groom smoothly and efficiently. As a groomer, you want to make sure you can do a certain number of dogs in a certain time, otherwise you will not make a good living. I am working on picking up my speed without compromising the quality of my work. I pay close attention to my mentor and how she moves around the dogs when grooming and how long she takes at each task. I’ve been paying close attention to the clock, as well, so I know how long I should take for each task.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to gain more experience at Debbie’s Pet Grooming. I hope to master scissoring techniques in the next 12 months. I think mastering your scissoring techniques is critical for producing breed standard trims. I hope to open my own grooming salon in the next 10 years. I can really see myself in the future being happy with my career choices and enjoying owning my own shop.

June Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– June 2014

Jade Gibbons

Student Jade Gibbons and her puppy KaliJade Gibbons is one of Animal Behavior College’s star students. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and is employed and completing her externship at A Dirty Dog Spa, which is also in Edmonton. Before enrolling with Animal Behavior College, Jade was already involved in the pet grooming industry. She has worked at four different shops and shadowed various groomers as a bather and grooming assistant. Jade took ABC’s pet grooming program in order to strengthen her background and skills, as well as boost her knowledge, ability and creativity as a groomer.

What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

I have always loved animals and knew I wanted to pursue something in that field. My very first job when I was 14 years old was at a boarding kennel with a groom shop; I worked as a bather. It was challenging work, but I loved it. From that point on, I knew I wanted to work with animals. At first I wanted to become a veterinary technician, but then found out that groomers make a better living. It sounded like more fun, too, since sometimes you can be creative with your grooms.

What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

My most rewarding moments are the client’s reactions to how wonderful their babies look when they come to pick them up from a day at the spa. The dogs’ tails are wagging and they are yipping and jumping and everyone is smiling. It feels really good to see how happy pet owners are with how their dog looks. It feels awesome to see how much they like the style and appreciate my hard work.

Have you started working professionally as a groomer yet?

Jades dogs Kali and ThorYes, I am working professionally in a grooming salon. I work full-time at A Dirty Dog Spa, the same place where I did my externship. I work as a bather two days a week and the other three days I get to work as a groomer, which is my favorite. My mentor, Margaret, is a national certifier for Edmonton, so we get to do a lot of fun show cuts and, of course, pet cuts as well. I even had the opportunity to help my mentor get her dogs ready for show. I am having a lot of fun.

What are your future career plans?

My plan is to work at a groom shop for at least 3 years straight to gain more experience. I eventually would like build my clientele and experience, and then open my own shop out of my house. Before doing any of that though, I need to get more comfortable with handling my scissors and mastering how to complete faces and double-coated short bath and tidies.

If you could work style a dog or cat after any celebrity, who would it be and why?

I think it would be really fun to style a Standard Poodle after Elvis Presley. He is a legend and had such classic, yet dramatic style. I have seen it done before and it looks so creative and fun. It would be fun to try to create the personality and style in a dog.

June 2014 – ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA

ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – June 2014

Manny Guerra, ABCDT

Manny Guerra Dog Training Student Of The Month

Manny Guerra, a recent graduate of ABC’s Dog Obedience Program, resides in Palm Springs, Calif., and works at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. He was inspired to become a certified dog trainer because of his job at the shelter. While there, Manny gained the basic knowledge of socializing and handling but craved more, and that’s why he started at ABC. He has already started training professionally part-time conducting private lessons and assisting with another company’s basic obedience classes. Manny’s ultimate goal is offer classes through his own business. He approaches training with positive energy and intentions, and said that doing so will result in great responses and lead to his success.

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

My biggest challenge was remembering that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I am a perfectionist and am always trying to reach new heights. We are all human and we all make mistakes. It is what we choose to do after that makes the biggest difference. I was able to overcome this feeling by being consistent and persistent in achieving my goals.

Was dog training your first career choice? If not, what was it?

Dog training was not originally my first career choice but rather an addition to my overall vision. All the other professions I take part in help to reinforce my success as a dog trainer. I am so happy I found dog training because I could not be more passionate about helping dogs. I suppose I am attracted to it because I am already a teacher. Dog training has since helped me with my own dogs as well. My goal is to set up a perfect world for myself where I spend my time inspiring children and dogs to be the best that they can be.

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

I learned about the ABC program through another trainer who was doing work at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. She suggested I start there because it would give me an excellent foundation to build from. Since I was already searching for something to further my knowledge, it did not take any convincing at all and I jumped at the opportunity to sign up.

What are your plans for dog training? Do you want specialize in particular type of training (e.g., aggression, PTSD, therapy or guide dogs) or in training a particular breed of dog?

My plans are to spend as much time as possible surrounding myself with dogs and training them. I will build a successful business while I’m at it. I would love to work with all types of dogs but I do have a soft spot for scared and nervous dogs, so there will be some focus in that area.

What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

The most rewarding moment during my externship was definitely having the opportunity to meet wonderful trainers who have inspired me to do great things. I am blessed to have had the chance to work so closely with these professionals. I was given amazing feedback that fueled my drive even further.

June 2014 Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month

Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
June 2014

Laura Rosati

Dog Training Program Student of the Month Laura RosatiSoon to be Animal Behavior Graduate Laura Rosati lives in St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada. She decided to become a Certified Dog Trainer for the additional experience and knowledge it will provide for her dog training career. Laura discovered ABC through a Google search. For the past year, she has been training part time at a Petsmart in St. Catherine’s and will become a full time trainer at a Niagara Falls Petsmart location in June. Laura is ecstatic that she will be the Head Trainer and also to have the opportunity to help pet parents, their dogs, puppies and rescues.

What prompted you to become a dog trainer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

After graduating Brock University, I decided to take a year off of school and give back to the community. Part of that was volunteering at my local humane society. While there, I fell in love with one of the dogs who had been there for almost a year. I wanted to help her really, really badly. Her name was Maya and it felt like almost everybody had given up hope on her. She was a hyper, rambunctious crazy girl. It seemed as though she was hard-pressed to find anybody who she could genuinely connect with on a positive level. However, it seemed like I had made an impression on her, so I made the decision to go to all of those with authority at the Humane Society to get approval to work with Maya. I had no previous training other than experience with other humane society dogs. They let me work with Maya, so I was allowed to take her off compound and try to socialize her to regular everyday life occurrences. Maya and I connected on a very social and positive level. I firmly believe that our month together played a big role in her rehabilitation, so much so that someone came into the humane society, fell in love with her, adopted her, and now she has her forever home. Maya was my push to make rehabilitation and dog obedience my career goal.

What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
I have no major complaints about my externship in terms of difficulties to overcome.

My trainer, Jessica Adams, was an excellent source of information and helped me through everything along the way. My externship felt like smooth sailing. The material was fun to learn and teaching was always a blast. My dog Kramer loved every moment of it as well.

What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

My top rewarding moment was when Kramer completed a series of commands without any preparation. Jessica Adams asked us to demonstrate before for the rest of the class a series of commands in the chain formation that we have never done. I had to ask Kramer to sit and wait on one end of an aisle, walk to the other end of the aisle, call him to me and without touching his leash, get him to go beside me and heel in multiple different directions. Still, without touching his leash, ask him to sit and go to his bed on the floor a little ways away from me. Kramer completed everything perfectly. This really was a testament, not only to how hard we have trained, but also to the bond Kramer and I have built since adopting him last summer from Guelph Humane Society.

What has your experience been like in the ABC Dog Obedience Program?

Nothing but positive; the course work has added to my knowledge while working with customers at Petsmart. I literally hear people saying, “Wow. You really know your stuff.” Once I was called an encyclopedia. Plus, clients whose dogs I train feel more comfortable with me because I can provide them with sound information.

What are your plans for dog training? Do you want specialize in particular type of training (e.g., aggression, PTSD, therapy or guide dogs) or in training a particular breed of dog?

Laura Rosati Dog Trainer collageMy long-term goal is to be a very versatile pet trainer, with knowledge in all regards. However, if there is one thing my rescue dog Kramer, and all other dogs I have built strong bonds with have taught me, it’s that I have a natural gift with hyperactive, eager, looking-to-please-and-learn types of dogs. Those dogs you look at and think “Wow, they have so much energy I could never handle that,” those are the dogs I gravitate most toward. My experience is that these types of dogs can go one of two directions: they either become a dog who falls into the hands of someone who can teach them all the right commands and behaviors; or one who falls into incapable hands, learns incorrect behaviors and winds up in a humane society to be euthanized.

I see so much potential in these dogs that I want to give them the opportunity to become the best they can be in the right hands. And this is why, along with basic, intermediate obedience and obedience, I want to offer courses that provide outlets for these dogs, such as agility and trick training that can be used in everyday life. My main focus will always be to strengthen the communication between dog and pet parent so both parties can have their needs understood and met.