Keen in Human and Animal Behavior – Darryl Thomas, ABCDT
Wednesday, December 03, 2008 : 3:45:31 PM
As a character development and behavior specialist for elementary school kids, Darryl Thomas, ABCDT, has a keen understanding of behavior and strong sense of patience and compassion. Because of his Animal Behavior College (ABC) education, Darryl is now applying these skills and traits to what he considers his passion – canines. “I believe that dogs are truly man’s best friend,” he says. “To see a dog and have him be happy to see you and eager to work with you is a great feeling.”
Growing up in a family of dog lovers and a father who had dog training experience, Darryl’s adoration of dogs began at a young age. “I’ve always had some type of dog training experience, mostly from watching them and learning,” he says. “My attraction to dogs made me interested in teaching a dog tricks and having an obedient dog.”
Darryl’s devotion to dog training sparked his interest in becoming a professional dog trainer, as did his desire to increase his income. “I was looking for a new career path – something that could put more money in my pocket, but something that I loved and could put my love and passion into. Working with dogs is exactly that,” he explains. While volunteering at an animal shelter and helping to train the dogs there, Darryl ran into an ABC student who told him about the program and directed him to the website. He says, “I looked into the ABC program and said ‘wow! I could really enhance my knowledge and become a better dog trainer.’”
Upon enrolling in ABC and beginning the first part of the program, the intensive in-home study portion, he was amazed by the amount of valuable information the ABC curriculum provided. “I underestimated what ABC could teach me, because I thought I knew most of it. I realized through my ABC education that I didn’t know what I thought I knew. It amazed me from the beginning,” he says. All of the lessons, strategies and techniques truly inspired him, especially when he began applying what he was learning to his pit bull, Sage. “It was proven to me when I started applying what I was learning to my own dog,” he says. “My dog was gaining knowledge and obedience much faster than any other dog that I had worked with prior to having the experience from ABC.”
When Darryl completed the in-home study portion of the program, it came time for him to begin his hands-on externship. Darryl was set up to participate in hands-on sessions with professional dog trainer and ABC Mentor Trainer Caryl-Rose Pofcher. His Mentor Trainer was there to assist him in further tying together the theories presented in the comprehensive curriculum. This priceless experience proved effective and enjoyable. “Caryl-Rose was very open in letting me know how she got started and sharing her experiences with me,” he says. “She put a humanized touch on the real world of dog training from a professional perspective and allowed me and my style to showcase itself.”
Since completing the ABC program, Darryl has continued volunteering four to five days a week at his local animal shelter, putting his newfound skills to the test by working on behavior and obedience with the more difficult dogs. Not only does he find great pride in heightening the adoption rate at the shelter, but he also generates business through his volunteer work. “As the shelter dogs have learned to work through distractions, I’ve shown them off by training them in community areas. It sparks interest in people, and I hand out my business card and let them know that I’m a certified dog trainer. I like to allow my services to speak for themselves,” he says. As an ABC Certified Dog Trainer, Darryl plans on continuing to work as a character development and behavior specialist while volunteering and training part-time. Both careers bring him a great sense of accomplishment as he has the unique opportunity to help both humankind and canines simultaneously.
Darryl is confident that he will find success in the dog training industry not only because of his passion for and connection with dogs, but because of his ABC education. “Before ABC, I’d had tools in my toolbox and thought I was building an obedient dog. My tools were primitive compared to what ABC has offered – ABC has given me power tools. I can do things much faster and more efficiently with the tools that I’ve received from ABC,” he exclaims. “I would definitely recommend ABC to anyone seriously looking to pursue a career in dog training. What I’ve learned has been priceless.”
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