Lina Cooke, ABCDT, has built a thriving dog training and pet services business, “ExecuPet,” thanks to her education from Animal Behavior College (ABC)’s Certified Dog Obedience Instructor training program. Since her graduation in September of 2008 and with her six-year-old Husky, Oliver, at her side as the “ambassador of my training program, my demo dog and the President and CEO of my company,” she says, Lina’s prosperous future as a dog trainer has already been cemented. “I feel that I am already a success in the dog industry because I have been building a business over the past two years thanks to the training knowledge and skills gained from the ABC program along with continuous referrals from neighborhood vets and word of mouth from satisfied clients,” she explains. “They see my passion and enthusiasm and they appreciate the fact that their dogs are always treated in a positive and rewarding manner while under my care.”
Lina attributes much of her success to her ABC certification. “Being a certified dog trainer gives me credibility in the dog training industry and gives my clients peace of mind that their dogs are left in good paws with a qualified trainer who always conducts herself in a professional manner,” she says. She also utilized much of the business building information provided in stage nine of the ABC curriculum to help build her business. ABC’s program combines a home-study component with a hands-on portion that Lina, like many students, found to be the most fun and rewarding part of her dog training education. Once Lina was finished with the in-home study portion of the program, she was ready to do her externship with a professional trainer in her area. Her Mentor Trainer, Julie Smith always provided her with guidance and assistance in developing her dog training skills. “Julie was there whenever I had any questions or needed help with my technique,” Lina says. “She always had a vested interest in my success with ABC and in my business. Julie truly knows her stuff when it comes to dog training and dealing with clients.”
ExecuPet, Lina’s blossoming business, boasts many services including private in-home training and behavior modification programs, dog walking, pet sitting, and pet taxi service. They welcome all breeds and temperaments. “At ExecuPet, our goal is to ensure that your pets are cared for in a positive and rewarding manner,” Lina says. She also explains that her most rewarding moments as a professional dog trainer have been when she opens up the eyes of dog owners in regards to positive motivational training. It was one of the main reasons why she sought her education through ABC. “What I loved most and the reason I chose ABC is because the program focuses on training using positive motivation and operant conditioning,” she explains. “What I find most appealing about ABC’s program is the training bond built between canines and humans through positive reinforcement and operant conditioning. ABC has taught me the skills to keep training positive and fun.”
Lina’s new and exciting business is far different than her former career in which she spent 10 years in the corporate world working in the executive offices. “Although I liked what I was doing, my passion was always dogs, training, and anything between,” she says. Now that she’s embarked down her new career path, she has no desire to go back to the corporate environment. “I’ve traded in the boardroom for the dog parks, the 9 to 5 rat race for setting my own hours,” she explains. “Most importantly, I get to spend all day every day with dogs. Life can’t get any better than that.”
As she betters herself as a dog trainer every day, Lina will continue to spread the word of positive reinforcement training as a better alternative than fear-based motivation training. For that, she has not only her ABC education, but her dog, Oliver, to thank. “Oliver reminds me every day that you can train a dog by being a benevolent leader, not a dictator,” she explains. Of her new career, Lina exclaims, “When you are passionate about what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. I am so lucky to have a career that I love so much.”
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