Animal Behavior College celebrated its third graduation class during a commencement ceremony on June 13 honoring the many achievements of its Dog Trainer In-Classroom Program students. The late morning event took place on the grounds of the school’s headquarters located at 25104 Rye Canyon Loop in Mann Biomedical Park, Santa Clarita, Calif.
Dressed in royal blue academic regalia, the enthusiastic graduates, some accompanied by their canine friends, sat composed during the ceremony. Many of the graduates are former military personnel who decided to use the discipline, drive and determination skills they acquired while in the armed services to train dogs professionally, ensuring dogs and their owners enjoy a harmonious and mutually respectful relationship.
“You are professional dog trainers who will continue to make a difference in many lives,” said Steven Appelbaum, president and CEO of Animal Behavior College, to an audience of family, friends and employees of the college. “The road ahead is paved with many challenges. Challenges you are equipped and ready to handle. However, readiness is dependent on your willingness to keep an open mind by expanding beyond your comfort level and maintaining a passion for learning and aspiring to continue to grow professionally.”
Debbie Kendrick, vice president of operations for ABC, also praised the graduates’ accomplishments and joined Appelbaum in presenting award certificates giving special mention to students who graduated from the program with honors. Those students include, Brian Hastings, Irma “Toni” Medina Leitneberg, Breanna Rappleya and Angel Samano Jr.
“Five years ago we came to this school with different expectations,” Angel said during his address. “We have spent the last five months since then learning what it takes to train dogs and their owners and have been given a myriad of tools to use as professionals.”
Beth Harrison, the program’s course instructor, congratulated Angel and his fellow graduates. She provided remarks encouraging them to use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to strive for excellence with the goal of “being the best dog trainer they could be.” Amanda Yocom of Best Friends’ Animal Society and Chris Gant, a former graduate of the college and professional dog trainer, thanked graduates for volunteering in the shelter and inspired them to stay compassionate about helping dogs and working with their owners to ensure a positive owner-to-dog relationship.
The students received certification for mastering various dog training tools and techniques using positive reinforcement for handling canine behaviors. The program covers everything from training basics and safety to effective problem solving and pet first aid. The hands-on portion of the program provides students with an opportunity to participate in an internship at shelters like Best Friends’ Animal Society with a mentor, giving them invaluable practical experience in real life situations.
“I have more knowledge and tools at my disposal to continue to serve people in a new way,” Angel said. With his dog, Bosco, at his side, the former Marine lance corporal credits the program with helping him embark on a new and exciting career. “If you had asked me a year ago what I would do (after the military), being a dog trainer wouldn’t have been on the list. ABC has not only helped to change my life, but has helped to change Bosco’s life.”
Pets today are living longer, eating healthier and receiving more services. In fact, the jobs forecast for dog trainers and other animal care and service workers in the U.S. appear promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment will grow 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. With more people in the U.S. owning dogs (35.5 percent or 43,346,000), ABC certified dog trainers have the option of working for an established company or building their own successful dog training business.
To learn more about the program visit Dog Obedience Instructor Training Program or call 800-795-3294.