ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – January 2015
ABC graduate Nancy McAfee has always been interested in dogs. She started with adopting retired sled dogs in her hometown of Tobermory, Ontario, Canada, which then introduced her to skijoring (a winter sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse or a dog). Nancy quickly became hooked. When she got a puppy, Nancy enrolled in puppy classes and has been working toward becoming a trainer ever since. When she decided to get her dog trainer certification, Nancy wanted to do so for two reasons. First, she wanted to help people address or prevent problem behaviors in their dogs. Second, since Nancy plans to have a boarding kennel in the near future, she wanted to know more about handling dogs so they can have a more enjoyable experience. Nancy did some extensive research on different programs and enrolled with Animal Behavior College shortly thereafter.
Was dog training your first career choice? If not, what was it?
Originally, I went through school to be a secondary science teacher. I taught for a few years, and then took time off to be a stay-at-home mom, which is when I completed the ABC course.
What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
Trying to change the way people think and act with their dogs was the biggest challenge for me. It takes time and patience, but most times, there’s eventually a “click.”
Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours. Do you plan on continuing your volunteer work? If yes, how/where?
I worked with a little Jack Russell Terrier for most of the time I was volunteering. He had been returned to the shelter multiple times for problem behaviors, but finally found his forever home with a man who owned a farm and had limited mobility. They were a great fit. Unfortunately, I live too far away from an animal shelter to continue volunteering on a regular basis, but I do hold an annual fundraiser in support of our local shelter.
What are your plans for dog training? Do you want to specialize in a particular type of training or in training a particular breed of dog?
With my boarding kennel, I plan to run group classes for obedience as well as basic agility skills. I would love to introduce people to skijoring and dog sledding. In addition, I would like to run fitness classes for humans and their dogs. Basically, my goal is to get people and their dogs active together. I’d love to get kids out as well. In this area, there are not a lot of extracurricular activities and I think spending time with your canine companion is a great one.
Which dog breed best describes you and why?
Probably a Border Collie, because I like to learn, teach others and be active.