For some, opportunities for success come easily, but for others it is a gradual process with many challenges along the way. Elizabeth Arden, founder of Elizabeth Arden Inc., once said, “Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers.” Animal Behavior College’s Dog Obedience Instructor Training Program graduate Bree Arnaud has experienced success at a gradual but progressive rate despite her own challenges.
Since she was young, Bree has always had an interest in working with dogs. Growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, dogs were family to everyone in the area. Her observation as a kid was that most of the homes in her neighborhood had a dog and many of them had behavioral issues. When the New Orleans celebration known as Second Lines was in full swing, people that knew Bree would ask her to watch their dogs while they attended. She would gladly take them in, but soon found these grown adult dogs would display unruly behavior such as jumping, being rambunctious and peeing in the house. After a few hours of watching them and implementing simple training methods, the owners would return to pick up their fur babies and notice a difference in behavior.
As she got older, she would work at dog boarding facilities. Bree also worked as a dog walker, and later became a veterinary assistant. When Bree obtained her own dog, a Doberman named Ziggy Blue, she realized that while she knew some training tips, in order to train Ziggy Blue correctly she would need to work with an actual dog trainer.
Arnaud first tried the most convenient option of putting Ziggy Blue through the training program at a local pet store but was quick to realize that additional training was needed. She then sought out a professional dog trainer to work with her and Ziggy Blue more intensely. It was during this one-on-one training that Ms. Arnaud became interested in becoming a professional dog trainer.
While attending the 2020 Lemonade Conference put on by the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), she saw Animal Behavior College (ABC) on the list of options to further her education in becoming a dog trainer. When asked why she chose ABC over the competitors, Bree said, “The other places were more focused on the techniques from the creators of the schools and not an umbrella teaching of dog training, which is fine for further education, but I wanted to go with a program that would help me get my foot in the door and help me with my career.”
For Bree, taking the ABC Dog Obedience Program has helped her implement a new schedule and structure for her business. One of her takeaways was repetition, “Practice, practice, practice is a must and it’s going to take time to become a professional.” In addition, self-care is important. It is ok to take care of yourself. Dog training and having your own business can be physically and mentally exhausting, so scheduling sessions around your schedule to ensure a work/life balance is a healthy approach.
When it comes to challenges, Bree faced one that most people share in their experience of starting a business during the pandemic: building her clientele. Fortunately for her, she was still working as a veterinary assistant which helped her survive the slowness of starting her new business. Along with the special challenges of trying to build a new business during Covid, Bree was dealing with internal struggles as well. As most entrepreneurs begin their journey, they deal with second thoughts and insecurities. Bree sometimes compared herself to other trainers and doubted her capabilities. With much encouragement and advice from her mentor, she realized that worrying about others and their success should not limit hers. Furthermore, the starting of her business in memory of her late brother who passed away in 2019, motivates her to keep going to make him proud.
Through this resilience, her business, Black Dawg Bark, continues to thrive. In April 2021, Bree was featured on the cover of Pet Sitters International along with a full spread article, which helped boost her career even further. Even though she still works at her veterinary assistant job, it has now become part-time only. Her goal is to make her business a full-time career at a facility with acreage to train and offer agility sport training.
Some advice to those who are considering a career in dog training, Bree suggested, “Always be the student. I am a type A personality who loves to learn, but if you want to work with any animals in the field, you need to educate yourself as much as possible. Every dog is different, and you must have the knowledge to understand the behaviors and techniques. You cannot just wake up one day and decide ‘I want to be a dog trainer.’ Be open to learning. The day I am done learning is the day that I will be done with dog training.”
Animal Behavior College is proud of our graduate and would like to congratulate Bree Arnaud on her recent accomplishments. We hope her story encourages others to pursue their dreams of becoming an ABC Certified Dog Trainer.
If you are interested in enrolling in the programs offered at Animal Behavior College, check out more information at www.animalbehaviorcollege.com or call 800-795-3294. ABC also offers certification in dog training, service dog training, cat training, pet grooming, veterinary assisting, aquarium maintenance, and zookeeping assisting.