Because there are no legitimate professional state licenses or governing bodies that oversee dog training most dog trainers work under more seasoned dog trainers. Yes, there are some schools out there like in Texas and Ohio that teach basic dog training skills but you have to develop your own dog training skills and that takes many years.
Since I couldn’t find any dog training near me I trained under John Toutloff of ABC’s of Dog Training in North Lauderdale, Florida. He has been dog training in obedience, housebreaking and protection since 1965. After a lot of thought he agreed to train me 1-on-1 in Florida and has taught me his proven dog training methods. He taught me about the basic 5 commands in dog obedience training which is the foundation of all dog training. I learned how to teach a dog how to heel, sit, stay, down and come. He has shown me a lot about what I know about being a professional dog trainer including but not limited to teaching puppy training classes and resolving unwanted behaviors in dogs. I will always be grateful that he took me on. He is my primary mentor.
I’ve also taken dog training instruction from distinguished multi U.S. Schutzhund Award winner Beth Bradley of Beth Bradley Dog Training, Denville, New Jersey. Beth taught me how to obedience train a dog while in group classes. I was also instructed by Edward Przybylski of Working Dog K9 Academy, Frenchtown, NJ. Edward is a well-respected professional trainer and “The Master Rehabilitator” as he is known throughout the industry. He has rehabilitated thousands of dogs throughout his illustrious career and has appeared on the t.v. show Animal Planet. He taught me how to fix unwanted behaviors in aggressive dogs. I then mastered methods in off-leash remote collar dog training taught to me by Richard Heinz, the highly sought after “dog trainer to the Stars”, aka “The Miami Dog Whisperer” and his company Dog Force 1, Miami, Florida. Most recently I’ve training in basic obedience and behavior issues with Eric Gonzalez, of Bite Life K9 in Miami Lakes, Florida. Eric is very versed in protection work and aggression issues. Eric and I work on very aggressive cases where two dog trainers are required to resolve issues in very dangerous dogs. Today I am a proud Associate member of the IACP, the International Association of Canine Professionals.
As for dogs well they don’t chose us, we chose them. When purchasing or adopting a dog the new owner says they will “commit” to this dog forever. But then something happens…the dog get bigger, becomes “too much work”, the owners have to move, a baby is born. Now they say the dog is a “problem.” They have to as many say “get rid of it.” But is it? No, of course not. Dogs get “dumped” at the pound, given away on Craigslist (some unknowingly become BAIT DOGS for fighting dogs) or let loose in another neighborhood and that is how the owner decides to solve their “problem.” How terrible! How inhumane!
Moreover, dogs facing euthanasia that have been labeled to have “Behavior Issues” by the families who no longer want them is also very troubling to me. Unless they have a mental illness like Cocker Rage (very few canines have this) I truly believe all dogs can be trained or rehabilitated. So, that is another reason why becoming a dog trainer was so important to me so I can help those families keep their dogs. However, the dog trainer, setting and tactics must be right for it to happen. But most importantly….the owner must be committed to doing the work. The dog trainer, the owner and the dog is what makes up “the team”.