I founded the “Dog Training 101 Community Forum” on Facebook late in 2010. At the time, I was exhausted from working in rescue—having volunteered doing adoptions, transport, and even starting a low-cost spay and neuter clinic.
Recently I came across a list of continuing professional development courses I made back in 2011. It wasn’t a bad list—equine nutrition, physiology, improved knowledge of various equestrian disciplines, and so on. However, it was all about horses—nothing on improving my skills with human clients. Which is interesting, as this was the area where I had the biggest problems, but I hadn’t yet even identified that there was anything I could do about it!
In recent years, canine search and rescue (SAR) has become popular. In the not-too-distant past, most people did not know what it was. For example, when people saw members of my unit with the K9 SAR logo on their uniforms, they would comment that it was nice that we rescued dogs.
When did you decide to pursue behavior as a profession?
There were really two times this came up for me. In the early days of my training career (in the 1970 and ’80s, so really prehistoric!), I worked with a lot of mentors and was fascinated by the way they worked with difficult behavior problems. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of trainers whose skills I respected.
Complementary and alternative veterinary medicine is a multimillion-dollar industry that encompasses everything from reiki to nutritional supplements, and offers treatments for a full range of medical and behavioral complaints. From the five-dollar “calming treats” we can pick up from any online retailer to the specialist chiropractic regime that can run into hundreds of dollars, there’s an alternative solution to every problem.