Powell, Westerville, Lewis Center, Hilliard, Delaware, New Albany, Blacklick, Grove City and others 25 miles from Worthington
Certified Professional Trainer
Training and Behavior
Each year I publish statistics pertaining to my business. Now that taxes are done and I can calculate all my expenses for 2013, I'm happy to offer the following from last year....
Dogs Receiving Service: 423
Clients Receiving Service: 350
Service Miles Traveled: over 9,800 miles
Busiest Months: March, July
Quietest Months: February, December
57% of client charges covered business expenses and taxes.
New content was added to my website:
3 hand selected, daily news stories related to dogs:
Info also pushed out to social networks:
As always, thanks to all of my clients for their patronage and support over the past many years. I'm seeing more referrals every year as my client base grows, and it's very nice to re-visit past clients as they welcome new dogs into their homes. Working with dogs is a privilege to me, and I am grateful to everyone asking me into their homes to help develop better lives with their pets.
A recent post on a Facebook trainer group discussed what it takes for a person to call themselves a "behaviorist". Several professional organizations have (in the past) argued the title should be reserved for Veterinarians that are Board Certified in the specialty - others suggested a Master's or Doctorate in animal behavior / psychology be required. The American College of Veterinarian Behaviorist lists only one member meeting their requirements in the entire State of Ohio.
The reality is that many trainers and other canine professionals throw the term "behaviorist" around rather loosely. I always promote myself as a Certified Pro Trainer, but over 70% of my service is for behavioral issues in dogs. From discussions with other trainers, I would say this is fairly consistent across the country. I find it interesting that there are about 10 times as many monthly internet searches for dog trainers as there are for behaviorists. If most people are seeking a professional for behavioral issues (as experience shows), why are they looking to trainers for help?
To answer that questions, let me offer an interesting client I worked with last year with a rather difficult young puppy, The pup was around 6 months of age as I recall, and had little interest in doing anything the owner wished. The dog clearly wanted to do as it pleased, and was very willing to challenge the owner's wishes with mean spirited lunging, snapping and biting - troubling behavior in such a young dog. Not mincing words, I told the owner the dog was basically being a "brat", and that he would need to establish some clear leadership in the home while getting the dog trained ASAP. Nobody would be comfortable living with this dog once larger, if these problems weren't corrected.
After checking back following a 2nd visit, the owner advised me he was taking the dog to a local Veterinarian Behaviorist and forwarded a long list of behavioral maladies they had "diagnosed" over a lengthy and expensive visit. As I read through the list, I was thinking to myself - "yes, brat, brat, brat....". The owner did not provide any detail on what plan was being put in place to help the dog, and never responded to my request several months later to provide a progress report. I have no idea if the owner still has the dog, whether it improved, or whether he just didn't care for my advice. In any event, perhaps this owner was more satisfied having a detailed diagnosis of problems vs the working solution I offered.
As I talk with clients and other trainers, it seems to me this trend is increasing. I believe over the past decades, science has made a strong push toward suggesting if we understand why a dog does something, solutions will be guaranteed. This thinking sidesteps the reality that when working with dogs, we are always dealing with theories and opinions. Reality and Nature are very different. While no human can ever know for certain what drives the behavior of a dog, you can see and asses results of varied methods used when working with dogs. This has been ongoing between man and dog for thousands of years - so science is a very new player in the "behavior" field. In my other career, good firefighters focus on methods proven to obtain best results, and worry about why they work later. Perhaps those wishing to offer behavioral assistance can take a page out of that playbook.
The reality of working with dogs is that regardless of the "why" something is occurring, you still need to implement a strategy to make improvements AND assess progress as you try it. Good trainers understand this, they understand that some dogs will surprise you and not respond as expected, and they have a multitude of strategies available to gain results. Good trainers have a strong working model of canine behavior that is continually updated based on real life experience. Perhaps that's why people needing help with behavioral issues seek a trainer first and foremost.
This winter has been a bit harsher than those of the past 2-3 seasons. As mentioned earlier, this will probably mean fewer issues this summer with ticks, fleas, skunks and raccoons. Regardless, I'm sure everyone has had their fill of the "white stuff" and is more than ready for Spring. With things starting to warm up, I did want to discuss one interesting thing I actually enjoy on snowy days...
Last summer I attended a class on scent work. The class was fun, informative, etc. But what always astounds me when I work dogs for scenting is how amazing their noses are. In summer, however, we can only imagine what our dogs may be smelling. When there's a blanket of fresh snow outdoors, you can also SEE some of the things your dog is smelling! When my dogs and I go out for walks this time of year (yes, we walk every day unless it's below 10 degrees), I can see tracks and marking from the many other dogs and 'creatures' in our area. It's amazing to to watch my dogs as their noses "lock" onto trails, markings and scents.
So while today's post is brief, if we see any more snowfall, I'd like to challenge owners to take notice of what we're seeing in the snow and observe how your dog is using his/her nose to process things. When we can actually see what our dogs are smelling, we can better appreciate the world of scent that is so profound for our dogs. Respect it!!
We're back into another few weeks of colder than normal temps here in Central Ohio, and it has me wishing spring were here. The good news is that only 2 months remain for winter, and the days are getting longer. I thought today I'd spend a few minutes talking about some considerations for dogs during cold weather.
First the obvious - most dogs, especially those acclimated to life indoors, will not do well in the frigid temps we have been seeing lately. And for dogs that spend regular time outdoors, in this weather they should be indoors where they will be safe. This degree of cold can quickly cause injury (frostbite) or even death if dogs don't have HEATED shelter. Outdoor activities should be limited AND supervised. Remember that water sources must be in areas that are protected from freezing. Your pet's food and supplies should be kept secure from wildlife as well, which will be struggling to survive. Hungry raccoons, for example, can be bold looking for food and ready to fight an unsuspecting pet or owner.
Every year I remind folks that ice should never be considered safe. While these cold temps mean it is generally thicker and safer, moving water, radiant sunlight, and underwater springs / vegetation can weaken many areas. Dogs have no ability to understand the hazards, and most people cannot safely recognize many hidden hazards. Falling into icy water will cause hypothermia very quickly. It only takes a few minutes for you or your pet to loose muscle function and mental capacity. The news feeds have daily examples of pets and their owners getting into trouble on ice - KEEP OFF! In a similar manner, snow covered streets can look like lawns to your dog! If dogs are off leash, be watching more closely to make certain your pet doesn't wander into a snow covered street and into traffic hazards.
Now for some good news. These cold temps should seriously decrease the number of mosquitoes and ticks we see next summer - this translates to less vector borne disease for our dogs (and ourselves). All pets will still need heartworm protection as well as flea and tick protection as recommended by your Veterinarian. These cold temps will also reduce raccoon and skunk populations which have been getting rather large the past years in our area. Lower populations mean less chance of altercations with pets which can pose disease and nuisance risks.
I hope everyone is staying warm, and please take special precautions with your pets until things begin warming up. In the meantime, I do provide visits all year long. Winter may not be for the faint of heart, but now is a great opportunity to schedule an appointment! Get your pet ready NOW to be a better companion when things warm up in the Spring.
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