A me update

I figure I owe my blog an update from the actual writer. This past week has been a huge change for my life as I left one job to expand another.

I gave Petsmart notice that I would be leaving my job as lead trainer for the Minneapolis store. I gave them 4 weeks so I would be able to finish up most of my classes and be nice enough to give them plenty of time to look for a new trainer. Well the weeks went by and I am now offically DONE! There are about a million reasons why I left, but really it all boils down to me not wanting to spend the rest of my life as a trainer for a massive corporation who by definition cares more about sales than actual training. Really this decision is nothing new since when I first started I gave myself 2yrs to build up experience and then told myself that I would have to quit after that. And guess what, 2 years is up! While it really was great experience, I am not going to miss it.

And my new adventure? I am starting up board n train and day train program at Dog Days, the daycare I work at! There really aren't too many options for this in the twin cities so maybe this will fill the niche? Owners will be able to have their dog trained while they go on vacation or even just to work, and the dogs will also have tons of playtime! Of course for most owners I highly reccommend that they take group or private classes instead so they can actually learn how to train their dog. But since I realize that not everyone has an interest in training this will still allow owners to have a trained dog with very little work. I'm putting a huge emphais on consultations afterwards on how to not ruin thier perfect dog :)

I'm really hoping the board/day training options will work out. But if they don't I figure I can try to get a training job at one of the local obedience centers in town and try to focus on more behavioral work. So far I have had one board n train dog for a week and it is going wonderful! It is so much fun to just train and not worry about explaining everything to the owners who may or may not listen to your advice :) Buzz, the 9mo collie mix with zero training, has already been free shaped to run over and lie down on a mat, can leave a treat on his paw, has hand signals for sit, down, and come, can wait at any threshold while I go out, and more in 5 days! Week 2 is coming up quickly... Obviously it's not perfected with distance, duration, and distractions but it's still so much fun to see an empty slate learn so quickly.

With this new gig my evenings are also free. This is going to allow me to re-volunteer for Hearing and Service Dogs of MN as I help teach their puppy raiser classes 1-2 nights a week. The idea is for me to eventually take over the puppy raiser classes! I volunteered as a puppy raiser for HSDM back in highschool and it was the best experience of my life. Plus it was extremely cool to bring a dog everywhere I went :) I think that being a service dog trainer is really becoming my dream job but there are so few paid positions out there. Hopefully this experience will lead to a job someday, but at the least I'll be helping to change lives!

Oh, and we were *this* close to buying a new car this weekend through the cash for clunkers program. I was pretty much against it since even though our 98 truck is slowly dying, it still has some time left. But we figured that being able to get a new care for $8000 was a good deal! Apparently a lot of other people thought so too as all of the dealerships were completely empty of the cars we were looking for. Oh well!

And now back to your regularly scheduled puppy time! The two have very different goals for the little bed

Fort? No ferrets allowed!

Mango  – ( August 23, 2009 at 2:27 PM )  

It sounds like you are really pursuing your dream which is so great.

Yeah, going off on your own is important. Our local dog store runs training classes and they hire private individuals. It gives them some exposure for their businesses. We also see a lot of trainers doing classes at the adult education night schools.

Best of luck!

Mango Momma

Ninso  – ( August 24, 2009 at 10:14 AM )  

Sounds like a lot of great stuff going on! I would love to train service dogs, but don't have enough time for a puppy. I think some organizations use adult rescues, and at some point after I put some more time into Jun, I would love to get involved in that.

Owner of Storm and Jackal  – ( August 27, 2009 at 3:19 PM )  

Oh I love that picture of Lance!!

Sounds like things are coming together for you really well. It's nice when a plan actually pans out. I'm happy for you.

I wish I had the guts to really go after what I want (also would love to be a dog trainer, but don't have enough experience). Congrats!

Honey the Great Dane  – ( September 12, 2009 at 7:16 PM )  

Oh, congrats on reaching your goals and starting a new phase! It's so wonderful that you're so dedicated to following your dreams - I wish I had been like that, instead of working a series of "proper" jobs and being miserable until well into my thirties before finally getting up the courage to follow my dream of writing for a living...have never looked back!

Hey - don't know if you saw one of my recent posts about Honey's "Creche Day at Flip's Top Dog"
but I thought you might be interested as he does a similar board'n'train thing to what you described - there's more info & pictures in my posts - it might be interesting/useful for you given your new job!


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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

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