Back to School
The kids are going back to school, so why not your dog, too? Before you and your dog sign up for lessons, do your homework. Find out how to separate the bad apples from the true, modern dog training professionals. With special guest Katenna Jones, ScM, ACAAB, CFBC, CCBC, the Director of Educational Programs for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Katenna, the author of Fetching the Perfect Dog Trainer, and Teoti share tips on finding a great trainer and how to recognize red flags that should make you send trainers to detention.
I was always that kid. You know, the one who brought home stray kittens and fallen baby birds. I was writing research papers on animal welfare topics by the sixth grade and was a vegetarian by 16 (and still am). My family quickly realized that this was not a phase and always supported and nurtured my convictions with patience.
At graduation, I knew I wanted to work with animals, but did not want to be a veterinarian. I majored in Biology for lack of a better idea. My senior year of undergrad I began volunteering to walk dogs at the Adirondack Humane Society. I was hooked. I was hired after graduation and became Assistant Manager within a year. That little shelter opened a new world to me and allowed me the chance to learn every aspect of animal sheltering. I was supported, encouraged, and comforted and I was lucky to find my passion at such an early age. I quickly realized I was meant to work with companion animals and I discovered a field called “animal behavior.” Craving more knowledge, I soon found and was accepted into a graduate program at Brown University that was perfect for me.
But there was this dog. We formed a close bond and he was always attached to my hip. He had been at the shelter for months and no one wanted him because of his “issues.” So he came with me to Rhode Island.
Shadow was five and had been severely abused. He had this look in his eyes that would break your heart; like he had experienced things no animal should have to go through. He didn’t play, he didn’t enjoy human touch, and he constantly paced. He flinched at the slightest noise and cowered at the slightest movement. His spirit had been shattered a long time ago.
I sought help but at the time I was enrolled in a graduate program, had just moved to a new state, was a country girl now in a city, could not afford training, and had no time. After a year of deliberation and talking to veterinarians and behavior hotlines, I decided it was best to end his suffering. This picture is the only picture of the two of us (he hated to be held) and it was taken the day before I took Shadow for his final ride. My veterinarian and good friend made the process as easy as it could be and I thank him for that. As Shadow took his last breath, the only thing I could say was: “I’m sorry I couldn’t help you.”
If I knew then what I know now…
My experiences were the driving force behind my decision to provide consultation services to the public. I’ve been there, I know what it’s like, and I want to help you. No one should have to make the decision I made, without support. And no pet should have to live the life Shadow lived