Santa Clarita, Calif., October 30, 2019 – For Lori and her family, adopting Apollo, a Great Dane mix, from a local shelter was one of the best decisions they ever made. The dog’s relaxed demeanor and cheerful disposition made him the perfect companion for the Texas family. However, when Lori’s son, Anthony, returned home from college with Sal, an 8-year-old pit bull terrier mix he adopted, the harmonious household soon became a war zone. Within months, Sal’s behavior toward Apollo grew aggressive and hostile.
“The first negative behavior we noticed was Sal growling and protecting the community food and water bowls,” Lori said. “He’d block Apollo from entering the family room, which is the center of our home and where the dogs’ food is located. Apollo’s behavior changed. He became timid and would peek around the corner before entering the room. That’s when my family became worried.”
Over time, Sal’s aggression escalated. He would lunge and growl at Apollo, as well as snap, bark and bare his teeth. It was when Sal attacked Apollo that Lori knew something had to be done before one or both dogs became seriously injured. Frustrated and afraid for their safety, Lori consulted a veterinarian who suggested she seek the assistance of a professional dog trainer using Animal Behavior College’s (ABC) Certified Dog Trainer Directory., where, she found Judy Estes.
Born in California, Judy grew up in LaGrange, Georgia and has always had a deep affection for animals, especially dogs. She relocated to Texas in 1996, and after adopting a high-spirited blue heeler cattle dog, Judy researched training methods and discovered ABC’s Dog Obedience Program. She realized that to train her dog and develop career skills; she needed to establish credibility by obtaining professional dog trainer certification. Judy graduated in 2005 as a certified Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer (ABCDT). Since then, she has trained more than 1,000 dogs and their owners, and volunteers at shelters and trains therapy dogs.
“During my first visit with Lori and her family, I observed each dog’s interaction and immediately noticed that Sal was very energetic and had attention-seeking personality traits whereas Apollo was more laid back and shy,” Judy recalled. “It was apparent that Apollo’s reserved demeanor was one of the reasons Sal bullied him. It was also clear to me what the dogs were trying to tell us—they weren’t getting enough mental and physical stimulation.”
After learning that Sal has arthritis in his hips, which made it even more important that he remain active to keep ligaments and tendons flexible, Judy encouraged Lori and Anthony to take the dogs on daily walks; she also gave them material to read. She provided the dogs with healthy treats and exercise toys that were mentally and physically stimulating. Using positive-reinforcement training techniques, Judy encouraged both owners to correct unwanted behaviors and reward desired ones. Also, she rearranged the family room by moving the sofas to give each dog its own space.
“Our dogs mean the world to us and are members of the family,” Lori said. “They now can be in the same room without conflict. What an achievement! Judy’s training techniques were fabulous, and her suggestions proved extremely helpful. We are thankful for having met her.”
Judy contacts Lori periodically to check on the dogs’ progress.
“When training dogs, you must be attentive to their needs,” Judy said. “ABC taught me to observe and assess each dog’s behavioral challenge and offer a solution that addresses it directly. Lori and her family have been successful because they listened and are consistent. It is results like this that makes what I do so meaningful”.
October is Adopt a Dog and Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Every year approximately 3.3 million dogs enter U.S. shelters (according to the ASPCA). One of the common reasons they are surrendered is for aggressive behavior with children, other family members and pets. When confined in animal shelters, some dogs experience feelings that affect their emotional health in the short term, which may have long-term effects, according to The Humane Society of the United States. Positive behavioral training with the help of a professional dog trainer can improve a dog’s emotional health and help alleviate many causes of aggression.
ABC’s Certified Dog Trainer Directory lists ABC graduates who have completed the requirements of the dog trainer program. Although the directory contains a fraction of the more than 16,100 graduates, it includes contact information for hundreds of trainers located in every U.S. state and the 10 provinces of Canada. In the menu, users type their ZIP/postal code and the mile radius they are willing to travel or select a state or province. A list of trainers, their contact information, profiles and a map to their location appears. In addition, some of the U.S. states’ pages include resources for dog owners, including dog-friendly cities and dog parks.
ABC offers dog trainer courses online and on campus. The program covers a range of relevant topics including learning theories, basic dog obedience cues, practical problem solving, business building, and pet first aid and CPR. Students receive hands-on experience and invaluable information that equips them to start a dog training business, work for an established company, or pursue other professional canine-related passions.
In addition to dog trainer training, ABC offers four other professional certifications in cat training, pet grooming, veterinary assisting and aquarium maintenance. Specialized certificates of completion in seven short-term programs are also available on subjects, including doggie daycare, pet fostering, pet nutrition and training shelter dogs.
For more information, call 800-795-3294 or visit https://www.animalbehaviourcollege.ca.
About Animal Behavior College
Founded in 1998, Animal Behavior College is a vocational school that trains professional dog trainers, cat trainers, veterinary assistants, pet groomers and aquarium maintenance providers nationwide and in the 10 provinces of Canada. ABC has graduated more than 29,100 students from four of its five core programs combined. Students obtain practical hands-on experience applying what they learn by working side-by-side with a member of ABC’s expert mentors group. These mentors include thousands of professional dog trainers, veterinary hospitals and clinics and grooming salons from across the U.S. and Canada who are dedicated to helping students succeed in the pet services industry.