I share this because I believe transparency and accountability are ethical requirements, and to further distinguish myself from those who profess to be trainers while they cling to outdated and sometimes harmful concepts that have been disproven by hard science and practical demonstration for many years. To provide the best professional service to others, one must strive to continually improve.
Accomplishments in 2015
- Continued education in ethical business practices, dog training and behavior. I attended 4 seminars and 34 webinars for a total of 82 hours. My library of (canine) books also grew; I cannot even imagine how many articles and research papers I read.
- Posted (my) Professional Code of Ethics to my web site and Facebook page.
- Earned an A+ rating with the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau; several clients posted favorable reviews of their experience with me.
- Joined the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
- Attained trademark protection for my business name, logos and slogan.
- Maintained membership in good standing with Pet Professional Guild, Force-Free Trainers of Wisconsin, Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Dogs on Call, Association of Professional Humane Educators and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- Continued writing blogs and magazine articles on training and behavior for “BARKS from the Guild” magazine, Pet Professional Guild World Services, Canine Connection newspaper column, Dogs on Call and Force-Free Trainers of Wisconsin newsletters.
- Served on the board of directors for Dogs on Call, a local (Pet Partners) animal assisted activities therapy organization.Despite my busy schedule I still managed to conduct 26 visits to schools, nursing home and correctional facilities.
- Served as Chairperson of the Pet Professional Guild Advocacy Committee. The committee helped PPG develop educational materials for pet owners and professionals alike.
- Conducted Happy Buddha Dog Training “Stay Safe!” dog safety presentations for 93 children and 23 adults, and Dogs on Call safety presentations for approximately 400 grade school aged children.
- Posted the (copyrighted) “Stay Safe!” children’s workbook to my web site as a PDF download, and posted (copyrighted) “Stay Safe!” videos on my web site and YouTube channel.
- Distributed over 200 copies of the (copyrighted) “Stay Safe!” DVD within Dane County (WI) as a free public service.
- Conducted a personal safety class for canine professionals and pet owners, and prepared a (copyrighted) “Happy Buddha-Jitsu” personal safety booklet and training DVD.
- Established a reciprocal and supportive relationship with a local force-free groomer.
- Worked with 45 families and more than 50 pet dogs, accomplishing training goals and behavior modification.
- Encouraged pet owners to visit http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/ as a valuable resource to support them. Pet owners are entitled to free membership, educational materials, online archive of articles and research papers, and may use the directory tool to locate a nearby PPG professional.
Goals in 2016
- Carry on with activities accomplished in 2015, as listed above.
- Continue my education and renew my CPDT-KA professional certification.
- Present a “Personal Safety for Canine Professionals” webinar for Pet Professional Guild.
- Present a PPG “Courtroom Testimony” webinar to help canine professionals prepare for legal proceedings. Trainers who work with dogs that have a bite history may find themselves drawn into a courtroom setting and I will apply my law enforcement experience to assist them.
- Continue as Chairperson of the PPG Advocacy Committee. 2016 Will be an exciting year for PPG…but I am not allowed to disclose anything in advance!
- Increase my geographical training and behavior consultation service area.
- Double the number of Dogs on Call therapy dog visits.
- Spend even more high-quality time with my own animals.
- Encourage more pet owners to join PPG and thus become better informed as consumers of canine services. The training industry remained unregulated, meaning there is no educational requirement or standards of care. The better informed pet owners, the better choices they can make when seeking out services.
- Reduce or eliminate the use of shock devices, pronged and choke collars in training.
- Encourage more pet professionals to adopt force-free methods and equipment. The term force-free means one does not inflict intimidation, fear or pain upon pets in training/behavior modification…and do not use shock devices, pinch or choke collars.
On that note I wish to extend a special appeal.
To pet service providers, I invite you to join me in a quest for knowledge and help raise the bar in your specific industry. This includes veterinary professionals, trainers, groomers, boarders, dog walkers and daycare operators.
You are welcome to join the Pet Professional Guild as a provisional member and you will be received with open arms and given support to make the transition from forceful methods to force-free methods. Most of us who now identify as force-free were among those who previously used force. Today we are more aware of modern scientific methods that work more effectively and are more humane.
For 30 years as a pet owner I was ignorant of these methods and used “traditional” methods of the day. When I became aware of better alternatives I adopted them and saw great results. I certainly do not judge others or consider myself “better” than others. I simply want to help others avoid the mistakes I made simply because I was unaware of better alternatives.
Let’s work together to make all pet professions serve the needs of pets and their families better than we have done in the past. I do not make New Year’s resolutions, but I do set goals.
Will you join me?