People think he gets to spend all day playing with dogs, but a big chunk of his time is actually spent coaching people.
DOG BEHAVIOR THERAPIST
What do you do? I am a dog behavior therapist and master trainer with Bark Busters Home Dog Training, and can help with anything from puppy training to basic obedience, to problem issues like barking and aggression. I work exclusively with clients in their homes, where the vast majority of behavioral issues occur. I’ve worked with dogs from 8 months of age to 15 years. An old dog can learn new tricks.
How did you get started? I left my corporate job of 18 years with Safeco in search of something more personally fulfilling. Close friends who own a pet business told me about Bark Busters, I looked into it and here I am today. I never wanted to have my own business, but a franchise turned out to be a perfect way to utilize my personal and business skills, while at the same time taking advantage of a business model and training methodology created by someone else.
What’s a typical day like? Every day is very different. Being a business owner, I’m in charge of my own schedule. I might have a new client in a downtown Seattle high-rise, do a follow-up with an existing client at their office in Sodo, then meet a client for a follow-up at an off-leash park on Mercer Island. Every client, dog and situation is unique, so it’s a little like solving mysteries one at a time.
What’s the best part of the job? There is nothing like the look of joy on the faces of clients who had been frustrated with their dog, when they discover how easy it is to have a well-behaved canine family member without using treats or physical force. People are always glad to see me. I even get hugs from clients and sometimes tears of joy. I’d say that’s a pretty good bonus!
What surprises people about your work? People think that I get to spend all day playing with dogs. Actually a big chunk of my time is spent coaching people. I tell them my job is like a trainer at a gym who gives you the tools to stay fit — they can’t do the exercises for you. I have to be skilled at teaching and coaching, because at the end of the day it is no help at all if their dog listens to me and not them!
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