Monday, July 31, 2006

Absenteeism & Perceptions

For the last 3 puppy classes, only 2 of the six dogs and owners have showed up. It's great for the 2, because they get semi-private lessons, but I wonder what gives with the other families? If I paid money for a class, you bet your butt I would show up or call the teacher to explain my absence! Anyway, I hope to see some of them back to make up their lessons in the next session, because there were some cool pooches there.

The two that have showed up are adorable and hilarious to watch playing together. They're both black labs, but one of them has a really shaggy coat and a very square face, which makes me think he may be a Chessie mix (see pic of Chessie - Chesapeake Bay Retriever).

It was really hot the Saturday before last. I was schvitzing up a storm while I was setting up the chute (for practicing off-leash come-when-called).

Lloyd said that he got the impression I not much of an outdoorsperson, that I couldn't be without a hot shower and air conditioning.

I quickly disabused him of that notion. Here are two of the places I have seen in person (sans voiture).

Death Canyon, WY (Tetons)

Lion Head, New Hampshire (Mt. Washington)

Friday, July 28, 2006

We Finally Did It!

Well, I made it to the correct TV studio yesterday (literally a 3-minute drive from the office). Lloyd told me to wear light blue, so I picked a light blue silk blouse from my closet. Errr...not so good. Just call me Professor Pitstains when you see me, OK?

Anyway, it went really well. The time (15 minutes) flew by - we didn't even have time for 10 questions.

The gist of my appearance was to let people (especially those over 30s) know that you can do this, financially, physically, emotionally. It's possible. Just do your research, Google is your friend, find a good trainer to work with, educate yourself, read lots of books and magazines.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Me, An Idiot

Well, turns out your Dog Apprentice is quite the idiot! I went to the wrong studio for the show taping. We had to reschedule for next Thursday.

Learning opportunity for me and you: ALWAYS remember your cell phone!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Me, A Ham (Get It? No? Not a Women's Soccer Fan?)

Lloyd has invited me to talk about becoming a dog trainer and the apprentice experience on his TV show. We'll film on July 20th, and I believe the show will air on the first Monday in August at 6pm (note: the time on the web site is wrong). Look for Your Dog's Best Friend on Cox cable in Fairfax County, VA!

P.S. Since your lazy butt won't allow you to Google, here is the meaning of the subject line.

How I Came to This Pass

So, I decided I wanted to be a dog trainer. I am simply not cut out for office work - each day in an office brings me down (see: Peter Gibbons). Anyway, I love dogs. I loooooove dogs. And I thought to myself, after watching innumerable dogs shows and agility competitions on Animal Planet: "why can't I do that?".

I had no idea how to go about pursuing this dream. I did a little Googling, and found a few of (very) basic pieces of info:

  1. Do an apprenticeship
  2. Attend seminars/conferences/conventions
  3. Join associations such as APDT or NADOI

I had tons of questions, mainly: How does one become an apprentice? How do you know when and where seminars & conferences are occurring?

I couldn't find much on become an apprentice....I needed to know how to approach a trainer, how much of a time commitment there was, did I have to pay anything, etc.

I figured that I would just go for it and jump in blind. I decided to take advantage of my professional skills and offer an exchange: I'll create a web site, they'll take me on as an apprentice. This worked out well, since almost none of the trainers I found had web sites. I found emails for every dog trainer within a 25 mile radius of my house (mainly using the online Yellow Pages and Metropets), composed a form email and sent it out.

According to Lloyd, it is pretty standard to make first contact with a trainer via snail or e-mail.

I got a few responses, and my story of how I hooked up with Lloyd is in the April Archives of this blog.

After Lloyd and I started working together, the seminar thing fell into place - Lloyd lets me know about any useful seminars or conferences he hears about. His network is obviously quite extensive, so he gets wind of everything!

Some trainers will ask for money to do an apprenticeship (Lloyd tells me the standard is $1000/year), but if you have some useful skill, such as web design, administrative experience, accounting skills, handyman abilities, you could definitely work out a barter arrangement. A good dog trainer willing to be a mentor will work this type of thing out with you.