Thursday, March 4, 2010

Misty the Dog Trainer.

Misty Roachelle started training under me in 2007 just before I got married. She went through a program that is called Animal Behavior College (ABC) and they pair you with a mentor trainer in the last part of their program to observe classes and get hands-on training.

When she called to tell me I was chosen as her mentor trainer she also said, "I never realized my dog was aggressive to other dogs but I think he is, can you help me with that too?" Lucky is a black Pitbull/Lab/Border Collie/who-knows-what dog that was a bit chunky when I first met him and jumped on me as I entered her home. I did some work with her and Lucky but one day I said to her, "Would you be willing to go down to Austin with me and visit my mentor trainer Lee Mannix and have him evaluate Lucky?" Lee deals with about 5-8 aggression cases per day and is, what I like to believe, is the best aggression guy in the country. He got Misty started on a program and she came back and did her homework like her life depended on it . . . and it did. So did Lucky's.

Not too long after that visit to Austin Lee had his annual Dog Camp and I told Misty she'd be incredibly wise to take Lucky there. She did. Lucky was a mess. He was reactive to all the dogs, he put Misty in tears and he wasn't doing well. She was almost to the point that she wanted to pack up and leave. One of Lee's trainers told her she'll never help her dog if she leaves and she kept on with his training through the weekend-long camp. That was the Fall of 2007.

In the Spring of 2008 Misty and Lucky were at camp again and this time the staff couldn't stop commenting on Lucky. "Oh my gosh, he's like 20-lbs lighter and look, he's not reacting to any of the dogs!" She had visited Austin one more time before camp and continued her homework at home. Lucky was a changed dog, and Misty was on her way to be a great dog trainer!

Misty followed me around to clients and did above and beyond what she had to in order to learn about dog training. She wants to be a full-time dog trainer one day but still feels like she needs more under her belt. She has been doing some in home lessons and group classes as an independent contractor for me since 2008 after she finished her ABC program but has had to keep her full-time job Mon-Fri to make ends meet.

Misty has not only become a dog trainer for me but also a very good friend. We've had a few margaritas together and can sit and talk dogs for hours. She's great. She came to me a few months ago and said, "Well I've decided I think I want to move down to Austin and intern under Lee to really learn hands-on about dog behavior." Misty's single, no kids and just has her one furkid. This is perfect for her. She is moving this weekend to stay for, what she says, one year as an intern and then return back here to help Adventures in Canine Training blossom! We are so excited for her but I will miss her dearly. She's a wonderful person and Lucky couldn't have gotten a better doggie mom.

. . . And last weekend Lucky went to Austin with her while she was wrapping up stuff and he was used with an aggression case as the "Jello Dog", as Lee's staff calls it. The Jello Dog is a dog that is reliable and can be used to evaluate another aggressive dog but should not react and should be sound and well-adjusted. It's a great victory to go from nasty to jello! Way to go Lucky and Misty!

For those who want to keep in touch or send her luck and happy wishes you may email her here.

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