Santa Clarita, Calif., November 1, 2018 — “What do I want to achieve as a dog trainer?” This was the essay topic of Animal Behavior College (ABC) 2018 Coastal Pet Products, Inc. Scholarship contest. The winners, Sharon Neufeld of Elgin, Minnesota, and Maisie Stradley of Brooksville, Florida, were each awarded full-ride scholarships to the college’s Dog Obedience Program (DOP) for their winning essays.
“Coastal Pet Products was founded on the dreams and goals of two brothers and with 50 years under our belts, we wish the same success for this year’s winners, both with use of this scholarship and in all their future endeavors,” said Lindsy Argenti, Marketing Manager for the Alliance, Ohio-based pet products manufacturer.
“Coastal Pet Products has supported ABC’s mission and DOP for decades. We appreciate their continued commitment to education by helping people realize their dreams of working with pets and with the people who love them,” said Steven Appelbaum, president and CEO of Animal Behavior College. “This year’s winners expressed a sincere commitment to helping animals in their communities and strengthening the bond between pets and their owners.”
For Sharon Neufeld, it was her golden retriever, Zoya that inspired her to pursue a pet industry career. In 2009, Zoya became the founding dog in Sharon’s new breeding business, Rose Haven Goldens. As the number of dogs increased, so did their need for training. Sharon knew that obtaining dog trainer certification would not only establish her professional credibility but also help her raise better goldens. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the resources to enroll in ABC back then. However, after opening a boarding and daycare kennel in June of this year, she knew the time had come to seek professional dog trainer education.
“As a [music] teacher for the last 26 years, I believe my teaching background makes me an ideal trainer,” Sharon said. “Professional certification means I’m not only qualified but also obtained the appropriate credentials to do so.”
Maisie Stradley took action after seeing homeless dogs in her rural community. Despite having many health challenges, she brought some dogs into her home and cared for them. She ensured they received veterinary care, were microchipped and healthy before finding them homes. Even though she lacked professional dog trainer skills, she knew that proper training would not only increase their chances for adoption but would also decrease the possibility of them being rehomed.
“I understood the importance of adopting and training dogs and how doing this impacts my community,” Maisie said. She serves on the board of FurEver Friendz, Inc., a nonprofit pet foster and rescue organization located in Springhill, Florida. “Without this [scholarship] opportunity, it would have been years before I had the ability to fund the training. I’m a big dreamer and hope to open a rescue [and] training facility. I know I will make a huge difference in my community.”
The scholarship program provides financial assistance and support for those who cannot afford to enroll in ABC’s dog trainer program. To qualify for this year’s scholarships, applicants needed to demonstrate a financial need and submit an essay. Judges reviewed each entry and selected the two that best communicated applicants’ career goals.
Coastal Pet Products is a family-owned American manufacturer specializing in collars, leashes and harnesses, grooming tools, pet carriers and toys for dogs and cats. Since 1968, the industry leader has produced quality products that fundamentally support healthy and safe interactions between pets and their owners. The company’s website also offers advice and resources such as an Education Center that features educational videos, tips, and information on how to choose and use their products.
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Dog Obedience Program . Since ABC’s inception in 1998, the number of U.S. households owning dogs has increased from 39 percent to 60.2 percent, which equates to 89.7 million dogs, according to the 2017-2018 American Pet Products Association National Owners Survey. ABC’s online dog trainer course teaches positive-reinforcement training techniques and covers a range of relevant topics, including learning theories, basic dog obedience cues, effective problem-solving, business building and pet first aid and CPR. Participants receive invaluable information that equips them to start a dog training business, work for an established company, or pursue other professional canine-related passions. As of September 30, 2018, ABC has graduated and certified more than 15,300 students from its dog trainer program.
ABC also offers certification in pet grooming , cat training and veterinary assisting. 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 about ABC’s dog trainer program, call 800-795-3294 or visit animalbehaviourcollege.ca .
About Animal Behavior College
Now celebrating its 20th Anniversary, Animal Behavior College is a vocational school that trains professional dog trainers, cat trainers, veterinary assistants and pet groomers nationwide and in the 10 provinces of Canada. ABC has graduated and certified more than 27,000 students from its four 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 professional mentors include thousands of professional dog trainers, veterinary hospitals and clinics and grooming salons from all across the U.S. and Canada who are dedicated to helping students succeed in the pet services industry.