Our students are the future of dog training and the heart of our school.
That’s why we regularly take a moment to recognize one of our top aspiring trainers here.
Our Featured Student this month is Brianna Marcotte of Rolling Hills, California. At the time of this posting, Brie is completing her Final Exam for the Master Class, and is about to graduate as a CATCH Certified Dog Trainer!
A Word from Brie
My Favorite Recent Study Topics:
Honestly, the entire curriculum has all been fantastic information and well presented. For anyone considering becoming a dog trainer, they couldn’t make a better decision than to press “apply” for CATCH. The underlying principle for CATCH’s approach to training is to enable each student to be successful. While choosing only three topics was a challenge, I decided on these:
- Understanding canine language: including verbal, mental, and physical (I believe this awareness is an essential foundation for any trainer to be successful)
- Basic and Advanced Obedience Skills training was a fun learning experience.
- The introduction to Behavioral “Issues” illustrated the complexity of these issues and the importance of continuing education.
My Favorite Recent Hands-On Activity:
My favorite hands-on activity was “hands-down” working with my mentor, Cecilia. I am a kinesthetic learner. The ability to demonstrate what I have learned and what I am working on, and to receive immediate feedback was extremely helpful and important. If I needed to be shown how to improve a technique or work on my timing, my mentor was there to watch, evaluate, and even demonstrate with her dog. The interactions with my mentor, and our dogs has boosted my confidence in my ability to proceed with my goal of completing the CATCH curriculum and becoming a certified dog trainer.
How My Studies Have Changed the Way I See Dogs:
I am now more aware of my own body language, responses to, and interactions with my dog. I am also more cognizant of how other dogs respond to their environment, their owners, and I am better able to interpret their responses and interactions. It is a constant learning process. One interesting story: I even noticed a situation that I have glanced over in the past. The Pirates Of The Caribbean ride at Disneyland has a scene where pirates are in a prison cell, and a dog is sitting several feet away from them with the keys to the cell in his mouth. One of the pirates is holding out a bone in an attempt to lure the dog to come so they could grab the keys. However, as a dog trainer, it is now clear that had this been a real life situation, and had the bone been considered a reward, the dog would have dropped the keys at his feet and walked over to get the bone. The pirates would have been no closer to their escape. I’ve been on the ride hundreds of times and always thought it was cute. It is cute, but now as a CATCH student, I focused on the dog’s body posture, signals and vocalization. It was quite an eye opener for me to recognize that my “dog trainer” perspective came out even with an animatronic dog.
What I’m Most Excited About:
Not only has my training been educational, it has also been a lot of fun, and that is how learning should be! The training format has been easy to follow. I have also loved having my weekly calls with my CATCH program director, Arminda. The open relationship with Arminda gave me confidence to email anytime, even when it was just a simple question, or I wanted to tell her that I noticed something interesting in a training session. It is awesome knowing that I have the support of the CATCH team to help me along the way! I appreciate all the support I have been given, and how much the team wants me to become a successful dog trainer! It is obvious that the CATCH team is highly committed to their work.
The CATCH teaching technique is really good at asking questions that require thought and critical analysis. It has encouraged me to break down the training steps to ensure I understand what needs to be done, how and why.
CATCH really showed their colors when they made the effort to find alternatives to make sure I was successful. I thought the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions would have caused a pause in my studies. However, CATCH was able to connect me with my mentor via ZOOM, which enabled me to continue uninterrupted.
Way to go, Brie, we’re so proud of you!