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 Dina Morris-Krepp of BelAir, Maryland. At the time of this posting, Dina is in Phase 6 of the Master Class, and she’s doing an impressive job!
A Word from Dina
My Favorite Recent Study Topics:
My favorite topic is Phase 2 Understanding Behavior, Body Language & Vocalization. I always thought I was good at reading signals from dogs, but now I see so much more. Phase 4 with my mentor Kathy has also been great. I have learned so much from attending her classes and getting to work with my own dog Mavor. He had been taught “go to place” as general for “go lay down” I had to change that to more specific and “go to mat.” Because my dog is highly motivated by food he was able to differentiate the two. In Phase 6, learning how to prepare lesson plans has shown me how much time and effort it takes to create them.
My Favorite Recent Hands-On Activity:
I love doing the hands-on activities, and one favorite is taking videos of dogs at play or just greeting. It was amazing how much you miss until you review the videos. I found it to be a valuable learning tool when reading calming signals and metasignals. For How Your Body Language Affects Dogs, I used my dogs Melly and Mavor, and it was interesting to see how differently they reacted to me doing play bows, soft eyes, and looking away. Another favorite is how to teach a dog to click the computer mouse. My ten year old Westie helped with this activity. I used her as my test subject trying different techniques and ruled out ones that didn’t work. Together we figured it out – thanks Melly!
How My Studies Have Changed the Way I See Dogs:
I am currently a veterinary assistant, and feel I can better assist when a new dog comes to the clinic. I can see that a dog is stressed or timid and needs to be handled with certain precautions. I try to approach each new dog from the side angle, never crowding them, thus allowing the dog to take its time and sniff me. I stay calm and send calming signals to ease their discomfort, and I use a soft voice, slowing my words down. Learning about aversive training, and how not only is it considered cruel, but what the after-effects can do to the dog astonished me. Knowing that dogs can develop fears, phobias, and anxiety from the use of aversive training makes you wonder why would anyone would want to train that way.
What I’m Most Excited About:
My experience has been nothing but wonderful, and my Program Director, Adam, is awesome. He always responds to my emails in a timely fashion and is on time for every phone meeting. Adam always has something positive to say, and I feel so much better knowing that I’m not alone. I really like the way each phase flows together, and I have never felt rushed, pressured, or overwhelmed. The CATCH support team has made me feel so welcome – I appreciate them immensely. I look forward to what’s next, and learn something new everyday!!! Now if I could just come up with a training plan to teach my dogs to vacuum while I’m at work…
Way to go, Dina, we’re so proud of you!