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 Jeri Hirvela of Mill Valley, California. At the time of this posting, Jeri is in Phase 7 of the Master Class program, and she’s doing an impressive job with her studies!
A Word from Jeri
My Favorite Recent Study Topics:
My favorite topic came very quickly in the program: understanding dog behavior, body language, and vocalizations. As humans, we’re quick to make snap judgment calls without taking in all of the information. I love that CATCH emphasizes taking in the full-picture perspective so we can help as quickly and efficiently as possible. My second favorite area of study has been the behavior materials. Owners can be very quick to label problems with their dogs. Learning the whys, interventions, and management techniques have been eye-opening!
My Favorite Recent Hands-On Activity:
The most rewarding of the hands-on activities has been training my own dog, Betty White. My FAVORITE hands-on activity was the series of observations that were required from the very beginning of the course. I began the program just after COVID-19 locked everything down, which meant I couldn’t go to pet stores or dog parks. Watching hours of live feeds of puppies and dogs was a positive experience that will stay with me for a long time. 🙂
How My Studies Have Changed the Way I See Dogs:
This program helped me appreciate how challenging it can be to learn under extreme circumstances. At times, it’s been a very slow process for both myself and my dog. Previously, I’ve worked with instilling new behaviors in puppies. Training puppies is awesome because you’re starting with completely blank slates. Betty is an adult dog (almost 4) with a few behavior challenges, an energetic behavior makeup (American Eskimo Dog/Chihuahua/Russell-type Terrier), and absolutely NO prior training. She has taught me to slow down with my expectations and make the process fun for us both! I have much more compassion for people who adopt adult dogs, especially those that come from rescues and shelters.
What I’m Most Excited About:
Deciding to study with CATCH was the best career change decision I could have made. My advisor Becca has been fantastic at supporting me through the entire process, especially with the added stresses of undertaking a rigorous program during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been continually supported and encouraged by the amazing staff every step of my way. Thanks to my studies, I was hired by Marin Humane as a dog training instructor and already get to make a difference in the lives of local dogs and their owners. I strongly recommend the CATCH program to any canine lover who is curious about reward-positive training.
Way to go, Jeri, we’re so proud of you!