"TX_Cowgirl, I completely agree with the Petsmart training program, which is why I chose somewhere else to take my dogs. Right now, I think that might be the best way to get started and get some experience, but I definitely wouldn't want to stay there permanently. If I did get a job there, I would hope to be one of those trainers that people remember. I haven't heard about Bergin University and I couldn't bring myself to move to California. When I took the girls to the training facility I used, there was an ABC graduate that taught one of the classes. She knew what she was doing and she was good, but I'm not committed to going to ABC.
About volunteering at shelters, you addressed all of my fears. I would have probably just walked in and asked to train the dogs. Your advice is really helpful. I would have never thought of all the ways to go about doing this.
Thank you and I really, really do appreciate your help. "
I have been exactly in your shoes. ^^ Petsmart is an excellent place to get started, if you already know a little and will learn on your own and not depend on the program. The only downside is, if you don't have a knowledgeable, experienced trainer to work under, you're likely to run into an issue that may stump you and it will be a sink or swim situation.
I did the same thing the first time I wanted to volunteer at a shelter. I waltzed right in and said I wanted to volunteer there and train the dogs. HA! A 15ish year old. And it's a good thing I was shut down and put in my place because at that time I was foolish and brainwashed and hadn't yet transitioned into positive reinforcement training. Then I eventually volunteered at Mud's shelter, and that's where I learned a ton and earned the trust and respect of the shelter employees/volunteers and potential adopters.
The only problem I have with volunteering at my local shelter it that I might have to move again soon. I don't want to have to start all over in earning everyone's respect so soon. I'm also worried that volunteers and workers will be snob-ish. I volunteered at a shelter before I moved and the people were awful. One woman was really nice and taught me the routine, but the other just glared at me the whole time. And, the shelter itself had problems. Volunteers would come in the morning, feed the dogs, clean the kennels, and let them play for a while and then leave at around 11:00a.m. and then no one would be there until the evening to feed and exercise. Needless to say, I didn't go back.
I know no one can help me make sure the people are good, but I don't want to be given the evil eye the whole time when I'm just trying to help.
Yeah, some places are like that. Mud's shelter changed management, and now I really don't support the shelter. It is not in good shape, and neither are the dogs. They just have waaaaay more than they can handle. I'm sure all shelters are at or over their capacity, but at this point they really need to make a change for the sake of the dogs. But, if I had time to volunteer again, I still might go there because there are so many not-so-good volunteers that I just feel bad for the dogs. Even though it is annoying to be around people like that, remember you're there for yourself(to learn and gain experience and publicity) and for the dogs.