University Launches Canine Management Program

One-of-a-kind program’s goal is to educate potential dog trainers.

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania has begun what it says is a one-of-a-kind a program to provide comprehensive education to individuals wishing to pursue dog training or work in other companion-dog fields.

The university’s Canine Management Training Program consists of 17 non-credit courses, the first of which began in October 2005 and finished in September 2006. The second program began in October with about 17 participants.

The instructor is Susan Bulanda, an ethologist and author specializing in canine and feline behavior.

“The program is more inclusive than just the training. Most people have no idea what it takes to be a successful trainer. It’s not just the dog that you have to train, it’s the owner,” Bulanda said.

“To be a successful dog trainer you need to know about human psychology, abnormal psychology for dogs, people personality types, education techniques, dog training methods, additional services for the client, sound business management, canine health, counseling skills, and more,” she said said.
To be a good dog trainer, Bulanda said, a person must realize that:

  • Dogs don’t speak English.  They use cues: body language, expressions and vocalizations. They will never learn to diagram a sentence.
  • Dogs have their own agenda. They look at life through a dog’s eyes and do things that relate better to the dog.
  • Dogs already know how to do anything that you want to teach them.  Training is convincing the dog to do what you want them to do when you want them to do it.
  • Dogs are willful. Some dogs are stubborn, while some dogs can be independent or willful. Some are bred to be complacent or compliant.
  • Dogs have opinions. Dogs couldn’t survive without opinions. Their choices are driven by life experiences, what they learn, what they remember, and what their instincts tell them. 

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