Jan. 1st – Introducing Myself

Written by Stephanie Roberts
January 1, 2024

Happy New Year from Procyon Training!!!

We are excited to have you all join us as we continue our mission to help people build strong, positive relationships with their dogs. 

In addition to offering Group Classes, Private Training Sessions, Free Seminars at the Juniper General Store in Ocala, and more in depth training workshops, this year we are creating a dynamic library through Blogs, Vlogs, covering various training topics. We’ll also be offering a free video tutorial on how to train Basic and Intermediate Obedience Skills (as well as tricks) on our YouTube channel. 

So I wanted to take this moment to introduce myself, so you’ll know more about the person behind all of this information. My name is Stephanie. I am originally a native of Baltimore City and I began my training career over 18 years ago with a puppy mill, labradoodle named Abendigo, but we called her Abby for short. 

Abby was a forlorn looking puppy at our local pet store. At the time I didn’t know anything about puppy mills or labradoodles for that matter. On the other side of the glass, I just saw a dog that looked like the love child of my Aunt Mary’s dog, Daisy, my grandparent’s lab, Duchess, and my childhood dog, Duke. I could not help but to fall in love with her soulful brown eyes. Because Abby looked so much like all of the dogs I had been raised with, my sister and I brought my mom to the pet store to meet Abby; and she too could not resist Abby’s charms. However, it wasn’t my mom that we had to convince – it was my dad.  How my mom tricked him into not only coming to the local mall (he hated malls) but also to go into the pet store, I’ll never know but I will always remember the call, “Come get Abby. Your father is at the pet store and said you could get her if you still want her.” Of course I rushed to the store and found my dad in a meet and greet room with Abby. She had already torn a hole in his shirt sleeve but that did not deter us. My dad had to carry her out of the store and to the car because she was afraid to walk on the shiny floors. The picture of my dad, in all of his 6 foot 8 inch glory, carrying this black labradoodle through the mall with her head resting on his shoulder looking down on all of is a memory I will always cherish. 

Abby was the first dog that was my responsibility. I paid for her crate, her toys, her food, her treats, her vet bills, and her training…and boy did she need training. Because of her time at the pet store, Abby had learned to pee or poop in her crate, so housebreaking was a challenge. However, with the help of many alarms dutifully marking the hours of each day, Abby stopped using her crate and went outside. House breaking wasn’t the only issue, grooming was also a tricky (and somewhat dangerous) endeavor.  Initially it took three people to groom Abby – one to brush her, one to hold a spoon of peanut butter to her face to give her something to do, and one to yell, “clear,” if she decided to turn and lash out at the person grooming her. And once again, with patience and a clear desensitization protocol, Abby became amicable towards the grooming process. 

Abby was a hard dog at first, one that left me in tears at the end of each training class. One week she chewed through her leash, another week she chewed through someone else’s leash and every week, no matter what potty she did before class, she would drop a large poop in the middle of class. At the end of my three class sojourn (Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced), my trainer at the time, asked me if I had ever considered becoming a dog trainer. I said no, and asked her why. She explained that I did a great job with hard dogs. I thanked her for complimenting me and insulting Abby all in one breath. (I was teasing her, as Abby had found a special place in her heart too). I went home, thought about it, and returned the following week to find out what I needed to do to become a dog trainer.

Since then I have earned several certifications and accreditations. I have earned two certifications from the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers. I am an accredited dog trainer through the International Association of Animal Behavioral Consultants. I am a Certified Trick Dog Instructor and Accredited Animal Actor Evaluator through Do More with Your Dog. I am an AKC CGC and Trick Dog Evaluator. I am also a certified Canine Fitness and Nutrition Coach. I don’t believe that certifications are the end all and be all of Dog Training. While certifications are important since the Dog Training Industry is grossly unregulated, I have worked with trainers with no certifications who have forgotten more than I will ever know about dog training and I have worked with trainers with certifications that are nothing more than bullies. My certifications help me stay current in the ever changing science of animal behavior and training. 

So whether you are watching videos from our free library of skills or are participant in our advanced skill courses like Canine Parkour, we are excited to have you join us!!!

For more information visit our website at www.procyontraining.com or follow us on our social media

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About the Author

Stephanie Roberts

CTDI, AACE, CPDT-KA, CPDT-KSA, IAABC-ADT, Certified Canine Fitness and Nutrition Coach. Stephanie has over 16 years of Dog Training. She is certified through both the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers as well as the International Association of Animal Behaviorists as an Accredited Dog Trainer. She is also a certified Trick Instructor through the Do More With Your Dog Program and is working towards certification as a Canine Fitness Instructor and Dog Parkour Instructor. She has studied positive reinforcement techniques as well as, Behavioral Adjustment Techniques.