Dog pro: Silke Wittig
Certification: CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA
Business: HeRo Canine Consulting LLC
Location: Bloomsburg, PA
What types of training do you do?
I offer mostly group classes (pet manners: AKC STAR Puppy and Canine Good Citizen, APDT CLASS program, K9 Nose Work®; occasionally Tricks, Rally, Doga). I also do one-on-one sessions in-home or on “neutral territory” (mainly behavior modification and pet manners), educational events for the community (e. g. pet safety talks for children, demos, Meet the Trainer), and shelter dog evaluations and training support.
What are the most common training or behavior issues you solve for clients?
Many clients get in touch with me because of fear and/or aggression/reactivity issues with their dog towards other dogs and/or people (private sessions). Other clients contact me about basic obedience/pet manners training (mainly group classes). However, I now also get more inquiries about K9 Nose Work®, as more people want something easy and fun to do with their dog.
What do you like most about your work?
I enjoy working with and educating people. Dogs will not change their behavior unless their owners change theirs first. I use a lot of human analogies, so people can understand what’s going on with their dog, why he doesn’t comply or why he acts the way he does. They gain much more respect and understanding for their dogs and see them in a different light. Most dog owners are extremely dedicated and want what’s best for their dog. I try to offer simple but efficient solutions they can implement easily.
What do you like least about your work?
From a business standpoint: finances, paperwork, marketing. I also wish our profession was licensed, because there are a lot of quacks in the dog training and behavior world, who market themselves well, but have only limited knowledge and experience. I often get to work with these cases after the first trainer either gave up on them or gave some detrimental advice that made the dog’s behavior worse.
Why did you decide to become certified?
For two reasons: to show my professionalism (though clients usually don’t ask about credentials) and to support organizations that try to streamline our profession, have high certification standards, and a Code of Ethics I believe in. I am a firm believer in accreditation and continuing education, and that’s why I chose CCPDT certification as well as membership in some other organizations that have the same goals.
What lessons has life as a professional dog trainer taught you?
Patience, compassion, and respect for both ends of the leash.