An Excellent Experience!
I consider myself a lifelong student of animal behaviour. After I finished my undergraduate and did some amateur training with my rescue dogs I decided the next step in my learning would be to become a registered dog trainer. After reviewing several options I chose Norma Jeanne’s course for four reasons:
- She lets her student trainers sit in and help with (as per their experience level) her puppy classes and some socialization\behaviour sessions. All the other ‘become a dog trainer’ courses I reviewed at best let me attend a few weekend seminars with my own dogs or audit a few hour long sessions. That is nothing in comparison. Working with Norma Jeanne during the year I took this course, and anytime I have been available after my graduation (so years now), I’m given the opportunity for several hours of hands on experience, or direct observation, a week. This amount of experience is immeasurable. This course has given me the opportunity to work with dozens of different breeds of dog at many ages and stages of training as well as gain experience communicating with their owners.
- On going support. I cannot describe how helpful Norma Jeanne has been to me personally. She has answered every question I have ever asked immediately, given me unlimited opportunities to participate and build experience (in her classes, at the humane society and assisting with seminars), on numerous occasions given me excellent referrals for job opportunities and sent me client referrals in my area. I have never been left wanting for dog training work and have been offered far more opportunities than I can keep up with. This course really allowed me to hit the ground running with a dog training career and I have had nothing but great responses from my own clients.
- A high standard of student achievement. All the other courses I reviewed didn’t seem to expect me to show much hands on skill in order to graduate. Personally, I’m bothered by the idea that there are people out there who call themselves animal professionals to clients but have never been expected to preform their skills objectively to a high level. To pass this course you not only complete an exam but also have to demonstrate teaching skills with dogs and show advanced level obedience with one dog you’ve fully trained personally to a high standard. Practicing the advanced obedience skills out in the park with my dog has actually gotten me clients because it looked so good. I feel this is a really important foundation to calling yourself a professional.
- Affordable. I’ve spent the last several years paying for student loans incurred from my and my partners undergraduate and post graduate career training. Norma Jeanne’s course was so affordable I was about to pay for it easily upfront, and after the years of support she has given me the price tag seems impossibly inexpensive compared to ever other special skills courses I’ve paid for.
In closing I think the Canine Correspondence Studies was really worth my time, I gained so much experience and always feel welcome at the training studio. I also feel like I can access support anytime through Norma Jeanne, the affiliated trainers mailing list, the huge bundle of resources that came with the course. If you are in Ontario I really recommend getting involved with Puppy Power and KW Humane Society (with whom they work closely) personally as part of your course. However if you are international I think you could probably still get a lot from it through your correspondence and video work. In short if you want to get a lot out of this course, you can. Even though I took it a few years ago, I still get free access to all the updated materials and videos produced by Norma Jeanne and her associates. And yes, the manuals, videos, and organization policies are frequently updated.