I can’t believe it has been 13 years since I attended North State Canine Academy, now called Tarheel Canine School for Dog Trainers. February 1999 was a time that shaped my entire adult life, and I would not be doing what I do – or even be the person that I am without the time that I spent at Tarheel.
In December 1998, I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Animal Behavior and Neurobioogy. However, there was nothing in my collegiate career that prepared me for the world of dog training and canine behavior modification. Certainly, I learned nothing about the intricacies of running your own business. All of these were skills that I obtained at Tarheel.
The key to the success of the Tarheel program is the balanced approach. Students are taught all of the skills needed to be a professional dog trainer. There is book work – with well thought out diversity in the knowledge needed to truly understand dogs and the dog training world. There is classroom time, where all topics are covered from behavior to creating a successful business plan. Most important, there is supervised leash time where student can hone their skills actually interacting with dogs. All of these segments are absolutely necessary for success (for both the trainer and their clients) and often very ignored by other schools and programs.
Since graduating from Tarheel, I have referred multiple friends to the program, all of which are successfully working in the dog training world. Many of which are competing and teaching at the top of their chosen specialty.
Personally, I entered Tarheel with idealistic thoughts, big dreams and little skill. The knowledge that I gained and friendships that I made created the person that I am today. I am proud to have successfully trained hundreds of dogs and owners, and to have built a reputation of honest communication while refining a niche in the clinical behavior world.
While at Tarheel, although I was enrolled in the Professional Pet Program, I was invited to attend all events and I caught the bug for the protection world. After leaving, the continued support that I received made it possible for me to get involved in the Police K9 and protection sport world. It is that involvement that lead me to compete in and later become a judge for the Protection Sports Association (PSA).
In closing, I cannot recommend the Tarheel Canine School for Dog Trainers enough. It is single handedly the most important and influential decision that I have ever made. The knowledge that I gained gave me the tools to be successful. The relationships that I formed gave me support to bring everything together. Anyone interested in canine behavior should attend this program. But for anyone considering a career in dog training, this program is a must. It will be the decision that makes the difference between struggling through and guaranteed success.
Co-Owner/Trainer, Thunderhawk Canine
Clinical Behavior Consultant
Certified Police K9 Trainer