HOW I BECAME A DOG TRAINER
Hi, I’m Lorna Olitch and this is my story about how I became a dog trainer.
I HAD A DREAM
Ever since I got introduced to my first dog the day I was born I know then that I loved dogs and I wanted to train them. I had many other dogs over the years and trained them the best I could.
My first dog was a Cocker/Springer Spaniel name Gyspy. My dad got her in August and I was born in November, he wanted her for hunting. She and I became best friends and played a lot together.
After Gypsy, we got another dog from a friend of my mother’s. He was an Irish Terrier named Rusty, he was five years old. I thought I would like to try my hand at showing dogs. Rusty already had his Canadian Champion but that didn’t stop me, I show him anyway. I was hooked.
I bought an Irish Terrier puppy from my mother’s friend, I named Cohill Bantry Boy (Chipper).
I thought I would like to show him as soon as I picked him out. I put him in his first show in Lethbridge Alberta, Canada. He was three months, there were two other puppies in his class. He was about five centimeters off the ground, tail tucked under as far as it could go and ears pinned back as far as they could go. HE GOT THIRD.
The next show was in Edmonton Alberta. He was four months old and the same thing happened—third out of three. But I was not giving up on him because I know he had potential. I took him to handling classes and he started to show his true colours.
I thought he was ready for one of the largest dog shows in Canada (Calgary Alberta). He just squeaked in the Senior Puppy Class since he was one year old on the last day of the show. There were six Irish Terriers on all three days. He took everything all three days except the female part. He got six points out of ten towards his championship. He needed four more points to get his championship. I put him in the Millerville show just outside Calgary, he got his four points the first day. He was now a Canadian champion Irish Terrier.
Next, I decided to try the obedience side of showing.
I then enrolled him in an obedience class, he got second out of 15 dogs. Now I was hooked and enrolled him in Lethbridge Alberta in the Companion Dog class for the day event. On the first day, he placed third out of 20 dogs, second day he placed second out of 15. He was well on his way to his Companion Dog when I enrolled him in the obedience trials in Edmonton Alberta. He just needed one more leg toward his Companion Dog. I enrolled him on the first day only, hoping he would get it on that day. And guess what HE DID! 12 dogs and he got second. Now his title was Ch. Cohill Bantry Boy CD. I was so proud of him that I decided to put him in the next training class for Companion Dog Excellent. Well, that was a disaster! He flunked the class. That was the end of his showing career.
Meet my Lifetime Partner
A few years later I meet my partner David in Calgary. We are still together after 45 years. We moved to Winfield BC, Canada that summer (now Lake Country). We rented a place there on five acres beside an apple orchard. Chipper loved it there, he could run free. Little did I know that in the winter the orchardist put mice poison down to keep the mice and other rodents from eating the bark of the trees. I let Chipper out one day and since he loved apples he ate some and became very sick. I took him to the vet and there was nothing he could do. (he was poisoned). I miss him still to this very day. We then moved to Enderby BC Canada where we rent a place on 10 acres.
My Next Dog In My Life
My next dog was a Bovier named Salvador. We got him from our ex-landlord. He was six years old at the time and had his dog house outside on her deck. He only was allowed off there when her daughter went horseback riding. Her daughter moved out and didn’t want Salvador. We had previously moved to a place in Mara BC. Later on our ex-landlord ask us if we wanted Salvador and, of course, we said: “Sure!”. Since he was an outside dog we made a shelter for him outside so he could come and go as he pleased. Well, needless to say, he loved it. He lived for another five years and they were the best years of his life.
My Dog Training Career Begins
After Salvador passed away we decided to move to Chilliwack BC and stayed there for another ten years. I trained under the operator of Heal Well Centre as trainer number 2. While there I was offered another dog in October 2012 named Pia. She was a Lagotto Romagnolo a 3000-year-old Italian breed used as a hunting dog. They are now known as the Official Truffle Dog.
The operator of the Centre wanted her for detection work since that breed had a great nose for sniffing various odors such as put out by things like drugs or truffles. He asked us if we wanted to foster her until he decided to see if she was good enough to be a detection dog. A week later he wanted to see if she could passed the test. He threw out a Kong to see if she would fetch it but she didn’t. He told us that she didn’t have what it takes to be a detection dog and if we wanted her we could take her since she was of no use to him.
Well, you know what my answer was!
He had told me that she was two years old and was considered a rescue dog. She had been removed from her home and submitted to a public shelter after getting into a fight with another family dog, a Poodle.
Since she was a purebred I knew she had a microchip implant. I took her to a vet where they were able to scan her chip but could only reveal her registration number. Everything else was private info that only the original owners had access to.
Fortunately I had joined a Lagotto Romagnolo FaceBook group so I posted about her hoping someone could help me learn more about her. Soon, a lady from the Netherlands was able to search the records for Pia’s registration number and was able to tell me her pedigree. It revealed that Pia was born on December 4, 2007, (which happened to be my mum’s birthday, so I just had to keep her) and her registered name was “Romacom Utopia Pia“. We learned that she was actually almost five years old. Quite a bit older then the two year-old I was led to believe she was.
It turned out that Pia knew all her basic obedience and I think had agility training also because I tried to see if she would go through the detection agility course. She went up the A-frame and down the other side like a pro. [NOTE: A detection A-Frame is twice as high as the dog agility A-Frame.] Pia went over the balance beam and up and down the see-saw with no problem. So I didn’t know what more training I could do with her.
Since she had a lot of behavioral baggage she turned out to be a real handful. I never have had a dog like this before and my previous dog training just wasn’t cutting it. She wasn’t getting better. As a matter of fact, she was getting worse!
It wasn’t until I discovered Absolute Dogs in 2017 that I decided to take their training as a Pro Dog Trainer. This method of dog training was very unique. They trained dogs with fun games. Before using this method of training to the public I decided to use it on Pia. It made such a huge difference I now use this method of training with other dog owners and their dogs and the results are AMAZING.
PIA WAS DIAGNOSED WITH DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY
May of 2021 Pia’s advanced age began to show. She was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy (equivalent to us getting Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS). We were a hair’s breadth away from taking her to the vet to be put down. She couldn’t get up without the help of a sling which we made from several old t-shirts. She wears them 24/7 so we can help her get up whenever we need to. This is not a common disease in Lagottos. On June 14, 2021, I discovered this product called Santax biotech which I purchased because they had a 30 to 60-day guarantee that stated if I didn’t see any results they would refund my money. So on June 14, 2021, I started her on it. She had no control of her hind end and would fall down if not held up with the sling. Her front legs were all that kept her moving.
Eventually I saw little things happening. She was becoming more alert but had poor bladder control. She was peeing herself two or three times a night and that demanded that we had to get up, change her bedding, then take her outside to pee before we could get back to sleeping. Her bowel movement was also not normal. By September I had finished my first supply of the product and was seeing improvement just about every day. I discovered four other products for this disease and started using them. As I am writing this (April 5, 2022) she is getting up on her own without much help, can walk by herself as well as go pee and poo on her own. She let’s me know when she wants to go out and is back to her demanding self. We now had a renewed Pia!!!
How Good Calm Dog Training Business Began
I used to train dogs for my friends and found it very rewarding and thought that is what I wanted to do as my career. But I had to spend thousands of dollars on training and travel. I just did have the time and money to do that. It got put on hold for years.
UNTIL the internet started to advertise dog training courses online. It wasn’t until 2015 I decided to get my feet wet and go for it.
I took a course from FERNDOG TRAINER ACADEMY. Unfortunately, it was not the training I wanted to do. I found that the basic commands were good but after the dog knew that what do you do now?
Then I discovered the PRODOG TRAINER course from a group in the UK that train dogs by playing fun games with them. This was a game-changer. After completing the course I decided to try this on my dog before teaching this type of training to the public.
She knows all her basic commands but when I started training her this type of training made a huge impact on our relationship. She is much more focused on me and loves playing games. I try to play a game a day with her even though she is 14 years old and has Degenerative Myelopathy.
Our motto is you have to be Sexier Than a Squirrel, which I became.
Here is my online training website if you want to try this method out by yourself.