In today s competitive dog training market, you already know that puppy classes and socials are a service that you need to be offering. But with so many options out there, how do you set yourself apart while ensuring that you offer a comprehensive puppy curriculum? And how do you weed through the conflicting information that people glean from their vets, peers, and the Internet without risking the safety of the puppies in your class? With the help of VMD Dr. Zack Glantz; Nicole Skeehan & Dana Vachon, we'll tackle all of your most pressing questions and concerns about expanding your offerings to include a Puppy Social class.
The developmental stages of puppies
Identifying puppy personalities
Weeding through the confusion of what is and is not medically and behaviorally safe to do in a puppy social
Achieving buy-in from the veterinary community for offering safe puppy socials
Exercises that are enriching and fun
How to utilize a puppy social as a feeder program for future curriculum
And much more. . .
Trick out your curriculum with these tips from two of the industry s most knowledgeable trainers!
Presentation by: Nicole Larocco-Skeehan, CPDT-KA and Dana Vachon, CPDT-KA
Dana Vachon grew up in a family of animal enthusiasts. After graduating from The College of New Jersey, she worked for several years in technology, building community and project management. But her profession never felt quite right, and she knew she belonged in the world of animal behavior. In 2011, Dana took the plunge and began working as the resident puppy expert at Philly Unleashed, a prominent dog training company in the Philadelphia area.
In 2012, Dana earned her CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed). Today, Dana works with Philly Unleashed specializing in coaching people through their dog s life stages, from early development and adolescent behavior into adulthood. She is also the co-founder of Tricked Out Training (www.trickedouttraining.com), the complete educational resource for dog trainers and behavior enthusiasts.
Dana also specializes in canine anxiety issues, particularly separation anxiety, agoraphobia, and low-stress handling for dogs who have been traumatized by aversive or harsh training methods.
Dana is an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, , and currently co-instructs the Shelter Behavior Rotation (with Nicole!) for the University of Pennsylvania s Matthew Ryan School of Veterinary Medicine since 2012.
Because dogs aren't the only animals Dana loves working with, she also volunteers at the Philadelphia Zoo, where she is learning to apply her knowledge of positive reinforcement training to other species.
Dana resides in South Philadelphia with her rescued pit bull, Fawkes, and two cats, Olive and Jasper.
Nicole Skeehan s professional animal training career began in college, when she taught teaching equestrian and horseback riding lessons at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. After graduating with a double major in marketing and advertising, she worked at a boarding kennel as head trainer and obedience instructor, where she earned her CPDT-KA certification.
In 2005, Nicole decided to start lending her skills to helping pets in need. Her first experience with animal shelter work was with Animal Friends, a no-kill animal shelter and companion animal resource center in Pittsburgh.
In 2008, The Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia recruited Nicole to be its Director of Animal Behavior and Training. At the SPCA, she built a program to enrich the lives of the animals during their stay in the shelter, and to educate the public in an effort to find permanent homes for shelter animals. In this role, Nicole gained extensive experience working with the most vulnerable populations of animals, including those affected by extreme cruelty and neglect. Nicole s specialty in this role was retraining and rehabilitating fighting dogs and helping them to acclimate to life as family companions. Nicole continues to work in the field of animal rescue by contracting with shelters to build behavior programming.
Nicole also created behavior programming and served as the Director of Behavior for New Leash on Life-USA, a prison dog training program, working directly with the program s inmates and their dogs. Nicole s efforts in animal rescue have been documented on television shows including Animal Cops: Philadelphia; Animal Planet s Dogfighting Exposed; and her expertise has been tapped for National Geographic Network s What Breed Am I? and television and radio programming.
Nicole currently owns and operates Philly Unleashed (www.phillyunleashed.com), which provides group and private dog training and behavior modification to the Philadelphia metro area. She is also the co-founder of Tricked Out Training (www.trickedouttraining.com), the complete educational resource for dog trainers and behavior enthusiasts. In 2013, Nicole was elected to the Board of Directors for the Certification Counsel for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).
Nicole also co-instructs (with Dana!) the Shelter Behavior Rotation for the University of Pennsylvania s Matthew Ryan School of Veterinary Medicine, is a sought-after speaker both nationally and internationally, and is working on her first dog training book.
In her spare time, Nicole loves to travel, and has successfully meshed vacations and animal behavior through working to rehabilitate wild parrots in Belize and baby elephants in Kenya. Nicole resides on a small farm in the Philadelphia area with her husband and a menagerie that includes an Australian Cattle Dog named Uluru, a Border Collie mix named Porterhouse, two donkeys, four goats and a flock of chickens.