For Carbondale native Katie Evans, teaching dogs to sit, stay and more just comes naturally. The 32-year-old, who now lives in Scranton has been training canines for three years now. Want to catch her in action? She’ll participate in a Facebook session at 3 p.m. today. For more details, visit her Facebook page, Katie Evans Dog Training Instructor. Here’s what she has to say about her passion-turned-career.
Q: How did you get involved in training dogs?
A: I was a cook after I graduated high school all the way until about 3 ½ years ago. Then I was just done training to work at a call center and I realized that wasn’t more me. I got an email to apply to PetSmart as a groomer so I thought it must be way better than sitting all day. When I got a response they said I should interview for the trainer.
I will learn anything since I catch on quickly. I read some articles and watched a lot of Caesar Milan, but what really helped me learn was the hands-on training. Petsmart sent me away for formal training. I learned the basics as well as how to run a business. Basically a crash course but since I am a very hands on learner, it didn’t take me long!
Since COVID-19, I was put on furlough and when they asked me to come back in June it just didn’t make sense. So I decided to try in-home training for people. It’s safer and I can still assist with socializing even though your dog is not in group classes. The one thing I noticed was the success rate in training now that the dog has a chance to learn at home, where they are less distracted. Within a four one-hour basic sessions with me, your dog will learn to stay focus on you in the presence of distractions, grow a strong bond between family and dog and ensure the dogs safety, all from the comfort of your home.
Q: Why is it important for dogs and their owners to take training classes?
A: Not everyone knows how to train and sometimes reading something online isn’t enough. I am very hands on and I make things easy and fun to learn without the use of force. I use things that motivate the dog and I am reward-based. However, I also ensure the dog listens to you not just because of a reward, like treats. It is very important to teach the dogs to listen to you in the presence of distractions, react appropriately on a leash and, most importantly, grow the trust between the dog and the handler. Without proper training, you may have a dog with reactive behavior out of fear which can lead to aggression. Sometimes it’s not fear and a puppy just wants to explore. I will show you how to let a dog be a dog as well as staying safe! As of Christmas, I am now American Kennel Club-certified for star puppy and canine good citizen as well as therapy training!
Q: Why do so many people have trouble training their dog on their own?
A: If you are like me, having someone show you hands on makes it easier. Your body language is important as well as how you act and speak. Dogs feed off energy! If you are nervous, they are. If you are excited and happy, they are. If you yell out of anger to correct bad behavior, they can get fearful or worse angry.
Q: What are some of your favorite things to teach to dogs and owners?
A: Impulse control is a lot of fun to teach. Especially “leave it.” I’ve created several exercises that are fun to do with the dog. It ensures they understand the command while having fun. Another good reason for the exercises I teach, the dog has a fun way to elevate energy. You’ll have a much calmer dog on your hands. You’ll also learn games like puppy red rover, hide and seek, fetch, puppy push ups and more.
Q: When you’re not working with dogs, what do you like to do?
A: Rock and roll baby! I have been playing guitar since I was 13. Now I’m learning piano and violin. Way better with the piano. I have the violin but I need to learn how to set it up and tune it. So these days I’m learning new instruments.