Hello everyone! I may be a familiar face to some of you, but for those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting me yet, I wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself.
My name is Taylor, and I’m the Director of Training here at Happy Dogs. I joined the team in early 2017 and have since tackled a wide variety of tasks within the business. Training is obviously my primary responsibility, but as it turns out, I can step in to fill a few other roles, too. On any given day, you might find me outside facilitating one of our daycare groups, doing a temperament evaluation on a new dog, helping out at the front desk, or up to my eyeballs in fur doing baths and blowouts in the tub room. And in between those tasks, I might be doing paperwork, answering phone calls, or writing blog posts. Happy Dogs is a busy place, and it’s pretty much exactly where I hoped to end up.
There are two things that were the biggest players in landing me here – background and education. I could bore you with all sorts of other details and stories about me, but we’ll save those for another day. For now, let’s keep it all about the dogs.
So for starters, I attended Purdue University right out of high school to study pre-veterinary medicine. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize they had degrees and choices that appealed to me more than the idea of vet school. And so I changed my concentration and took off down a path of Animal Behavior and Well-Being. It was awesome. The College of Ag was a wonderful place for me, and I had some of the greatest professors in the country as I worked through each semester. A short four years passed and I had my Animal Sciences degree in hand.
To follow that up, and to make things official, I joined the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP). Once I’d met their membership requirements, I went through a lengthy certification process to become a Certified Dog Trainer (CDT). So, if we’ve been emailing and you’re curious about that “IACP-CDT” tacked on to the end of my name, that’s where it comes from. I’ve also recently become an Associate Trick Dog Instructor (ATDI), and I plan to work through a handful of other titles and certifications in the next few years.
Having said all of that, now I’m going to turn around and argue that classrooms and evaluations aren’t where you learn your most valuable lessons. So much is to be gained through personal, hands-on experience. I’ve had dogs in the family every single day since I was born, and now have five of my own as an adult. Each of them betters me in different ways. The puppy still tests my patience every chance he gets, even now at 14 months old. The hound keeps me humble, reminding me that not every dog learns at border-collie-speed. The deaf one came pre-packed with special challenges that were entirely new to me. The heart dog pushes me to do and be better and to try new things every day. The senior is still teaching me about love and loyalty after almost 13 perfect years together.
I’m completely convinced that every dog I work with has something to teach me, and so far none have disappointed me. The lessons can be hard – even heartbreaking – but I owe pretty much all of my opportunities to the dogs that taught them to me. I can’t begin to express how rewarding it is to get to do this every day. When I began organized dog training at age 11, I couldn’t have guessed it would lead to my dream job and a house full of quirky canines, but here I am.
I look forward to getting to know more and more of you, our clients and friends, and I can’t wait to continue to expand our training programs at ‘your dog’s favorite hangout!’
Taylor Herr IACP-CDT
Director of Training