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Review: Make Dogs Your Life, Lesson 1

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We’ve just wrapped up week one of the Make Dogs Your Life course for dog trainers!

If you missed our original announcement, Make Dogs Your Life is a new online course by Fernando Camacho, owner of FernDog Training, an AKC Certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator, member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), a Training Partner with Best Friends Animal Society, and founder of the non-profit FernDog Rescue Foundation to assist shelters and rescues.

This past week, we began with week one of the 12-week course. The course is a combination of video and written material. This week’s written material covered dog communication and body postures. This is an area that I’ve been especially interested in learning about (I just finished reading On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas), and this module provided even more insight into the world of dog communication through a written text and a downloadable PDF with illustrations of dog body positions.

After reading the written material, we moved onto the video. It began with an explanation by Fernando Camacho about understanding and recognizing dog communication signals then moved into real life examples of dog communication. The examples were excellent, watching dogs interact with each other as Camacho explained the communication that was going on between the dogs.

This past week also included a one-on-one private consultation with Fernando Camacho, part of every student’s course. I explained my goals for the course which are:

  • to review an online course for our readers who are interested in becoming a dog trainer.
  • to become better educated so we can better answer reader questions.
  • to learn more about accessing and evaluating dog behavior so we can better help readers understand how to select the best dog for their family when they visit a shelter or rescue.

In talking with Fernando, one aspect of the course that I was especially impressed with (and didn’t know previously) is in the area of ongoing support. Make Dogs Your Life students will have ongoing support with monthly coaching calls. “I want to be there every step of the way as students have a hurdle or problem,” explained Camacho.

The New Jersey-based trainer also explained that later modules of the course will help students in their preparation for starting their dog training business, a process Camacho just went through five years ago so his experience is fresh. With his background in graphic design, Camacho also supplies assistance with the business side of setting up his students’ new businesses, including preparation of business cards and setting up and hosting a website, all covered in later parts of the course.

For now, though, we’re concentrating on dog communication. Just this weekend, we went to the dog park–without our dogs!–just for the purpose of watching the communication that takes place between dogs. It was exciting to watch the dogs communicate and, many times, recognize the signals they were giving each other. (Remember that feeling as kids when you’d make up a special language so only your friends could understand you? It was a lot like that…we could recognize what the dogs were saying to each other!)

Tomorrow, a new lesson will be unveiled to us over at Make Dogs Your Life. Each week, students only have access to that week’s lesson and all previous lessons they’ve already completed…so no peeking! We’re looking forward to moving to lesson two and learning more; we’ll be back next Monday to bring you that week’s review. In the meantime, please be sure to follow Make Dogs Your Life on Facebook and Twitter.

The FernDog Trainer Academy Review Series:

Disclosure: We are receiving the Make Dogs Your Life course for review; we are not paid for our review and all statements and opinions are entirely our own.

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