By Cynthia Robertson
Get the scoop on our positive reinforcement trainers at WOOFS! This month, meet Marti Friedman, an apprentice trainer at WOOFS! since May 2016. Marti recently graduated with distinction and was named a Certified Training Partner by the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior.
1. Did you have a background in working with dogs (or other animals) prior to working at WOOFS?
I was CFO of a Non-Profit that raised Labrador Retrievers to be explosive ordinance detection canines for various homeland security agencies. Our success rate in placement as EOD canines was 90%. I managed foster families across the country as they raised their pups and I personally raised three of our successful EOD canines: "Seamus" currently a US Marshal in Chicago, "Indie" a Mexican Federal Agent at the US Embassy in Mexico, and "Stryker", now retired but previously the EOD canine for the Vatican and the Swiss Guard.
I was also previously the financial consultant for McLean Animal Hospital for 10 years, as well as the CPA for a horse breeding farm and racing stables.
2. What made you want to work with dogs?
I have always enjoyed training dogs and being around animals. I grew up around horses and cats, but dogs came into my life late. My first dog, a Rottweiler, was a wedding present from my husband (Nothing says "I Love You" like a German import! "Happy Anniversary" was a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog!)
3. What are you goals and aspirations in being a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner?
To not only teach positive reinforcement training to dog owners, but also to show them that positive reinforcement training builds trust and deepens the relationship between owner and dog.
4. What is the most challenging part of working with dogs for you?
I want to fix everything or want to work on too many behaviors at once! I believe most dogs can be good companions if taught and cared for properly. I think it is most emotionally challenging to see a dog that is shut down and realizing he may not be reachable.
5. What is the most rewarding part of working with dogs for you?
It is so rewarding to see the difference in the owner as they become more confident in their ability to work with and teach their dog.
6. What is your favorite part of working at WOOFS?
I love the camaraderie, as well as the professionalism of the trainers and their willingness to help each other along the way. All of the trainers have an amazing depth of education, knowledge, and dedication to this "craft".
7. Tell us about your dogs:
Mojo (age 6) is a male mutt we rescued from a hoarder situation. Mojo came to us at 6 months - he had spent his puppy-hood living in a basement, basically sensory deprived, and not housebroken. Patience and time has brought him into his own. While he is still an anxious dog outside of the home, he is a very friendly and sweet companion. He has proven himself to be a wise older sibling to Karma and cheered her on during her KPA training.
Karma (age 18 months) is a female Giant Schnauzer/Poodle mix. We are her second home - she came to us at 12 weeks old (bounced out of her first home for being too energetic!) Karma is a high energy, true working dog. We got each other through KPA and both of us came out stronger. Karma's post KPA accomplishments include earning her Novice and Intermediate Trick titles in one session. She has recently mastered her Advanced Trick behaviors - ready to show them off at any time! She is a "challenging" adolescent who always wants to work.
8. Anything you would like people to know about you?
I am married and have 2 sons (ages 17 & 20 years).
When I'm not training my dogs I love adventure travel, hiking, baking, good wine and binge watching Netflix. I am a CPA and CFE.
I am also an APDT Member, and am enrolling in the Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT) program at University of Tennessee this March.