Thank You, Class 50!
The latest graduates from our Master Dog Trainer program represented a significant milestone for the School for Dog Trainers. Class 50 marked our half-century of classes since we first started accepting students over a decade ago.
Not only was this a momentous occasion for our school, but the graduation was the culmination of a six month journey for the students themselves. Their journey had started on freezing January days, continued throughout the spring, and ended on a glorious summer evening in June with their graduation ceremony.
This is the story of Class 50 at the School for Dog Trainers.
What Did Students Learn During the Master Dog Trainer Program?
The Master Dog Trainer program is a comprehensive six month course which encompasses a mixture of canine theory and hands-on dog training. The program provides students with the skills and expertise they require to train dogs professionally, in addition to offering them business and marketing knowledge to succeed in the thriving industry of dog training.
The curriculum is designed to offer students a well-rounded education on all facets of becoming a professional dog trainer. The modules in the program include:
- Canine Training & Behavior Modification Professionals Program
- Police K9 Instructor Program
- Search and Rescue Dog Trainer Program
- Service Dog Trainer Program
Students are graded on the quality of their classroom work and performance in their practical assessments. You can learn more about the individual programs and the curriculum for the Master Dog Trainer course here.
Going the Extra Mile
The Student Excellence Program at the School for Dog Trainers challenges our students to go above and beyond the standard curriculum, requiring them to demonstrate a number of additional academic and professional qualities.
The program requires students to take part in voluntary work and display a positive, proactive attitude throughout their studies.
Although open to the entire class, it is a testament to the sheer difficulty and commitment required that less than a third of Class 50 managed to complete our Student Excellence program. This is a terrific achievement for those who were recipients of the Student Excellence award.
Learn more about the Student Excellence Program at the School for Dog Trainers.
The Class 50 Graduation Ceremony
Our Class 50 graduation ceremony took place on Thursday June 20th, 2019, at our campus facility in Harmony, NC.
Students received their dog training certification for graduating from the Master Dog Trainer course and finally had the chance to relax after spending six months in the most comprehensive learning environment for dog trainers in the world.
In addition to the graduates and faculty staff, the event was extremely well-attended by guests of the graduating students. Friends and family had traveled from across the United States to see their students graduate, and the ceremony was also made available via a live stream on Facebook.
As is customary at our graduation ceremonies, a number of medals and awards were bestowed to graduates who had excelled in various aspects of their studies.
A former graduate and Valedictorian of his class, Josh Abolt (Class 44), gave a keynote speech which impressed upon the importance of not just working with dogs, but understanding how to work with people. After graduating from his own class a few years ago, Josh started Backcountry K-9 Training, based in Bedford Hills, NY.
You can re-watch the entire ceremony at your convenience below:
National Honor Society
The School for Dog Trainers is proud to be a member of the Alpha Beta Kappa National Honor Society. Alpha Beta Kappa is the foremost honor society for private postsecondary schools, colleges and universities in the United States.
Graduates from the Master Dog Trainer program who achieved a GPA of 4.0 and attendance of 98% or higher were inducted into the Honor Society. From Class 50, we are proud to confirm we had five inductees:
A Message from the President
Good evening, everyone. Guests, members of the faculty, colleagues, graduates of class 50. Good evening and welcome. It is my very great pleasure to welcome you all to the Class 50 School for Dog Trainers Graduation. With Erin Purgason, our company owner, I extend my warmest congratulations to all those receiving certificates today and acknowledge the support that has helped you along the way. For our graduates, this has been a long journey. To all the family and friends with us today, and to those who could not be here in person and are watching the ceremony, or thinking of graduates as they celebrate this moment, thank you.
Thank you for the encouragement you have offered, and in many cases for the sacrifices you have made so that your student could earn the certificate that they will receive today. Graduates, please would you take a moment to acknowledge all those who supported you, near and far, including your own classmates, and the faculty. Would you please also all stand so that we can acknowledge you and show our gratitude to you?
Today is a day to acknowledge and celebrate your unwavering commitment to challenges. The first challenge that you faced was the idea of committing almost 6 months of your life to working with man’s best friend. Many of you developed enormous self-confidence by simply pushing yourselves into interactions with dogs and people that absolutely terrified you. You learned that being challenged is not the worst thing that can happen and you. You also realized that some of the greatest lessons available are buried deep inside of some of the most challenging situations.
Today is also a day to recognize the advantages of successes and more importantly failures. Each of you has learned a very valuable lesson. Regardless how much you focus, develop your technique and strive to master your craft, sometimes, a dog has a different agenda. As I told you at the very beginning of the class “You often learn more from the zeros that you do the 100’s”. Some of you, clearly learned a lot more than others. I went on to explain that you wouldn’t understand that concept until now, and I believe that many of you now do. Remember, If you are persistent, failure is simply a mile marker on the road to success.
Some of you have braved illness, injury and other personal challenges and losses. Despite these additional challenges, you persisted. Not only did you buckle down in order to make this program a success for yourself, many of you worked to make it a positive experience for others. Despite the work and tests that you were faced with, each of you took the time to give back. You volunteered in reading programs and nursing home visits. You got involved in other activities to show people your passion and how life can be better with dogs. For this accomplishment, we are most proud of you.
As I look out at you, I see both great accomplishment and great change. I see a student body that has challenged their own personal comfort level in many aspects of life. As such, I stand here with the utmost confidence that you remain steadfast in the pursuit of your passion, will continue to explore research and innovation and you will advance the human-dog relationship.
Thank you to Class 50
We want to thank all of our graduates of class 50 for making this the largest and one of the most successful classes to date. We wish you all the best in your careers in the dog training industry and we know that you will make a positive impact on the profession!