Animal Behavior College Reviews & Success Stories

Meet Them Yourself!

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Karen L. Combs
Owner of "Karen Cares for Canines LLC"

My success story so far is going back to school at fifty and looking forward to a future other than the restaurant business that consumed me for almost thirty years. Graduating ABC and starting my own business has been a challenge that I have really enjoyed.

When I started the program, I had three dogs. Thanks to the volunteer kennel work requirement of ABC, I fell in love with a little American Staffordshire terrier (pit bull mix) that had been at the Humane Society for at least a year and a half no one seemed to want her. She was hit by a car and lost her back leg. She was scared by her accident and from living on a cement floor for so long she also displayed a lot of kennel aggression toward other dogs and certain people. I could not give up on what I thought was a sweetheart with no training, manners or social experience. So, as the story goes, she stole my heart. I continued to visit her after completing the volunteer requirement of ABC. I asked if I could take her home to give her a break from the confinement of a cage. Everyone warned me of the possible dangers this dog could present for me and the dogs I already have. They said that chances were I would bring her back just like everyone else had in no time at all. Well, the little visit here at home has turned into two weeks now. I think she has found her new home.

I look forward to building a successful future in the world of dog training. Along the way I have met a lot of good friendly people that I may have never come across otherwise. I was invited to the Deerfield Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting as a guest in order to promote my business and meet members who could help influence this new adventure in my life. That in itself was a special event for me. I think I am off to a good start in my new business, Karen Cares for Canines LLC. Thank you, ABC.


Julie Newman
Home Maker, Home Health Aide and Dog Trainer

I am a mature person who found it necessary to start a career after being a home maker for many years. For my entire life, I have been a devoted pet owner of dogs and one incredible cat. My love for animals made this a natural choice. I made inquiries about dog training and was taken in by what Animal Behavior College (ABC) had to offer.

My Program Manager and Externship Coordinator were invaluable aids in explaining all the requirements and answering all my questions. The tests for each stage of dog training were thorough reviews of all of the reading material.

My plan is to advertise myself as a Certified Dog Trainer. I would like to do that full-time, but that depends on the demand. I took a training program as a Home Health Aide which I just completed. If I can work at dog training and being a home health aide, doing each one part-time, I would be very happy.


Betsy Thompson
Director of Human Resources and Training

I’ve had a love for dogs ever since I can remember. When I was five years old, my best friend and I would pretend to be dogs – it was our favorite game and our parents were great about putting water bowls out for us to drink from and taking us for walks with makeshift leashes! My father was in the military and we moved every couple of years, so it wasn’t until he got ready to retire that we got our first dog – a Weimeraner named Gray King. I’ve been involved with dog training on a personal level for sixteen years. I currently have three adopted dogs – Merlin, Emma and Huckleberry. Merlin is my therapy dog, Huck is my agility and flyball dog and Emma is my couch potato.

Five years ago, I started volunteering at the Humane Society Fairfax County and found what had been missing from my life. I love the interactions I have with the dogs there. It was also through the HSFC that I found a wonderful dog trainer who showed me that anything was possible with any dog. It’s wonderful to work with the HSFC dogs to increase their adoptability simply by changing their behavior and then knowing you’ve contributed to their finding a new home. I’ve also found that working with potential and current pet owners is very rewarding. I decided that working with dogs would be my second career once I am able to retire which I hope will be in a few years.

After searching for certification programs, I decided that ABC was the right fit for me. It was a great choice. The externship part of the program was excellent and offered me an opportunity to try out what I had learned. My mentor has invited to me to continue on with her so I can continue to gain experience teaching. I look forward to many years of continuing my volunteer experience and hopefully starting a new career training dogs.


Debby Million
Former Nurse and Owner, "In Line K-9"

I've loved dogs all my life and now have four of my own, including a 150 lb Great Dane, a 3 lb Yorkie, and 2 Chihuahua/Pekinese mixes. They bring me so much joy. I can't imagine my life without dogs. I was so glad to find a school that would teach me the skills I needed to train dogs. Plus, it's so much fun. I chose ABC because it was very affordable for me and I could learn at my own pace, while still holding down a full time job. I work at a state facility for the mentally disabled (as a nurse for 10 years and now as a document examiner), and I couldn't quit and go to school. There weren’t any schools nearby, so when I found out about ABC, I knew it was the way to go. I've learned so much in the past year and it's been well worth the effort I've had to put into it. I'm 51 now, and I've proven to myself and others that you're never too old to learn to do what you love. The hands-on training with my mentor was invaluable and I'm so blessed to have had her to work with. From here, I plan to offer free basic obedience sessions to anyone who adopts a dog from my local shelter. I am also starting my own business for private training. Thank you ABC for giving me the chance to make a difference for dogs and their owners and for providing me with an excellent program that I know will change my life.


Mark A. Wolfe
ABC Certified Dog Trainer with Honors

My name is Mark A. Wolfe. I retired some years ago from sales and owning my landscaping company. I returned to my first love, dogs. I chose Animal Behavior College because of the convenience of internet classes and also the hands-on training through the externship and volunteering. I have learned so much through ABC that I feel very confident with the skills that I now have. It was great having a program manager to work with though out the curriculum. I am now working in a new career that I have always wanted. I plan on building on my own business in the near future. I own two German Shepherds, Tito and Zeuss. They are my best buddies.


Mary Krolikowski
Registered Nurse/Case Manager and Dog Trainer

My name is Mary Krolikowski. I am a Registered Nurse/Case Manager as my full time career. I have loved animals my whole life. My family has almost always had dogs. I currently have 2 dogs, a rabbit and 3 guinea pigs. My true passion is dogs, though. I have been a volunteer at an animal shelter for over 11 years and I absolutely love it. I’ve been told that I have a natural ability or talent with dogs, which is one of the reasons why I spent more time with some of the more difficult dogs that came through the shelter. I would play with them, love them, work on some basic obedience cues and I would notice that sometimes these dogs became less difficult. This is the reason I decided to go to school to become a certified dog trainer. My hope is that I can help prevent any dog that gets adopted from our shelter from being returned for behavior/obedience issues and help make others more adoptable.

I chose Animal Behavior College after doing a large amount of research on the internet. I called a few of the former students - now trainers - on the ABC website that had graduated from ABC to inquire about their experiences with the curriculum. Everyone I spoke to gave me wonderful, positive feedback about the program. The staff at Animal Behavior College was very informative when I spoke with them to gather information as well. They were very upbeat and friendly. I could tell that they really enjoyed what they were doing and that was important to me. It was also important to me that the program was online and flexible as I do work full-time. The Mentor Trainer I did my externship was very knowledgeable and a wonderful teacher. I believe my externship was my favorite part of the curriculum.

Thanks ABC for all of the knowledge and training you provided me with to fulfill a dream of mine. I look forward to helping others train their dogs and to helping the dogs at the shelter I volunteer at get good homes. I couldn’t have done it without ABC!


Sandy Shore
Home Health Nurse and Owner of “Bad Dog to Good Dog LLC”

I chose ABC because I liked the fact that the founder, Steve Appelbaum, was initially a dog trainer himself. I liked that he built his business up from the ground and that he helped evolve his concept into a complete program. I liked that ABC focuses on education for dog training and is not a "general technical school" where dog training is just another program to make money off of as many tech schools are noted for. The curriculum seemed very complete and many of the people I originally spoke with and was involved with throughout the program were ABC grads themselves. I found the ABC program very difficult and complete, and I have a MS in nursing! I found it more challenging than my Masters program!

I would like to explore different options but would like to base my business on my experience as a Home Health Nurse and provide training assistance in my community.

I became a dog trainer because of my dog "Whizzer" who sadly died due to the pet food poisoning in 2007. She was my "inspiration" for going into dog training due to the fact she was the worst-behaved dog I ever had. I was determined not to return her to the shelter (I never do anyway) and after going through four separate dog trainers, spending over $2000 without any success with dealing with her poor leash walking, aggression to other dogs, and destructiveness, I finally find one trainer who was helpful and who provided training to me, some of which was similar to the philosophies of ABC. I was amazed how many training experts were not, how many used punishment and force and how many really did not pay attention to what my needs were in regards to Whizzer's behavioral issues. Subsequently I decided to pursue dog training since my love for dogs and all things canine makes me want to help others keep their dogs "forever" as so many turn dogs into shelters and are subsequently euthanized.


Dawn E. Archer Pizzoferrato
ABC Certified Dog Trainer

My name is Dawn E. Archer Pizzoferrato and I chose ABC because I live in a small town and it was convenient for me to get my training education over the internet. But it also provided a means for hands-on training through the volunteer program and externship with a local dog training school. The local training also provided me a network of dog training people in which to get info or work. I learned so much from ABC. Even though I worked with and trained dogs as a young person (my 4-H club trained and socialized puppies for Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, MI) a lot has changed in dog training since in the last 30 years. I had to re-learn some techniques and learn some all new philosophies of dog training. The book/internet info has been a valuable resource me throughout the externship and beyond as I pursue creating my own business.

I'm currently marketing my own Dog Training/Pet Sitting business called Pizzoferrato Pet-care and Training Services – P.P.A.T.S. I've already gotten some clients and am looking forward to providing valuable services to the busy professionals in my area. My husband is also a professional photographer and together we are offering pet owners/clients beautiful professional pet/family portrait photography.


Gerard Alblas
ABC Certified Dog Trainer

After being in the construction land surveying business and spending the last 4 years in marketing for the same company, I felt it was time to do something else. Being the proud owner of 2 female Labrador dogs and having time on my hands, I decided to become a professional dog trainer. The ABC Dog Obedience Instructor Training Program, in my opinion, is the best. When I visited a new Petco store in the neighborhood, I was instantly hired as a staff dog trainer. I only showed them my new "ABC Certified Dog Trainer" ID card. Now I am approaching a new career I always dreamed of. Thanks to all you guys at ABC.


Caitlin Morrow

I currently live in Western North Carolina, but I am not originally from here. My husband and I moved here about 2 years ago from Tennessee. I am a recent graduate from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Animal Science. I went to UT for their pre-vet program but found that I was more interested in animal behavior and that was when I found ABC. I choose ABC because it allowed me to work online on my own schedule. I loved the program because it gave me the opportunity to work with a Mentor Trainer hands on. I learn best by watching and then doing, and I found that working with my mentor during my externship was a great experience that taught me skills I wouldn't have learned in a book.

I had a great experience with ABC and their staff was very helpful throughout the program. I am currently using my certification to work with a rescue organization and help make their dogs more adoptable. I would like to open my own training/boarding facility but for now I am enjoying helping shelter dogs find homes.


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