83. "Spark Your Own Passion"
Diane Whitney’s passion is focused on improving the lives of dogs–and their owners–through humane, force-free behavior modification methods. In her nearly 20 years as a canine behavior specialist and a pet dog training instructor, she has taught nearly 2,000 group classes and hundreds of private clients, using basic classical and operant conditioning.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Early in her working career, Diane adopted an “adolescent border collie” to go hiking with her. She came home from work to discover “she’d eaten the arm of my couch.” Traditional choke-collar training almost destroyed the collie’s personality, Diane recalls. She set out to find a better, more humane approach.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Having learned about force-free training, Diane was eager to put it into practice, but “the rent had to be paid.” When her husband received a job offer he said, “If you want to make a career change, now’s the time to do it.” His support enabled her to pursue her dream.
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
When there’s something inside of you that says, “I would really like to do that, but… That’s where we start, with the ‘but.’ You have to stoke your own fire. Yes, we do need support from our friends and family, but we also need to be our own spark.”
On Her Bookshelf
How to Teach A New Dog Old Tricks by Dr. Ian Dunbar
Excelerated Learning (Explaining in plain English how dogs learn and how best to teach them) by Pamela J Reid PhD
The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
Dog Language An Encyclopedia of Canine Behavior by Roger Abrantes
The Dog Who Loved Too Much by Dr. Nicholas Dodman
Dogs by Raymond and Lorna Coppinger
Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals by Dr. Karen Overall
Top Tools on Her Browser
www.coursera.com – Free 13-week online course, “Dog Emotion and Cognition, by Prof. Brian Hare, Duke University
www.apdt.com – Association of Professional Dog Trainers, with educational resources for trainers and dog owners
Connecting With Diane Whitney
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