892. A Day in the Life: What's It Really Like to Be a Dog Trainer and Author?
Laura De La Cruz
“I started with a couple of friends, and as their dogs responded and got better, people started to hear about it. I have in an average week anywhere from 12 to 15 dogs come out and train with their people. Also people are sending me dogs from all over the country to train. I have dogs that fly in and stay from six months to a year for training. I can take them to competitions and then they go home. So, you know, it has evolved over the last five or ten years to where people feel confident in sending their dogs because they know that I’ll take really good care of them and teach them new skills.”
Laura De La Cruz is a teacher, a dog trainer and judge, and an international best-selling author of over 400 herding and dog training books and journals. Laura has been herding for 15 years and has trained, trialed and/or titled a variety of dogs. She also trains and competes in Trick Dog, Rally/Obedience, Scentwork and Barn Hunt. She is a CGC Evaluator and Trick Dog Evaluator for AKC. She is also a Certified Trick Dog Instructor and Evaluator for Do More With Your Dog, as well as a Stunt Dog Judge. She is both an AKC Herding Judge and an AHBA Herding Judge and founded the International Herding Dog Association in 2018 for virtual herding trials. She loves dark dogs, dark books and dark beer.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“When my girls were a little older and I had a bit more free time, I started learning about the various ways you could train and work with dogs—since dogs had been my favorite animal since childhood. I heard about dog agility training and took an introductory course. I was told that if I really wanted to pursue this work and compete, I needed to get a Border Collie. A lady who sold Border Collie puppies said she’d be happy to sell me one but only under the condition that I took classes on how to work with these highly intelligent animals. I agreed and that little dog and I took classes on agility, obedience, and puppy manners for several weeks. It was during this training with my new Border Collie that I realized that there are so many ways to train and interact with these amazing dogs that were exciting and fun—both for me and the dog. That’s how I got hooked on becoming a dog trainer.”
The Most Powerful Lessons and Experiences?
1. “My mother had always been a housewife raising me, my sister and two brothers. After my father died in Vietnam she went back to school and got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees to provide for the family. She taught for many years in Albuquerque.”
2. “I was quite fortunate as a student that Albuquerque was one of the few places in the Southwest that offered accelerated high school courses in subjects like microbiology and epidemiology and many others that expanded my horizons beyond the typical curriculum.”
3. “As I learned more about the methods that were used with herding dogs like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds, it was obvious that the training techniques were quite draconian—dogs were punished vs. nurtured. I set about to do the opposite and used praise and support to reinforce and nurture the dogs as they learned new skills.”
4. “Dog training is a highly gratifying occupation on so many levels, but it’s not particularly lucrative. For this reason I cultivated my writing skills and have been fortunate to publish over 400 herding and dog training books and journals.”
On Her Bookshelf
Connecting With Laura De La Cruz
Lost Dog Article/Worksheet: http://leashupdogtraining.com/index.html
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Careers: Author, Dog Trainer and Herding Judge