|Yvette and Ludo|
Next in our "meet the family" series is Yvette Magee. Our most recent Senior Trainer, Yvette has been with us since August of 2012. She is an amazing addition to the Training Department and our "hands-free" advocate. She loves to help strengthen that bond of confidence and trust between veteran and dog by using hands-free control. Here is a bit about Yvette...
1) What made you decide to become a Paws and Stripes Trainer?
Hmm. Let me think. That was a long time ago! I liked the idea of working with dogs while using my previous background and including the “medical” element of working with TBI & PTSD. I also thought it would be a challenge that allowed for personal growth. I was looking forward to gaining knowledge that I could not get, otherwise.
2) What do you like most about working at Paws and Stripes?
I definitely have to say it’s the comradery, the atmosphere and my coworkers. I love the fact that we are listened to and our opinions are valued. I have seen some of my ideas developed since I have been here.
On top of that, service dog training for veterans makes me feel like I am supporting people who have dedicated their lives for our freedom.
3) What do you find most challenging about working at Paws and Stripes?
It can be hard watching the Teams struggle. It is frustrating when a veteran does not realize their dog’s potential which can happen throughout the program, especially in the beginning or when they hit a wall.
4) How is Paws and Stripes service dog training different from pet training?
The expectations for the dogs are very different because they are relied on by the veteran. The skills learned must be spot-on so the Team can be successful in public situations. When training pets, there is a lot more leniency because most people do not put their pets in such challenging circumstances.
5) What are your short term goals?
In the near future, I plan to pass the CPDT-KA test, lead my first dog assessment, and continue to develop my skills working with reactive dogs.
6) Do you have any message for the people out there?
Remember that service dogs are essential to the wellbeing of their handlers. Allowing Teams to go about their business with discretion and respect helps the dog to stay focused and lets the handler lead a productive life.