My name is Robert and my journey to becoming a dog trainer was interesting but also full of twists and turns. My background is in finances, which I studied both in the Czech Republic and abroad, then moving to Moscow to work as a financial controller and then coming back to Prague to start a career in corporate banking. Although there’s always been a dog in my life and there was a dog trainer in my family, I would have never guessed that dogs would become more than just fun companionship for me.
However, it seems like this was meant to be.
Over the years, spending so much time in front of a screen under strong office lights started causing me severe eye pain. It became so bad that I had to make a decision: continue with a line of work I liked but was hurting me, or search for something else that was fulfilling but healthier for me.
After quitting my job, I spent a lot of time reading about dog training and searching for opportunities to learn more about it. Along the way, I was lucky to meet a great trainer who shaped my future in this field: veteran dog trainer Pavla Kamrádová, who had in turn studied under former agility world champion Martina Klimešová. I spent one year training alongside Pavla, shadowing her own lessons and asking countless questions. She prepared me step-by-step for the actual work of being a dog trainer. Whenever I could, I also engaged with other trainers to learn different views and training methods, and eventually passed several exams and participated in sports obedience and Cynology competitions.
Although it might seem that my background has little to do with the world of dogs, this isn’t entirely true. My work in the financial world taught me a lot of things that are crucial during training:
- Communication with People - Like most trainers, I love working with dogs, but effective communication with dog owners is also crucial to training success. After all, the owners are in a better place to change the behavior of their dogs, since they spend more time with them than I do.
- Analytical skills - Knowing how to research and problem-solving skills are key when dealing with a dog’s unwanted behavior. Being able to figure out what’s causing the problem, not just suppressing the symptoms.
- Responsibility - The training doesn’t stop at the end of a session. I always spend time thinking about what my canine clients need and trying to come up with optimal solutions for each case.
- Languages - I speak Czech, English and Russian
The world of dog training is always changing, so I make an effort to read and get involved in new seminars and online courses to keep up with what the best trainers around the world are doing. I also regularly meet other trainers to share experiences and expertise. This gets passed on to my clients and their four-legged friends in our lessons.
- I lead regular individual and group lessons with my clients in Prague and its surroundings
- I work as a dog trainer at Vychovanýpes.cz, where I’m responsible for various individual and group lessons (including recalling games, puppy kindergarten, preparation for obedience and cynology exams. etc.)
- I conduct an ongoing “training academy” class series/presentations for customers of premium bio dog food producer Pet Farm Family.
- I also participate in presentations at dog events as well as educational lectures/exhibitions at local elementary schools
- I work as a consultant for dog temporary care organization Tety v akci, where I help the clients who want to take the dog from temporary care – thus we lower the chance that the dog returns back to temporary care or shelter in future. All this I provide free of charge.
Completed courses and seminars
Over the years, I’ve completed many courses and attended seminars, lectures, and workshops around the world. Here’s a brief list of some of the most important ones:
1) General training and behavioural issues
- Intensive Apprenticeship with Pavla Kamrádová (one year long training) - Everyday shadowing of lessons for one year (focus on general obedience, problem behaviour, agility, nosework and sport obedience), including regular consultation
- Managing Problem Behavior – Intensive 5-day seminar with top British Animal Behavior and Training Consultant Chirag Patel. Patel is an authority in modern effective methods that can be used to deal with aggressive and problematic dog behavior, separation anxiety, hyperactivity and reactivity, leash pulling, and more.
- Recallers - One year long intensive online course created by Susan Garrett, world’s agility champion and Canadian obedience champion. The course focused, among other topics, on recall and obedience.
- Communication Between Humans and Dogs – Veteran Italian dog trainer Alex Capra led a two-day course dealing with communication and handling dog aggression
- Cooperation and Husbandry Training – 3-day workshop with British dog trainer Roz Pooley focusing on modern methods owners can use to make their everyday lives with dogs much easier (leash pulling, vet visits, washing, nail clipping)
- Case Study Seminar - 2-day long seminar with British trainer Roz Pooley. Focus on analyzing problematic dog situations/cases and proven solutions.
- Now and Here - Multiple-day seminar led by RNDr. František Šusta and Petra Bartošová (František is one of the best-known animal/dog trainers in the Czech Republic), focusing on the work of a dog handler and his dog using positive methods. This seminar has been recognized by the World Organization of Professional Animals Trainers (ABMA)
- How to Deal with Separation Anxiety in Dogs – Trainer Pavel Bradáč led a seminar focused on effective methods used to deal with separation anxiety
- Fear and Stress in dogs – Seminar focusing on fear: why dogs experience it, how it influences their behavior, and what to do about it. Led by experienced trainer Pavel Bradáč
- Punishments and rewards - Seminar led by Eva Štemberová: seminar which gave me insight to different style of dog training, focused rather on punishments. Although I did not have started using punishments after passing it, some particular ideas were enriching.
- Chicken Camp with Jiří Sčučka – An amazing training seminar applying the basic principles of dog training to train chickens. Proof that good training principles are universal and can be used successfully with a variety of animals.
2) Nose work and Scent work
- Nosework and Scent Detection (focus on civil sector and sports nosework) – 7-day long seminar with Jiří Sčučka, named Czech Republic’s Cynologist of the Year in 2013 and 2014. With nearly 40 years of dog training experience under his belt, Sčučka is best known for training scent identification (explosives, drugs) dogs used by the American Army as well as other institutions around the world.
- Nosework Seminar Series - Several intensive nosework seminars focused on sports obedience in natural and urban environments. Led by Julia Bukovinska
- Urban and Discrimination Nosework - Nosework seminar series with Klára Hlubocká and Kristýna Dostálková, founders of nosework sports in the Czech Republic .
- Discrimination Nosework Seminar – Led by police dog instructor/handler Radek Laušman, a 20-year veteran in the field.
3) Obedience (sports)
- Intensive Obedience Seminar - 3-day seminar with world obedience champion Shauna Wenzel. Focus on the fact that if you work sensitively with your dog (while having a lot of fun) you can reach the TOP spot in dog sports
- Obedience Online Course - Two-month long course created by the world’s top obedience trainer, Shauna Wenzel
- Intensive Obedience Seminar – 3-days seminar with world obedience champion Valentina Balli
- Intensive Obedience Seminar Series - Seminars with top obedience competitor and referee Lucie Stemmerová
- Intensive Obedience Course – 2-day seminar with three Czech competitors (Jana Grešová, Júlia Bukovinská, Ivana Šimůnková) from the World Obedience Championship (Moscow 2016)