At Blue Buffalo we realize the crucial importance trainers play in the relationship between pet parents and their four-legged friends. We’d like to recognize some of the incredible work being done by members of our True BLUE Trainer Program. For all her effort and outstanding work with dogs, for our next edition of our Trainer Highlight we’d like to recognize:
Jacqui Foster, CPDT-KA – Nashville, TN
An Early Start
Jacqui’s passion for training dogs started early. When she was a child growing up in Ohio, Jacqui would set up agility courses in her backyard using whatever she could find to create obstacles including chairs, broomsticks and even her own swing set. She knew early on that working with dogs was her passion and it led her to getting her CTDI certification five years ago and more recently, her CPDT-KA certification. She will also be completing her Canine Conditioning certification in September. When asked what inspired her to become a trainer, Jacqui replied, “I have a natural rapport with dogs, so working with them has been my desire all my life. I love helping dogs and their people become a happy, healthy, fun-loving team.”
A Passion for Shelter Dogs
In addition to running her own training company, Ren’s Pups, www.renspups.com, Jacqui is responsible for helping train dogs at several local shelters in her area. Working with these dogs allows them the best chance possible at finding their forever homes. She implements several training classes in which she teaches tricks, loose-leash walking, socialization and obedience, among others. To expand on her current training repertoire, she will even begin teaching canine freestyle classes.
A proud pet parent herself, Jacqui’s best friend Alonso is a mini-Aussie named for her favorite Formula 1® driver. Also her four-legged business partner, Jacqui insists that she and Alonso do everything together. They’ve traveled the United States, they train together, play together, and celebrate together. Being so well-trained, Alonso is also her favorite demo dog when she needs to figure out a new technique or trick.
Tools of the Trade
When we asked Jacqui to name some of her favorite training tools, she responded emphatically, “I’m an activity person! My classes are anything but boring so my training tools aren’t so much typical!” Never one to use aversive means, she believes that learning can be, and should be fun. She employs balance balls, paw pods, peanut balls, and swimming pools filled with balls, among other fun activities. However, when it comes to positive reinforcement, Jacqui loves using BLUE Sticks, due to the ease of breaking them into bite-size morsels and the fact that her students love them.
Sage Advice for New Trainers
When asked to share some advice with her fellow trainers, Jacqui states that listening is a key quality, saying, “Everyone is telling you something in their own way and it’s up to you to pull out the key items in their message.” She also emphasizes patience, kindness and reminds us that training isn’t just about the dogs, but that pet parents also make up the other part of the picture. And when it comes to training pet parents, Jacqui stresses that a proper mindset is crucial. Instead of thinking about what you don’t want your dog to do, think about the ways in which you do want your dog to behave for best results. Attitude is everything!
For her dedication to her craft, her kindness and compassion for shelter animals, and her admirable training strategies, we’re proud to have Jacqui as part of the True BLUE Trainer family.
BLUE is fortunate to have such passionate and talented trainers in our program and we’d love to hear from you. For an opportunity to be recognized in our Trainer Highlight Page please contact [email protected].