Graduates of the Professional Dog Trainers Program
Feel free to contact any of the graduates below to hear about their firsthand experiences in our program. For a list of many more graduates from the last few intakes, please contact us.
I grew up working with and training horses, I started training animals when I was ten years old. Unfortunately a bad injury ended my horse career, which left me lost. When I visited my aunt in Norway, who is a hunting dog trainer, she suggested I become a dog trainer after watching me help handle her dogs.
My family and I started the hunt of different schools to become a professional dog trainer, and in the end my aunt, mother and I after weeks of separate research all picked Bens PTP program with The Wonder Dogs.
As soon as I got back from Norway, I got enrolled in my life changing career and couldn’t be happier! Ben’s program is so in depth, and the knowledge you gain is incredible. I’ll never forget our first week, when he told us how intense the program was, even though I read it, I was a little worried. But within a couple days I was exhilarated, it was amazing! I loved the intensity, living every moment with dogs! I went home for one weekend and felt so utterly lost, like I forgot my kid at school, just because I didn’t have my dog with me.
I really enjoyed how much time Ben and the instructors took for us, they were always doing their very best to help us understand and praise us when we succeeded. I loved all the extracurricular activities and outings through and around Victoria.
And the hands on experience is wonderful, I came home confident and ready to train! It helped me immensely to get over my fears of talking to groups of people, and achieving things in my life that I felt were unattainable.
I now manage a boarding kennel and offer training. I help owners find the right puppy; do puppy socialization, obedience and aggression rehabilitation. When I’m not training or at the kennel, I am out skijoring, roller joring and sheep herding. I never knew how fulfilled I could be, and how confident I could be, after taking the schooling and changing my career!
Taking Ben’s professional trainers program laid the foundations for a career that I absolutely love. The program was not only informative with lecture material, but also had the emphasis on practical learning that I believe a program like this needs to be successful. The fact that Ben’s school is accredited is also a major contributing factor to the legitimacy of the quality of learning.
Above all that, the experience of the program is one that I will always think of with fond memories. My dog that I brought as my learner dog, Jetta, was a recent adoption with very high drive and aggression issues with both people and dogs. Ben had the confidence to take her from me and let her run with the other dogs, which was incredibly emotional for me to see, as I wouldn’t have done it on my own. Ben and his team also kept the learning experience fun – we were constantly going on new trips and adventures with our dogs, which really demonstrated the freedoms you can have with your dog if they are properly trained.
My company, Good Dog, is a growing company that offers dog training, boarding and daycare. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life! Being a business owner is not for everyone, but for me, the diversity and flexibility it provides keeps me interested and challenged. The added benefit is that I get to not only work with my own dogs but get constant exposure to new dogs that I can help along the way.
Without Ben’s program, I wouldn’t have had the certification and skill set to do what I love doing. I highly recommend this program.
UPDATE AUGUST 2012
“Heather Patz and co-owner graduate, Vanessa Janusz, have 2 locations and 15
staff working under them. They board between 40-60 dogs per day and are
super busy with training as well. Good Dog is currently one the biggest dog
boarding and training companies in the lower mainland.”
This letter is long overdue. Let me start by saying thank you to you, Nancy and the entire staff at Wonderdogs. I remember a conversation we had early on during one of the first walkabouts. We touched on a number of issues concerning what makes a business successful. In the end, we agreed that one of the most important aspects of any business is to under promise and over deliver. You have done exactly that. What I received from the 12 week program was far greater than anything I could have anticipated when I made my application.
Now for some thoughts on what we learned. Firstly, the Ben Kersen system works! In fact, it works exceedingly well. I was a little nervous about how to apply what I had learned when I started with my first professional client. So, I threw the text book at them. I figured that if I had spent all this time learning it, I might as well follow the system chapter and verse. Your staff said to be confident in applying what we had learned, that we were better trained than the vast majority of those calling themselves Dog Trainers. How right that was! Secondly, train in public and in a place where people start to get used to seeing you with different dogs. I have found that people stop to watch and refer to you as “The Dog Trainer.” You have no idea how many business cards I hand out each week. Thirdly, you encouraged us to get started right away. That was great advice. I still don’t have a web site, nor have I spent a dime on advertising. Yet, I am just about as busy as I want to be. With apologies to Nike – just do it.
The field trips and special guests (whether in person or via telephone hook up) were a real bonus. It is amazing how often a tidbit of information gleaned from one of these activities finds its way into conversations that I have with potential clients. The ideas and experiences shared by these guests have become mine. They have enhanced my professionalism.
I want to acknowledge and thank your staff. They are all extraordinarily good teachers. All good teachers make learning fun and boy, did they ever do that! I have received so much from each of them. I can never truly repay them for what they have done for me. The best I can do is pay it forward and I assure you I will do just that.
Finally, I send you my thanks and appreciation, Ben. Yours is a first rate organization that I unequivocally recommend to anyone who is serious about becoming professional dog trainer. I am in your debt.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2011
All good here! I actually have a waiting list and will be bumping my rate from $50 per hour to $75 per hour effective November 1st. As the captain once said, “full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes!”.
My name is Kelly Ramirez and I graduated from Ben’s Professional Dog Trainers Program in June 2008. It has been a little over 1 year since I finished the program, and in that time I have relocated myself and my little Wonderdog “Joey” to Sydney, Australia, where I now run my own dog training business called “SIT HAPPENS”.
The program was everything I had hoped for, and more! Every day was action-packed and we went on so many great field trips. The training sites changed frequently, so we were able to work our dogs in a variety of real-life situations around Victoria. Not to mention the many wonderful guest speakers that we had!
Looking back, I can honestly say that deciding to take Ben’s course was the best thing I have ever done. Not only do I now have one of the most well-behaved dogs (in the world, I’m sure!), I also learned more practical and applicable skills in those 3 months than I did during my entire 6 years at university. People used to ask me all the time, “What do you plan to do with your degree once you graduate?” I could never give anyone a definitive answer because I had no clear idea, and even in my last year of studies I still hadn’t found any direction.. until I took Ben’s course. Now, when someone asks me what I do for a living, I tell them proudly and without any hesitation that I am a Professional Dog Trainer, and it never ceases to make me smile when they reply, “Wow, what a cool job!”
Many thanks to Ben and his instructors for an unforgettable and life-changing experience. Greetings from The Land Down Under!
Once I knew I wanted to work in the canine field, I spent a number of weeks researching the program I would take to become a dog trainer. Because I am from California there was a large variety of facilities offering programs to learn to train dogs. I carefully considered the cost, value, credibility, location, variety, and methods used by each trainer’s program. It become apparent following my research that Ben Kersen and the Wonderdogs Professional Trainer’s Program offers incredible value, hands on experience, teaching on a large variety of canine related topics, and vast amounts of personal experience and expertise. As an added bonus, the trainer’s program was located in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia so I got certified as a professional trainer and got a bit of a vacation all wrapped into one!
Once the program began, I knew I had selected the right course. There was an immediate comeradory within the students and instructors fostered by Ben and his assistant’s upbeat and attentive personalities. This balance of fun and yet intense learning is, what I think, makes the program such a success. Students are motivated and energized to learn because the program is fun and because there is so much support and information available. In addition Ben and the other trainers push students to work hard and to get the best training possible for the themselves and the dogs. There is ample, optional opportunities to gain even more experience and information throughout the program which I considered to be a big bonus.
The various guest speakers who presented throughout the program were an invaluable resource for us students.It is not often that one gets to sit down with a veterinarian, dog groomer, dog food manufacturer, dog herding trainer, dog handler for the police department, doggy day care operator…and have ample opportunity to ask questions, learn what they do, and explore various aspects of dog businesses. Through Ben’s program and talking to these guest speakers I have been able to interact with any individual within other dog businesses as well as confidently answer client’s questions even when the questions are outside the scope of dog training.
By the end of the program you’ll wonder where the time went and be in awe of how much you have learned. It is amazing to see the difference in both you and your dog from the first day of the program to the last. You will also have a group of fellow dog trainers to keep in contact with and who will be able to provide support as you continue on to start your career in the dog industry. This is another invaluable part of Ben’s program.
Having now left Ben’s program to start my own training back in California I have really realized the true value of the Wonderdogs Professional Trainer’s Program. I have actively compared what I’ve learned from Ben to lots of local trainers in California and found Ben’s methods to be far superior. The methods you will learn in Ben’s program will make you confident to deal with all types of dogs and owners even more than other trainers who have been working with dogs for years. Confidence and experience are very important in the dog training field and this program provides you with both.
My clients so far have been amazed at how quickly I can get results with their dogs and because of this I have had to do very little advertising. Once people learn about the methods you have learned from Ben and see the fast and effective results, your phone won’t stop ringing!
This is really a program designed for individuals who are serious about learning not only about dog training, but about running your own dog business and the many options available in working with dogs. If you are passionate about working with dogs, dedicated to becoming successful as a dog trainer, and open to learning a lot then this program is definitely for you!
Sacramento, California, USA
To say the least, the 3 month Professional Dog Trainers Program I undertook was probably the most memorable 3 months of my life. We worked hard and played hard and one couldn’t ask for a better combination than the one between our main instructors, Ben and Heather. Ben’s program is an excellent starting block for any future dog training that you wish to use to further your career.
I am very happy to have learned in your course. I really want to recommend this course to others. I shall never forget what you taught me. Thank you so much.
Coming from a very rural and isolated community in Northern, Manitoba with little no formal experience handling dog’s, zero canine mentorship nor the first clue how to even initiate a sit command it would be an understatement to say I was intimidated when enrolling into the professional trainers program. Lucky for me, I was blessed with funding through the government in the form of a grant which covered the entire tuition as well as all related living expenses. I did not have to pay back any of that funding. I accepted the challenge and adventure with an open mind and now can proudly call myself a professional dog trainer.
I couldn’t be happier and would’ve taken the course over in a heartbeat. Ben, staff and fellow students made me feel very comfortable and because of my competitive nature and natural ability, pushed me to be my best every single day. Upon graduation I felt confident in my abilities but it wasn’t until I witnessed clients jaws dropping that I could truly embrace how much I learned over the course’s tenure. As with any career you’re passionate about, you’re committed to a life time of learning but with a job that’s so rewarding, day in day out, it really makes going the extra mile a pleasure when you get to see those tails wagging! No matter what challenge lies ahead or how many hurdles you have to overcome, I highly recommend Ben’s program to anyone, it has changed my life and many dog’s so far as well. I made a million memories and many life long friends. I wouldn’t change anything.
Business is wonderful. I am so glad that I took your course. It has changed my life in ways that I never dreamed possible. I am into my fourth (or fifth?) group class, and my next one is booked, and I am starting to book into the new year. And believe it or not, I haven’t advertised yet!!!!
Miramichi, New Brunswick
I entered the professional trainer’s program right after I graduated from my studies of animal behaviour in university. I have to say, it was the best decision I’ve made for my education. You can only learn so much from books, lectures, and labs (and tv too!). The hands on work, the lecturing, the field trips, and of course, my school dog Elvis, all taught me so much and enabled me to apply things that I had learned in theory to the practical world of working with dogs. I had known since high school that I was going to work with animals, and I’d known since post secondary school that I was going to be a trainer. Ben and his staff were the ones that showed me how I could do it and gave me the skills to be successful at it and proud of what I do.
I was hired right after graduation at a well established boarding kennel and training facility. As head trainer I run obedience lessons and help owners with problem behaviours and new puppies.
The course also provided all the foundation for developing skills in other types of training beyond basic obedience and problem behaviours. I’m thrilled to announce that my first trained gundog will be hitting the ponds with her owner this coming fall and will be the first in her line to do so.
When I’m not training, I’m working the boarding kennel side of the business. I am happy to boast that our kennel won Best Boarding Kennel in Southern Alberta for 2010!
As you can see, this course set me up for success.
A client wrote me a letter following training with her dog who had a 7 year history of unmanageable behaviour that sums it all up perfectly; “You changed my life!”
Well, I must just be paying it forward, because the professional trainer’s program changed my life first!
“When I decided to trade my pen in for a leash and become a certified professional dog trainer, I knew I wanted to learn from the best. Ben’s program is the most intensive, hands-on, accredited program in the country; training with Ben and his passionate staff allows you to enter the industry with confidence, competence and a fantastic support network. Thanks to Ben and his team, I am building a rewarding career that brings as much joy to my life as the dogs and owners I am privileged to work with.”
KatyK9: your dog’s other best friend!
Taking the course last year was definately the best decision I have made in a long time. It totally changed my life, its so great to be able work for myself and be doing something I love and enjoy at the same time. Not only that, but it really gave me a boost of the confidence I needed to even consider starting my own business. Before PTP I knew I wanted to work with dogs, but I was a little unsure about being able to jump right in… By the end of the course I had all these ideas and goals, and not to mention so much more energy! It seemed pretty crazy the first week or two, running around for 3 hours with a crazy out of control dog, but by week 3 I was totally into it and already wishing the course was longer.
I’m sure I have thanked you before, but thank you again for putting on such an amazing course! It feels so good to be able to help other people and their dogs now, and it’s never boring!
“I recently attended the Professional Trainers Program (PTP) with Ben Kersen and his assistant trainers. The wealth of knowledge that was imparted to me during the three month program is amazing and I never could have known that there would be so much information packed into those few short months. It was tough at first being whipped into shape by the fast paced nature of the program but it was quickly apparent how satisfying and rewarding it is to be so physically active with the dogs who are just loving it! The program was full of guest speakers which were all very knowledgeable about their given field and as well, there were many field trips to locations around the beautiful Victoria area. We got a chance to train the dogs in various places & situations which helps with their confidence, socialization and ensures that the training is effective in a variety of settings not just “on the field”. The instructors were friendly, insightful and always ready to give practical examples of theory to help us understand (even to the point of playing the part of “dog on lead” in demonstrations!)
The other students who I participated in the course with have now become friends and we since keep in touch through a group on Facebook. I have found it’s wonderful to have that support network of people who are not only interested in talking about dogs but who have learned the same technique. So, in addition to learning so much from the course itself, you are also thrust into a community of supporting friends who are there to bounce ideas off when the “fun” of PTP is over and it’s time to get down to business ( pun intended ).
The course is composed of a good balance of practical, hands on training and of theory which in itself is balanced with the specific theories of this particular obedience training technique, peppered and spiced with topics such as canine psychology, problem behaviors, dog sports, specific breeds, breeding and puppy selection, prey drive, tricks, how to deal with clients, and a multitude of topics pertaining to how to start and maintain your own business including insurance, contracts, equipment, business tips, walking/boarding… I could go on…
Taking this course was a great experience for me and I recommend it to anyone who has a passion for dogs and a desire to be self employed doing something they love.”
After a lot of contemplation and internal negotiations, during the summer of 2007 I finally decided to take the leap, to follow my heart, and to become a professional dog trainer. It was something I had toyed with for years, but had never really taken seriously until my heart gave me an ultimatum I couldn’t refuse: either stay in my current job and keep feeling unhappy or follow my heart and enjoy my career. After finally giving in to my heart’s desires I knew that finding the right school couldn’t be taken lightly. I diligently researched my options to determine value for money, dog training techniques used, and expertise of the trainers. After all was said and done, I couldn’t find a program that was comparable to Ben’s. His training videos really blew me away! I kept showing my friends and saying, “Check this out!” It was the first program that actually got me even more excited to embark on my journey.
After taking the program I can say that my expectations were more than met. I gained a wealth of knowledge through the many field and classroom based experiences the program had to offer. I was fortunate enough to have been taught by a variety of instructors and guest speakers, in particular Ben and Heather. Both of them were experienced, knowledgeable, friendly, and inspirational. Most importantly, they took the time to make this a personalized learning experience. They were more than happy to provide continuous support and encouragement that went above and beyond that of a traditional instructional program.
Overall, I learned a great deal about dog behaviour and training and have been inspired to keep learning from my experiences as well as from my new mentors, Ben and Heather.
Thank you so much for helping me get to where I am today. Without your course and all the extra help I would still be installing furnaces and walking my dog at midnight and six am to avoid other dogs!
“My name is Cheryl Hughes and I took Ben’s program in fall 2006 and it was the start of a whole new lifestyle for me. Although I enjoyed my career and was very successful it wasn’t enough. I needed to feel passionate about what I was doing every day. At 42 I looked back at some of the things I enjoyed most. I was always happy when I was spending time with my horse and my dogs, out in the barn, on trail rides or training. Everything I had studied said that if you find something you love to do that if you pursued it, you could have a successful career. I didn’t really believe it at the time. I tried doing some pretty strange things, but it was always to try and make money not to fulfill my passion and nothing worked.
I signed up for Ben’s program with big expectations. I went in to it with the attitude that I was going to get everything out of it I could, squeezing out every bit of knowledge and experience that was available. The hands on experience, business knowledge, theory, guest speakers and terrific staff made for a great 12 weeks.
I will always be grateful to Ben and his team for the opportunities they provided me which brought me to where I am today. I am now co owner of a company and am running my own business. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! It is hard to describe how it feels to be doing something you love to do instead of something you have to do. Our careers consume a huge amount of our time and life and I am so lucky that I feel like it is time well spent. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.”
Mill Bay, BC
Having trained my own dogs under other trainers, I expected similar things when I signed up for Ben’s professional trainer’s program. I was very pleased to discover Ben was using a completely different method that was more in tune with how dogs naturally think and communicate. Being able to teach clients how their dogs think while teaching them how to train has been a wonderful experience that has opened up other doors for me. I have been able to work with the local SPCA, helping the staff learn different ways to deal with behaviour problems in an effort to create a better chance for finding good homes, as well as helping with their annual fund raising event by doing demonstrations and short lessons on teaching tricks. There has also been opportunity to do demonstrations and shows for other events both locally and in neighboring communities, including the privilege of working with a church teaching a set of classes where all the money above costs was donated to a group that is working to rebuild hospitals, schools and roads in Liberia.
Having the knowledge and expertise to be able to not only help individual dog owners, but to give to others as well, has been a blessing beyond what I hoped for when I signed up for Ben’s program.
Ben and Family,
Things here are going well. I now have 52 agility students who I teach every week. Last year I only had about 20 students. I always seem to have a waiting list so I would say Its going really good.
T.a.G Team Agility Group (this is our name) will be doing a ton of demos again this year. Its great entertainment for events and great advertising for me. This year Cue, (my 4yr Heeler) placed well enough in the regionals to go on to place really well at the 2006 agility nationals this year. We were competing with some of the best in the world and hope to do even better this year.
The class I took through you has really changed my life! I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be where I am right now in the dog world. Thank you for everything. If you would like for me to come up again I would love to do some agility demos and talk to your class again. Let me know when and maybe I can book a trial in Victoria at the same time.
T.a.G. Team Agility Group
I had the time of my life while enrolled in the Professional Trainers Program in Victoria , BC .I was given the skills necessary to do the job I love to do. I graduated from the course just under a year ago and now have my own business training and working with dogs. Business is thriving and it’s great to get up in the morning and look forward to the day ahead.
Rocky Mountain House , Alberta , Canada
What I learned through taking the Professional Dog Trainers Program was more than I ever expected. The wealth of information I received was fantastic, and the hands-on working with real dogs with real challenges was invaluable. I also appreciated soaking up Bens energy and expertise when handling a dog. Watching him interact with a dog is truly captivating and inspiring. By the end of the program I felt confident and knowledgeable enough to get started right away. I was fortunate enough to be hired by Ben shortly after completing the program and have now been working with him for over 8 years. They say if you follow your bliss you’ll never have to work another day in your life and I’m living proof of that!!
All I can say is that I am so glad I made the decision to change career paths! Like most people, I have spent my life so far trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a dog trainer I am now in a position to help people keep their dogs by solving the problem behaviors that would otherwise have them in the quiet back room of the vet clinic.
Now that I have this skill I will spend the rest of my life putting it to good use. Most of the other programs I found when researching a school to attend were far more expensive and covered fewer aspects of dog training. I met so many great people during this program, and learned so much from the instructors as well as the other students and guest speakers. I came to the program with a little American Pit Bull Terrier who was welcomed into the group without discrimination. I can’t put into words how much I appreciate their respect for ALL breeds. Plus the training venues were beautiful…on the beach one day, at a castle the next!
After taking Ben’s professional trainers program I am happy to report that work is going great! I finish each day knowing that I have made a positive change in the lives of dogs and their owners. I am so pleased with the rapid results I am able to provide my clients with. I was hired by Ben right after the program ended. I have put the training techniques from the program into practice and they actually work! I only graduated 3 weeks ago and I am already working nearly full time. Thank you so much for helping me find my calling and giving me the tools, experience and confidence to do it well!
Since graduating from Ben Kersen’s Professional Dog Trainers Program, I have helped clients with basic obedience and also taken jobs within the film industry. I found Ben’s techniques extremely adaptable and easily passed on to clients and their animals. The program would be definitely beneficial to anybody wanting to work with animals.
When I signed up for this course, I assumed you were only going to teach us how to train a variety of dogs and lecture us on various training topics as we took notes. I was thrilled to find out that you had produced for us training manuals complete with group session theory notes and the numerous other things we need to do/know as trainers. I would have to say that my absolute favorite memory of the course (aside from playing multiple frisbee), would be getting to teach Ben’s group class. It was only for a few minutes, but it was awesome to get to do it and to find out that I’m capable of doing it.
Your methods really work, and best of all, they work fast. What I find intriguing is that we not only learned how to train dogs, but how to understand them. You really know your stuff, and I completely respect and admire your passion for dogs and their well-being. Thank you so much for offering this awesome opportunity.
Truly a gifted, results-oriented trainer, Ben effortlessly combines his dog training practices with a teaching style that is professional, effective, and fun! After comparing several training institutes, it was Ben’s positive, energizing, ‘praise-and-play’ approach that sealed my decision to temporarily relocate to Victoria to attend his program. Again, thanks to Ben Kersen for sharing his many years of successes, and developing the Professional Dog Trainers Program.
Update: – January 2006 WOW!!! the end of 2005 already!!! Time surely does fly when you’re having fun. So hey, how’s this? I finished off this year (so far) having worked with a total of 240 new dogs! (and still a couple of weeks to go) Lately I’ve been booking spots for classes 2 months in advance! Thanks Ben, couldn’t have done it without you!
I’ve always admired your technique of training and your knowledge about dog psychology. You use positive reinforcement when training, which is the best way to make a dog love training time. Your training techniques are amazingly fast and effective. I’m so grateful that I have had this opportunity to learn from you. You’re an amazing trainer and teacher.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in your Professional Dog Trainers Program. You gave me the confidence to rise to any challenge my dog Cyrus presented. He now responds beautifully to my commands and I am amazed at how quickly he has learned tricks. In turn, I will be able to apply your methods to other dogs and create more canine good citizens. I am excited, and looking forward to starting my own business that I love. Thank you so much for the push, the drive, and the influence