Pedogogy Focuses on Training
Some competitors may offer training, but they don’t focus on training since they offer so many additional services like grooming, boarding, or selling food and other specialty products. The training offered at chain pet stores takes place in a small training area, and since training is often done during store hours, there are too many distractions for learning to take place. Dogs also require a larger area where they can have enough distance between themselves and other dogs and owners in the class. They also require an area with few distractions, especially during the initial learning phase. Pedogogy offers one-on-one private lessons, which occur in the dog’s home: a more relaxed, peaceful, and effective environment from what chain pet stores offer.
In addition, some competitors employ several trainers, which can make training philosophies and techniques inconsistent from one trainer to another. At Pedogogy, Jen Hendrickson is the sole trainer, so the methods she uses to teach you to train your dog are consistent from client to client. Some competitors’ classes are not comprehensive, either, which make it inconvenient and costly for clients who have to enroll their dogs in multiple classes to achieve their goals. The private lessons offered by Pedogogy are tailored to meet your and your dog’s needs; therefore, they go beyond the basic obedience cues taught in most group classes.
As a former teacher, Jen understands that optimal learning takes place when one-on-one attention can be given and individual needs addressed; accomplishing these goals can be challenging in a group setting.
Perhaps what sets Pedogogy apart from its competition is the experience of the owner and trainer.
Who Is the Trainer?
Jen Hendrickson has a background in teaching. She taught college-level English for ten years prior to becoming a trainer. Not many trainers are able to teach concepts and methods effectively because they may not have the public-speaking skills, the people skills, or the patience required; Jen acquired these skills, and the ability to think outside the box to solve problems, as a teacher. Many trainers may lack the knowledge behind training and may not be certified.
Jen is an honors graduate of Animal Behavior College and has been certified since 2011. She is well educated on learning theory, safety, equipment, canine developmental periods, breed characteristics, and canine communication. Prior to enrolling in Animal Behavior College, Jen had been training her own dogs since 2007. She has also fostered many puppies and dogs that had special needs, such as guarding and separation anxiety. Many trainers learn how to train dogs through an apprenticeship. Jen went beyond this. Once she completed her coursework, Jen had a mentor trainer at a local no-kill animal shelter. After a couple months, Jen was hired at the shelter as the trainer in the dog behavior department; she worked with the unadoptable dogs on the behavior change program. The majority of these dogs were fearful, undersocialized, and aggressive, yet after working with Jen, they improved enough to become adoptable. Jen also trained the adoptable dogs, teaching them basic obedience cues to increase their chances of being adopted and to ease the transition period when they find their forever homes. Jen has two years’ experience training hundreds of shelter dogs, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes and everything mixed in between, and their unique needs. In addition, Jen has one year of experience working at a dog daycare. There, she gained invaluable experience with a variety of dog breeds and became even more skilled at reading dog body language. She has also been giving one-on-one lessons since 2012.
Jen continually expands her methodology and knowledge of dogs by observing other trainers and attending conferences and seminars (including ones given by renowned behaviorist Patricia McConnell and head trainer at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, Ken Ramirez). She has also completed a continuing education course on training shelter dogs and their special needs. Jen continues to read and to research as much as she can about dog behavior from the leading trainers, behaviorists, and scientists in the country.
Jen’s training philosophy is as follows:
Jen uses only positive, reward-based training. She doesn’t allow the use of choke chains, prong/pinch collars, or shock/”training” collars. She also does not subscribe to a particular TV celebrity’s methods or his belief in dominance, pack theory, or being the alpha leader. Simply put, Jen believes that dogs are not wolves. They are our companions, members of our family, our best friends, and they deserve our utmost respect and love. Jen doesn’t believe in training the dogness out of dogs. Dogs should be well behaved, but they are still dogs, and we should allow them to be. Let them roll in the grass, sniff bushes, chase squirrels.
As a trainer, Jen works with owners and their dogs to make their bond stronger and their lives together more enjoyable. She focuses on relationship building through obedience, problem solving, and behavior modification to make the best out of the dog-owner relationship. However, she also understands the limits of training, based on a dog’s temperament/personality, genetics, breed, history/background, and owner commitment. Most of all, she believes in accepting and appreciating dogs for who they are, not who their owners want them to be. There is no such thing as a perfect dog. Therefore, Jen recognizes each dog as an individual with different needs and tries to get each dog to live up to his or her dog potential. Sharing your life with a dog shouldn’t be frustrating; it should be fulfilling.
Jen lives in Raleigh with her boyfriend, Ken, and their dog, Etta James.