OSWEGO, NY – Even though professional dog trainer Andrea Giordano is busy getting ready to open her new business, “Dogs Among Us,” in January, she took time out recently to give a presentation to the students at the new Buccaneer Junior-Senior High School in Oswego.
Giordano said when Marie Schadt, owner of K-9 Grooming and Pet Motel, contacted her about doing a demonstration for the students, she said she was more than happy to do it.
The BJSH school, which currently encompasses grades 7-9, uses the Big Picture Learning model, an innovative and dynamic approach to learning, and is designed to help students who are at risk and in a typical school setting, might not graduate, explained Geoffrey Baer, BJSH counselor and coordinator of “Learning through Internships.”
Eventually, he said, the students at BJSH will participate in internships throughout the community.
“We pair them up with local businesses to get real life experience,” Baer said. “We are just now starting to build relationship with businesses. Andrea is an integral part of the process for our six students who have expressed an interest in animal husbandry.”
Seventh-grader Connor Joice said he was looking forward to the internship process as he is interested in going into a career in handling and training.
Sabrina Winslow, a ninth-grader at the school, attended the demonstration and said she is planning on studying zoology, mammalogy and ornithology.
The students said they were very appreciative that Giordano would take time to come to their school were looking forward to what she had to say.
Giordano brought Carter, a two-year-old mixed breed, with her, who she describes as her “partner.”
Using Carter as an example, she gave tips on what the students’ could expect at their internship at a dog grooming and boarding facility, along with how dogs learn, how to read a dog’s body language and the best way to train a dog to do what you want them to do.
Giordano shared with the students a little about her background, explaining that she has always had a passion for animals but did not start out as a dog trainer.
“I have had dogs all my life,” she said. “My first job after graduating from SUNY Oswego was to work at the animal shelter, cleaning kennels and kitten cages.”
But ultimately, she said, she moved into law enforcement as a career.
“I joined the state police, working as a road trooper and then a sergeant,” she explained. “I was in charge of the Fulton (troopers) Barracks before going down to Albany.”
In Albany, she was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, working in forensics and emergency management.
After 24 years in law enforcement, Giordano said she began thinking about a change in career and that led her right back to her passion, training dogs.
Before leaving law enforcement, however, she attended high-level dog training courses on her own time to build the skill set and technical prowess necessary to make her a first-class dog trainer and teacher.
Giordano is a graduate of Animal Behavior College and of the respected Instructor Training and Consulting and Problem Solving courses given by Dogs Of Course; is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and of the International Veterinary Forensic Science Association (IVFSA); and is the recipient of the 2011 Instructor Training Course Inspiration Award.
Recently, she has been busy renovating her facility in Scriba for her business, Dogs Among Us, where she not only plans to provide dog training, but also workshops and seminars.
A big believer in continuing education and professional development, Giordano said she makes it a point to regularly attend workshops and seminars with some of the leading trainers in the field.
Over the years, she has taken courses from such experts as Dr. Ian Dunbar (founder of the Sirius Puppy Training programs), Kathy Sdao, Suzanne Clothier, Pia Silvani, and Sue Sternberg.
“I plan to bring in some of these experts and offer workshops and seminars,” she said.
Giordano plans to open the facility, located at the corner of county Route 4 and Klocks Corners Road in Scriba, in mid- to late-January and is currently accepting applications for classes on her web site, www.dogsamongus.com
For more information, call 341-8763.