By Jeff Stallings After a personal training career spanning 13 years (including at DIAKADI since it opened in 2004), I recently made a career change to dog training and canine behavior modification. I’m turning 54 this year and wanted to transition to a career that I could do for the rest of my life.
In September of 2011 I founded Better Nature Dog Training, then spent 15 months in apprenticeship, hand-on training, working at shelters, attending national conferences, and countless hours of self-study to hone my skills. I work primarily with dogs with behavioral issues, such as aggression, separation anxiety and excessive barking, though I also work in pure obedience training skills such as recalls, sit-stays, “go to your mat” and the like.
Solutions to canine behavioral problems ALWAYS involve the biped at the other end of the leash, and it is with these humans that most of my work occurs. My experience as a personal trainer—and before that as a teacher in the high tech industry as well as years in marketing and sales—all come into play when showing people how to effectively communicate with their dogs. And cats! I have been working with one couple here to “clicker train” their feline companions.
Like most sharp curves and lane changes in life, this one came after a period of discontent, self-evaluation and soul searching. And it also involved an element of chance, which in this case was adopting an amazing puppy, my sweet girl Otis. But it’s great to be working in a field that feels like something I should have been doing all along. There are no regrets here; I probably wouldn’t be nearly as good at dog training and behavior consulting when I was younger. But as it stands now, I have a viable business, connections with local veterinarians and shelters, and 26 five-star yelp reviews!
I’ll miss my clients and friends at DIAKADI. But as we all know, San Francisco is a small town in many ways, so none of us are ever too far from each other. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find a four-legged companion in your life. If so, please give me a shout and let me help smooth that dog’s transition into your life!
Visit Jeff Stalling's Website Better Nature Dog Training.