At The Watering Bowl, we spend a lot of time talking about your dogs. And we should. They’re amazing animals, full of surprises and endless sources of inspiration. In fact, they’re the reason we get up in the morning.
But what about the people who do the getting up in the morning? The ones who put the “care” in doggy daycare?
Those would be our incredible staff members. And we thought you might enjoy getting to know them, especially since they spend their days getting to know your dogs.
Our first employee spotlight shines on Tracy Pritchard.
Tracy is our Head Trainer and caregiver. She knew she wanted to train dogs from the first time she cared for one. And now she’s made it all the way to our world-renowned Butt Sniffers Academy.
She sat down and answered a few questions to tell you a little more about herself.
What was the name of your first dog, and what kind of dog was it?
When I was 11 years old my parents designated the family dog to be my responsibility. Kodiak was a chow/wolf hybrid, and I was successful at teaching to sit, down, shake and heel.
What is your background working with dogs?
I have always known my purpose in life is to help humans have a better relationship with their dogs. It all started with the dogs my parents would bring home when I was a child. I would teach them tricks or to simply tolerate me.
When I flew from the nest and got a place of my own, I immediately got a dog within the first week. Not too long after that, I got a second and then a third. All of my dogs at one point or another suffered from some sort of behavioral issue, ranging from separation anxiety to general basic puppy antics.
I found the greatest pleasure in participating in dog sports with my boys, including agility, dock diving, personal protection and obedience. While in pursuit of various titles in these areas, it was becoming more apparent that this level of training isn’t for everyone and helping people is what I was after.
When I was hired at Stray Rescue of St Louis in 2010, I put competition on hold and accepted a new challenge—behavior. Shelter dogs are not measured by titles but by adoptability.
This is where I grew into my individual style as a dog trainer. Those dogs never fail to challenge your understanding of canine behavior. If you are going to make a shelter dog adoptable then you had better have a lot of “tools” in your tool box. You cannot rely on one method or style of training and, above all, you have to work well with other people because unlike earning titles as a duo (dog/human team) it really does take a village to change a dog’s behavior in an environment that is moving at 100 miles an hour.
With help from an incredible group of staff, volunteers and fosters I was able to produce and run the first ever group class at Stray Rescue, including a Canine Good Citizen class. Three out of four dogs passed on graduation night. I am truly happiest when someone I am teaching is successful!
What brought you to The Watering Bowl?
Originally when I came to TWB I wasn’t seeking any sort of trainer status. Though I am ecstatic to be dean of The Butt Sniffers Academy I was really just missing being around a large pack of dogs. I have felt right at home since day one.
What is your role at The Watering Bowl?
Head Trainer and caregiver.
What do you enjoy most about working at The Watering Bowl?
Being surrounded by like minded individuals. Everyone here seeks a higher understanding of canine behavior, training and general care for dogs. Not only will I always be learning, but I will also get to teach! I couldn’t be happier!!
Thanks, Tracy. TWB feels the same way about you.
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