About Hero Canine Consulting
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Silke Wittig, BA, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CNWI
Silke Wittig is the owner of HeRo Canine Consulting LLC, a professional, independently certified dog training and behavior consulting business.
Silke can be reached at email@example.com or 574-612-8170
Dog training and behavior modification is still an unregulated and unlicensed industry in the US, and ANYONE can call themselves a dog trainer or behaviorist.
K9 Nose Work®, CNWI™ and NACSW™ are registered and protected trademarks. However, anyone can hold “nose work” or “scent work”, etc. classes. Look for the official trademarks to ensure that you are dealing with a Certified Nose Work Instructor.
So how can you "separate the wheat from the chaff"? By asking lots of questions BEFORE you employ one!
Click on the questions below to read Silke's responses:
What is your dog training philosophy?
I believe that every dog is an individual with specific needs and every dog owner deserves customized professional support. My experience and ongoing education are providing me with a large array of tools to deal with all aspects of dog training and behavior.
We are committed to excellence, outstanding customer service, a customized approach to each case and continuing education!
What are your professional credentials and qualifications? Do any of these require CEUs?
I am proud to say that I am currently THE ONLY dog professional WITHIN 150 MILES to hold the two highest certifications by the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers®: Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KSA) AND Certified Behavior Consultant (CBCC-KA).
In order to obtain these credentials, I needed 300 documented hours of dog training and 500 document hours of behavior consulting, 3 and 5 referrals respectively from veterinarians, clients and colleagues, pass a written and practical exam and comply with the CCPDT code of ethics. In order to keep my CPDT status, I need to accumulate 48 CEUs and must recertify every 3 years; to keep my CBCC status, I must accumulate 36 CEUs and recertify every 5 years.
The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) is currently the ONLY organization to offer an international, standardized certification for animal training and behavior professionals that is both independent of any course of study and psychometrically sound.
I am a Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI™) through the National Association of Canine Scent Work, and must accumulate 24 CEUs every two years to maintain my certification. I am a NACSW™-sanctioned Certifying Official for K9 Nose Work Trials as well as a Certifying Official and Judge for Odor Recognition Tests (ORT™).
In addition, I am a certified "Assess-A-Pet" shelter dog evaluator, an approved "Canine Good Citizen/S.T.A.R. Puppy" evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC) and evaluator for the APDT C.L.A.S.S.™ program.
I am also a mentor trainer for the Canine Trainers Academy.
Do you belong to any professional organizations?
I am a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and the Pet Professional Guild (PPG).
I also belong to the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW™).
How long have you been a dog professional?
After breed-specific legislation was introduced in Germany in 2001, I started volunteering at a local shelter and helped train Pit Bulls for the mandatory temperament test (which also involved obedience training). I also began attending dog-related seminars on a regular basis in 2003. After our move to the US, I assisted with group classes and private training and behavior sessions for a dog training facility in Toledo, OH, and also became the manager for their doggie day care. In 2005 we moved to IN and I started my own dog training business HeRo Canine Consulting LLC. And of course my business came with me when we moved to PA in 2008!
I was exposed to K9 Nose Work® for the first time in June 2010, when I attended an Introduction to K9NW workshop in NJ, and my dog was chosen as one of the working demo dogs. I became hooked there and then. I became a CNWI™ in June 2011 as one of the first two certified instructors in PA.
Do you attend continuing education programs on a regular basis; can you give me examples of topics and speakers?
I am a big believer in continuing education and love to attend seminars and workshops, watch webinars and read books. It is wonderful how the world of training and behavior is slowly changing for the better!
To just mention some: I have attended instructor workshops by Terry Ryan, John Rogerson, Suzanne Clothier, and ITC (Pia Silvani and Sue Sternberg); fear and aggression workshops with Pat Miller, Pamela Reid, Emma Parson, Trish King, Brenda Aloff and Pamela Dennison; shelter dog evaluation seminars with Suzanne Clothier and Sue Sternberg; canine body language and ethology seminars with Dr Ray Coppinger, Ken McCort and Sue Sternberg I also attended some clicker workshops with Kathy Sdao and Birgit Laser. Patricia McConnelI is another favorite of mine, and one of the highlights was a "wolf –intensive weekend" at Wolf Park in IN! I have attended all five of Bob Bailey's infamous operant conditioning workshops (aka chicken camps), which IMO is a must for ANY serious dog trainer!
With regards to K9 Nose Work®, the list is just as long! I have participated in the yearly K9NW camps in PA since 2010 and in GA since 2012. I have attended multiple seminars and workshops with Amy Herot, as well as other speakers like Leah Gangelhoff, Fred Helfers, Barbara Schwerdt, Jeff McMahon, Lulie Gaunt, Jennie Kiefer and Donna Hreniuk. I also organize and host K9NW workshops to help promote this great dog sport!
What kind of training methods and equipment do you use?
Our programs are based on "positive reinforcement (aka reward-based) training methods using food, attention, toys, play, petting and other life rewards as incentives for the dogs, while we safely manage, prevent and modify unwanted behaviors. This methodology has been scientifically proven to be more effective, kinder and less invasive than punishment-based methods.
We use regular buckle or martingale collars and tracking harnesses, as well as the occasional head collar, if warranted. We use regular and long leashes for training. We do NOT use choke chains/training collars, prong/pinch collars or electronic/shock/stim collars.
Do you have experience with my dog's breed?
We work with all dog breeds and breed mixes, from Shih Tzus, Doodles and Spaniels to Labs, German Shepherds and Pit Bulls. Each breed comes with its own set of breed-specific behaviors and traits, but each dog needs to be treated as an individual as well. We will customize our programs to best fit you and your dog!
Do you have experience with my dog's issue(s)?
Our extensive knowledge, skill-set and experience qualifies us to work with a wide array of training and behavior issues, from housetraining and basic and advanced pet manners training to fear and aggression. However, we will refer out a dog who has inflicted a level 4 bite (single bite, deep puncture to the full length of the canine tooth or deeper, with rips, bruising, crushing - Dr Ian Dunbar Bite Scale) to a human to a veterinary behaviorist.
Do you work with my veterinarian?
We respect and work closely with the veterinary community and can provide written reports of our findings and recommendations to your veterinarian, as needed. We are happy that many local veterinarians refer to us.
Can you provide me with referrals?
Absolutely! Please get in touch with us, so we can give you some contacts. You can also check out the Testimonials on our "Home" page.
Do you carry insurance?
Yes. My business is fully insured through Hartford.
Do you provide a written training agreement?
Yes, we provide a written contract for our training and behavior modification programs.
Can I observe a training session?
We encourage and welcome potential clients to come and observe a group class. Please contact us so we can set up a date and time.
Can you tell me more about your K9 Nose Work® experience?
After attending one of the first Introduction to K9 Nose Work® and Introduction to Odor workshops with co-founders Amy Herot and Jill-Marie O’Brien in New Jersey in 2010, I signed up for the first instructor course on the East Coast and became one of the first two Certified Nose Work Instructors in Pennsylvania. I attend NACSW™-approved seminars and workshops on a regular basis, and have both attended and instructed at several K9 Nose Work® camps. I am a Certifying Official and Judge for Odor Recognition Tests (ORT) and a Certifying Official for NACSW™-sanctioned trials.
I am also involved in the trial department as a Trial Site Advisor and Trial Host Mentorship Admin, as well as the education department, helping re-write the instructor manual. Two of my dogs achieved their NW3 title before retiring, and my new dog Snap recently got his ORT title, passing Birch, Anise and Clove ORTs in one day.