Geralynn Cada, celebrates pets every day. She is a regular guest on local television programming including KCTV5 promoting positive reinforcement training, while working with pet parents who want to positively train their own dogs.
I caught up with Cada recently—between her coast-to-coast travels, television appearances, and in-home dog training sessions—to ask her about her start in the pet industry and her pet industry career.
Q. What got you interested in dogs and cats and when?
A. My parents were my first influence with pets. My father has an animal husbandry degree. My mother was a teacher. We raised and showed dogs and cats as a hobby and a permanent love affair between me and pets was born.
Q. How did you come to your understanding of the power of positive reinforcement training for dogs?
A. Animals, like humans, resist the negative. You can get a lot farther if you communicate with a dog, or any animal, when you are more fun to be around than anyone, or anything, else in the room. Plus, when you’re confident, calm and stable you can more easily earn a dog’s trust.
Q. How did you come to work on television to promote your favorite pet products?
A. When I was younger my parents told me I couldn’t be a dog trainer as a profession and because of that I dove into a dog product design and earned a degree in bio-chemistry. I also became valuable to product companies after I’d begun training dogs in people’s homes. I’ve done that for more than fifteen years.
It’s easiest to train a dog in the environment in which he lives because I can learn the habits of the family and work with them on their unique in-home training issues. I love helping pet parents raise and happily cohabitate with their pets
Q. What is your favorite part about working with dogs?
A. I get so many ah-ha moments when I witness a pet owner who’s able to shape his or her pets’ behavior in a positive way. Often there are tears of joy involved when the pet parent and the dog so completely connect. I also love when I bump into the dogs I have trained and they remember me!
Q. Are there preconceived notions about how our dogs interact with us or bust any myths?
A.If you’re familiar with anthropomorphism, it’s a subject I grapple with daily. People really don’t research how a dog thinks, unless they hire me or read a great book. Pet parents place their own human emotions onto the dog, which is not healthy. Dogs are different—from their nose to their toes—in relation and comparison to humans. When I work with pet parents I dedicate time to showing them how to study the dog mind because it can save the humans and their pets a lot of unnecessary suffering.
Q.If someone wanted to follow in your footsteps and have a career working with dogs, how can they realize their dream?
A.I suggest becoming a certified trainer. I offer an apprenticeship program and am currently working with two apprentice students. In addition to becoming a certified trainer, volunteer at a rescue group or with your local shelter and begin taking dog handling classes. There is so much to learn and experience, especially when you’re starting out.
Q.Is there anything I didn’t ask that you want the world to know about you, dog training or any special projects you have coming up?
A.I’m such a huge fan of rescue stories. I once rescued a fifty-pound Doxie named Rocky. I rehabilitated him to a healthy weight of fifteen pounds. Too many people feed their dogs improperly on a regular basis; this is part of the anthropomorphism – feeding our dogs as if they were human. I work diligently to change the misinformation I find and to help pet parents and their dogs live happy, long, satisfying lives with one another.
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.