By Michelle Maslanka • Producer
Welcome back to our blog series “Industry Insights”, where we interview members of the production world that we have had the opportunity to collaborate with! This week, we are stretching the realm of production to include a Chicagoland dog trainer we recently teamed up with for a project. Working with animals on set can be "ruff", but not with this dynamic duo. Meet Julie Nelson (and Wyatt)!
MS: How long have you been in the dog training business?
I have been training dogs basically all of my life. When I was little, I was always doing different things with the family dog to get him to perform different tricks. The love of dogs has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. I became a professional dog trainer about 20 years ago.
MS: Can you provide some information about your company Paws In Time?
I started Paws In Time 15 years ago as a compliment to the training I was already doing in people's homes. I recognized that dogs simply do not get enough exercise and playtime during the day. They become destructive and can't focus on the training. By giving them a safe place to come and run and play all day, they get the exercise they desperately need and now they can focus on training.
For boarding, we are very non-traditional. Traditionally, boarding your dog meant that the dog was going to sit in a cage the entire time you were gone enjoying your vacation. I didn't want to do it that way. That is too stressful for the dog, the family and the staff trying to care for the dogs. So at Paws In Time, we play with the dogs all day long in our daycare environment which means they are not sitting in a small cage waiting hopelessly for attention. They are being played with all day and they can run and play with other dogs all day.
MS: Tell us about Wyatt! How long have you had him?
I have shared life with Wyatt since he was 8 weeks old. He is now 4 years old, and is a registered Miniature American Shepherd.
MS: What kind of training does Wyatt have? What kind of "tricks" does he know?
Wyatt is my pet who is constantly subjected to my passion for training. Whenever I think of new things I would like to try to train a dog to do, Wyatt is my guy. Since I seem to always be wanting to train things and he is so willing to learn, our list is long of things we learn together. He has all of the basic commands and he does them with flair! The basics are thought of as sit, down, stay, heel and come along with his many tricks including roll over, pray, pick out whichever color glove I say, etc. to name a few.
MS: What is the most difficult part about training dogs?
Honestly the most difficult part of training a dog (when the dog belongs to someone else), is the person! The people are more difficult to work with than the dogs!
MS: What is your favorite part about training dogs?
The thing I like the most about training dogs is that I know I am making a positive impact on the dog's life and am improving the quality of its life as well as the family that owns the dog. I take the approach that I am working not only with the dog for right now, but for the rest of its life. So the training I am doing will result in the dog having a healthy life all around.
We had a wonderful time on set with Julie and Wyatt. I, myself, could be found hanging out with them in between takes. Julie certainly has a passion for pups, and Wyatt is a natural on camera. We look forward to working with them again. Check Wyatt out in this web commercial we produced this summer!