Meet QC Pet Studies’ dog training graduate, Payton Ruttan! Tell us a little about yourself, Payton!
I’m Payton and I’m a QC Pet Studies dog training graduate. I have four dogs of my own (at the moment) but have owned dogs my whole life. I have three working scent hounds and one husky! Also, I enjoy photography – and often use my dogs as models for my ideas.
When (and why) did you realize you wanted to pursue a career as a dog trainer?
When I got my husky (who was a rescue) in 2020, she came with a few behavioral problems. So, I started looking into training and was able to work with her myself. This is when I took a bigger interest in dog training.
Then, when I got my fourth dog, she had shown signs of resource guarding. I had spoken with a trainer who told me it was not resource guarding, and that I would never be able to have her off leash because she is a bloodhound.
Unfortunately, this set us back on our progress. So, I decided to make a change. She now has excellent recall, is able to be off leash, and we are now making progress on her resource guarding.
I decided to pursue a career as a dog trainer in order to help others who may have been told the same thing as I was, as well as to help my own dogs.
Why did you decide to pursue your certification training online (rather than in-person) – and how did you both hear of QC Pet Studies?
I decided to pursue my certification online so I could do it at my own pace, whenever and wherever I was able to. I learned about QC Pet Studies through some Google searches and was very impressed!
Why did you choose to enroll with QC Pet Studies? (E.g., What was it about our school that won you over, compared to other online dog training schools out there?)
I was between two schools before I decided to enroll with QC Pet Studies. I decided to go with QC Pet Studies as I found it was an excellent starter point. Plus, QC seemed to have a lot of information that would be beneficial to dog training beginners.
As a QC Pet Studies Dog Training graduate, you’ve successfully earned your globally-certified International Dog Training Professional™ (IDTP™)! Tell us about your experience with this online program! What was your favorite hands-on assignment? Did you face any particularly difficult challenges – and how did you overcome them? Moreover, would you recommend this course to other dog trainers (aspiring and working alike) and why or why not?
My experience with QC’s Dog Training Course was very easy going! Everything was easy to navigate through and there was no pressure to complete assignments by certain deadlines.
My favorite thing about all the hands-on assignments was using the skills with my own dogs and being able to teach them the new commands. Alternately, the biggest challenge was finding others to work with! I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who may want to become a dog trainer – or even just learn how to train their own dog!
Do you believe that dog trainers should be properly certified? Why or why not?
Yes! The dog training community is not regulated and doesn’t have very high standards. I think the least dog trainers can do – in order to ensure safety for both the dogs and clients – is to get properly certified and continue their education as they continue their career.
How would you describe your style as a dog trainer?
I don’t think I have a specific style quite yet. But as I go, I believe I will develop my own way. I would hope my style comes off as relaxed, welcoming, and fun!
Which dog training methods do you use (and why)?
I use balanced methods, and I will use any one method over another if it suits the dog or client. I base my methods on each dog.
You’ve since launched your very own business, MisChief Dog Training. What’s the story behind your business’s name?
My business name is my rescue husky’s name and my second dog’s name mashed into one. They are the two dogs that really set me on the path of dog training. Miska = ‘Mis’ and Chief = ‘Chief’. Together, they make MisChief.
Also, the name conveys all the mischief many dogs get into during their life!
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in owning/operating your own business?
Since I’m still very new, marketing my business and getting my name out there have been the biggest challenges.
What are some of the biggest benefits, in your opinion, of running your own business?
I’m able to make my own schedule entirely. Also, I get to decide the type of work I do every day.
What advice would you give aspiring dog trainers and other QC Pet Studies dog training graduates who are interested in opening up their own business?
I would suggest educating yourself as much as possible beforehand. Learn about other trainers in your area and work with them if you can. Furthermore, getting your name out and making it available to people who may be in need of help – BEFORE opening a business – would be helpful as well.
In your opinion, what are the most rewarding aspects of being a professional dog trainer (in general)?
For me, the most rewarding thing is being able to train my own dogs, and using my knowledge in my own life every day. It’s extremely helpful and seeing it pay off every day is extremely rewarding.
Sometimes, prospective clients are hesitant to hire a professional dog trainer because they’re convinced that they can train their dog at home themselves. Therefore, they might argue that hiring an expert is a waste of money. Speaking as a dog training graduate and industry professional, why you believe hiring a proper dog trainer is worth the cost?
Many dog trainers will help you work through problems BEFORE they even happen. Knowing ways to stop a problem before it even happens (or avoid it altogether) is extremely beneficial and will help with training further down the road. An expert will be able to tell early on signs, and will have the knowledge to pass on to you to put a stop to it before it gets too bad.
Sometimes, just having an outsider’s point of view and opinion can be very helpful as well!
What dog training services do you currently offer clients?
I have a minimal list right now, but I do offer puppy, beginner, and intermediate obedience training. I also offer reactivity sessions, minor behavioral training, scent work, all day trains, and enrichment information sessions!
You live in Picton, Ontario – a relatively small town of less than 5,000 people. How are you leveraging this to your advantage? What are the biggest things you’re doing to market your dog training business and get your name out there to your target audience?
With my business, I’m willing to travel further and to surrounding areas, and go directly to my clients. Additionally, I’m also offering fully online sessions.
There are other trainers in the area. So, being able to travel is definitely setting me apart. I have also made ads, handed out business cards, and I try to be active on social media.
What do you love MOST about working with dogs?
Seeing all of the different breeds and their personalities is great! I love just being in the company of dogs.
What’s your favorite training service to provide and why?
Scent work is probably one of my favorites! It’s fun, challenging, and works with a dog’s breed and genetics specifically.
We know it’s practically impossible to choose – but do you have a favorite dog breed? What about this breed makes them your top fave?
Huskies are definitely one of my favorites. Any high-drive, working dogs are incredible and never fail to amaze me! When we got our redbone coonhound, I fell in love with the breed instantly.
What advice would you give to other dog lovers out there who dream of a career working with dogs, but are hesitant to take the leap?
I would definitely suggest doing a lot of research first, such as the pros and cons. Also, speak with others in the field to see if it’s a good fit for you!
Overall, as a QC Pet Studies dog training graduate, why would you recommend QC’s self-paced, online certification training to others?
QC Pet Studies has an extremely supportive team, and everyone is so friendly to speak to! They check in throughout the course, as well as after you’ve graduated, which I think is great!
RELATED: Don’t hesitate to reach out to our awesome Student Support Team if ever, and whenever, you have any questions! We’re available Monday through Friday (between 9am and 5pm EST) via phone, email, and live chat!
To date, what do you consider to be the proudest moment of your journey as a dog trainer so far?
Although it doesn’t directly relate to my professional career as a dog trainer, before I took the course, I was able to successfully work through my husky’s reactivity. We couldn’t even walk through town without her screaming and lunging at other dogs and people.
She’s seen incredible progress! We’re now able to take her everywhere and she remains calm!
What’s in store for you and MisChief Dog Training the rest of this year and beyond?
My biggest goal is just to work with more dogs and gain more experience. I do hope to take more courses to further my knowledge as time goes on as well!