So You Think You Want To Be a Dog Trainer? AnimalSense Academy Can Help

by Mary Haight on July 20, 2009

I found one of Chicago’s hidden gems, AnimalSense Canine Training and Behavior, a few weeks ago during an event and discovered that3738423294_ae56279dce_manimalsense2 they are growing, and in a nationally significant way.

The AnimalSense Academy for dog trainers is accepting competitive applications for a select number of students to join the comprehensive six-month program, covering training skill sets, behavior modification, learning theory and more through externships and guest industry experts. This is just the beginning of the professional certification process for those of us who haven’t thought much about it.

I spoke with Jamie Damato, Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT), author, training director and founder of AnimalSense to find out more.


Jamie Damato brought the combined talents of a social worker, a seasoned certified dog trainer, and the business sense that grew( and sold) a dog walking company to 5000 clients, to found Animal Sense Canine Behavior and Training in 1999.

Damato’s experience as a social worker in a group home helping the mentally challenged started it all. Using pet therapy, she noted broad changes in the group whenever the cat was present; that interaction shifted her focus into the study of the relationship between people and their pets.

Damato started a successful dog walking service, providing ample occasion to observe dog/owner interaction. Wondering what might be next in her career, the owner of PetVet suggested dog training . “I hung out watching her teach behavior classes at the back of her practice because she didn’t think there were many good trainers around,” she recalled. Damato apprenticed for several years, studied at Arizona Training Academy for six months, sold her share of the dog walking business, and founded AnimalSense.

The AnimalSense Academy

Damato and her staff started with puppy classes, in-home training, group classes and training reinforcement for those who had forgotten their manners. The organization has more than doubled as demand for services grew, and it’s growing again with the Academy’s launch in March.

Damato explains, “The next session starts in September and there are only a few places left. We chose a quiet start by design. AnimalSense has an amazing team of people working toward qualifying students to a high standard, rather than taking a factory approach, and I don’t want the team overwhelmed. ”

Damato is dedicated to her work and her own continuing education, keeping AnimalSense on the cutting edge of clinical information. She has worked with more than 20,000 dogs and is regularly featured on WGN, WLS radio, and ABC TV. Call 312 564 4570.

Some of the best things happen when you’re not even looking for them!

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