Well, dog-lovers of America, it is here…National Dog Week begins today giving us all seven days to “paws” to think about the state of the dog in the states of the nation. Over the past several months I’ve blogged every week about the legacy of Captain Will Judy and his Dog Week Movement, and the contributions of a man named Captain Arthur Haggerty to keeping the motion in that movement. You can access the archives of September to read more about National Dog Week.
When Will Judy began National Dog Week in 1928, the people of our nation were in for some hard times, and now 82 years later, some find themselves in a similar situation. Styles, movies, technology, politics all may change, but one thing I know for sure, the dog remains the same…loyal, steadfast, and always our best friend. With over 70 million dogs residing in American homes, it really does take a week to honor all of them, and another 51 to boot.
This week, I will post daily with an item featuring someone in the nation who helps to make the world a better place for both man and dog. I will be reposting them for some hang time during September and October. This first post presents renowned Dog Obedience Trainer Babette Haggerty of Babette Haggerty’s School for Dogs, LLC. Babette is the daughter of the late Captain Arthur Haggerty. She wrote the book, Woman’s Best Friend (McGraw-Hill 2003) and was the winner of City Tails Readers Choice Awards in 2008, voted as one of NYC’s Favorite Dog Trainers. Babette has also written the Foreword for my book project, Every Dog has its Week.
Please describe your services (names, background, individuals who work for you, if any). What makes your training service stand out in the New York metro region?
I train dogs and their people in the metro NYC area. I teach group and private lessons as well as have a boarding school. I have an assistant Erika Friedman who donates her free time to her non-profit called Canine Celebrations. I also have two girls that I am training to train dogs.
What is your training philosophy, or approach?
I believe in using a balanced approach while making the training easiest for the dog owner and fun for the dog. It is imperative that we deliver results as quickly as possible so that the owner doesn’t give up on the dog and it is relinquished to the shelter.
As the daughter of a renowned dog obedience trainer, did you know you always wanted to do this for a living? Who else in the field has influenced your methods?
While growing up, the dog training profession was virtually unknown. There were very, very few trainers out there. I always worked for my dad growing up when I was off from school. As far as I knew he was the only dog trainer out there. While in college, I told him that I wanted to get into showing dogs and he asked, “Why don’t you start training?” I told him that I couldn’t because he was THE dog trainer. I didn’t know that other people out there existed. He was such an icon in the dog world. We would be at a dog show and couldn’t walk two feet without someone stopping him. Even if we were just doing our thing in NYC people would always stop and recognize him. He was a bit of a hometown celebrity.
Your father was a huge of fan of Captain Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, was he ever able to meet him personally? Why did he think Will Judy was so important to dogs and their welfare?
I am not sure that my dad did meet him. My dad admired anyone that promoted dogs in a positive and progressive light. It is important to reflect upon the way dogs were viewed sixty, forty and even twenty-five years ago. They sleep in bed with us today and we dress them up and spend more money on their spa treatments than on ourselves sometimes. Back in Will Judy’s day, they would roam the countryside and come home at night to sleep outside. They served a utilitarian purpose as a hunter, herder, and guard back etc then. If you asked your grandmother when she was young if her dogs were allowed in the house, at all, she would probably tell you no.
What inspired your father to take up the cause of NDW in 2005? Was he pleased with the public’s response?
He was very pleased. He actually started putting together people to celebrate NDW earlier than that. He did it pretty consistently in the 70’s then as time went on it fell to the side and he brought it back around 2002 or 2003.
Can you tell us a little about your own dog or dogs and what they might like to do for NDW?
I have a German shepherd, a Rottweiler and a French bulldog. Since two of my breeds have reputations as vicious dogs I will be bringing them to the local schools to teach children how to be safe around dogs.
To learn more about Babette and her work please go to:
Thanks Babette! Please stay tuned for my interview with Ryan Rice of the Houston Dog Blog, tomorrow….