Mary G. Kron, ABCDT - Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer

Mary Kron, 52, has taken her love of drama straight to the dogs as she eagerly opens up her new dog training business, Drama Dog Training in Grand Rapids, MI.

Prior to starting her own business, Mary was the head of a college theater department for over 20 years. While there, she was responsible for overseeing about 30 teachers and 1,800 students a year which kept her quite busy. Working as the Education Director was a fulfilling yet stressful career and Mary began to look for a side career she could have while working through her retirement. Like many others, Mary knew that she could not fully retire so she was searching for a more flexible career she would enjoy after leaving the drama department.

Mary had fulfilled her love for theater and was ready to move on to pursue the next passion in her life, working with animals. As a young girl Mary grew up with animals, in fact her family moved to live on a farm where she was surrounded by cows, chickens, sheep, horses and of course, her dogs. She says she always had well-behaved dogs and without realizing it, became a source of training advice to all of her friends and family members. From that point on, she was determined to be more involved in the lives of animals.

“I did a lot of research and found that Animal Behavior College (ABC) really gave a good overview of everything, from theory to the nitty-gritty of how to teach a dog everything,” said Mary. “ABC was the best option because it was the only online school that also offered hands-on training,” she said. As a teacher herself, Mary recognized the importance of a thorough curriculum as well as how critical hands-on training is, especially as it pertains to dog training. Animal Behavior College is a vocational school that focuses on animal-related career training. Their Certified Dog Obedience Trainer program was a perfect fit for Mary and her aspirations of working with animals.

Mary enrolled in the ABC program in September of 2008 and excelled through the program while still maintaining her demanding career at the theater department. In fact, she upheld honor roll status throughout the entire program and graduated with honors.

As a component of her education, Mary was required to work with a professional dog trainer that was assigned to her to help complete her hands-on training. In doing so, Mary was able to learn from an expert dog trainer and was able to utilize all that she had learned at home in a real training environment. Mary even volunteered at her local animal shelter training the dogs there for practice. After realizing that the proper training made a difference in adoption rates, she continues to volunteer at least twice a week at a local animal shelter and Humane Society. “It’s so great to work with shelter dogs because it gives me such a wide range of experience. I can work with so many different breeds and understand how each one is different,” she says. “Now when I’m teaching a group training class, I can say ‘Yes, I have worked with that type of dog before’ because of all the different dogs I work with at the shelter.”

Just a few days before Mary was due to graduate from Animal Behavior College she was laid off from her job due to budget cut-backs. Like many others, Mary was a casualty of the harsh economy. Although leaving her full time job happened earlier than expected, this allowed her to fully immerse herself into her new dog training career and graduated ABC with honors.

Today Mary is working on starting her new business appropriately named Drama Dog Training. She offers both group and private lesson training out of her house and uses everything she learned in school to help make her a successful dog trainer. She has even utilized the spare bedrooms in her house and offers overnight boarding to her clients. Mary hopes to teach basic agility in the future and knows that although her career of twenty years just ended, this is just the beginning of a new career for her doing what she loves -- working with animals.