Debbie Tecce is an AKC approved evaluator who has been training, mentoring, and testing canines and their companions since 2002. Debbie has worked as a veterinary nurse and client care specialist since 2005.
Debbie’s journey into dog training began when her son, Scott, brought home an Amstaff puppy when he was a high school sophomore. Debbie chauffeured her son and his pup, Vai Sikahema, to the obedience classes. She watched the trainers and helped her son and the dog reinforce the lessons at home. They also had a slightly neurotic dog, Marty, who chewed through an upstairs screen window and the family found her walking around on the roof! After her rescue, Debbie decided Marty needed more intensive obedience training.
Debbie worked for Animal Control and the Marion-Alachua Dog Training Association when she lived in Florida. She was concerned that so many dogs end up in shelters because their owners do not train or socialize them. A cute puppy, with cute puppy behaviors, is not so cute when it is an 8-month-old adolescent with obnoxious habits. Debbie started taking shelter dogs to the obedience class, where she was an assistant trainer, to teach them the manners they needed to be adopted out.
When she returned to Pennsylvania, she worked at a local veterinarian and began offering training classes. Her obedience classes are more of a canine good citizen class. Participants bring their family dogs, and she provides owners with tips and training to allow their dogs to integrate more completely into the family as well-adjusted dogs.
She offers CGC (Canine Good Citizen) testing, S.T.A.R. Puppy (Socialization,Training, Activity, Responsibility) testing; and her trainees can also earn Urban CGC and Community K9 titles.
Debbie’s philosophy includes using positive reinforcement to make a happy dog that wants to work for its owners, adding corrections when needed but really focusing on creating a positive training environment. She works with any age dog.
What makes Debbie happiest is when the owners and the dogs first come, and the owners do not have confidence. She is really training the owners. She likes to see that progression, as owners’ and their dogs’ confidence grows, so that by the end of the class, the owners discover that the dogs really can learn and be great family members.
She remembers one story: One of the first commands she teaches owners and their dogs is “Watch me!” which teaches the dog to focus on its owner. A former student told her that her child had left the door open, and the family dog wandered out and ran right toward a busy street. The woman screamed, “Watch me!” and the dog’s name. The dog whipped around and promptly sat, completely focused on his master. She recalled him, and he came immediately. If he had not learned that command, he would’ve run into the traffic and gotten hit.