Pete Plourde spends his days, and some nights, helping his clients improve their relationships, building mutual trust and respect for one other. Together, they work on their biggest frustrations, the little behavioral ticks that have become giant wedges in getting along with each other.
But you’ll never find Pete's clients sitting across from him on a couch, expressing their deepest feelings. Unless, of course, the problem is the couch itself, and he’s helping his client teach a pet when and when not to be up on the furniture.
“I’ve been doing this for 18 years,” says Pete, dog trainer and owner of Better Manners Dog Training. “It’s really psychology-based. I teach people to understand how to effectively communicate and how to build those relationships. And the customer always has the right to choose their own rules, such as when and if to be on the furniture.”
"Dog trainer" doesn’t quite fit his description, he says, because he’s really teaching pet owners and their dogs how to communicate, even when the pets can’t speak back. He says he’s saved literally thousands of dogs’ lives who were scheduled for euthanasia but who, through training, were able to live peacefully with their owners.
“If I can educate humans on what dogs’ needs are and how to build relationships,” Pete says, “then the dogs can live long, happy lives. That’s the rewarding part.”
6 a.m. — Wakes up to kisses from his dogs, a Tamaskan named Bandit and a Rottweiler named Boss, who love to start the day with wet kisses and cuddles.
6:15 a.m. — While the coffee brews, Pete makes the dogs breakfast with his own concoction of cut-up chicken breast, raw hamburger meat, and re-hydrated and canned foods.
7 a.m. — Start scrolling through emails for updates or changes in the day’s house calls, and respond to new inquiries from potential customers.
8 a.m. — Exercises the dogs with two to three miles of walking or running.
9 a.m. — Drive to first of several appointments of the day. The first in-home lesson can take up to two hours. Pete's typical day will see both new customer visits and follow-up visits to customers who are already working on behavior training.
12 p.m. — Sometimes lunch is a quick healthy meal or a meal replacement shake or bar while driving in between appointments.
2 p.m. — Check emails and follow up on new inquiries and customer questions. “I love it when I get a message about how well the training is going and how much fun my customers are having working with their dogs.”
5 p.m. — Dinner for the dogs with Pete's homemade concoction.
6 p.m. — Dinner for Pete.
7 p.m. — Another round of exercise for the dogs before bedtime.
8 p.m. — Quick look at the calendar for the following day and wrap up any other customer communications.
9 p.m. — Bedtime.