Summer Hoyt grew up around animals. Everything from dogs to rabbits to lizards.
"I learned to love them early on and appreciate them," said Summer Hoyt.
Hoyt is putting her love of animals to good use as a behavior consultant and dog trainer (although is not yet certified) at PetAgreed Canine Academy in Cedar Falls, which just opened about six months ago.
"I couldn't have done anything without summer. She's been amazing. I've learned actually a lot from her," said Karen Anderson with PetAgreed.
Karen Anderson first started PetAgreed in 2005 in South Carolina. When she moved back home to eastern Iowa, she was roommates with Summer. From there, Karen opened PetAgreed and hired Summer as a dog trainer.
"She is so kind and patient. Instead of making dogs feel intimidated, she'll make them go I'll try that or I'll try this, let's see what works," said Anderson.
Anderson said another reason Summer Hoyt is so good at her job is because she's constantly trying to learn new things.
"I've read just about every textbook I could get my hands on about animal behavior," said Hoyt.
Summer Hoyt graduated from UNI. In about a year, she hopes to go back to school to get a Masters in animal behavior.
"I like seeing and building that relationship between dogs and people, and I want to show people dogs are important to society," she said.
The 22-year-old knows she wants to spend her life working with animals. She said she loves teaching dogs structure and etiquette, changing the lives of pets and their owners.
"Dogs are very similar to little children, like little toddlers and you wouldn't want your kids to run around like crazy or to go to a place and have recess all day. You want them to feel like they've learned something. They've been exercised but not burnt out," said Hoyt.
Besides dog training at PetAgreed, Summer and her husband also work with the Des Moines Canine Authority Search and Rescue Team.
Long-term, Summer hopes to do more with search and rescue as well as therapy and service dog training.
Starting Saturday, January 19, PetAgreed is hosting weekly seminars from 11 a.m. to Noon. For seven weeks, a different behavior topic will be discussed. The cost is $5 per person (not pets). Each week, proceeds from the seminars will go to a different animal rescue in the local area.
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