Who am I and why am I here?
I think we should start with a proper introduction, both as a person and a professional. My name is Izaskun Arrieta (Iza for short). My name might sound uncommon and unique, not that much in the Basque Country which is where I’m from. I was born in Bilbao, a world renowned city thanks to its culinary delights and the magnificent Guggenheim Museum. I studied Law at the University of Deusto, completed my Erasmus exchange program in Ireland and later on pursued a Master's degree in International and European Law in Belgium.
I am sure by now you may be wondering what does all the above has to do with dogs, right? Well, life has strange ways of showing you the path. My dream was to become a vet, which for many different reasons was not possible. In fact, I wonder if I would have been a good vet as I am terrified of needles! Needless to say (pun intended) I never became one!
Having completed my extensive education as a lawyer I did what I was supposed to do, practice law…at least for a while, up until I realised that it was definitely not my calling in life! In parallel to my studies and professional experiences I’ve always volunteered at animal shelters and read everything and anything animal related, particularly about dogs.
My professional experience spans almost 20 years across three different countries. I worked in Mexico for the Basque Government, in Madrid for International Consulting Firms, and in Dublin both at the Dublin City Council and the Spanish Embassy. In between all this I also earned my degree as a Professional Dog Trainer, completed a Postgraduate degree in Animal Behaviour Counselling at the University of Southampton (UK), and set up my own Dog Training Practice (The InterPETer) which I’ve been running for the past 9 years.
What does training really mean?
But for the main purpose of this introduction, let’s focus on the Dog Trainer and Behaviourist bit so you can relate and understand what’s our goal at IntelliPuppy.com. I am not a huge fan of the word “trainer”, to me it infers the need for someone to “order” and others to “obey”. And if there’s something I’ve come to realise is that I don’t want a dog that will always comply to every single one of my commands. If that is what I was after, I could just buy an AIBO designed and manufactured by Sony.
Every dog is an individual and every breed is different. Some breeds were historically adapted to operate on their own rather than to obey commands from a “master”. Earthdogs such as terriers didn’t pop out of tunnels when humans called, they were literally dragged out by their sturdy little tails. Sight hounds were expected to see the prey and give chase, it was up to the humans to keep up!
You may get very frustrated if you set your expectations too high, hoping for your sight hound or terrier to “Come” when called every single time. You need to understand your dog, the breed or mix of breeds she is made of, what job did your dog excelled at and what “jobs” your dog may have never EVER heard of. As Einstein cleverly stated: “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole live believing that it is stupid” And no, no one is stupid! All you need is some perspective to better understand how its like being a dog!
When my passion became my purpose
I am a persistent multitasker to say the least. I know what I want and that is precisely what I am doing right now. My passion may finally become my full time job and I’m now in a position to fulfil my purpose in life. I have acquired the knowledge and practical skills I needed to feel able and confident to deliver on my vision, and therefore I can now come to you with a genuine aspiration to serve you, to enlighten you with the knowledge and techniques that will enable you to skilfully observe your dog so you can better understand, communicate and therefore enjoy life together.
The main goal of my work is to make complex science-based strategies and techniques easily available, fun and engaging for you to easily apply and for your dog to happily assimilate. I’ve done all the dull and tedious scientific research for you, covering most topics that will arm you with what you’ll need to kick off a healthy and productive relationship with your puppy. Though I’m fully confident about the validity and efficacy of what I teach, you shouldn’t just take my word. I encourage you to be critical, compare and contrast information/techniques, and even seek second and third opinions.
I often like to use the term “digested science” to describe what I aspire to do with my work, as I aim to bring down to earth the complexity behind scientific research. But even then, I still encourage you to follow your gut instinct when deciding whether you should trust this or that person. I believe my background, academic credentials and professional experience speaks volumes of my trustworthiness, but you should always make your own personal decision on whose advice to follow, either consciously or unconsciously. I’m just here to help you shape your opinions and hopefully be of service and value.