Big changes are coming for me.

After 11½ years of teaching group classes at Petco in Bluffton, I am retiring.

Just to clarify, though, I am NOT retiring as a dog trainer – just no longer working at that location. I am scheduled to leave in August, so those of you who wish to train with me there should contact me ASAP.

I will still be available as a private trainer for your many diverse puppy needs, nutrition consults, adoption dog and multiple anxiety and behavior issues through my Bluffton business. More specifically, I will continue to work with dog parents on new dog selection, introduction of new dogs to existing dogs, potty training, puppy behaviors such as biting, jumping, chewing and more.

As your needs arise for basic obedience skills, such as loose leash walking, reaction to other dogs and play styles, good manners with children, adults, stay, come and other necessary skills, I will continue to be available at your home or my facility in Bluffton, and at local private communities that want classes, seminars or workshops.

I have been struggling time-wise to satisfy the many needs of the dog-owning community, hence having to give up one my endeavors. Those who know me understand that I have been working seven days a week to keep up with appointments. I do not want to shortchange anyone – and certainly not the dogs – so something had to give!

This change will enable me to spend more concentrated time with existing clients and new ones. I hope you will continue to refer me to your friends and family.

Actually, having a day off will be enjoyable too, as I haven’t had one for years except for planned family vacations. I also spend time volunteering in the community as part of the children’s reading program in schools, and with Hos-Pets visiting assisted living, hospitals and those in hospice.

In the summer, I teach dogs swimming and safety, and in fall I will begin agility training. Year-round, I train Canine Good Citizen and therapy dogs. I also foster dogs for adoption. So, I guess with all these activities, I will still remain pretty busy.

I hope you will continue to look for my articles here and contact me with your questions and needs as a responsible dog parent. Thank you for your continued support and I hope to see many of you soon.

Abby Bird is owner of Alpha Dog Obedience Training.