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Alumni Profiles

Julie Ott

Julie Ott

Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Year of Graduation: 2003
Program: Animal Care

Unlocking the Canine Mind

Julie Ott is founder and head professional trainer of Canine Foundations. The Barrie, Ontario-based company offers behaviour consulting, seminars and dog obedience training designed to help dogs better understand their owners, and humans better understand their dogs.

What led you to start your own training facility?

I learned of an Animal Control co-op program during my Sheridan internship at a local animal clinic. I knew right away that rescue work was for me. Before I finished my final exams, I was offered a position with the SPCA. 

As a former Animal Control Officer and Animal Cruelty Investigator with the SPCA, I investigated and analyzed dog bites, as well as allegations of cruelty and neglect. I also assisted police with the removal of dogs from crime scenes and safely apprehended stray dogs running at large. During this time, I was encouraged to take on dogs that were deemed unadoptable because of biting, aggression or other behavioural problems. There were some really broken dogs that deserved a second chance. I spent a lot of time talking to experts, trying to understand why dogs and their owners did what they do. This led to the creation of Canine Foundations.

Where else has your passion for dogs taken you?

I serve on the board of directors for Last Chance K9 Rescue as the Behaviour Coordinator and Chief Rehabilitator. Last Chance K9 Rescue is one of the few rescue organizations in Ontario that takes in and rehabilitates dogs with a biting history, giving them a new lease on life. I participate with several local dog rescues as an occasional advisor on difficult rehabilitation cases. I am also a columnist at the Barrie Advance helping readers solve problems with their dogs.

Why did you come to Sheridan to study?

Originally I thought I wanted to be a Veterinary Technician, but the Animal Care course gave me a chance to learn skills that would be useful in any career associated with animals. Thanks to the knowledgeable instructors running the course and the co-op program, I was able to focus my energy into the area best suited to my personality.

What advice would you offer a recent graduate? 
Take the opportunity to talk to your instructors about your goals and dreams. They want to help you get there and can offer you fresh insight.