To say we've had a few challenges with our dog, Finn, is an understatement. After two ruined area rugs, two chewed stair treads, and one side of a leather recliner, I was past ready for a change in Finn's behavior. Jeff was just as ready for a change because he was dealing with me AND the dog. It was at this point of desperation that Marco Iacobani of Lorenzo's Dog Training entered our lives--thank goodness! We liked Marco so much that we wanted to share his story with all of you.
Fresh Paths: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Marco Iacoboni, and I am a 27 year old from Cleveland, Ohio. My entire family resides in Cleveland except for my sister and I. We moved out to Atlanta, Georgia, about two years ago for our careers in professional dog training. Before this career found me, I studied 3D animation and game design. I found a job right before i graduated creating 3D installation animations for a construction company. At the time, it seemed like the best opportunity i would EVER have.
Fresh Paths: When did you become interested in becoming a dog trainer? What were you doing at the time?
After starting my first adult job, I finally had the time and money to rescue a dog. I found the sickest pitbull at the rescue facility, his name was Bosco, and I bought him. As he started to get healthier, new behavioral challenges started to show up that I had never worried about with our dogs in the past. After working with a hand full of trainers in the Cleveland area, the consensus was that Bosco was “broken," he could not be fixed. It was sad for me to think that Bosco would never be allowed to go for a walk with me, he would never be allowed to leave the house, he would have to be locked away anytime anyone came over. Eventually, my vet recommend Lorenzo's Dog training to me, and I figured I would give it one more chance. By the time we finished our training, Bosco was a completely different dog. They helped me fix my “broken” dog!! After seeing how big of an impact this training made on my life, I had to pay it forward. Shortly after I had had such great success with Bosco, I left my job for which I had trained in college to step into the most fulfilling career in the world. Now I have the pleasure of helping improve the lives of dogs and their families every single day. Fresh Paths: What did your family and friends have to say about your career change? Were they supportive? Did they think you were crazy? We have an enormous, tight-knit family and group of friends back in Cleveland, but, out of everyone, the only person who truly supported my choice to leave my career was my sister, Ariana. (Probably because she left her college career job to become a trainer as well). Everyone thought that they were protecting us from a very “bad decision." This was the hardest part of making my career jump, but once I jumped, I realized that I had made the most important choice of my lifetime. I chose to do what I love without worrying about anything else.
Fresh Paths: How did your career as a dog trainer get started? What did your training look like?
In order to get started, I had to pack my bags and spend a month with Lorenzo in Cleveland. Day in and day out, Lorenzo taught me the foundation of his dog training system. It almost felt too good to be true. I forgot what it is like to learn about something that genuinely excites me. It didn’t feel like work at all; it felt as if I was living a dream. Fresh Paths: Have you ever thought of giving up (especially in the early days)? Why have you continued to pursue this career?
This career takes a lot of work and sacrifice but I never once doubted my choice. I consider my self truly blessed to have found a job that I am so passionate about. Every morning while I am driving, I look around at all these people who found jobs that are “tolerable,” and I can’t help but feel sorry for them. I found a job that excites me, and I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. Fresh Paths: What’s hard about being a dog trainer? What part of it do you love and why?
The hardest part about being a dog trainer was leaving my friends and family behind. In a weird way, it was a necessary evil. I needed to leave my comfort zone to grow as an individual, as a business man, and as a dog trainer. The best part of my job is, hands down, saving dogs lives. Lorenzo's technique and philosophy gave me tools to help dogs that were considered “untrainable” or “broken," just like Bosco. When you see tears of joy in an owner's eyes, it’s hard not to get emotional. A lot of the dogs we work with already have three feet out the door before we even meet with them. It is super gratifying to know that I’ve stopped dogs from being euthanized. You can’t put a price on that.
Fresh Paths: What do your family and friends say about your career now? Now that we are established, and the dust has had time to settle, my family and friends support my choice to become a trainer entirely. Their initial resistance was in an effort to help me, but, once they found a better understanding of what I do, and after they saw the change in me, they quickly switched mindsets. They became very supportive. Fresh Paths: Knowing what you know now, would you do this again? I would literally make this choice 100 times. Not a single regret!! Fresh Paths: What advice would you give someone who is considering pursuing a “crazy dream”?
My advice to someone pursuing a crazy dream, don’t look left, don’t look right. JUST DO IT!!! Fresh Paths: Anything else you would like to add?
When you make the decision to try something new and different, not everyone is going to understand what you are doing and what you are hoping to accomplish. As long as you truly believe in what your doing, you are making the right choice. Fresh Paths: One final question - Is Finn your favorite client? (Just kidding!)
Without a doubt! (He says that to all the dog owners!) Finn was amazing!