UCLA Dogs Welcomes a New Intern!

Linda McVay, CCS CDW

David and his son, Maada, at home in Mongolia.
What area of Mongolia are you from?

I'm from the Capital City of Mongolia called Ulaanbaatar.

How would you compare the average Mongolian's life to that of a citizen in the United States? Is life in Mongolia changing?

There are big differences. Mongolia was a communist country for 70 years and became a Democratic country just 20 years ago. Almost everything is very new for our country.

How did your interest in working with dogs begin?

Ever since I was a child I loved being with all kinds of animals. I always receive peace and joy when I am with animals, especially dogs. I had many dogs, but I never had a chance to train them to the fullest. I was amazed when I first visited America by how wonderful the dogs were. Very gentle, calm, and most importantly the owners did not used punishment to train or interact with their dogs. They had such beautiful, deep relationships.

I want to show my fellow Mongolians that it is possible to train dogs without punishment. Many people use punishment to train their dogs. There is an old saying "the more you beat your dog and less food you give to your dog, the smarter your dog will be." It may sound so cruel, but the sad thing is that many people [in Mongolia] still believe in this and practice it.

That's why I wanted to become the first professional dog trainer in Mongolia. I know it will be difficult but I am happy to follow my heart.

What does the dog training landscape look like in Mongolia? What does the average Mongolian say when you talk about Positive Reinforcement training?

Right now, only Police academy and the Army people are training dogs. I've heard about people who have paid much money to have their dog know basic obedience commands. But the sad thing…it turned out that most of their dogs were much more fearful after the training because they used punishment to train the dogs.

Positive Training is new in Mongolia. I trained my 11 month old female Rottweiler using only Positive training, using clickers. People who have seen my dog are so amazed and kept asking me "no punishment?" It was so wonderful to prove that Positive training not only works but it results in a much greater, deeper, and more trusting relationship between you and your dog.

You are currently working alongside a veterinarian, training clients pet dogs. Do you find that Mongolians are open to change? Is pet ownership becoming more common in Mongolia?

Yes, I have worked for almost 6 months at the vet as a dog trainer. Ulaanbaatar city is growing and currently has over 1 million people. Many people love dogs because in our tradition dogs play a very important role. So, I believe there will be more people owning dogs as pets.

I know that you are coming to the United States to pursue your dream of becoming a certified trainer, how hard was it to find a training program here in the Washington State when you were at home in Mongolia?

It was not easy at all. I sent out many e-mails, but I only got one reply. I received an amazing reply from you [Linda McVay]. And, I had a chance to meet with you in person, which was amazing for me. I felt like I was in heaven.

I am so grateful and thankful for my dearest sister Linda McVay and her family for trusting in me and hearing my goal and desire. I am so happy to be here studying to become a certified trainer. This means so much to me and my family. I am thankful to my God Lord Jesus Christ for the blessings.

Thank you again David, we look forward to seeing you again.

Thank you, in the end I always like to say to my friends "it is an amazing feeling to be able to read your dog."

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