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Old 02.12.2010, 13:00
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Tierpfleger-Light Course? [Animal carer with a degree]

I'm toying with the idea of taking the Tierpfleger-Light course, largely out of personal interest and curiosity, and wonder if those of you who have taken it found it worthwhile, or not?

My experience, current volunteer engagement and expected future involvement is with dogs only, hence the 'light' course - I don't have the time to invest in a full Tierpfleger diploma.

Can anyone recommend a specific training institution? Or, are there alterative courses you would recommend instead?

And a question for those of you who offer dog care services; have any of you been successful at getting the BVet or the cantonal veterinary offices to recognize other - including international - credentials?

(From a pure interest standpoint, I think a canine behavior course from one the behaviorists I respect might offer more personal fulfillment, but from a practical standpoint, I'm thinking compliance with the TschV could come in handy some day...)

Your thoughts and experiences would be welcome.
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Old 30.03.2011, 11:44
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

just curious. did you ever proceed with the course? i've been considering the same--out of interest.
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Old 30.03.2011, 12:08
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

I've left it simmering on the back burner for now.

At the moment figuring out what makes the Extreme Belltie tick (and thus avoiding deportation ) has become something of a full time job. Toward that end, I have decided there are other canine behavior courses better suited to this most pressing goal.

At least one EF member has taken the Tierpfleger course - I'll PM you with the info that she kindly sent me.
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Old 24.08.2011, 12:20
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

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I've left it simmering on the back burner for now.

At the moment figuring out what makes the Extreme Belltie tick (and thus avoiding deportation ) has become something of a full time job. Toward that end, I have decided there are other canine behavior courses better suited to this most pressing goal.

At least one EF member has taken the Tierpfleger course - I'll PM you with the info that she kindly sent me.
Hi

I am also interested in doing the Tierpfleger Light course. Would it be possible for you to PM me the details you have?

I don't know where to start looking for information.
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Old 15.05.2012, 17:01
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

Hi,

I am new to internet forums (so sorry if I'm doing this wrong) and I'm also new to Switzerland.
I would like to start a dog walking/sitting business in Zurich.
I have seen the posts about:

Quote:
Re: dog-walker

Very roughly:

If one is running a Tierheim or Hort taking in more than 19 dogs, one needs the eid. Tierpfleger diploma. This is a 3 year course.

If one is running a Hort (taking dogs into your home is classified as a Hort) taking in fewer than 19 dogs, one needs the BFA. This is a ca. 40 hour course.

If one is regularly caring for a dog in the owner's home one might only need the SKN, this is a 5 hour course with that dog. (The dog owner usually pays for this...)

Take a gander at the BVet website;

http://www.bvet.admin.ch/tsp/02222/index.html?lang=fr


and:

Tierpfleger-Light Course?

I'm toying with the idea of taking the Tierpfleger-Light course, largely out of personal interest and curiosity, and wonder if those of you who have taken it found it worthwhile, or not?

My experience, current volunteer engagement and expected future involvement is with dogs only, hence the 'light' course - I don't have the time to invest in a full Tierpfleger diploma.

Can anyone recommend a specific training institution? Or, are there alterative courses you would recommend instead?


and:

Re: What is the average rate per hour charged by dog walkers in Switzerland?

Commercial dog care is regulated under the TschV. Depending on how the business is structured and how many dogs are looked after, commercial dog care providers may need the Tierpfleger Diploma, or the BFA, or the SKN. (Non-commercial dog care does not need any course work, is not regulated.) And again depending on how the business is structured, the dog carer may need to be registered with the cantonal Veterinäramt.
I have had a gander at the BVet website but as yet have not found the relevant information in English.
I have also searched for the BFA course but only found Bachelor of Fine Arts or other unrelated sites. The BFA sounds like the most appropriate for the time it takes. If you could send me any information you have about the BFA or Tierpfleger-Light course or any other courses you think might be relevant like dog first aid courses etc. it would be much appreciated.

I am trying to learn German now as it is obviously a big disadvantage to only speak English but in the meantime if you could send me any information you have it would be much appreciated. ( and if the relevant information is only in German, I can get my girlfriend to translate it.) If you know of any English speaking courses that would also be very useful.

Meloncollie, I also noticed you had/have 'volunteer engagements'.
I have a lot of experience walking dogs in the UK but have no official qualifications and would like to gain as much experience as possible so that I can care for my future customers' dogs in the best way possible.
If you have any information on where I could get some work or volunteer to look after or walk dogs while I set up my business that would also be appreciated.

Thank you very much in advance for any information or links you can help me with.

Sam
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Old 15.05.2012, 18:34
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

Samunus, info on the BFA (berufsunabhänagige Fachausbildung) can be found here:

http://www.tierpfleger.ch/fba-tierbetreuer-züchter/

Note that another less costly option might be the SKN (Sachkundenachweis) taken with your client's dogs - this might work if you are regularly caring for dogs in the client's home.

What is needed really depends on what you are intending to do. You should define what services you wish to offer, how you will structure your business model, and then speak to either the BVet or your cantonal Veterinäramt to determine which qualifications might be needed.

Note that the Ausbildung requirement for dog carers is new, not well understood - and from what I have seen and heard, there is a wide variance in enforcement to say the least.

The problem/issue for many wishing to offer dog care services is that even the BFA (Tierpfleger light) is a bit of overkill for the person who takes a few Ferienhunde into his/her home - and the courses are quite expensive. But technically this is considered a Hundehort. I'd hazard a guess that many commercial but non-professional dog carers are not compliant. What the consequences - to the carer and/or to the client - of that might be, if any, is anyone's guess.

Non-commercial dog care, and care for other types of pets - requires no Ausbildung or registration.

As to where to get experience...

I volunteer with a rescue in Germany, so not much help there. If volunteer work is what you want to do, contact the various Tierheim in your area and ask if volunteer help is needed. "Gassigehen' or Spaziergangdienst are the typical German terms for volunteer dog walking. Make sure you explain your experience to date, highlighting any special skills or interests.

A partial list of shelters can be found here: http://www.tierdatenbank.ch/cms/adre...-tierheim.html

In Zürich, you might also consider the Tierrettungsdienst, the volunteer on-call ambulance service for pets found injured on the streets - this would certainly give you very valuable experience:

http://www.tierrettungsdienst.ch/h/tierrettung_7.php

Tierrettungsdienst is run in conjunction with Tierheim Pfötli, a well respected shelter in canton ZH. There might be other volunteer opportunities with them.

I'll follow up with a few thoughts re: what skills and experience I look for in a sitter... but at the moment duty (Haifisch, actually ) calls...
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Old 25.05.2012, 11:18
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

Later than promised, but the Muttley Crew keep me at their beck and call these days...

First, I'm so glad to see that you are looking into setting up your pet care business correctly, Samunus.

Oddly enough in this Land Of Rules, it's somewhat difficult to find a sitter who is working legally. Many of the folks who offer dog/pet care are working 'schwarz' - possibly neither they nor their clients know this or understand the implications of illegal work. But a sitter who is working illegally puts the client and the dog at risk.

From my perspective as a client: if a sitter won't follow the law, how can I trust him/her to follow my instructions as to the care of my dogs? IMO working legally is a base-line to establishing trust.

Not to mention: A sitter who is working legally can (and should!) charge more than someone working 'schwarz', so it's also a good business move to set up correctly.

---

Next there is the issue of education/certification for those who work with dogs - here you need to check with the cantonal Veterinarämt or the BVet as to what is required for the type of work you plan on doing, as the definitions are a bit hazy and seem to change with time.

As the posts above, according to the TSchV: in general, caring for dogs in your home puts one into the Hundehort or Tierheim category, depending on the number of dogs, and thus falls under the TSchV education/certification requirements. And it should be repeated - these requirements pertain only to dog care; those caring for cats or other small pets do not require any special education.

If you are considering the Tierfpleger or BFA courses, you might want to get your business kick-started by offering care for cats or other small animals, or even do some non-commercial dog care in the meantime.

An alternative business model is a dogsitter who moves into the client's home while the client is away. Not many sitters offer this, and there is a growing demand for this kind of service. It might be easier to establish one's business doing this kind of work, as doing the SKN with the client's dogs might be the only requirement because the sitter is caring for the client's dogs alone. (I pay for the sitter to do the SKN with my dogs - as do most of the people I know in similar situations. I would consider it only fair for the client to pay, as the SKN is individual.)

FYI, the SKN requirement kicks in if you are caring for the client's dogs for three months or longer - there seems to be some grey area as to whether this means three months at a stretch, or cumulatively The answer I got from the BVet was 'regular care', still a bit hazy. My sitter only cares for the dogs for a few days at any one time, but she works with them regularly so we decided to play it safe, she has done the SKN with them.

And again - this might be an interesting business model to consider, as one who is willing to provide one-to-one care in the client's home can generally charge a higher fee.

This is especially true for sitters who are willing and able to care for 'special needs' dogs, that is, dogs with either medical, physical or behavioral challenges. Very few people have the skills and experience necessary and are willing to do this kind of care - it's a niche market, but one where clients are generally willing to pay significantly better for a trusted, responsible sitter.

Another niche market, but one that will likely require some certification on your part, is to offer care to dogs of the breeds that are on the restricted lists in cantons where BSL is in force. Many owners of listed breeds are desperate for a good sitter.

In most cases, these dogs are some of the easiest to care for, as in order for the owner to be allowed to keep the dog in a BSL canton he/she had to undergo extensive training and testing. Contrary to the media hype, the listed dogs you see out and about nowadays are some of the best canine citizens around.

Some cantons have additional requirements for those caring for a listed dog - you would want to speak to the cantonal Veterinäramt for specifics. But you might want to look into this, as there is a definite gap in the market here.

---

So once you have established your business, how do you make yourself stand out above the competition?

First: Responsibility, responsibility, responsibility.

This ought to go without saying - but a good number of sitters I have interviewed only want to work casually, and don't take the job seriously.

Just peruse the marketplace section to see how often someone posts a desperate plea: the sitter booked in has cancelled at the last minute, leaving the client in the lurch. This is unforgivable - a client arranges business meetings or holidays, books flights, hotels, etc. well in advance; when a sitter lets the client down, the client is left is a very difficult position, and often stands to lose a great deal of money.

Good sitters are able to provide back-up in case of an emergency on the sitter's part. This is something you should consider.

Another aspect of responsibility that ought to be self-evident but continues to surprise me when interviewing candidates: the sitter needs to follow the owner's instructions to the letter. The sitter needs to understand and continue to use the owner's methods of training and handling the dogs. And towards that end, the sitter and client need to define what expectations are on both sides - I find it best to have written instructions. This protects both the client and the sitter.

And, understand what liability insurance you should carry - your insurer should be able to help you there, and I believe a policy isn't all that expensive. Caring for dogs in a client's home may or may not fall under the client's personal liability insurance, so you should discuss this with each client.


Second: Demonstrable skill and knowledge

When interviewing sitters, I was surprised that some lacked even basic knowledge of canine behavioral science. My expectations for casual non-commercial dog care might be different , but if one is offering professional commercial service I would expect the sitter to be conversant in at least the basics - and I would look for someone whose knowledge was more advanced.

Now this doesn't mean one needs to be a Patricia McConnell, Clarissa von Reinhardt, Ian Dunbar, or Sophia Yin - I'm hiring a sitter, not a behaviorist - but I do expect a knowledge of the fundamentals, as every interaction with a dog is by default a training occasion.

How does one demonstrate this? During the interview I ask a lot of 'how would you handle this...?' questions to get a feel for the sitter's knowledge, I ask about experience with dogs similar to mine - and I watch the sitter's interaction with my dog. The last speaks volumes. Certification or course work is nice, to be sure - but hands-on skills and common sense are far more important to me. I'll take someone self-taught who is instinctively good with my mutts over someone whose credentials are impressive but whose response to my nutcase hounds is lacking.

Knowledge of cantonal and federal dog law is another given. Again, one does not need to be a lawyer, simply aware of the rules and regs - and of course, one must follow them.

An understanding of basic first aid and emergency care is an absolute requirement.

Which brings us to...


Third: Ability to respond to an emergency.

Accidents or emergencies can happen at any time - a sitter needs to know what to do, where to get help, and be able to respond quickly when time is of the essence. Towards that end, it may be necessary to have your own car. Think about what happens should a medical emergency occur at midnight... a sitter needs to be prepared to respond to a worse-case scenario, and needs to have discussed the 'what if's in detail with the owner well in advance. Those 'what if's should be in writing. This is as much for your sake as for the client's.

Case in point: As Murphy's Law would have it, the crisis we had feared with my elderly dog came at the worst possible time - while I was on a flight enroute to the US, the only time I am ever uncontactable. But that left my sitter facing a treatment or euthanasia decision. Fortunately we had discussed the various possibilities, made decision trees in advance, prior to my travel she and I had met with the veterinary team together so that we all knew what my wishes were, what to do given each possibility. A very stressful situation for the sitter, though, no matter how prepared one is.

I'll say it again: an emergency can occur at any time, with a dog of any age, with a dog previously in good health. A sitter MUST be able to respond to any emergency - and a sitter and client must discuss emergency protocol and treatment authorization in advance.

---

What it takes to be successful as a pet sitter boils down to, IMO, is an understanding that while caring for pets is perhaps (in most cases) an easy job on a day-to-day basis, the responsibility is very great. A sitter needs to understand the level of responsibility required of him/her, and be willing and able to take it on. After all, it's the responsibility that one is paid for.

---

Wishing you all the very best in your new venture.

Last edited by meloncollie; 25.05.2012 at 19:56.
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Old 30.05.2012, 16:57
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

Thanks for all the information Meloncollie. It's very valuable advice which I will follow up and let you know how I get on.

Thanks again, Sam
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Old 21.07.2012, 17:10
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I tried to find the best thread for my question without starting a new one - but for those taking the SKN or those who have done it with their dogs..... What exactly did you learn??

We're now doing ours in Aargau and compared with what I learned in Canada were learning completely different things. For example, this week were using clothes to track the scent and find people. Last week we did an emergency recall trick and learning to walk parallel with strange dogs. We haven't been taught leash skills per se, no sit/down/stay/come, no heeling, etc. We've climbed on logs, walked through tires, over rocks - and we are now taking the young dog course. We have one more class to fulfill the SKN class, but I'm curious if others are learning something similar.
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Old 24.07.2012, 16:47
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

Sounds like a great course!

From the BVet's FAQ over the SKN courses:
http://www.bvet.admin.ch/tsp/02222/0...x.html?lang=de

Wie weit ist es einem/einer SKN-Trainer/in erlaubt, die von einer Ausbildungsstätte vorgegebenen Kursunterlagen (Folien, Filme, Handouts) zu verändern, um trotzdem noch unter deren Bewilligungsnummer Ausweise ausstellen zu können? Was ist zwingend: die Inhalte oder die Einhaltung der Lernziele?

Solange die Kurse mit den vom BVET anerkannten Inhalten, Lernzielen und zeitlichen Vorgaben durchgeführt werden, sind die SKN-Trainer/innen aufgrund ihrer Ausbildung berechtigt, die SKN-Kurse anzubieten. Methodik und allfällige Kursunterlagen werden von der Ausbildungsstätte festgelegt. Wie weit diese verändert werden können hängt von den Bestimmungen ab, die im Ausbildungsvertrag festgehalten worden sind.

---

In other words, the content, goals, and timing of the course are determined by the BVet; the actual methodology and course materials are governed by the organization under which the trainer is certified to teach the SKN. How far a trainer may change or tailor the material or methods depends on the agreement with the organization.

---

I would assume that a good trainer would tailor the course to the participants' experience and skills, as well as to the needs of the participating dogs.

I did the course in early 2009, with the Belltie. As it happened, all course participants were experienced dog owners, and all the dogs in our group were recently adopted adults. (The Belltie was 9 at the time.)

We went over the basics - but having first polled the group as to our dog's abilities, we concentrated on those things we each felt most needed work.

For instance, the Belltie already did a lovely sit, stay, down. And being a velcro hound, heelwork was a doodle with him. What he couldn't do - as his nickname implies - is keep quiet. Feet and mouth moved in unison. So my goal in every exercise was not so much the action, but rather teaching the Belltie to do as I ask without him providing a running commentary. Afterall, keeping quiet is perhaps the most important life skill a dog must learn in Switzerland.

(Three years later, we are still working on that bit. )

I very much appreciated this tailoring of the course contents to the needs of the dog/owner team.

We, too, did several of the exercises in the context of everyday situations rather than the more traditional obedience ring work. This is the same approach we take in Familienhund, which I also very much like. After all, our dogs live in the everyday, not the obedience ring. It's great when a dog recalls perfectly in the training ground, that's the place to start - yet the real goal is to overcome the distraction of interesting sights and smells to recall while on a hiking trail.

Some of the classes were conducted in the training ground, some in the woods, some while while walking in the village.

Many of the games - tracking for instance - are designed to get an owner to think about how to stimulate and channel a dog's natural insticts, in ways that are acceptable while living in the human world.

I see the SKN as a taster really, designed to cover the basics but also to engage owners, to promote further - hopefully lifelong - training, both formally and informally.

Hope you have enjoyed your course...
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Old 17.10.2012, 19:25
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

For simply walking dogs but for a fee, I understand there's a short course recognised by BVET for 5hrs. Would anybody know, are foreign qualifications recognised, most specifically from the UK? My German and French aren't fluent enough yet to attend a Swiss course.
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Old 17.10.2012, 19:29
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

My understanding in canton SZ, in the few cases I know of is that no, the folks who had foreign qualifications still had to take the SKN.

It makes sense when you thing about it - so much is Switzerland specific. You need to understand Swiss dog control law - especially in cantons where BSL is in force - understand Swiss norms and expectations. This is included in the SKN theory course.

But do contact the BVet and your cantonal Veterinarämt and ask about your specific qualifications - can't hurt.




Wishing you all the best in your venture.
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Old 17.10.2012, 20:54
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

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My German and French aren't fluent enough yet to attend a Swiss course.
The SKN courses you would need to take are the same as the classes for all dog owners. You might be able to find a trainer willing to do the courses in English, for instance this thread someone in ZH is looking to put together a group for the practical course:

looking for people to form group training for SKN


(Do you have any German? Even if you are working for English speaking clients, having enough German (French, Italian) to deal with an emergency will make you more marketable - many clients see it as a necessity. But it doesn't take much to learn Hundedeutsch. )
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Old 27.10.2014, 18:35
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

Hi all!
Having a dog now and a few in the past, I have been looking into this since I moved here a year ago from a business stand point, but have had no actual time to dedicate to a more in depth brainstorming of the subject.

I read one your previous elaborate threats Meloncollie covering the subject, where you provided us with a full research and array of valuable suggestions. And, all of the schools I have called or emailed to get the Tierpfleger-light Course, the BFA or else, with the exception of the SKN-1 course run in Zurich by a trainer named Patricia in English, are in exclusively in German.
I speak 4 languages and two are Italian and French, official languages of the country yet I have not yet found a place instructing in any other language other than German.
I feel ready to go with this and even if the courses are quite expensive, what I found of positive is that most schools have scheduled classes running on weekends.

Any suggestions?
Thanks,
C.
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Old 27.10.2014, 20:48
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

From the BLV website:
http://www.blv.admin.ch/themen/tiers...x.html?lang=fr

Click on the link "Formation spécifique reconnue, indépendante de la profession (FSIP) pour l’élevage l’élevage professionnel des chiens"
tp bring up list of organizations certified to teach the FBA. One of them is in St Legier, and and their courses are taught in French:
www.centrecanin.ch

Write to them, ask if they offer what you need.

Alternatively, write to the Schweizerischer Verband für Bildung in Tierpflege SVBT, the umbrella organization in German-speaking Switzerland. Ask them who teaches the FBA courses in French or Italian. I'm sure they will know.http://www.tierpfleger.ch/kontakt/

(What are you planning on doing with the FBA, if I might ask? )

By the way, FBA is the correct abbreviation in German. I need to go back and edit out the BFA bits...

Good luck!



(Edited to change the BLV links to French... You could switch to Italian as well if you wish.)
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Old 27.10.2014, 21:24
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

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From the BLV website:
http://www.blv.admin.ch/themen/tiers...x.html?lang=fr

Click on the link "Formation spécifique reconnue, indépendante de la profession (FSIP) pour l’élevage l’élevage professionnel des chiens"
tp bring up list of organizations certified to teach the FBA. One of them is in St Legier, and and their courses are taught in French:
www.centrecanin.ch

Write to them, ask if they offer what you need.

Alternatively, write to the Schweizerischer Verband für Bildung in Tierpflege SVBT, the umbrella organization in German-speaking Switzerland. Ask them who teaches the FBA courses in French or Italian. I'm sure they will know.http://www.tierpfleger.ch/kontakt/

(What are you planning on doing with the FBA, if I might ask? )

By the way, FBA is the correct abbreviation in German. I need to go back and edit out the BFA bits...

Good luck!



(Edited to change the BLV links to French... You could switch to Italian as well if you wish.)
Oh great!
Thank you.
Granted My French is good not sure it will be enough for these courses but will definitely email them and find out. Out the two, Italian will be wonderful.
I need to find out how long this courses take and would prefer if I could find them in Zurich rather than in another canton.

I have a specific business Idea in mind. Brainstorming it and will attempt a rough BP just to have it all black and white in front of my eyes. After doing the trainings and classes and obtaining the certifications all I need to do is finding a place and money and that is the easiest part right?
:-)
I am such positive person!

Last edited by Candy-BOS-MA; 27.10.2014 at 21:50.
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  #17  
Old 27.10.2014, 23:45
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course?

Quote:
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From the BLV website:
http://www.blv.admin.ch/themen/tiers...x.html?lang=fr

Click on the link "Formation spécifique reconnue, indépendante de la profession (FSIP) pour l’élevage l’élevage professionnel des chiens"
tp bring up list of organizations certified to teach the FBA. One of them is in St Legier, and and their courses are taught in French:
www.centrecanin.ch

Write to them, ask if they offer what you need.

Alternatively, write to the Schweizerischer Verband für Bildung in Tierpflege SVBT, the umbrella organization in German-speaking Switzerland. Ask them who teaches the FBA courses in French or Italian. I'm sure they will know.http://www.tierpfleger.ch/kontakt/

(What are you planning on doing with the FBA, if I might ask? )

By the way, FBA is the correct abbreviation in German. I need to go back and edit out the BFA bits...

Good luck!



(Edited to change the BLV links to French... You could switch to Italian as well if you wish.)
Meloncollie
Just wanted to pinpoint the fact you do such great work and the passion and commitment you put into it to help us when we have questions is remarkable.
Thank you!

I would like to offer this email for those looking for English SKN trainers in Zurich. Her name is Patricia and she is a great person.
hundeschule.zh@animalcoach.ch
C.
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  #18  
Old 30.10.2014, 23:18
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course? [Animal carer with a degree]

Candy- I haven't been on EF in months but yours is the first post I see when I do return! I've just done the St. Legier course, graduated last October. It wasn't easy in French but that was one of the two reasons I did it, the other being an interest in offering a (much) better quality dog boarding service than what's currently on offer around my region. I'd be happy to share my experience with you, send me a pm and we can set up a time to chat by phone if you like
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  #19  
Old 02.11.2014, 22:31
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course? [Animal carer with a degree]

Quote:
View Post
Candy- I haven't been on EF in months but yours is the first post I see when I do return! I've just done the St. Legier course, graduated last October. It wasn't easy in French but that was one of the two reasons I did it, the other being an interest in offering a (much) better quality dog boarding service than what's currently on offer around my region. I'd be happy to share my experience with you, send me a pm and we can set up a time to chat by phone if you like
Hi Irishgirl!
I tried to PM you but for some reason I have been unable to do it for the last hour I have been trying so please PM me. I will PMing you tomorrow as well.
Interesting in hearing all about your experience with this.
Thanks a lot!

Candy.
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  #20  
Old 05.11.2014, 20:31
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Re: Tierpfleger-Light Course? [Animal carer with a degree]

Sorry, weird I didn't get any notification but I've sent you an email just now. Speak soon!
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