Senior animal trainer
My name is Caroline Ritter and I am currently working as an independent full-time mobile dog trainer (behaviour therapy, puppy education, basic training) in Vienna and its surrounding area. My first visit at the WSC was in April 2011 doing a scientific internship. Short before this time I recently finished my bachelor studies in biology at the MLU in Halle, Germany and was heavily thinking about what would be the next wise step for me to do. My desire was clear, I wanted to leave my hometown and collect as many experience possible in the field of wild animal research. Searching the internet, I quickly found what I was looking for. I sent my application to the WSC and shortly after my journey to the wolves started.
During my internship I got the possibility to contribute to a very interesting project about the tolerance behaviour in dogs and wolves and was able to extend my knowledge. Thus I used this 4 month of time to test, code, analyse, present and step by step get to know and learn to love the team and our dogs and wolves. After my period of being an intern I decided to graduate my master at the University of Vienna in the field of cognitive research. Unfortunately I slowly recognized that I am no scientist but rather my true passion is lying in animal training and relationship building between human and animals (of course mainly dogs and wolves).
Since then quite some years have passed… No surprise I (probably the same with a few of us) got stuck at the WSC and am working part-time, by now since April 2012, together with my colleagues for science, education and welfare of our animals. With this and in the course of time my area of responsibilities extended continuously. I developed from the person that is just talking and a general dogsbody to a fully grown tour guide, the other end of the lead, hand raiser for our puppies and training or testing partner for our wolves and dogs. Nowhere else could I have learnt that much in such a short time, could have made such incredible experience and could have gone so far to my limits. In particular it is, over and over again, unbelievable and thrilling to see, how our animals communicate with each other, how they work during trainings or tests and especially how strong the bond can get that they establish towards us humans.
Finally I arrived, for now, in my live, was able to create a mission out of my desire (in both Vienna and Ernstbrunn) – with the help of my studies, the WSC and above all with the help of my own dogs and the dogs and wolves at the institute, who taught me so much and, I am sure of that, will teach me quite some more in future.