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Success Stories: Applied Animal Behavior Adam Winston Uses His Certificate Experience to Launch a Career in Animal Welfare
Success Stories: Applied Animal Behavior Adam Winston Uses His Certificate Experience to Launch a Career in Animal Welfare

By his own account, Adam Winston has done a lot of “cool things” for a living — radio and television broadcaster, rock band manager, and a stint in the Air Force, to name a few.

After going back to school and finishing his bachelor’s degree, he felt ready to unleash his next career challenge — working with dogs in the field of animal behavior.

“I really wanted a change,” Adam said. “I’d always had an interest in dogs. I was moving back to the Pacific Northwest and decided that I’m going to do what I want to do, and that was finding a way to work with animals.”

After doing some online research, Adam discovered the perfect way — the Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior at the University of Washington.

Helping Animals, Helping Others

Adam traces his affinity for dogs back to a Chow Chow he rescued a number of years ago. “My dog Roadie taught me a lot about the companionship and loyalty domestic dogs can provide us,” he said.

He also learned that assisting others with their own pets was satisfying work.

“While going to college, I would help my neighborhood friends with their dogs,” Adam recalled. “I eventually discovered that working with dogs allowed me to simultaneously help people, which inspired me to become a dog welfare professional.”

He sees the need for this work growing rapidly. “The population of domestic dogs is booming,” Adam said. “With increasing urbanization, we now have more and more dogs in smaller spaces. Dog owners are searching for ways to improve their relationship with dogs in their world.”

In His Own Words

Adam Winston explains how the Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior kindled his passion for working with dogs and helped him launch a new career.


Finding His Passion

To break into the specialized field, however, Adam knew that he needed more knowledge and formalized training.

“I was trying to figure out where I could go and learn more about canine science, animal science,” he said. “I was like, ‘Where does one go to school for helping dogs?’”

The three-quarter animal behavior certificate program turned out to be “the perfect fit” for Adam.

“To be able to learn from leading experts and to be surrounded by people who are also interested in what you're interested in, it was just priceless," he said. "The ability to network with other professionals in the area was priceless."

The experience kindled a passion in Adam that has changed his life.

“When I finished the program, I was just so on fire,” he said. “It essentially turned what was a spark and interest into this wildfire about the subjects and the information that I gained. I thought, ‘I’ve got to get this information out’ — I wanted to share what I had learned so badly.”

[The program] essentially turned what was a spark and interest into this wildfire about the subjects and the information that I gained.

Adam Winston

Spreading the Word

To pass on his new-found excitement and knowledge for the subject, Adam decided to leverage his experience as a radio and television broadcaster and launch a podcast. On “Dogs in Our World,” he interviews people who work with dogs and study canine behavior, including people he first connected with in the certificate program.

“In each episode, I’m essentially seeking out experts in a variety of dog or animal-related fields,” he explained. “I’m getting them to teach me what they’ve learned about dogs, and their research, and then I share that information with the public. If it wasn’t for the certificate program, I don’t think some of those doors would have opened up for me.”

He’s already produced 12 episodes of the show, which has listeners from all 50 states and a variety of foreign countries, including Japan, Canada and Australia.

Charting a Career Path

The certificate experience allowed Adam to develop a new career in the field. He now runs his own dog training and behavior consulting business, and he also works part time as an animal care technician for King County.

“I’m sure having the professional certificate in applied animal behavior from a respectable institution helped me get that very competitive position with King County,” he said. “It’s the knowledge I gained, and also the credibility of the UW.”

Adam gets great satisfaction from his work helping the dogs in our world, as well as the people who live and work with them.

“Exploring your passion and serving the community is what life is all about,” he noted. “The certificate program is a core part of my educational foundation — it ignited a passion for serving my community through dogs.”

For more success stories from UW Professional & Continuing Education, visit the News & Features section of our website. To learn more about our certificates, degrees and courses, explore your options or contact us.

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