To Kim, “that describes what effective clicker training can do for a human/dog partnership!” She loves teaching clicker and Canine Freestyle because “whether you compete or not, it’s a fun way of learning to communicate with your dog and strengthening the relationship.”
KPA lessons that Kim implements when she creates HTM Freestyle routines for herself or others include the ability to build strong and reliable behaviors and the ability to create and time cues more appropriately. “In the past I have been guilty of combining too many criteria in one training session. I would try to get duration and precision at the same time, rather than focusing on getting precision first. Since I now plan my sessions to focus on one element at a time, I end up with stronger and more reliable moves.” With less frustration for her dog Tyler as he tries to understand what Kim wants, training sessions are “much more fun for both of us,” Kim reports.
As she added more moves to her freestyle routines with Tyler, Kim noticed that she lost reliability because her cues were not clear enough. “Tyler became confused and I lost confidence that we could complete the move in competition.” Learning more about cues and cueing has led Kim to brainstorm in these situations. “What does Tyler see as the cue? What should the cue actually be? How can I make the cue distinctive from any other cue I am using?” Kim is more conscious about getting cueing right for Tyler now, including timing cues for back-chained behaviors. “Sequences run more smoothly now, with no re-cues and less chain-breaking.” Since the KPA course, Kim has changed her training language. “Instead of trying to figure out why something has gone wrong, instead I ask myself how I can communicate with Tyler successfully, in a way that he can understand what I’m looking for.”
Since the DTP program, Kim has been busy reinforcing and continuing her positive education. “Currently, I am enrolled in the KPA Smart Reinforcement program and I have reserved a spot for a Ken Ramirez seminar when he comes to the UK in June 2017.” Kim plans to attend a workshop with Kathy Sdao before the year is out, and she is looking forward to ClickerExpo 2018 in the UK. “I will definitely be attending again!”
Kim sees clicker training playing a vital role as she works with her new puppy Rio, building his confidence and skills. “While I have focused on freestyle with Tyler, I would like to compete in obedience with Rio. Clicker training will help me teach him the required behaviours.” Of course, Kim and Tyler would love to win first place at Crufts, so they will be using clicker principles to build new moves and strengthen their current moves. Good luck, Kim and Tyler!
Finally, as a leader rather than a student, Kim is working with her KPA instructor Linda Ryan on a fundraising effort on behalf of the Heelwork to Music Team in Great Britain. They are planning a Canine Freestyle workshop for KPA students in the UK in July of 2017!