Amber also offers what she terms “adventure training” where she works with clients and their pets to prepare the dogs to be great hiking trail companions. Sports and other fun classes are also options Amber provides at Summit Dog Training. From parkour to agility to rally to tricks, Amber incorporates positive clicker training basics to build the desired behaviors and human-canine relationships.
The “Drink With Your Dog Project is so much fun,” according to Amber. She describes the program as “three-part.” It includes “education for dog owners on good brewery manners, education for brewery staff members on hosting dogs safely in brewery spaces, and education for dog trainers who themselves want to run successful brewery manners group-training classes.” Amber points out that the brewery-manners classes attract dog owners who might otherwise not enroll in training classes. “We work on many aspects of public manners, including a popular behavior chain of a dog and human approaching a bar together, the dog practicing a sit stay by the human’s side while the human orders from the bartender, and then loose-leash walking back to the table while the human carries a beer.” Dog owners also learn how to observe and interpret canine body language in brewery scenarios that may include loud noises and strangers approaching, for example.
Amber has worked with brewery staff teams both in in-person workshops and via an online class format. “I love teaching these groups about dog behavior, because it is so different from teaching ‘dog people,’” Amber shares. Her lessons focus on canine body language, greeting a dog appropriately (and determining when a dog doesn’t want a greeting to continue), and ways that brewery staff can set up breweries “to be safe for dogs but comfortable and pleasant for other visitors as well.” Amber particularly enjoys discussions about interacting with dog owners who are not behaving appropriately with their dogs. She explains, “We role play scenarios where I coach brewery staff members how to positively redirect people to more appropriate behaviors with their dogs. This emphasis on positive communication and small, specific goals is strongly influenced by clicker training and TAGteach principles.”
Amber teaches fellow dog trainers how to offer brewery manners classes via an online course that covers “everything from setting up and marketing a brewery manners class to the weekly curriculum. It includes access to my curriculum, videos of me teaching brewery manners classes, and a Facebook support group.” This offering has been a big hit, according to Amber. There are now several communities and training businesses around the country using her brewery manners curriculum. “I’m so excited about this!”
At Summit Dog Training, Amber has “a rock-star team of four employees.” Leading this team is different from training clients, but Amber uses “clicker training principles of shaping and positive communication” in of both these interpersonal aspects of her work. With dogs and people, “being clear with criteria and communication, focusing on reinforcing instead of punishing, and building a positive, collaborative relationship are all aspects of my management style that I attribute to clicker training,” says Amber.
After graduating from KPA, Amber passed the CPDT-KA exam, including the skills-assessment portion, to become a CPDT-KSA. She tries to attend a ClickerExpo conference annually and in 2019 completed Dr. Susan Friedman’s Living and Learning with Animals course, “which was fantastic.” Amber also enrolls in many webinars and always has “a big pile of books waiting to be read on my shelf!”
Recently, Amber completed her first marathon. “I definitely see where my understanding of positive training helped me with that goal. Breaking down a marathon into a training plan of small pieces gradually raising criteria simulates a shaping training plan in clicker training!” Turns out Amber works hard for food reinforcers, something she has able to use to build a strong reinforcement schedule into her training plan. “I love that I’m able to apply positive training and marker principles to so many aspects of my life.”