When she reflects back on her experience in the KPA DTP program, Amélie says that “the most illuminating part of the program was the shift you have to make in your mind from a negative to a positive view. We learned to work toward behaviors we like, and not focus on things we don’t like.” Amélie shares an incident from her program where students were asked to list three things they liked about a colleague’s demonstration. Habitually, Amélie turned the paper over, expecting to see space where she would also write three things she thought were not good about the demo. “But, the other side was blank,” reports Amélie. “My brain was tuned to see errors. I needed to work to make a shift, and that was very important learning for me.” Amélie realized the enormous potential there is to influence the environment positively, “if we only change the way we look at things.” Amélie acknowledges that it takes work to make the shift, “and to be honest I believe the work will never stop,” but then “you see life in a whole new perspective—and it’s much more fun!”
Amélie launched her training business, L’Esprit du Chien, after completing the DTP. Her emphasis is on helping human-dog duos build better relationships through clicker training. Most of her work is in private sessions, but she also offers seminars and puppy board-and-train. “KPA gave me not only the tools, but the confidence, to go out and help others through training. The program inspired me to spread the positive word and, through education, change the way people see dogs, especially dogs labeled reactive.”
In addition to her dog-training work, Amélie is a certified human resources professional who works in business. She consults with and coaches managers to assist with HR challenges and to improve managers’ communication skills. “The DTP at KPA changed my HR career—literally,” asserts Amélie.
As she completed the DTP, Amélie made links between HR and dog training constantly. She noticed that “we often treat our animals better than we do our employees.” Why not take the dog-training approach and use it in HR? “Motivators, reinforcement, learning, building a positive relationship—these are all concepts and terms already part of the HR language,” explains Amélie. She has focused more on organizational behavioural management since her KPA days, incorporating concepts from the DTP program into her HR work. So enthusiastic about positive training after the DTP, Amélie hosted a small conference for HR professionals “to talk about the links I made between the HR field and my experience in the dog-training world.” Amélie also discussed how to use simple concepts to build a better workplace.