In addition to her animal training work, Consuelo translates animal-related publications. She credits another KPA CTP, her friend Scotti Harvey, for this branch of her career path. Scotti connected Consuelo with another friend, Grisha Stewart. When Consuelo and Grisha met for lunch, Grisha mentioned the difficulty she was having finding translators for her work; she needed translators with knowledge of animal training concepts. With Scotti’s encouragement, Consuelo offered her services to Grisha. “I had studied literature, I am obsessed with the correct use of the Spanish language, I speak English fluently, and I am a KPA!” Consuelo has completed translation work for Grisha and for other authors and animal businesses. While she has not done much formal translation recently, she says, “Occasionally I help translate the IAABC material for the Spanish Division, of which I am the Division Chair of the Chile Division.”
Consuelo says that the “principles of positive reinforcement are so ingrained in my daily life and in the way I interact with people and animals that I don’t even realize when I’m applying them anymore.” A few weeks ago, she clicker trained her two-and-a-half-year-old niece in order to trim her hair.
“With the lockdown, there was no way to take her to a hairdresser. My niece is a very active girl and has trouble staying still, which can be dangerous if you are holding a scissor in front of her eyes! I had my sister bring some high-value reinforcers, like my niece’s favorite biscuits or stickers, and I took care of the rest.” Consuelo reports that she used the clicker as a game: “click, then biscuit.” Little by little she raised one criterion at a time: sit in the chair, fold your arms, tilt your head down, close your eyes, sit still, maintain duration, etc. “The haircut was finished in less than ten minutes. No fuss.” While Consuelo admits that the haircut was not the finest, she did trim her niece’s hair without gouging her eyes and her niece “had a blast.”
In addition to Terry Ryan's Chicken Camp, Consuelo has attended seminars led by Ken Ramirez, Grisha Stewart, Kathy Sdao, and Michele Pouliot, among others. She completed the LLA Professional course led by Susan Friedman and earned a Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior from the University of Washington as well. “I try to attend ClickerExpo or the IAABC conference at least once every two years and I’m always doing seminars or webinars that offer CEUs.” Consuelo is planning to complete a master's degree in Animal Behavior or Anthrozoology, disciplines that interest her most these days. “I had registered to attend the Dive Deep course at The Ranch this past May, but, due to the COVID-19 situation, I had to postpone my trip to the United States.” Consuelo ended up transferring her enrollment to other KPA courses: the Dog Trainer Comprehensive course (“to refresh my memory”), Train Your Cat, Puppy Start Right for Instructors, and Better Veterinary Visits. She also aspires to become a certified K9 Nose Work Instructor, a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, a Fear Free Trainer, and a Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor. “One should never stop learning!”
Looking ahead, Consuelo’s goal is to “reach a point in my career where I can fully dedicate myself to horse training.” She completed an introductory course on equine clicker training in Spain. “The equine world is still staggeringly aversive. I would love to help spread the use of positive training to improve the lives of these magnificent, but poorly understood, animals.”