Jen has found her KPA skills especially valuable with dogs that struggle with fear and anxiety. She shares the story of one dog that was so frightened that “you could not be within 8’ of him without him running away; he would cower if you faced him directly or leaned toward him.” With clicker training, Jen was able to teach the dog behaviors including Sit, Down, and Come, maintaining a safe distance with zero physical contact. “All of the training steps were either shaped in tiny increments or captured when they occurred naturally. Treats were tossed to him instead of hand delivered. A target was presented inside the kitchen door to encourage him to come inside,” she remembers. With clicker training, the dog gained confidence and began to offer behavior. He also learned how to navigate living in a home with people. “This progress was incredibly eye-opening for his owner,” says Jen. “She learned how to interpret his body language and how to help him feel safe in interactions and training. Her empathy and compassion for him grew as she learned about and understood his fears.” Jen explains that success for this dog may seem small, but learning to perform a few behaviors, offer behavior, and feel relaxed and confident were huge leaps for him and for the dog’s owner.
Apart from her professional work, Jen uses the same skillset to learn new things. “I break down steps into small increments instead of overloading myself with too many steps to accomplish at one time.” Jen encourages people around her to do the same and enjoys “reinforcing others in ways that they would find meaningful.”
A regular ClickerExpo conference attendee on an every-other-year schedule, Jen is pleased with the addition of the new virtual option. “Now I can attend every year!” She hopes to make a trip to The Ranch for a course or seminar and to complete the KPA Puppy Start Right for Instructors course.
Jen’s newest business model is training clients’ dogs on their behalf. Her offerings are personalized with highly customizable training packages that may include board and train, day training, and personal coaching. “My partnerships with the pet owner and with the dog focus on an ongoing relationship of guidance and support,” she explains. Jen has found that her varied services, including boarding one dog at a time, her focus on real-life settings and experiences, and one-on-one attention that means working at the animal’s learning pace bring success. She describes herself as “a combo of trainer, coach, dog nanny. and adventure leader!”