February 2013 KPA CTP of the Month
Marius Geykman, Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Certified Training Partner (CTP), crossed over from dissatisfaction in the corporate world to positive training and a new career as the owner of Snappy! Pet Services. Throughout his life Marius knew that his greatest pleasure and satisfaction came from spending time with dogs, particularly his own two corgis, Cleo and Kit. It just took him a while to figure out how to build his life and livelihood around that knowledge. With help from Tia Guest, KPA Program Director, and Laura Monaco Torelli, KPA Dog Trainer Program instructor, Marius found the key he was searching for in the valuable lessons from the KPA Dog Trainer Program.
As a young boy in Lithuania, Marius had puppies and dogs. He also went out of his way to hang out with any other dogs he encountered, one time huddling underneath the dinner table with a dog belonging to some family friends. They shared dog biscuits (a bit dry, according to Marius’s memory). After studying economics and working in finance, Marcus felt more aggravation and stress than satisfaction. Looking for a change and appreciating the timing of a corporate layoff, he was led from his vet to Laura Monaco Torelli and the positive training services that she provides in Marius’s local area. Marius credits Laura with showing him a whole new way of teaching and interacting with animals.
The way that Laura moved and talked in class was awe-inspiring. Everything was positive; her speech was beyond positive. She had phrases like ‘I’d like to invite you to… ’ rather than‘You need to….’
From Laura, the connection to KPA was made, but enrolling in the Dog Trainer Program was not a simple step for Marius. Tia Guest made him work for his admission. Tia assigned Marius pre-enrollment homework: clicker training practice/experimentation and a reading list with two titles, Don’t Shoot the Dog and Reaching the Animal Mind, both by Karen Pryor. Marius made Karen Pryor’s books bedside reading and began to develop a life-changing philosophy centered on positivism.
“I would read Karen Pryor’s book before bed each day, and sometimes make myself coffee so that I wouldn’t fall victim to my bed’s comfort and lose precious reading time. After reading Reaching the Animal Mind, I knew I wanted to become a positive reinforcement trainer—and not just use the philosophy with animals, but also in my daily life.”
Attributing most of his move toward positive training/positive living (as well as many of his positive phrases!) to the influence of Dog Trainer Program leader Laura Monaco Torelli, Marius enjoys stronger bonds with his animals and the people in his life. He considers himself a much better trainer as well as a better person. “I am truly thankful for this amazing and wonderful new way of life.”
Marius operates a clicker business and leads a “clicker life.” Snappy! Pet Services offers training, dog walks, pet sitting, and pet photography, all conducted with positive reinforcement training and all based on affection and respect. Having attended two ClickerExpo conferences so far, where he was warmly greeted by Karen Pryor and shared a table and stories with some of the esteemed Expo presenters, Marius cannot wait to go again! He says, “I only wish I could afford to go to ClickerExpo twice a year. Heck, I wish for a ClickerExpo every day!”