Kinna finds it easier now to assess an animal's strengths and challenges. And, with the wealth of resources, skills, and input available from KPA and her network of fellow CTPs, Kinna has help choosing the next level of training for her human, canine, and equine clients. “The KPA approach is very fluent and adaptable. It’s why we feel so confident and excited to help others with their training challenges!”
Kinna’s husband Gene also completed the KPA DTP program (in May 2016) and together they use clicker training and KPA positive approaches in their work. Their client base is mostly dogs, but they have been excited to apply their enhanced knowledge to training horses. The understanding of emotional signals (again, emphasized in the DTP) has been essential to their equine training program. “When we can see the slightest tension building in the horse (a horse can show tension just by blinking an eye in a certain way), we understand where the work needs to begin.” With this starting point, Kinna is often many steps ahead of where she would be if she were only looking for the obvious displays of stress. She is able to help horses more effectively because the horses are still at a level where they can receive information and learn. Kinna reports that stress is replaced with curiosity and an excitement about training relatively fast. “A wonderful side effect of clicker training is a noticeable increase in a horse’s contentment. Maybe for the first time in the horse's life, a human is finely tuned into his/her feelings and helping him/her feel more confident and happy.”
In addition to private training classes and day training for horses and dogs in the areas of basic manners and behaviors, husbandry, animal sports, and tricks, Mountain Hooves & Paws Training offers outdoor programs for humans and their companion animals. For example, Kinna employs tenets of the KPA DTP program to help dogs learn to be comfortable on canoe trips. Incorporating elements of Emma Parsons’ Click to Calm philosophy to address outdoor stimuli (think loons on a lake), has added to the success of these adventures. Because Kinna and Gene’s own dogs are highly active and stimulated border collies, they’ve developed training programs to make traveling, boating, tent camping, and other outdoor pursuits possible for even these types of individuals!
Kinna uses positive reinforcement techniques working with her human clients, too, and she and Gene use them at home as well! Gene developed a method for rewarding good, thoughtful decisions. They carry and transfer dried beans from one pocket to the other for each good deed. Equating one dried bean to one dollar, they tally regularly in order to purchase something special for themselves or others. Kinna says, “We often encourage each other. You hear ‘you should transfer a bean for that!’ uttered in our household multiple times a day. And, if we feel the other person really went out of his/her way to help, we recommend transferring more than one bean.”
Kina continues to pursue education in the areas of animal behavior and training. She is taking an agility handling course right now and she and Gene often study Emma Parsons’ methods and books to apply solutions to client situations, especially when it comes to reactivity. Hoping and planning to attend ClickerExpo 2018, Kinna and her husband have also enjoyed recent KPA webinars.
It’s easily apparent that Kinna’s life with animals, background in all manners of teaching, and openness to Karen Pryor and positives in every situation make her a unique and special trainer. With the goal of adding more animal types to train at Mountain Hooves & Paws Training (“It's fascinating to understand all the different animal viewpoints of this world”), Kinna, along with partner Gene, continues to spread the success of clicker and positive-reinforcement training.